In perhaps the most comprehensive police reform to come out of the police brutality discourse sparked from the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in the United States, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a measure to develop an unarmed model of crisis response that would replace police officers with community-based responders for nonviolent emergency calls.
“This is the dawn of a new era of public safety in Los Angeles,” tweeted Los Angeles city councilman Herb Wesson, who authored the motion with Council President Nury Martinez.
The community-based teams would respond to non-violent calls that police typically tend to including mental health crises, substance abuse, and neighbor disputes. BLM-LA co-founder Melina Abdullah has been pushing for this measure for years.
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“More often than not, when such calls become violent, they become violent at the hands of police,” she said.
“The bottom line is that the way things have been going is not working for our communities. This last month has made that crystal clear,” continued Wesson. “We have a responsibility to listen to our people, and our people have spoken. I look forward to continuing this work alongside @BLMLA (Black Lives Matter-LA).”
The Chief Legislative Analyst and the City Administrative Officer will all be responsible for the model’s development, with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, and the city’s Housing Services Authority.
The new model is a win for Black Lives Matter LA, as supporters of defunding the police believe that unarmed workers trained to deescalate violence will better serve black and brown communities.