A Los Angeles City Council leader is under fire for using members of the police department as her personal security detail while calling for the LAPD to be defunded, officials confirmed to FOX Business.
Martinez only stopped using the LAPD as her private security detail when reporters began asking questions about it, according to the outlet.
“It’s kind of ironic,” Det. Jamie McBride, director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the LAPD’s union, told the outlet. “Here she is demanding $150 million be reallocated from the police budget, but yet she has security at her house by the Los Angeles Police Department.”
The city council leader did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request seeking comment, but Rick Coca, Martinez’s spokesperson, told Spectrum News 1 SoCal she began using the police detail at the prompting of the police department after she and her daughter began receiving death threats.
The police detail reportedly began on April 4 as an around-the-clock assignment but was changed on May 9 to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with added patrol check-ins in the late-night hours.
When reached by phone on Tuesday, McBride told FOX Business an estimated that more than $100,000 in taxpayer dollars had been spent providing Martinez security.
"Clearly, it's an abuse of power and abuse of position," McBride said. "When you take a car away from patrolling the streets, that car could have been on patrol preventing a violent crime from occurring, could have responded to somebody's call for help, a whole slew of things could have happened with that one car."
The call for police to be defunded grew as racial tensions throughout the country flared in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, died in police custody after a white officer pressed a knee on his neck for more than eight minutes.
It also comes at a time when most states were already faced with the need to reevaluate spending amid deficits and economic uncertainty that are a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has vowed to cut as much as $150 million that was part of a planned increase in the police department’s budget.
The Police Protective League has said budget cuts would be the “quickest way to make our neighborhoods more dangerous.”
“Cutting the LAPD budget means longer responses to 911 emergency calls, officers calling for back-up won’t get it, and rape, murder and assault investigations won’t occur or will take forever to initiate, let alone complete,” the union’s board said in a statement last week. “At this time, with violent crime increasing, a global pandemic and nearly a week’s worth of violence, arson, and looting, ‘defunding’ the LAPD is the most irresponsible thing anyone can propose.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.