- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mayor Eric Garcetti tucked a re-election fundraiser into a visit to Washington, D.C., that drew criticism because it came a day before the Police Commission ruled on the Los Angeles Police Department’s shooting death of a young black man, the LA Times reported Tuesday (https://lat.ms/1C9B0ax ).

Before and after his June 8 trip to the capital, Garcetti never mentioned to questioning reporters or activists that his schedule included a fundraiser for his 2017 re-election campaign at the Georgetown home of Harold Ickes, a former Clinton White House aide.

Ickes told the Times that the reception lasted about two hours and the 40 to 50 guests were asked to donate $1,400 each.

Garcetti’s 2017 campaign paid for the trip and the mayor wouldn’t be commenting, spokesman Jeff Millman said.

A small group of people protesting the LAPD shooting had blocked Garcetti’s car as he tried to drive to the airport for his Washington flight.

Mayoral aides refused last week to provide details about what Garcetti did during the visit, the Times said.

In addition to the fundraiser, Garcetti had two short meetings with White House officials about community policing and other issues before returning home on June 9.

Garcetti defended the trip on Tuesday during a question-and-answer period on radio station KNX-AM. The mayor said he wouldn’t have minded missing the fundraiser but not a meeting with the head of the Office of Management and Budget to ask for funding for programs to end homelessness in the city.

“That was a meeting we couldn’t afford to miss,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti returned on the day that the Police Commission determined that one of two LAPD officers had no reason to stop and question 25-year-old Ezell Ford last year.

The commission found that violation of department policy led to an altercation that ended with Ford’s death. The panel also found that the other officer was wrong to draw his weapon, but the officer acted appropriately in firing because he believed his partner’s life was in danger.

Garcetti met with Ford’s mother later on June 9 and then held a news conference during which he spoke about Tritobia Ford’s “quest for justice” for her son.

Ford’s mother praised the mayor, but she said their meeting came “10 months late.”

Ford’s shooting has prompted small, scattered and peaceful protests in Los Angeles - unlike the massive demonstrations that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore following the deaths of black men after encounters with police.

Unlike Ferguson, where the officer was white, the two officers involved in the Los Angeles shooting were Asian and Latino.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/

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