Calls to defund the police extend to L.A. County’s transit system

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Los Angeles Police Department officers stand guard at a downtown subway station in March.(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Police Department officers stand guard at a downtown subway station in March.(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

As calls to defund police have grown into a chorus in the wake of the George Floyd protests, some Los Angeles County activists are turning their attention to the sprawling transit system.

The cost to police the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 1,433-mile service area, including 93 rail stations and nearly 14,000 bus stops, is nearly $650 million over five years.

Activists and community groups argue that, on a system where violent crime is relatively low, the money could be better spent: on free fares, on better and more frequent service, on homeless outreach workers.

“When we ask for these improvements, Metro says money is tight,” said Oscar Zarate, an organizer with the community advocacy group SAJE. “We say, ‘Well, if the budget is tight, we know where you can look.’”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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