L.A. CFA chapter supports Black Lives Matter
Sends letter to L.A. Mayor on improving police policy

April 22, 2016

Dear Mayor Eric Garcetti,

We, the Executive Board of the California Faculty Association at California State University Los Angeles, endorse the demands of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles to you, Mayor Garcetti.

The CFA is a faculty labor union that believes strongly in social justice. In particular, we see racial justice as an essential process to making our city more diverse, inclusive, and vibrant.

Over the last two years, Black Lives Matter has helped reinvigorate the racial justice movement by challenging entrenched forms of racism in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Unfortunately, it is clear that Black people in Los Angeles and elsewhere continue to face disproportionate rates of state-sanctioned violence and patterns of abuse at the hands of police agencies, most notably, the Los Angeles Police Department.

Moreover, we are concerned that you have rebuffed numerous attempts by BLMLA to engage you about these issues. Because of this, we at CFA-CSULA are vigorously endorsing their demands to the Mayor:

Fire Chief Beck based on his complete unwillingness to discipline officers who brutalize and

kill our people, his leadership of the police department with the highest number of police killings in the nation (21 killed in 2015), and his continued undermining of civilian oversight, especially illustrated by his message to officers following the Commission’s findings that LAPD officers Villegas and Wampler were “out of policy” in the killing of Ezell Ford in August 2014.

Work in partnership with the Los Angeles City Council to develop a reparations policy

based loosely on the policy passed earlier this year in the City of Chicago which would provide financial, mental health, educational, and other resources to those who have been brutalized by the police and to the families of those who have been killed.

Hold Police Commission meetings that are open and accessible to the community rather than

continuing the current practice of closed meetings that are inaccessible and allow for continued back-room decision making, which have recently been made even more problematic and undemocratic with the passage of the new “rules of decorum.”

Appoint real community advocates to key Police Commission seats rather than to campaign

donors and political supporters. Solicit, seriously consider, and respond to community nominations as opposed to the way in which the community nomination of Aqeela Sherrills, a globally recognized expert on public safety, was ignored and Matt Johnson was appointed to the Police Commission without community dialogue or engagement.

Adhere to the quarterly Town Hall meeting structure with the Black community negotiated

in July 2015. 1) meeting dates scheduled 2) Black community groups convene a public meeting to generate a community-driven agenda, 3) Town Hall held in accordance with that agenda and structure. 

As educators and union members who live and work in the City of Los Angeles, we believe that police officers are public servants who must be held accountable for their actions.

In the three years that you have been mayor, the LAPD has had the highest level of police killings in the nation, even though we are unaware of any officers being disciplined, fired, or prosecuted.

You must dismantle the “blue wall of silence” that protects law enforcement when they are accused of abusing, harassing, or killing unarmed civilians.

Moreover, as faculty at California State University, Los Angeles – a campus located in East LA and one that serves over 90% students of color – we witness the harmful effects of overpolicing on our campus and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Many of us learn about our Black and Brown students’ experiences of police brutality and harassment from them, firsthand as we learn about their daily lives, goals, and dreams. As mentors and professors to our students, we find the lack of police accountability in our city, and on our campus, to constitute a violation of our students’ human rights.

While nearly half of our city tax dollars are spent on policing and “public safety,” we the citizens have little control over the actions of police officers. In order for this to change, there must be greater accessibility, accountably, and transparency of all policies, practices, and procedures of LAPD.

We understand that you hold the power to enact each of these demands and we urge you to address them in a timely manner.

Thank you,

California Faculty Association
California State University, Los Angeles

Molly Talcott, President                                                          
Aaron Sonnenschein, Vice President
Jay Conway, Secretary                                                 
Gustavo Menezes, Treasurer