WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a blatant flaunting of social distancing, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined a protest march in Washington, DC, on Wednesday in response to the death of George Floyd, walking shoulder to shoulder with her heavily armed security detail through the crowd.
While she was wearing a mask, Pelosi seemed unbothered by the proximity of the throng of protesters as she navigated her way through.
Earlier Wednesday, Pelosi told MSNBC that she worried that nationwide protests could lead to a resurgence in the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
“I am indeed concerned about that, because it is true that wearing a mask and social distancing are very important to stopping the spread,” the speaker told Morning Joe.
But she seemed to be more concerned with her photo op than her health and well-being, which might concern her constituents in northern California as the Speaker’s age of 80 puts her at high risk for severe and possibly fatal results if she were to contract the COVID-19 virus.
Let me get this straight:
Nancy Pelosi won’t let Congress get back to work because of a lack of social distancing
…Yet she’s walking around in massive protests?
Why are we still paying her salary if this is how she spends her time?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 3, 2020
In the same Morning Joe interview, Pelosi said she was impressed with the way protesters across the country seemed to be handling the social distancing and mask requirements in many areas.
“And as people go out there, I hope that they know that they’re taking a risk, as well as bringing home – but there’s been some good social distancing among some of the crowds and on TV, they all look like they are very close together,” she added. “I think some of them are probably practicing social distancing. Let us hope so.”
However, on screens across the country, protesters each night appear to be mobbing intersections and storming businesses as close together as they have in previous protests. With thousands of protesters out every night for the past week, that would seem to put many individuals at risk of contracting the coronavirus and taking it home with them.
Let me get this straight:@SpeakerPelosi will not bring the House back in session because of the Virus and social distancing concerns but here she is not social distancing BTW they all are still getting paid
— A C Kittel (@ackittel) June 4, 2020
Not to be outdone, Pelosi was not the only politician joining the protests. On Tuesday evening, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her husband joined a protest near the White House, accusing President Trump of “imposing violence on our people.”
In a flashback to the Ferguson protests of 2014, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) attended a protest outside the White House on Saturday, where hundreds of other demonstrators chanted, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.”
?REMEMBER THIS PHOTO?
Nancy Pelosi with armed guards practicing “Social Distancing” while she gets ready to tell the country it’s as safe as Chinatown was in February.
— Patriot D ??? (@oUSA_JEDIo) June 3, 2020
“Too often, black parents have to sit their teenage children down and tell them they may be stopped, arrested, or even shot because of the color of their skin. Our nation’s history of systemic racism and use of excessive force must be confronted so we can begin to heal.”
While Pelosi, Warren, and Harris joined peaceful protests, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was pepper-sprayed by police during a protest in Columbus last weekend when she tried to deescalate a confrontation that broke out near her.
“I was as angry as the protesters were, and frustrated. That’s not the way it should have ended,” Beatty said. “I’ve never been pepper-sprayed, but now it says to me what so many of the African American protesters have been saying: People aren’t listening to us.”
As unrest continues across the country, it will be interesting to follow politicians’ involvement in protests and how they respond to the escalation of violence, with law enforcement officers getting shot nightly, often more than one per night.
Law enforcement is under fire right now. How will congressional members respond?
— April Westerhold (@aprilhendrix9) June 3, 2020
Politicians around the country are already showing very clearly where they stand on the issues. Law Enforcement Today brought you a story earlier regarding the Mayor of Los Angeles reducing police budget by at least $150 million. Here’s that story again.
LOS ANGELES, CA – The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, levied a challenge toward the city on June 3rd to identify budgetary cuts in the realm of $250 million to be redirected in investing into communities of color, women and “people who have been left behind.”
Apparently, up to $150 million has already been identified and is being cut from the LAPD’s budget.
So less police will keep us safer? When we are in trouble, we're supposed to call a community leader? Los Angeles to slash up to $150M from LAPD budget, reinvest into communities of color https://t.co/Rc6oUQJK5D #FoxNews
— GC⭐⭐⭐ (@etf13) June 4, 2020
These redirected funds, according to Mayor Garcetti, are “so we can invest in jobs, in health, in education and in healing.”
While the notion of jobs, healthcare, and education are fairly easy to envision how funds can be used, the “healing” portion isn’t something clearly defined as to the “what” and “how” of that mentioned endeavor.
Eileen Decker, who serves as the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, noted that somewhere between $100 million to $150 million would be pulled directly from police department funding.
City Council President Nury Martinez had also brought up the idea of extracting funds for policing prior to Decker’s approval of the notion.
L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez introduced a motion today asking city staff to identify $100 million -$150 million in possible cuts in the LAPD budget to be reinvested into disadvantaged communities and communities of color.
— Emily Alpert Reyes (@AlpertReyes) June 3, 2020
The annual budget for the LAPD, as it currently stands, is $1.86 billion.
If the entire $150 million cited is extracted from the annual LAPD budget, that would bring down the monetary resources to $1.71 billion.
It is unclear whether this would be a one-time extraction or an ongoing amendment to the budget moving forward annually.
Melina Abdullah, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles outfit, reportedly feels as though the budget cuts mentioned are not enough.
BLM-LA cofounder Melina Abdullah says L.A. needs to go further with pulling money from the LAPD to fund other services, saying council and mayor "need to know that we’re fighting for truly transformative change here and won’t be bought off with just this minimal amount of money.”
— Emily Alpert Reyes (@AlpertReyes) June 4, 2020
What also isn’t clear is what these budget cuts will be aimed at exactly within the department.
There are numerous ways that these budget cuts to policing could be enabled.
A few possible ways would be a reduction in force at various precincts, altering the cadence of equipment maintenance for the likes of cruisers, dialing back pay increases, eliminating overtime opportunities, or avoiding equipment purchases that were planned for the year.
Essentially, some forms of budgetary cuts can be more detrimental than others for a department – but any form of reduced financing is hardly ever desirable for those tasked with directing funds.
If the budget must be cut, which it seems it does, the LAPD will have to determine a manner in which the police force’s ability to serve the community isn’t terribly hindered. That task is one that any police department would not envy.
Hopefully, the LAPD can adhere to the requested slashing of the budget in a manner that creates the least amount to tangible harm to the department’s mission.
These cuts requested clearly stem from the protests and riots that sparked in California, which started on May 27th, following the death of George Floyd.
Here’s Law Enforcement Today’s report from May 27th when we first got word of the demonstrations reaching California.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Reports are coming in of more than 1,000 protestors descending on downtown Los Angeles as the protests over George Floyd spread from Minneapolis to California.
Protests have reached Los Angeles. This is downtown right now.
It’s all happening.
— Justin L. Hunte (@TheCompanyMan) May 28, 2020
Highways were shut down by protesters before things turned violent.
— Leon Matron (@theaquakid) May 28, 2020
Law Enforcement Today has learned from multiple sources that a Black Lives Matter protester was severely injured after being thrown from the hood of a police cruiser in downtown during the demonstration.
WATCH: Protest march in downtown Los Angeles turns violent. One protester was injured after climbing on a CHP cruiser. A person broke the rear window and the officer drove off. (Video courtesy of ABC 7)
— KESQ News Channel 3 (@KESQ) May 28, 2020
Wednesday afternoon, the first break-off protest popped up and quickly turned violent.
https://t.co/V5HmSzJwY6 riots and protests in Los Angeles. Nation wide protests erupting now live. America in turbulent times.
— Real News Network. Global Breaking News 24/7. (@RealNews3362) May 28, 2020
Shocking aerial footage captured several protesters as they surrounded and smashed out the back windows of the California Highway Patrol cruiser before one man climbed on top of the hood.
— John Titor (@JohnTitor33621) May 28, 2020
We’re told the police officer tried to take off in self defense, and that the man rode on the hood for several seconds before he was sent tumbling off the car into the road.
When backup arrived, the windows of that cruiser were also smashed and it was seen fleeing the scene.
— Mehrdad Torabi (@mehrdadt1987) May 28, 2020
EMT’s rushed out to attend to the man, who was pictured lying motionless on the ground momentarily before being taken away in an ambulance.
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