07 Sep LAPD Chief Beck Under Fire
By Mariesa Samba
The early July police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling have brought the issue of racist police abuse to a boil in Los Angeles and across the nation.
Thousands of L.A. residents spontaneously flocked to a regular Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles meeting on July 11. The next day BLM-LA launched a sit-in at City Hall on July 12.
The action, called “Decolonize LA City Hall,” has now run around the clock for more than thirty days. BLM-LA demands that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti fire Police Chief Charlie Beck.
The online petition created by BLMLA leader Melina Abdullah states, “For the last three years, LAPD – under the ‘leadership’ of police chief Charlie Beck – has killed more of its residents than any other law enforcement unit in the country.” It says LAPD killed 21 people in 2015 and 10 so far this year, “many of whom were unarmed people of color and/or people with mental health challenges.”
Just as the City Hall encampment kicked off, the civilian Board of Police Commissioners ruled that the LAPD acted properly last August when they shot LAPD Chief Beck Under Fire and killed Redel Jones, a 30-year old Black mother of two.
According to an LAPD report, Jones was chased down by police officers last summer because she fit the description of a woman who allegedly stole a measly $80 in cash from a drug store. The report says officers confronted her in an alley by the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Mall, and shot her repeatedly when she charged at them with a knife.
But an eyewitness, Courtyana Franklin, disputes the police account. She says Ms. Jones was running away from the officers, not toward them.
‘Since 2013 LAPD has killed more of its residents than any other law enforcement unit in the country.’
According to BLM-LA activists, Jones’ family wasn’t notified for more than a week after her death, and her body laid in the alley for several hours after she had been shot.
“We are not willing to live in conditions where Black people are treated like enemy combatants rather than residents of this city,” said Melina Abdullah.
On day 13 of the “Decolonize LA” sit-in, the family members of victims of police brutality Mitrice Richardson, Ezell Ford, Keith Bursey, Meagan Hockaday, Nephi Arriguin, Wakeisha Wilson and Kendrec McDade came together to speak on behalf of their lost loved ones.
“Without action and resistance, we won’t be able to shape our destinies,” said Lola Fagbamilah, a BLM-LA activist.
Fagbamilah adds that activists are protesting at City Hall 24/7. They have been energized by support from the community, including food donations and poetry readings.
Celebrities such as Meagan Good, Omar Epps, Marlon Wayans and Matt McGorry visited to show their support By Mariesa Samba B LACK L IVE S MAT T E R for the BLM-LA action.
“The bottom line is that we all need to come together because people are continuing to die,” said Meagan Good, an actress whose father worked for LAPD for 26 years.
BLM-LA is calling on supporters and allies to join its action.