By STACY CHEN, ABC News
(LOS ANGELES) — Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore has apologized for “misspeaking” after making controversial remarks about the death of George Floyd at a press conference Monday night. But Moore was confronted by angry callers on a virtual meeting Tuesday meant to address tensions and repeatedly asked to resign.
Moore was addressing the violence and looting at the protests Monday night in Los Angeles when he said, “We didn’t have protests last night, we had criminal acts, we didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd, we had people capitalizing it. His death is on their hands as much as it is those officers.'”
The final sentence, seemingly blaming protesters for the death of Floyd, which has sparked nationwide protests against police, generated immediate rebukes online.
Now calling his initial words offensive, Moore said in a statement that while looting is wrong it is a false comparison to murder and he deeply regrets and apologizes for his “characterization.”
“Let me be clear: The police officers involved were responsible for the death of George Floyd,” he added.
There were almost 700 arrests on Monday night, 70 which involved burglary or looting, according to the LAPD.
The comments came at a time when the nation is in anguish, reeling from another death of an unarmed black man in police custody.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti showed support for his police chief on Tuesday.
He responded to the controversy in a short statement on Twitter, writing, “The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them.”
Garcetti was asked about the comments at a evening briefing Tuesday.
“When I heard him say what he said, I know he did not mean that,” Garcetti said. “That statement is a wrong statement. The officers who killed George Floyd are murderers. I am glad he quickly corrected it. If I believed for a moment that the chief believed that in his heart, he would no longer be the chief.”
While some showed support for Moore online, many are calling for Moore’s resignation.
Tuesday morning, after Moore’s apology, the L.A. Police Commission held a Zoom meeting where callers from the community sharply criticized the LAPD’s history of police brutality and called for Moore’s immediate firing.
The meeting hit its 500 people cap within minutes and it has tens of thousands of views online.
A resident of Los Angeles said on the call, “The fact that was your unscripted instinct, we see who you are and if you the members of the police commission refuse to hold him accountable you deserve to be terminated from your positions as well, you need to police the police.”
One caller after another expressed their anger and frustration directly at the chief and the commissioners, questioning the sincerity of their commitment to end racial injustice within the department.
In an impassioned speech, another caller said the department’s responses were “hollow,” adding, “We’re not asking for too much, we simply want police to stop killing us and to be accountable when they do.”
Los Angeles County was under curfew for a third day Tuesday.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.