During a discussion Monday on the police protests occurring across the nation, Mayor Eric Garcetti said law enforcement departments must examine and improve the ways they recruit officers, how they train them and the oversight of officers they have in place.
“One is you’ve got to focus on how you make a police officer … the second is how you grow a police officer, and then third, how you police the police,” Garcetti said.
“No officer wants to use violence or wants to have any prejudice in their heart, so they have to find a way to become a better police officer and human being,” the mayor said. “We all should go through implicit bias training, by the way, not just police officers.”
Garcetti joined Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and mayors from across the nation for the discussion on the police protests, as well as the nation’s response to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Garcetti is a co-chair of Biden’s election campaign.
Biden said he spoke with the family of George Floyd, the black man who was filmed being asphyxiated by a white Minneapolis police officer, using tactics that Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore decried last week.
“It’s been a horrible last six months, a hundred thousand people dead, more than that, from the current pandemic,” Biden said. “What’s happening now is a consequence of what happened to George (Floyd).”
Biden said underlying inequalities for minorities and other people who have been disenfranchised in America have spurred the protests, and the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought economic hardship to tens of millions people exacerbated that frustration.
“I think that the blinders have sort have been taken off the American people,” Biden said. “And I think they’re ready to do something about it. I think they’re ready to see some real institutional change, relative to the whole notion of systemic racism.”
“We do see not only the pent-up pain of the pandemic, but more the repressed rage of racism in this country, and those two things (collided) in a moment when people saw the latest chapter of this dark, dark book,” Garcetti said.
“I’ve never seen so many police chiefs speak out,” the mayor said. “I’ve never had so many conversations with police officers who were sickened (by Floyd’s death). We had good cops and everyday citizens and young people and a nation that was united by what we saw and condemning it, and we can’t let anything divide that moment.”
Garcetti also said it’s important for law enforcement to find less lethal methods of detaining people so that communities are not traumatized by police presence.