Michael Jackson’s family is currently joining a large motorcade — complete with a SWAT team escort — from the Forest Lawn Cemetery to the star’s memorial service at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. There’s no question the star-studded Jackson memorial service is a costly endeavor for the cash-strapped city of Los Angeles. Dozens of L.A.’s busiest roadways are closed off, massive screens have been erected to provide fans with a view of the ceremony outside the Staples Center and hundreds of additional police officers have been deployed for the event. As a result, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has asked fans to give tax-deductible donations to the city of Los Angeles to help cover the roughly $3.8 million necessary to make the memorial service and all the security involved a reality, My Fox L.A. reports.
The donations would help “the public safety resources needed to ensure his memorial remains safe, orderly and respectful,” the Mayor’s Office said. Fans are asked to give money to a Paypal account established to help raise funds (The link, posted on Villaraigosa’s Twitter, is currently down.) AEG Live, the concert promotion company behind Jackson’s This Is It! shows at London’s O2 Arena — who are helping plan the memorial service — have also been asked to pick up some of the bill. AEG Live also owns the Staples Center, which served as host to Jackson’s This Is It! rehearsals.
Jackson’s memorial service comes at a tough financial time for the California City. Last month when the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championships, the city was unable to scrounge up enough cash to hold a traditional victory parade, instead opting for a celebration at the Forum. Half of that $2 million tab was reportedly paid for by AEG Live.
According to the Los Angeles Times, nearly 3,200 officers will be deployed to make sure the Jackson memorial runs smoothly throughout the city of Los Angeles. During a briefing with law enforcement officials, LAPD Deputy Chief Earl Paysinger said the number of officers being used for the Jackson memorial is more than the city utilized for the 1984 Olympics, saying that event 25 years ago “pales in comparison to what we have assembled today.”