WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The LAPD is investigating whether the high number of absentees from the police force over the Fourth of July weekend was a case of the “blue flu,” an organized labor protest that was considered illegal.
- A memo that encouraged a sick-out was reportedly circulated last week after the city leaders voted to slash the police budget by $150 million.
- LAPD Chief Michel Moore stated that they are investigating the facts first before “making sweeping judgments.”
The Fourth of July weekend reportedly saw a significant number of absentees from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Around 300 officers reportedly called in sick — which was seen as suspicious especially coming after the city leaders’ vote to slash the police budget by $150 million.
A memo that encouraged a sick-out was also reportedly circulated last week, the LA Times reported.
The memo, obtained by the outlet, stated, “They succeeded in defunding the police; what do you think is next? Our pay? Our benefits? Our pensions? You’re God Damn right all those things are in jeopardy now. We have to send the city a clear message that we are not expendable and we are not going to take this crap anymore.”
The surrounding circumstances prompted the LAPD brass to investigate whether this was indeed a case of the “blue flu,” an organized labor protest that was considered illegal.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the LA Times that they are focusing on learning the facts before “making sweeping judgments.”
A possible cause could also be the novel coronavirus.
The Los Angeles County has reported at least 120,764 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University and Medicine. The total number of cases in the state has reached more than 284,000.
The Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Police Protective League reiterated its stance against any sick-out in an email to Fox News.
The statement read, “We do not condone it, we do not encourage it and have advised our membership that we strongly oppose any such tactic.”
The board also stated that they made their stance clear prior to the holiday weekend.
They clarified that it is still unknown whether the number of absentees this year was higher than in previous years, nor if it was caused by COVID-19. But they assured that “there were no service disruptions as a result of any officer calling in sick.”
Calls for defunding law enforcement agencies have increased during the nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
LAPD had recently announced budget cuts that will reduce the number of officers at an unprecedented level. The City Council’s 12-2 vote will reduce the number of officers from 9,988 as of last month to 9,757 by next summer.
Other cities across the country are also moving toward cutting police budgets or even disbanding the police force. Some lawmakers are also looking to shift budgets from policing to education and social services.
Source: FOX News