LOS ANGELES — The effort to have misdemeanor charges dropped against prominent Black Lives Matter activist Melina Abdullah will continue Feb. 7 with a morning rally outside the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
On Feb. 5, dozens of community activists and supporters stood outside City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office demanding that he drop the eight misdemeanor charges against her. The group had petitions with 6,000
signatures asking that Feuer drop charges against Abdullah.
Calls made to the city attorney’s office for comment were not returned.
Abdullah was arrested last May at a Los Angeles Police Commission hearing during a demonstration for Wakiesha Wilson, who was found dead in a LAPD jail cell on Easter Sunday 2016. The ashes of Wilson were believed to have been thrown on then-LAPD Chief Charles Beck during the incident.
During the commotion at the meeting, Abdullah also was accused of assaulting a LAPD officer.
“I felt nervous for the first court date, but then I’m greeted by people who let me know they support me,” Abdullah said Feb. 5 about her case.
The charges against Abdullah include battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, refusing to disperse, interfering or obstructing a public business establishment, unlawfully disturbing and breaking up an assembly or meeting, unlawfully and intentionally interfering with the business of the LAPD commission.
Abdullah has not let the charges deter her from protesting and speaking against police brutality and racial inequality.
“Everybody who has been charged has been black,” Abdullah said. “They are afraid of black protest.”
Abdullah stood in front of Feuer’s office on North Main Street with supporters and fellow activists, including Patrisse Cullors-Khan, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter.
“Melina Abdullah did not just stand up for herself. She stood up for black people everywhere,” Cullors-Khan said.
Last week, Cullors-Khan created an online petition calling for Feuer to drop the charges. It has garnered more than 200,000 signatures.
Cullors-Khan said the charges are only meant to disrupt and intimidate activists like Abdullah from advocating on behalf of victims of police brutality and against racial injustice and discrimination.
“People should understand there is a long history of black activists,” Cullors-Khan said. “She’s being criminalized for exercising her civil rights.”
In the online petition, Cullors-Khan wrote that the charges are meant to silence protesters and intimidate others from following in her and Abdullah’s footsteps.
“Your decision to prosecute black protestors also fits into a much larger picture in which the federal government is attempting to criminalize black people and even labels them as “terrorists” and “extremists” for daring to struggle against police brutality and abuse.
While the effort to get the charges dropped continues, attorney Carl Douglas is prepared to battle the police department in court over the charges.
“If we cannot reach a resolution that satisfies my client, there will be a rally. And at that trial, we will expose the corruption of the LAPD,” Douglas said in an email.
By Michael Livingston