Since Keenan Anderson’s police-involved death, his family and members of Black Lives Matter (BLM) Grassroots have coalesced around six demands, including the removal of Michel Moore as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the resignation of Los Angeles Councilmember Kevin DeLeon, whose racist comments last year incited fury among Black constituents.
Another demand of note, as explained by BLM Grassroots leadership on Wednesday, Jan. 25, centered on the city of Los Angeles dispatching civilian Department of Transportation personnel, and not police officers, to conduct traffic stops.
“We want to pull police officers out of traffic stops and other places they don’t belong, like housing, schools and parks,” said Megan Castillo, a BLM Grassroots member who organizes in Los Angeles.
“Black people are more likely to be stopped, searched and arrested. We incur greater fines which result from these traffic stops,” Castillo continued. “Disparities can lead to tragedy. We need civilian first responders dedicated to traffic and road safety, and equipped to serve our communities unarmed.”
Castillo also called for the abolition of qualified immunity, the discontinuation of police tasers, the release of unedited police body camera footage from Anderson’s encounter with LAPD, and the identification, firing and eventual prosecution of police officers involved in Anderson’s death.
Moore, who will soon wrap up his first term as chief of the LAPD, has been criticized as the conductor of a system that targets Black people and other marginalized populations via traffic stops. He recently said he would only serve two or three years if appointed to another five-year term.
However, Castillo and others said they don’t even want Moore to be considered as an option, especially in light of reports over the last couple of years that exposed racial disparities in who police officers in Los Angeles pulled over during traffic stops.
Last spring, LAPD instituted a policy change in which officers wouldn’t conduct traffic stops for minor violations.
Featured image: Patricia Cullors