At the June 8, 2020 Culver City Council meeting last night, the City Council agreed to schedule a meeting for June 15, 2020 at 7 pm to discuss the police budget. Both Council member Thomas Small and Mayor Goran Eriksson requested to put a meeting on the calendar specific to the police department, recognizing that a large part of the public comment for June 8 would be focused on the subject. Council member Meghan Sahli-Wells requested that it be calendared prior to the June 22 meeting that will finalize the budget for the coming fiscal year.
Sahli-Wells offered, “There has been a lot of reform in the CCPD and we have come a long way. We need a budget that responds to our values, and we need to do better.”
Small also said, “I do want to thank everyone who attended and marched in the peaceful demonstrations. Sometime this seems to be the only way that humankind can evolve. We all need to change and improve. And I also want to offer my immense gratitude to the men and women of the CCPD, who have been true frontline workers. This time has been exhausting for all of us.”
While the matter of looking into the police budget was scheduled at the start of the meeting, many residents who spoke to the meeting reminded the council of how important this moment could be to resolve the community’s long term, on-going issues with the police.
Culver City resident and UCLA History Department Chair Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, author of City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles spoke, saying “I have spent the last two decades studying policing as a racial caste system in the US. We need to focus in on – at a minimum – reducing CCPD funding to the standard of decrease 17% in the coming year.”
The decrease of 17% is the level asked of all city departments; at this point in time, excluding the police.
Dr. Giovanni Washington spoke on behalf of Culver City Community of Color Collective. “To put it frankly, we are tired. It is hard not to feel paralyzed. The violence against black lives is not new, it is just being filmed. We will not do your emotional labor. We have the right to grieve.”
The June 15 meeting will be held online, with registration to attend and comment available through the city website at culvercity.org