LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and relatives of people killed by the Los Angeles Police Department called for the removal of Police Chief Michel Moore Tuesday, for what they termed his lack of leadership and failure to serve the city's Black community.
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"We are here because our community continues to be abused," Pastor Stephen "Cue" Jn-Marie of The Row Church said during a news conference outside LAPD headquarters downtown, on the day of the city's Police Commission meeting. "We have family, after family, after family -- we've been coming to this commission since 2015, and some of us even before that."
Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM, said in a blunt message: "We're here today to call on Michel Moore's removal." She said added that the LAPD does everything from "stealing debit cards to stealing lives."
Neither Moore, the LAPD nor Mayor Karen Bass' office immediately responded to a request for comment.
The Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD detectives and officers, called BLM-LA's action as "yet another half-backed stunt disguised as a serious solution."
"With all the published financial and nepotism accusations swirling around the BLM leadership, we suggest they get their own house in order and focus on actually accomplishing something, anything, that will make L.A. safer," LAPPL said in a statement.
Abdullah said that so far this year, the LAPD has shot 27 people and at least 17 have died, though Moore gave slightly different numbers at the commission meeting.
Moore did not respond to the protesters' call for his firing at the meeting, but he did update the commission on police shooting numbers.
"Year to date, we've now had 25 officer-involved shootings. The number last year was 27," he said. "Our fatal officer-involved shootings are at 13 this year. Last year, that number was 13 as well. And our four-year average is just over nine."
Abdullah mentioned that the sister of James Mincey, who died at the hands of the LAPD in 1982, was standing among them.
"We're here today because the stolen lives have to stop. The killing of Black people and killing of Angelenos at the hands of police has to stop," Abdullah said.
Abdullah said Moore is "causing a great pain and harm" to the city. She noted that BLM-LA tried multiple times to remove Moore when Eric Garcetti was mayor, and tried asking Bass to let Moore's term expire.
"We're now saying we can't let another day go by, another life be stolen, without rising up as a city and saying Moore must go. No more Moore," Abdullah said.
Bianca Brown, the younger sister of Jessica Brown, a 35-year-old woman shot and killed by an LAPD officer after she allegedly assaulted people with a metal pipe in Tarzana, spoke during the news conference, which was her first time publicly speaking about her sister's death.
Neighbors reportedly said they had several troubling encounters with Jessica Brown, and they believe it stemmed from mental health issues.
Brown said her sister was like a mother to her and did everything she could to take care of her. She struggled to speak and stopped as she could not hold back her tears.
Paula Minor, a member of BLM-LA, emphasized that most shootings by police involve people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. She also said the LAPD has a de-escalation policy but officers do not always follow the policy, and cited poor management.
"No CEO of a corporation of that size that has many examples of mismanagement or examples of irresponsibility would be allowed to remain in that position," Minor said. "We disagree with the amount of money the LAPD has, but if they have that, it needs to be managed correctly, efficiently, according to the procedures and to reduce the number of killings to get to the root of corruption."
Minor also referenced the ongoing federal investigation of the Mission Hills LAPD Gang Unit as another alleged example of Moore's failed leadership.
After the news conference, a small number of BLM-LA members joined the 9:30 a.m. Police Commission meeting to urge the commission to oust Moore. Abdullah said they would begin obtaining signatures for a petition to remove Moore.