One would think that a politician getting 24/7 police protection for her and her whole family might see police as an asset. At the very least, perhaps she would vote to supply police with a little more resources to offset those dedicated to her welfare. Not Los Angeles city council president Nury Martinez, however — she’s more pure than that, or something:
While LA City Council President Nury Martinez was filing a motion last week seeking to cut $150 million from the LAPD budget, she had an LAPD unit standing watch outside her home providing her family with a private security detail since April.
The round-the-clock protection unit, often staffed by two officers, infuriated some members of the police force when Martinez introduced the motion, which reads in part:
“We need a vision for our city that says ‘there is going to be justice.’ American society is founded on a racial hierarchy, one that is born out of slavery, followed by Jim Crow segregation and corporate abuse of labor. As such, police departments are asked to enforce a system of laws that are designed to reinforce and maintain economic and racial inequality.”
“It’s kind of ironic. 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,” said Det. Jamie McBride, who serves as director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the LAPD’s union.
Late yesterday, Spectrum News got a tip about the two-month personal security service provided to Martinez by the LAPD. It’s probably not too difficult where that tip originated, but the leak had one predictable effect. This was the scene when Martinez apparently realized the gig was up, but it was a bit too late:
While one LA Councilmember was introducing a motion to cut $150 million in #LAPD funding, that official also had round-the-clock private security provided by the department at their home. @LAPPL calls it hypocrisy, adding it may have cost taxpayers around $100k. @SpecNews1SoCal pic.twitter.com/lrrRC65oj1
— Natalie Brunell (@natbrunell) June 8, 2020
Irony abounds, as it turns out. Less than two weeks ago, Martinez wanted the resignation of LA councilman Jose Huizar, one subject of a federal corruption probe. Huizar’s assistant pled guilty to bribery, which prompted this good-government declaration from Martinez:
Huizar hasn’t been arrested or charged in the sweeping corruption probe but information court filings indicate he is the “Councilmember A” whom George Esparza alleged took part in the scheme.
In his plea agreement, Esparza acknowledged that from 2013 to 2018, he and a council member were involved in a scheme to sell influence to several developers, including the billionaire head of a Chinese company who wanted to build a 77-story skyscraper on downtown land.
Martinez said Huizar should step down because of “his illegal, offensive and absolute abuse-of-power dealings.”
Abuse of power dealings, you say? Martinez says that the protection detail was necessitated because of threats:
The security detail began April 4 and was posted in front of Martinez’s home 24 hours a day, but the overnight security was cut back on May 6. The detail was canceled Thursday night when Spectrum News first reached out to Martinez’s office regarding the alleged hypocrisy.
A spokesperson for Martinez released a statement saying that the police were standing guard outside of her house because of death threats.
So … the threat ended when Spectrum News found out about it? Color me skeptical, and for that matter color the LAPD skeptical about it too:
“It’s disgusting,” McBride said. “For two officers in front of a residence since April, you’re probably over $100,000 of the people’s money.”
Brunell reported that the protection detail was cancelled the night that she reached out to Martinez’s office for comment on the story.
A spokesperson for Martinez said that the reason the units were stationed at Martinez’s home was because of threats she had received, although McBride pushed back on that notion, suggesting that if there was a real threat there that the units still would be stationed outside her home.
The real threat appears to be the exposure of Martinez’ hypocrisy, and the LAPD’s ire over her demand to cut their budget. It likely didn’t help that Martinez never bothered to let the LAPD or its union know about her budget-cut proposal. The first they saw of it was when Martinez tweeted about it; she apparently didn’t even bother to walk to the curb to give her protection detail a heads-up.
Perhaps we should find out who else gets personal protection details from the LAPD. Instead of cutting the budget, maybe those officers can be reassigned to community policing.