Activists Hit The Streets Of Downtown LA To Celebrate Jackie Lacey's Potential Defeat, And Protest Trump's Claims Of Victory
This story was written by Gina Pollack and reported by Aaron Schrank, with photos from Chava Sanchez.
Two groups of activists converged in Downtown L.A. Wednesday night: one, to celebrate the seeming defeat of incumbent District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who they've long rallied against; and the other to protest the erroneous claim by Donald Trump that he has already won the Presidential election.
A CELEBRATORY MOOD FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER
While no winner has been declared yet in the highly contested race for L.A. County District Attorney, activists gathered in downtown on Wednesday afternoon and evening to celebrate what they see as Lacey's defeat.
Every Wednesday for three years now, members of Black Lives Matter LA have protested outside Lacey's office, largely due to her decision not to prosecute law enforcement officers involved in some of the many controversial shootings of civilians that have come across her desk.
Black Lives Matter LA co-founder Melina Abdullah says if challenger George Gascón is declared the winner, this protest could be their last.
"It couldn't be a more significant day," Abdullah told KPCC/LAist reporter Aaron Schrank, as BLM supporters cheered behind her. "We've been here for more than three years chanting 'Jackie Lacey must go!' Today we're celebrating that Jackie Lacey will go in very short order."
Abdullah said the mood of BLM supporters has been celebratory since the early voting results came in Tuesday night, "an affirmation that all the work that we've poured in, that all of the work that all these families have put in, has meant something."
Helen Jones was one of the members of the crowd celebrating. She says her son, John Thomas Horton III, was beaten to death by Sheriff's Deputies in the L.A. County Men's Central Jail in 2009 (his death was originally ruled as a suicide), and she's been a part of the weekly protests in front of Lacey's office since day one.
"It means everything," Jones said of Lacey's likely departure. "Our lives depend on Jackie Lacey leaving this office, because she's allowed the police to feel like they can just kill people and get away with it ... she's in bed with law enforcement."
Abdullah credited the organizing ability of BLM-LA to educate Angelenos about Lacey's "problematic" career, and also credits the organization with successfully drawing attention to the 626 people who she says have been killed by police in L.A. County in recent years.
Of the weekly protests, Abdullah joked that she doesn't know what the group will do with their Wednesdays. But that doesn't mean they won't have work to do.
"We know that the [apparent] incoming District Attorney will also need to be held accountable," she said. "So we've called for an immediate public meeting, so he can roll out his plans for us and we can also set expectations for him. We're also telling George Gascón [that] the clock has started ticking. We can either have a relationship where you authentically represent the people and there's a sprit of collaboration ... or we can hold you accountable in much the same way we've held Jackie Lacey accountable."
Abdullah said Gascón has already indicated that he's more open to meeting and working with the group than his predecessor was.
'ANTI-FASCISTS' MARCH TO PROTEST TRUMP
A group of protesters with the L.A. chapter of Refuse Fascism met in Pershing Square this afternoon to protest a president they believe is trying to suppress the vote count and "steal the election."
Duck Ocean is an organizer with the group, which is a coalition of leftist groups including the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. He told KPCC/LAist reporter Aaron Schrank that the Refuse Fascism came together when Trump was inagurated in January, 2016, to draw attention to behavior that they considered, well ... fascist.
Ocean said the group considered Trump's 2016 victory to be illegitimate, mainly because he lost the popular vote, and feared that he would try to deligitamize the 2020 vote.
"We saw already that he's going to challenge the votes and say that certain votes didn't count," said Ocean, adding that he and his fellow protestors want to make sure the voting process is protected. "We're going to be sort of like a watchdog for the people, to let [Trump] know that he's not going to steal this election."
At around 5:30 p.m., LAPD had a minor altercation with some of the Refuse Fascism marchers, when a civilian's car slowly pulled forward into the crowd. When the driver got out of the car, officers told the protesters to keep on moving. No one was injured.
Officers then transitioned into riot gear and followed the protesters back to Pershing Square, where they declared an unlawful assembly and began to arrest those who refused to disperse.
This is an evolving story and will be updated with new information, as we receive it.
WE LOVE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS