Protests partially fueled by calls to defund local police agencies resulted in $8.6 million in taxpayer funds to pay for overtime for San Diego Police Department officers.
Public records obtained by NBC 7 Investigates reveals the department paid 110,000 hours of overtime to officers to work during widespread protests over police discrimination in the days following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The $8.6 million in overtime pay is nearly 27% of the total annual overtime that SDPD paid during fiscal year 2019, when the city paid $31.9 million, the highest since 2015/2016.
Adding to the extra overtime pay, as reported by NBC 7, will be any legal fees associated with those protests.
On July 16 attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union announced they had filed legal claims on behalf of more than a dozen protestors who claim police used excessive force on them during the protests.
"I share the concerns of all the speakers today that law enforcement has a systemic pattern of excessive and abusive and unnecessary force in response to protests otherwise and especially against Black people and communities of color," said attorney David Loy of the ACLU during a July 16 press conference. "It's necessary to reduce and direct resources away from law enforcement into community care, into community service and away from punishment and criminalization."
When questioned about the high overtime cost, Mayor Kevin Faulconer told NBC 7 Investigates that the cost is justified in order to ensure San Diegans had an opportunity to express their First Amendment right.
Said Faulconer, “I think it’s incredibly important for our police department to ensure everyone is protected when they’re exercising their first amendment rights.”