Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Arrested At LAPD Press Conference
Two leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement were among those arrested Monday morning while protesting an LAPD press conference. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles chapter organizer Melina Abdullah, and Niki Okuk were arrested just before noon for refusal to disperse from the lobby of police headquarters. All three were released several hours later.
The activists were protesting at an LAPD press conference at police headquarters where Chief Charlie Beck was addressing the two fatal police shootings over the weekend. On Saturday, Carnell Snell, 18, was fatally shot by LAPD officers following a vehicle pursuit and on Sunday an unidentified Hispanic male was shot dead by officers in South L.A.
"It was a closed-door press conference where the public was not allowed to have access," Melina Abdullah told LAist, adding that many of her group were still able to listen to the press conference on the radio while gathered outside.
Abdullah said she became "aware of how they were engaging in this process of double assassination—first killing the body of Carnell Snell, and then assassinating his character. And so it was really, really important that we uplifted the stories of the community, pushed back against the posthumous character assassination of Carnell Snell, and gave our own narrative. We know that LAPD continues to kill our people and then justifies the killings with whatever they think makes those murders justifiable. That's why we were there."
"They demanded that we leave, but it's a public building and we have the right to make our voices heard. As they issued the dispersal order, they kept shifting where they wanted us to disperse from and where they wanted us to disperse to," Abdullah said, adding that at one point they were directed to move next to an arbitrary tree. "We're not going to just submit to the will of the police that continue to kill us."
"Carnell Snell was his name. He was an 18-year-old child. He was somebody's baby, and somebody in your department killed him, shot him in the back five times. We're here because we are tired, but we're not afraid," Cullors, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, can be seen telling the crowd and assembled LAPD officers in a Facebook video just before the arrests were made.
After being arrested Cullors, Okuk, and Abdullah were held at police headquarters for a little over an hour.
They were booked into Metropolitan Detention Center, which Abdullah told LAist was "eerie," because it's where Wakiesha Wilson died. "We thought a lot about Wakiesha while we were being booked and processed," Abdullah said. They were booked at 1:48 p.m., according to LAPD Officer Mike Lopez, and released around 3:15 p.m.
Abdullah told LAist that Black Lives Matter activists will be protesting outside of the Los Angeles Police Commission meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m. "This is an especially important one, given that they've killed so many people this week," she said.