Black Lives Matter-L.A. criticizes LAPD chief’s reappoinment

Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles leaders have criticized Mayor Karen Bass’s decision to give the green light to a second term for Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, calling the move a treason at a news conference Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a second term for Moore, a day after Bass expressed support for the move in a letter to the board. As mayor, Bass wields considerable power over the police department and its boss.

The five-member commission, whose members are chosen by the mayor, currently consists of appointments from former mayor Eric Garcetti, who left office in December. Bass has not yet announced a timeline for replacing any of the members with their own appointments.

Her Monday letter to the commission said she and Moore discussed and agreed on the need for expanded police reform, increased community policing and more alternative response measures. She also said the deaths of three people in police custody earlier this year “underscored the need for continued and significant reform of the city’s approach to public safety.”

At Wednesday’s press conference outside the ACLU’s Southern California headquarters, community activists denounced Moore’s tenure as the city’s top police officer, citing a botched detonation of a fireworks warehouse by the department’s bomb squad that injured 17 people in 2021 and the killing of Takar Smith by the police. Keenan Anderson and Oscar Sanchez last month, among others.

In a written statement read by Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and cousin of Keenan Anderson, Cullors described Bass as “a long-time friend and comrade” who came forward to support him after Anderson’s death.

“It is both disappointing and disrespectful that Bass is reappointing Michel Moore after my family and thousands of community voices have pleaded that she not do so. I want so badly to believe in the first black woman mayor, but actions like this give me and the community a deep pause,” Cullors said in the statement, which was read by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles organizer Tabatha Jones Jolivet.

Bass’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Black Lives Matter-LA co-founder Melina Abdullah also underscored her deep connection with the mayor — a former community organizer who championed the promise of more accountability and transparency for the police force.

“We used to sit in my garden, on my couch, sometimes on her couch. We held each other’s children. We laughed, we organized, we strategized together,” Abdullah said of Bass, adding that she felt “betrayed” by the mayor’s decision to confirm a second term for Moore. Abdullah had previously publicly criticized Bass’ public safety plans during the mayoral campaign.

Abdullah also criticized Bass’ laser focus on homelessness since taking office, saying it must not come at the expense of police reform.

“You heard her say on camera, ‘Well, I’m dealing with the homeless crisis,'” Abdullah said. “Look, you’re the mayor of the second largest city in this country. You have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

As a member of Congress, Bass led highly visible police reform following the killing of George Floyd and introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which ran aground in the Senate.

Representatives from the ACLU of Southern California and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition also spoke at the press conference, as did Sheila Hines, the aunt of Wakiesha Wilson, who died in LAPD custody in 2016.

Abdullah made a series of demands on Bass on Wednesday, including withdrawing her consent to Moore’s reappointment and meeting with activists about the matter next week. Black Lives Matter-L.A. criticizes LAPD chief’s reappoinment

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