DSA-LA Response to the Death of George Floyd

Thu May 28th, 2020

On Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a forty-six-year-old Black man named George Floyd was murdered by white Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin forced his knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring his gasping pleas of, “I can’t breathe,” and, “I’m about to die.” It is yet another documentation of the dehumanization of Black people by an animalistic U.S. law enforcement that blatantly disregards Black lives. Chauvin’s past police record, which included nearly a dozen complaints for use of force and involvement in two other police shootings but no disciplinary action, is further evidence that the entire institution of policing has failed.

Protests that have followed the death of George Floyd, from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, will continue to grow. These are rebellions of the oppressed. It is the collective cry of the unheard. We are in an ongoing struggle to dismantle the systemic oppression and abuse of Black lives by the white supremacist institutions our country was founded on and continues to uphold. This is a fight we all must take on. 

We demand that MPD Officer Chauvin be prosecuted and convicted of murder. We demand that the California Highway Patrol officer who drove their cruiser into protesters yesterday also be prosecuted and convicted for attempted murder. We demand the prosecution and conviction of LAPD officers Luke Coyle and Kevin Ruiz for last month’s killing of Daniel Hernandez Bravo. We demand the prosecution and conviction of Officer Frank A. Hernandez for the murder of Manuel Jaminez and the abuse of numerous Angelenos. We demand the prosecution and conviction of the LAPD officer who killed an unnamed man just yesterday in North Hollywood. 

We demand an end to the mass murder of Black and Brown Americans at the hands of U.S. law enforcement.

Our people deserve better. Los Angeles communities should not be patrolled by militarized police forces. Black, indigenous, POC, and immigrant neighbors should not be racially profiled, surveilled, and abused by law enforcement. Unhoused neighbors deserve services, not sweeps and harassment. No one should be locked in a cage for profit. 

But this is the reality: the elected leadership of Los Angeles has failed its constituency. In Los Angeles, the COVID-19 death rate for African Americans is 13.2 per 100,000 people, compared with 5.7 for whites. Instead of developing a budget dedicated to caring for Angelenos experiencing both the homelessness crisis and the public health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed a $10.5 billion budget that reduces services, furloughs city workers, and cuts the budget of all city departments with one big exception: the Los Angeles Police Department. Mayor Garcetti not only fails to cut the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget, but he wants to increase their budget with $34 million dollars in overtime pay. The LAPD already gets too much, currently receiving 54% of LA’s discretionary spending budget. 

We need housing.
We need good jobs.
We need healthcare.
We need healthy food.
We need free public transit.
We need mental healthcare.
We need educational enrichment.

We need a People’s Budget of LA.

We don’t need more police.

This is also why we say Jackie Lacey must go. In her tenure as District Attorney since December 2012, more than 600 people have been killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles county between sheriff’s deputies, LAPD and others from cities around the county. From 2010 to 2014, Black Angelenos made up 24 percent of deaths by police but only account for 9 percent of the county’s population. Since 2000, only one member of LA law enforcement has been charged for killing a civilian.

We commit to standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles and other Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, and POC-lead community groups organizing a mass movement against police brutality and for prison abolition. Capitalism will not be dismantled without the dismantling of white supremacy. White supremacy cannot be dismantled without the abolition of the police, prisons, and detention centers.

Which side are you on? 



In solidarity,

DSA Los Angeles

This statement was drafted by the Afrosocialist Caucus of DSA Los Angeles in collaboration with DSA Los Angeles’ Prison Abolition Committee and Street Watch LA.

Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color - LA