LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
FILE 2020: A small group demonstrates June 11, 2020 in memory of George Floyd and against police brutality in Silverlake. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
In the wake of Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to march for Black lives.
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Waves of peaceful and powerful protests unfolded last summer and spring, with people calling for justice. There was also violence and rioting by people who tried unsuccessfully to hijack that message.
But the question remains, has there been any meaningful change one year later?
“The fact that we are here and we will be commemorating his death is a sad occasion, quite frankly,” Gregory Akili, a member of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles’ Action Committee, said. “We are here because of Black death.
“We are not here because of enlightenment,” he continued. “We are not here because of the people seeing that there’s something wrong in society that we need to address. We are here because of Black death.”
Akili said Tuesday is about commemorating Floyd and focusing on their movement to bring dramatic change to the Los Angeles Police Department and divert some of its budget to improve lives in communities of color.
“We want real, substantive change,” he said. “Not reform, not tinkering around the edges, not trying to keep a system that has been in place to control and suppress.”
But Chief Michel Moore says his department needs more funding, not less. Last year, the city recorded about 350 homicides, according to police statistics. It was the most in a decade. More troubling is that the city is on track to surpass that number this year.
“The headcount of this organization was not restored to the pre-pandemic levels,” Moore said. “We’re still hundreds and civilians short of that, and what we’re doing with that is redirecting less essential calls and workload to alternative services, which we support.”
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Moore also said the department supports spending more on mental health services.
“America’s got to stop being cheap when it comes to its investment in mental health services and stop relying upon police and fire to be the 911 for those type of needs,” Moore said. “But until that happens, until we build that capacity, unfortunately, we’re called up to fill the gap.”
LAPD, like police agencies across the country, also continues to face trust issues with the communities it serves.
Pastor Shep Crawford, of The Experience Christian Ministries, said he and his church were trying to help on both sides — working with the community and with the police.
“He really wants to see change, he is open,” Crawford said. “Sometimes we have been very critical, and he is open to it.”
And while Crawford said dialogue helps, the results of that work are critical, but he said he was not sure where things go next.
“The LAPD, along with most other law enforcement, should say, ‘We were wrong. We have done you wrong, particularly African Americans, particularly people of color, we have done you wrong,’” he said. “And that hasn’t happened.”
Activists said that until violence against Black and brown people and communities ends, the fight will go on.
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CBS Los Angeles’ Pat Harvey will be on CBS’ The Talk Tuesday at 1 p.m. to discuss the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. Also on Tuesday, Harvey and CBS Los Angeles Political Reporter Tom Wait will host a town hall at 7 p.m. streaming live on CBSN Los Angeles.