Los Angeles, CA–The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has agreed to drop eight charges against prominent Black Lives Matter L.A organizer, Melina Abdullah.
The charges stemmed from Abdullah’s May 2018 arrest at a Los Angeles Police Commission Meeting.
At the meeting, the Aunt of Wakiesha Wilson who died in police custody, threw what is believed to be the ashes of Wilson on Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Abdullah was arrested at the meeting for assault, after she allegedly grabbed an officers arm during the confrontation.
The Los Angeles Police Commission meetings are usually contentious, as multiple families whose loved ones have been killed by police, demand answers and accountability.
“The people said no, we are not having that. What kind of hypocrisy is that? We are not going to prosecute the cops who kill our people, but we’ll prosecute you for saying something about it,” Abdullah said via phone Saturday afternoon.
Nearly 400 people have been killed by police in L.A County since 2012.
BLMLA along with their allies and families, continue to call on L.A’s District Attorney Jackie Lacey, to file criminal charges against officers.
Including charges of assault, Abdullah faced charges of unlawful assembly and multiple counts of disturbing public meetings.
The additional charges were introduced after police began investigating Abdullah’s conduct at past police commission meetings between 2017 and 2018.
Despite facing criminal charges, Abdullah continued to show up for families and victims of police and state violence. Including the family of Albert Ramon Dorsey, killed while showering at Hollywood’s 24-Hour-Fitness, and the family of Christopher Deandre Mitchell, killed by Torrance Police in a Ralph’s Parking lot Dec. 2018.
“I understood the charges that were completely trumped up, were meant to silence me. That’s when I’m absolutely not going to be silent. I’m not going to let white supremacy win. If they want us to be loud, all they have to do is tell us to be quiet.”
Abdullah relayed that Black people took a strong position to rally behind her but like every iteration of the Black liberation movement, it also takes Brown folks, Indigenous folks and white folks.
“At every courtdate we were rooted in Blackness but we saw people from every other background.”
A campaign was launched following the charges against Abdullah, which drew thousands of supporters. Hundreds of people showed up to her court dates, made phone calls to the City Attorney’s Office, and signed an online petition which demanded all charges against her be dropped.
The campaign worked. Thursday the City Attorney agreed to drop all charges against Abdullah, contingent upon certain agreements.
Abdullah is to avoid arrest at any public meeting leading up to her next court date on Aug. 8. In addition, officers could only arrest Abdullah if she refused verbal warnings to exit public meetings for disruption.
“People believe in the righteousness of Black protest. They knew this was not just about me but our entire movement and our right to stand up for ourselves,” Abdullah expressed.
When asked how she finds a balance as an advocate for the people, as well as being a Cal State L.A. professor and mother of three, Abdullah relayed that to her, what she is doing is nothing different from what the great women leaders who came before her did.
“That’s our entire history as Black women. Jo Ann Robinson who really launched the Montgomery Bus boycott, learned of Rosa Parks as she was grocery shopping for her family. She went home, got dinner together and went back to her job as a university professor. She got the other mothers together and made sure they had signs on the bus stops in the morning.”
Abdullah said that her mother was also someone who showed her how to care not only for her own family, but for the community as well. Local kids would gather on her doorsteps as her mother gave reading lessons during the evening.
“All the kids in the neighborhood would run to our porch after work. She would sit there until dark and teach all the kids in the neighborhood how to read. That didn’t take away from who she was as a mother to me. It made her a mother to more than her biological children and it made her a hero to me. Pray-fully I’m doing work that honors her.”
Abdullah says that she hopes the time and energy used for her case, can now be channeled to stronger building towards the liberation of Black people, and the justice efforts for those who have lost their lives at the hands of police.