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In an extraordinary face-to-face meeting, a coalition of activists led by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles urged members of the City Council on Monday to end the city’s reliance on police officers and embrace new strategies for keeping neighborhoods safe.

Seated in the council chamber at City Hall, activists told council members they have an opening to move money away from the L.A. Police Department and into mental health counselors, gang intervention workers and other public employees who can address trauma and prevent violence from breaking out.

“The world is speaking right now,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter L.A., her voice choked with emotion. “They’re saying we don’t want a system of policing that puts targets on the backs of black people especially, but also is a regular assailant and traumatizer of our entire community.

“We are saying defund the police,” Abdullah added later. “We’re also saying reimagine public safety.”

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