Mayor Eric Garcetti said last Friday, that he continues to support Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, despite calls for the chief’s ouster by activists upset over a decision upholding the actions of an officer who fatally shot a black woman in the Crenshaw district.
“I believe in Charlie Beck’s leadership,” Garcetti said on the “McIntyre in the Morning” program on KABC-AM radio. “I think it was something reflected when the White House called a few police chiefs from around the country, he was one of the ones they reached out to.
“… He’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. The city’s not perfect. But he’s somebody I strongly support as someone who has continued to push forward with constitutional policing as a foundation for how we win trust,” Garcetti said.
A group of Black Lives Matter protesters had been staging a sit-in at the main entrance of City Hall since Tuesday July 12, when the Police Commission ruled that the Aug. 12, 2015, shooting of 30-year-old Redel Jones by an LAPD officer was within department policy.
Jones allegedly lunged at officers with a knife as police hunted for a suspect who robbed a pharmacy in the 3700 block of Santa Rosalia Drive.
Activists who packed the Police Commission meeting on Tuesday were demanding that the officer who shot Jones be disciplined, saying a witness claimed Jones was running away from police when she was shot.
Beck’s report to the commission, however, cited witnesses who said Jones was moving toward police with a knife.
After the commission upheld the officer’s actions, protesters marched to City Hall and began a sit-in on the Main Street steps of City Hall. A small group of people has held vigil there ever since, demanding Beck’s firing and calling for a meeting with Garcetti.
The mayor told KABC he has offered to meet inside City Hall with a small delegation from the group.
“I’ve kept that door open to them even if, in the past, they’ve been very confrontational with their tactics,” Garcetti said. “I get that. But I’m interested in the kind of work that we do, not just yelling at one another, and I want to make sure we have civil contacts, like we had in the White House, to get that work done.”
Garcetti and Beck took part in a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday with President Barack Obama, mayors, police chiefs, activists and administration officials to discuss frayed relations between the public and law enforcement in response to recent fatal officer-involved shootings, and the sniper killings of five police officers in Dallas.