Tell Mayor Bass: Chief Moore Must Go

by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action

As Change-Links was going to press, LA Chief of Police Michel Moore filed a request for re-appointment to a second five-year term, and newly-elected Mayor Karen Bass announced that she would be meeting with him to discuss it. Moore was first appointed in 2018, supported by the Police Commission (which rubber-stamps almost everything the LAPD and its chief do). Last month, Mayor Karen Bass said on CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation” that she had “no desire” to replace Moore.

Pending the abolition or at least de-funding of the LAPD and its replacement by efforts at provision of housing, social services, and community education and defense programs, the Mayor needs to be told that Moore must not be re-appointed, and that he has no moral authority to guide the LAPD. Mayor Bass must immediately announce a search for a new Chief of Police.

Ignore, if you will, that Moore is himself a killer cop (and even though the LAPD is one of the most murderous police departments in the country and in history, most LA cops never shoot or kill anyone, whereas Moore has shot two and killed one).

Moore claimed, at the height of protests against the police murder of George Floyd, that protesters had “his blood on their hands” ! before trying to march his words back when confronted at the Police Commission by hundreds of people on-line or commenting on a live-stream of the LAPC meeting aired via zoom by KTLA onto YouTube.

Moore unleashed LAPD brutality against anti-police-brutality protesters at the time here in Los Angeles, and has used riot-clad cops to intimidate and bully anti-racist protesters at the City Council recently, and at Police Commission meetings before the pandemic. Two years after George Floyd, he showed his true colors again by attacking street protests against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Mass arrests were made in Los Angeles in response to those street protests and shutdowns.

Moore did nothing to deal with the LAPD explosion of fireworks that destroyed much of a city block, dislodging dozens of Latino families from their homes. He has used the LAPD repeatedly to clear encampments of unhoused people with nowhere else to go, as in Echo Park, and attempted to criminalize their defenders and service providers. He has done nothing to prevent the silencing of dissent and criticism at the now-virtual LA Police Commission meetings, at which public comment has been marginalized, trivialized, and selectively suppressed. He has persisted in efforts to use “big data” and so-called “predictive” (read, predatory) policing. He has sought and won increases in the LAPD budget that throttle and starve all other city financed programs, and tapped additional federal and foundation money, as well as using homeless funding, and taking control of funding for sanitation and other city departments, as well as seeking contracts with Metro and other government agencies for so-called security services, on top of the LAPD’s own budget.

In short, Moore has forfeited any claim to a second five-year term as head of the LAPD. Email the Mayor and tell her so:

From the Black Lives Matter LA 2021 petition to then Mayor Garcetti to fire Moore, these further details:

-In 2021 LAPD killed 18 people and shot 38 Angelenos, more than any other police force in the country. This number includes the murder of 14-year-old #ValentinaOrellanaPeralta, who was killed while trying on dresses at Burlington Coat Factory.
-In addition to the “officer-involved shootings,” on June 30, 2021 LAPD detonated explosives in a South Central neighborhood, bringing the deaths of retired school teacher Auzie Houchins and elderly resident Ramon Reyes, and displacing 88 Black and Brown residents.
-Under Chief Moore’s watch LAPD violently targeted community organizers, including surrounding the home of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles leader Dr. Melina Abdullah with assault rifles, endangering her life and the lives of her three children, THREE TIMES in the span of about a year.
-Moore utilized his personal security to wrongfully accuse and detain French citizens while traveling overseas on official LAPD business.
-The Chief created conditions that enabled a gun scandal where senior officers and civilian workers, skirted basic firearm laws and regulations, putting 44 guns illegally onto the streets.

On March 10, 2021 an independent investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department’s handling of the 2020 uprisings in the name of #GeorgeFloyd confirmed on-the-ground accounts of rampant police abuse, brutality, and violence levied upon righteous protestors. Hundreds of demonstrators reported injuries; many were beaten, shot with rubber bullets, pepper sprayed, and brutalized to the point of hospitalization. Others were criminalized, held for hours, terrorized, arrested, and abused for daring to raise their voices. Even after the mass #GeorgeFloyd uprisings, LAPD officers were green-lit to ferociously attack peaceful protestors who had gathered in front of the Mayor’s Mansion in an effort to #BlockGarcetti from being appointed to the Biden cabinet in December 2020. This appalling mistreatment has been the basis of several lawsuits, including a class action filed by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, Los Angeles Community Action Network, and the National Lawyers Guild.

The recently-released, 101-page report explicitly names Chief Moore’s failures to properly plan and, worse, give his “direct approval” of many of the most abusive tactics. We want to be clear: who was harmed are regular people who felt duty-bound to speak out and stand up against police violence. In doing so, they experienced police violence – the very thing that they were protesting. This nation, and Los Angeles in particular, must drive out such brutal forces and those who claim leadership, beginning with the firing of LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

This is not the first or last of Michel Moore’s offenses. Prior to the uprisings, Chief Moore was found to have
1. Used a white-supremacist media outlet (Breitbart) to recruit LAPD officer applicants.
2. Enabled anti-Black racism by allowing Black people to be stopped by LAPD at 5 times their population share and searched at 3 times the rate of everyone else.
3. Fostered a culture of corruption under which officers in South Central Los Angeles were found to have illegally and unjustly entered the names of Black and Brown residents into gang databases.
4. Presented internal investigations that repeatedly avoid accountability, including finding that not a single one of the 4862 racial-bias complaints filed by the public was valid.
5. Lobbied each year for LAPD to be awarded more than 50% of the City of Los Angeles’ general fund at the expense of vital city services and resources.
6. Failed to mandate the wearing of masks by LAPD officers, tolerating statements like “COVID isn’t real,” even after eight LAPD staff have died from the virus.
7. Attempted to shield murderous police officers from disciplinary action, including the officers who killed #GrecharioMack, #AlbertRamonDorsey, who were given rare “out of policy” findings by the Los Angeles Police Commission.

During and since the uprisings, Michel Moore has:
8. Stated that protestors were just as responsible for the death of #GeorgeFloyd as were the officers who killed him. Asserting that protestors were “capitalizing” off Floyd’s death, and that “his death is on their hands as much as it is those officers [who killed him].”
9. Created a culture where officers were enabled to circulate a “Valentine Card” with a despicable reference to Mr. Floyd and the words “you take my breath away.”
10. Refused to disclose or publicly hold to account the LAPD officers who participated in the failed coup on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
11. Compared Black Lives Matter to the right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys, stating that both “represent ideology that’s counter to this democracy.”
12. Colluded with member(s) of the Board of Police Commissioners (Steve Soboroff) on votes and positions taken by the supposed oversight body.
13. Lied on the record about the number of traffic stops made in South Central Los Angeles in 2021, stating that the number was 74, when the actual recorded number was 639.

Over his 4 years as Chief, Michel Moore has established a horrendous record of mismanagement, corruption, and brutality, which has had a particularly brutal impact on Black communities. It is imperative that he be immediately removed as Chief for both his most recent and longstanding pattern of abuse.

Link to 3/10/2021 independent investigation:

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