LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a $150 million cut to the LAPD's budget for the next fiscal year, a move that followed activists' mounting calls to "defund the police."
The council voted 12-2 with Councilmen John Lee and Joe Buscaino voting in opposition to the decision.
This year's budget process for Los Angeles is unlike any other because of the coronavirus pandemic, and on Wednesday the City Council voted on financial adjustments to a spending plan that is already in effect, as the fiscal year begins July 1.
Lee said it's still important to acknowledge how far the LAPD has come in its reformation from decades ago. He said two-thirds of LAPD officers are people of color and that the department "has been a model'' in its reforms.
"I'm not saying LAPD is a perfect organization," Lee said. "There's always room for improvement, but ... other police departments throughout the nation strive to follow them on their community policing, use of force, deescalation and implicit bias training.''
The proposed operating budget of the LAPD was about $1.86 billion before the cut, which has been derided by the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents the department's roughly 9,900 sworn officers.
"I want to take this time to acknowledge Black Lives Matter L.A. organizers and others for keeping our feet to the fire and demanding more from our government,'' Councilman Curren Price said on Tuesday, describing recent social activism as "a movement that has amassed support from every corner of the globe and shows no signs of stopping.
"The conversations that we've been having today from reducing the LAPD budget and reallocating the money for social services to changing policing policies would not happen if it hadn't been for their efforts.''
Black Lives Matter LA co-founder Melina Abdullah says the cut is a first step, but "it does not reflect the kind of fundamental reimagining of public safety that's necessary to protect black life."
City News Service contributed to this report.