Los Angeles mayor kneels with protesters

Los Angeles mayor kneels with protesters
© Stefani Reynolds

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), who has been the target of sharp criticism by activists for his handling of protests in the city against police brutality, knelt with protesters on Tuesday as demonstrators urged him to defund the city's police department.

Garcetti knelt with the crowd at City Hall amid chants of “Defund the police!” Demonstrators separately gathered outside his home and urged him to defund the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

Protests have called for Garcetti to fire LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore, who provoked widespread backlash when he claimed the death of George Floyd in police custody was “on [looters’] hands as much as it is those officers.” Moore later apologized.

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“A black face should not be a sentence to die, nor to be homeless, nor to be sick, nor to be under-employed, nor to be under-educated,” Garcetti said. “We need a country that listens.”

Demonstrators on Tuesday afternoon emphasized the need to keep the protests peaceful, with one man calling for protesters approaching a line of officers near one intersection to turn back, according to the Los Angeles Times. The vast majority of unrest, looting or property damage amid the protests has occurred after dark.

Garcetti was not present for the protests at his official residence, where actor Kendrick Sampson of HBO’s “Insecure” led a chant of “Whose streets? Our streets!”

“I don’t feel like the mayor takes this as important as it should be,” John Sinclair of Los Angeles told the Los Angeles Daily News. “Police brutality is obviously a problem, they just need to see it as a problem.”

Protests have occurred in most major cities and all 50 states since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last week. Floyd, a black man, died after officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for several minutes despite Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe. Chauvin has been arrested on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.