Measure C, a controversial ballot initiative seeking to significantly change LAPD disciplinary policy, looks to have passed with an initial count of 57.1% of the vote in Tuesday’s election.
Placed on the ballot by the Los Angeles City Council with the support of Mayor Eric Garcetti, Measure C gives police officers facing disciplinary hearings a choice between appearing before the existing Police Department Board of Rights—currently, a panel that includes two command-level officers—and a new, all-civilian review board. An all-civilian Board of Rights may sound progressive, but opponents of Measure C—ranging from the L.A. Times to the A.C.L.U to the L.A. branch of Black Lives Matter—argue that the “all-civilian review board” is a misnomer, as board candidates must have seven years of arbitration experience or similar work, and must undergo a private interview with the police commission. “We refuse to let the police union and police commission distort the meaning of civilian and stack the deck in favor of bad officers,” Karren Lane, vice president of the South L.A. justice reform nonprofit Community Coalition said in a statement.
Measure C isn’t a done deal yet; L.A. City Council still needs to pass an ordinance in order to put the measure into effect, which many opponents are urging against. “Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President Herb Wesson and members of the city council helped win [Measure C’s] passage by misleading voters, and no doubt earned the favor of the police union, but at the cost of weakening discipline and accountability at LAPD,” Peter Bibring, director of police practices and senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California said in a statement, adding, “If they want to retain any credibility that they have L.A.’s interests at heart, they must not simply pass the ordinance the union wants.”