City Council Letter 7/13/21

July 13, 2021 Letter to City Council

TO: Mayor Robert Garcia, City of Long Beach City Council Members, and City Manager Tom Modica
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL ONLY
FROM: Black Lives Matter Long Beach, CA

DATE: July 13, 2021

RE: Long Beach Police Department Budget Allocations

Dear Mayor Garcia, City Council Members, and City Manager Modica:

This year you are rapidly moving millions of City dollars away from our community — which is deeply suffering from an intersection of public health crises of racism and COVID19   to fund new police department initiatives. 

We have spent years, and namely all of 2020, very clearly articulating that residents do not support additional funds being grossly thrown at poor policing programs. We do not support funding a department bystander intervention training, nor Facial Recognition Technology and license plates readers. Instead, we support funding the real work and people that actually provide care in our city: community psychologists, supportive service providers for housing, the City’s Health Department, community groups, youth organizations, and H.O.O.D. Councils who do the real work to prevent intercommunity violence and health risks. 

The people of Long Beach demand investment in our vision for a safer, healthier, happier city. The City’s budget reflects the values of our community, and we have spoken.

DIVEST FROM THE LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT

Defund the Long Beach Police Department to end their constant racist violence, abuse of our low-income residents, criminalization of youth and poverty, and separating families. Stop depleting our city budget with massive police surveillance tools that continue to harm our community under the false guise of Racial Reconciliation.  

The following list of LBPD funding requests that are supported by elected and other city leaders tell us that there is no genuine commitment to cure and end racial harm.

  1. License Plate Readers - criminalizing people for exercising their American rights to protest
  2. Facial Recognition Technology - countless studies have shown that FRT criminalizes Black people 
  3. Active Bystander for Law Enforcement (ABLE) - What happened with past tens of millions of dollars that LBPD received for training? This request is a testament to poor policing, mismanagement of resources, and the clear inability to adequately train.  NO more money under the false guise of “training”.
  4. Gun Violence - The shrill request by LBPD for more money to beef up the department absolutely ignores the predictable socio-economic impacts of COVID-19. Now is a time for mending and building better, not exacerbating societal ills. There are many Black-led cultural and community based organizations that can be sought out for resources to help people and communities be healthy and thriving. 

REINVEST IN BLACK LIVES AND IMPACTED COMMUNITIES

Honoring the recognition that racism is a public health crisis means you must immediately reallocate funds and direct additional resources to community-led initiatives on the front lines of responding to the impact racism has on our residents. 

INVEST IN THE PEOPLE OF LONG BEACH

  • Invest in community-led crisis response programs and the alternative emergency response teams called for in the City’s Racial Equity and Reconciliation Report.
  • Provide reparations to Black people as well as victims and their families of racial profiling and police violence prominent during the war on drugs era.
  • Prioritize Black business ownership in the cannabis industry, including but not limited to cultivation, production, and distribution. Cannabis tax revenue dollars should be allocated directly to the Cannabis Social Equity Program and the Health Department, instead of to the General Fund. All funding from cannabis taxes must be redistributed toward the restoration of wealth opportunities stolen by the war on drugs and mass incarceration, and in turn, provided directly to impacted Long Beach families and communities.
  • Increase the Health Department budget specifically for family reunification and reentry programs, Black infant mortality, mental health, homelessness services, and other programs to address systemic needs beyond equity toward liberation.
  • Invest in Black community-led residential, commercial, and recreational spaces and programs to support stronger connections among neighbors and small businesses.

City of Long Beach, if you continue to increase funding and influence of the Long Beach Police Department, then you PROVE to the residents of our City - who plainly asked that you defund LBPD and invest in community care - that your claim of working towards reconciliation is indeed false.

The people of Long Beach imagine a future here together where we can all live long, satisfying, healthy, and meaningful lives. Divest from the Long Beach Police Department. Reinvest in Black lives and impacted communities. Invest in the people of Long Beach.

We demand that you adopt the People’s Budget Long Beach

Sincerely,

Black Lives Matter Long Beach

Police Decertification Bill

Senate Bill 2, Police Decertification Bill

Senator Bradford and Pro Tem Atkins Introduce Police Decertification Bill

December 07, 2020

SACRAMENTO ­– Today, Senator Bradford (D-Gardena) and Senate President pro Tempore Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced Senate Bill 2 to increase accountability for law enforcement officers that commit serious misconduct and illegally violate a person’s civil rights.

“The time is now to pass meaningful and common-sense police reform,” said Senator Steven Bradford. “California is able to revoke the certification or licenses of bad doctors, lawyers, teachers, and even barbers, but is unable to decertify police officers who have broken the law and violated the public trust. It’s time for California to join the majority of the nation and create a process to decertify bad officers. I look forward to working with Pro Tem Atkins, my colleagues, and all stakeholders to have this bill signed into law.”

“The goal of SB 2 is to improve public safety and protect our communities, particularly communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by police misconduct. At the end of last session, Senator Bradford and I committed to our colleagues and constituents that we would bring back legislation that holds police officers who engaged in serious misconduct accountable. With the new session beginning, we are making good on our word,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins. “We look forward to working closely with the California Legislative Black Caucus and other stakeholders to ensure this important bill becomes law, making our communities safer for all Californians.”

SB 2 will create a statewide decertification process to revoke the certification of a peace officer following the conviction of serious crimes or termination from employment due to misconduct. Additionally, SB 2 will strengthen the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act to prevent law enforcement abuses and other civil rights violations.

California is one of only five states in the nation that does not have the authority to decertify law enforcement officers who have committed serious misconduct. Other states, such as Florida and Georgia, have led the nation in police officer decertification by inquiring into misconduct without regard to conviction for certain offenses.

SB 2 is sponsored by a coalition of community organizations including: Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti-Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, California Families United 4 Justice, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, PolicyLink, STOP Coalition, and Youth Justice Coalition.

“When police kill and abuse our community members, decertifying them—taking away their badges—is literally the least we can do,” said Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.

Earlier this year, Senator Bradford authored Senate Bill 731, also known as the Kenneth Ross, Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2020, which failed passage on the Assembly Floor. The bill was not brought up for a vote due to the legislative deadline imposed by the California State Constitution. SB 731 was a priority of the California Legislative Black Caucus and supported by a broad coalition of organizations, community activists, and celebrities.

“This issue is personal to me as the Vice Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus and currently the only Black member of the State Senate,” Senator Bradford continued. “We have felt the consequences of bad policing in the 35th Senate District with the recent killings of Kenneth Ross, Jr. and Andres Guardado. SB 2 will ensure that these officers are held accountable for their actions and are not be allowed to simply move to a different department and bring injustice to another community.”

Kenneth Ross, Jr. was a 25-year-old African-American who was shot and killed by a Gardena police officer in April 2018. The officer who shot and killed Kenneth Ross was the last officer to arrive on the scene, but was the only officer who perceived a threat sufficient to discharge a weapon. Mr. Ross was unarmed and running from officers when shot, and he died at the scene. The officer who killed Mr. Ross was involved in prior shootings and has not been prosecuted for this incident.

“My son, Kenneth Ross, Jr., was murdered on April 11, 2018 by a Gardena police officer who had shot three other people and had no business with a badge and a gun,” said Fouzia Almarou. “If he had been decertified after the first person he shot, Kenneth would likely still be alive to raise my grandson and be with me and his siblings.” 

For additional policy questions on this legislation, please contact Chris Morales at [email protected]. For press-related inquiries, such as requests for comment/interview, please contact Austin Panush at [email protected].

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Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington

Source: https://sd35.senate.ca.gov/news/2020-12-07-senator-bradford-and-pro-tem-atkins-introduce-police-decertification-bill

B-Well Collab Promotes Black-Centered Mental Health & Wellness Campaign

The Black Wellness Collaborative (B-Well) is a diverse grassroots group of Black SoCal neighbors and allies that formed out of the Black Lives Matter, Long Beach Chapter in fall of 2020. B-Well is working to promote a Black-centered mental health public education and awareness campaign.

B-Well’s Vision is that all Black people receive the care, compassion, dignity, and respect that everyone deserves when it comes to health.

Learn more at www.bwellcollab.com.

Virtual Events

B-Well’s first virtual event, Gettin’ Through the Winter, was held in December 2020 and can be watched online here.

Below is a resource list shared after the event.

If you or someone you know needs support or help, visit www.bwellcollab.com/gethelp for more resources.