In an initiative to address the growing problem of homelessness in Los Angeles, Police Chief Michel Moore is seeking to scrap homeless people’s old arrest warrants for minor offenses.
Moore made the announcement in an Associated Press interview Wednesday, calling it “a humanitarian crisis of our generation.”
“This matches any other calamity that this city or this region or this country has seen,” he said. “It is, I believe, a social emergency.”
The idea, he explained, is to “clear the docket” of “hundreds of thousands of bench warrants that haven’t been served for years.”
The move comes less than two weeks after President Donald Trump, in a rambling and, at times, confusing monologue on Fox News about the conditions of U.S. cities, took aim at Los Angeles, warning that he “may intercede.”
Though he didn’t use the term homelessness, his remarks were widely interpreted as a criticism of the nation’s rising homeless population, an issue he appeared to blame on liberals.
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the city has seen a 16% spike in homelessness in the past year and the county has seen a 12% increase.
In an interview with local KNX radio, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) rejected Trump’s finger-pointing, asking that the president set aside politics if he’s willing to offer federal assistance.
“He could greatly help,” Garcetti said. “I welcome him, and if he’s really interested in those solutions, let’s get together and do it. Put aside our partisanship. Let’s actually save lives together.”
No timeline has yet been made public for Moore’s action.