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[Readings]

Troubleshootings

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From a Los Angeles Police Commission meeting held on June 2 using Zoom, a videoconferencing platform, which lasted seven hours. Richard Tefank is the executive director of the commission, Mike Feuer is the city attorney, Eileen Decker is president of the commission, Steve Soboroff is a commissioner, and Michel Moore is the police chief.

richard tefank: The issue is that the Zoom account is full, it’s at capacity. We’re receiving inquiries from the media that they cannot listen to the meeting.

mike feuer: It is obviously a problem, but I don’t know if there’s a remedy.

eileen decker: So is it the opinion of the city attorney that we move forward?

feuer: I’m not sure what else can be done.

steve soboroff: It’s time for self-reflection. Every one of us has a kid that could solve this technical problem in five minutes. I apologize that only five hundred people can get on.

decker: You’re right, Mr. Soboroff. It’s ridiculous that we can’t get everybody on. The chief of police’s screen has gone dark. Chief, are you there?

soboroff: I just googled “Zoom conferences over five hundred.” This was not rocket science.

caller 1: Hi. I am a member of White People for Black Lives. The fact that you did not foresee more than five hundred people coming to this meeting is emblematic of the larger problem, which is that I don’t think you want to hear from us.

decker: Your time is up.

caller 2: I want to thank the chief of police for wasting everybody’s time. This man can’t even look at us while we’re talking. He’s looking down at his fuckin’ phone, texting—yeah, look at me, motherfucker, I’m talking to you, we’re all talking to you, we’re tired of your shit. You’re out here hit-and-running protesters, we got it all on tape, you’re over here shooting at media. We got it all, baby, and we’re still recording. Stop wasting our time, and stop killing us.

caller 3: When the department can’t even set up an adequate IT interface for a meeting, with the staggering amount of funding you have, how is anyone supposed to trust you to solve the infinitely more complex problem of systemic racism?

caller 4: This department has failed so miserably that you’ve mobilized a movement to defund yourselves. You’ve mobilized me—a lazy white person.

caller 5: I just want to invite folks on the commission to indicate you can hear me by finding a piece of paper next to you or showing on your fingers how many more black people need to die for you to understand what your department does. So you can write down if you feel like it’s one more person that needs to die, if you feel like we need to get to another six hundred this year, to indicate you’re listening. As soon as you all do that, I’ll yield my time.

decker: It’s not time for the commissioners to act.

caller 5: That speaks volumes.

caller 6: For those of you playing with your cell phones during this call, stop.

caller 7: Chief Moore, you’re fucking smiling right now. You fucking asshole. I am so mad right now. I’m sorry that I’m saying so many bad words, but this is crazy.

caller 8: You’re laughing, chief of police. These people are sitting through hours of this meeting to tell you how they feel. I cannot believe how many of you are on your phone. Stop looking down!

caller 9: What is your idea of what black people should do to stop all these cops from killing us? No answer?

decker: This is the time that we listen.

caller 10: You only react when folks use profanity. If you think curse words are bad, wait until you hear about the six-hundred-plus murders your department has committed over the past seven years. Your cute Zoom backgrounds of the city won’t trick us. Black lives matter. Act like it.

decker: I do not want to cut the speaking time, but I will have to unless speakers start yielding more time.

caller 11: Commission, upgrade your Zoom account. I yield my time.

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August 2020