Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said the death of George Floyd is on looters’ hands “as much” as the four Minneapolis police officers sacked over the incident — but quickly apologized for the remark that has since sparked calls for his firing.
Moore made the comments at a late afternoon news conference Monday with Mayor Eric Garcetti, saying about 700 people were arrested in the city Sunday during mass protests over Floyd’s death and police brutality, KABC reported.
About 10 percent of those arrests were for burglary or looting, he told reporters.
“We didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd, we had people capitalizing,” the top cop said. “His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers.”
Minutes later, he returned to the podium to say he “misspoke when I said his blood is on their hands” and that he regretted “that characterization.”
But he said he did not regret and would not apologize to those “committing violence, destroying lives and livelihoods and creating this destruction.”
“[Floyd’s] memory deserves reform,” Moore said. “His memory deserves a better Los Angeles, a better United States and a better world.”
Later Monday, he apologized again in a Twitter thread.
“I misspoke when making a statement about those engaging in violent acts following the murder of George Floyd,” Moore wrote. “While I did immediately correct myself, I recognize that my initial words were terribly offensive. Looting is wrong, but it is not the equivalent of murder and I did not mean to equate the two. I deeply regret and humbly apologize for my characterization.”
“Let me be clear: the police officers involved were responsible for the death of George Floyd,” he added.
Garcetti echoed that apology.
“The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved,” the mayor tweeted. “Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them.”
The post prompted a firestorm of comments urging Garcetti to fire Moore.
“Consider for one second the importance of this position right now and how incompetent you’d have to be to screw it up so spectacularly,” comedian, writer and director James Willems wrote. “That’s acceptable to you?”
“This is not a moment for the CHIEF of POLICE to screw up,” John Francis O’Brien tweeted. “He must go. NOW.”
[via New York Post]