To Help End Racist Police Murders with Impunity
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and their allies, especially family members of people who have been killed by the police and sheriff’s deputies, hold a vigil every Wednesday afternoon at 4 PM outside the LA Police Protective League (LAPPL), one of a number of local police associations that defend criminal and corrupt cops, and work to prevent any accountability for law enforcement killings. It takes place outside 1313 West 8th Street just west of downtown L.A. in the street between the LAPL and the ACLU.
Police associations are not real unions. Unions are vital. They ensure fair wages and collective bargaining for millions of people. Unions build solidarity among working class people. Unions move us forward into a future grounded in equity and justice. We are 100% for unions.
But here’s the deal: police associations provide protections to cops who perpetuate violence, racism and white supremacy. Police associations claim to protect police in support of public safety, but the statistics say the opposite. The police are one of the leading causes of death for Black people.
Rather than fight for fair wages and working conditions, police associations use collective bargaining to negotiate for the right to kill and abuse our communities with impunity.
We can’t create safe communities when police are allowed to kill and abuse their power without consequence. That starts with real labor unions removing cops from the House of Labor.
These are the hallmarks of police associations practices and strategies to protect killer cops. The daughter of the head of the LAPPL is one such. Here in L.A., the LAPPL sponsored a ballot measure, disguised as “civilian oversight”, that gave cops an additional more lenient option on discipline that could override the Chief of Police on the rare occasions he tries to find a cop “out of policy” on the use of force.
DISHONEST BARGAINING: Police associations have bargained away the rights of everyday people, negotiating for the right to harm and systematically tear down our communities.
UNCHECKED POWER: Rights like qualified immunity protect police from being held liable for constitutional violations, such as the right to be free from excessive police force. The Los Angeles Police Commission rubber stamps almost all killings, deaths in custody and other uses of force, approved a huge increase in the LAPD budget, and routinely signs off on police surveillance and big data programs, as well as outside funding for the LAPD.
STATE-SANCTIONED VIOLENCE: After gaining these protections, state-sanctioned violence increased significantly, leading to additional civilians being killed by police per year.
KILLING OUR COMMUNITIES: Police officers killed 1,127 people in 2020 and even more in 2021, which at this writing was not over yet. That’s an average of three people per day every day for an entire year, year after year, despite protests and phony “reforms”.
THE RACIST SYSTEM: Black people were 28% of those killed by police in 2020 despite being only 13% of the population.
PILFERING THE PUBLIC PURSE: Police associations consume a tremendous share of city budgets, sometimes, upwards of 50% of unrestricted funds, diminishing the funds available for vital community resources. In L.A., in addition to their own “lion’s share” of the city budget, the LAPD taps into funding for the library, the Metro, the Housing Department and the Sanitation Department, and gets additional federal grants and private funding from big corporations funneled through the Los Angeles Police Foundation.
BULLYING AND BRIBING: Police associations use their deep pockets to elect corrupt representatives and enact laws that harm communities and make them less safe.