Meeting the California Standard for Police Use of ‘Military Equipment’ Will Reach Community

What legal standard might be set for the Culver City Police Department to use ‘military equipment’ will return for further discussion at a later date, next time in a more relaxed and inclusive community meeting format. 

The Public Hearing presented as Agenda Item #2 at the April 11, 2022 Culver City Council meeting that sought to clarify the use of ‘military equipment’ by the Culver City Police Department brought up a great deal of dialogue, but did not bring the matter to a conclusion. Set in motion by a state law, AB 481, Culver City is required to meet a standard for the use of such equipment, including defining that term, and setting forth the requirements and restrictions that would govern the civil use of these weapons. 

A report from Chief Manny Cid noted that the CCPD currently has military equipment in its inventory, including drones, specialized rifles, tear gas, ‘flash bang’ grenades and a 40 MM launcher. Also included was a ‘pepperball launcher’ which was detailed “only to be used to disperse violent riotous crowds with the approval of the Chief of Police.” 

The fact that the CCPD has an inventory of weapons that are categorized as military – and they are certainly not the only department in California to have them – speaks to the reasons the Sacramento is requiring that cities regulate their use. Chief Cid emphasized that this was “not a request for funding – we are not seeking these items, these are thing the department has, and in many cases, has had for many years.” 

Mayor Daniel Lee offered “This is a state requirement – I feel like every time we pick up anything in regard to the police department, it’s assumed we are threatening their existence… I was the only council member to vote against the budget [during the 2020 budgetary process] and we did not cut the police budget. When people say ‘this is the result of defunding’ that does not make sense – defunding did not happen… this is just about policy, and how these items are to be used.” 

After many speakers adding their thoughts from the floor and a brief discussion from the dais, the proposal to offer a meeting with the community was supported by Chief Cid, keeping in mind that the deadline to finalize with the state would be September of 2022. 

A community meeting will be offered “in a format similar to the drone meetings,” as soon as the city can create the event.  

Judith Martin-Straw


The Actors' Gang

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