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Black Lives Matter Activists Charged Over A 'Boo-Boo,' Lawyer Says
Two Black Lives Matter activists are facing misdemeanor charges after getting into a scuffle with police in South L.A. last week. However, a judge threw out a request from the L.A. City Attorney's office asking for a restraining order preventing the activists from being within 50 feet of either Mayor Eric Garcetti or LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
The incident occurred on last Wednesday at the Mount Carmel Recreation Center at about 5 p.m. Garcetti and Beck were having a private meeting with backers of a youth program called Summer Night Lights, the L.A. Times reports. Black Lives Matter activists Evan Bunch, 28, and Luz Maria Flores, 23, entered the room in an attempt to speak with Garcetti.
The activists are lobbying for the dismissal of LAPD Chief Beck, who said he found officers acted within policy in the shooting death of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old, unarmed black man with a history of mental illness. The Police Commission found that one officer did not act with in policy, and the discipline for that officer, if any, is up to Beck.
Security asked Bunch to leave and attempted to escort him outside, but Bunch resisted. Flores grabbed Bunch and attempted to pull him away from police, which is apparently an act called "lynching," which in this case means attempting to free a person who is in custody. In the process, one of the officers was "scraped up," according to LAPD Officer Jack Richter.
Bunch has been charged with trespassing, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. Flores has been charged with resisting arrest and battery on a police officer. Both pleaded not guilty last Friday and have been released without bail. The L.A. City Attorney's Office attempted to get a restraining order against both Bunch and Flores, preventing them from coming within 50 feet of either Beck or Garcetti. That request was denied by a judge.
Their lawyer, Nana Gyamfi, said that the police officer was not really injured. "It's what people call a boo-boo," she said. "Like a scrape…between the man's shoulder and elbow, probably the size of a dime."
Gyamfi says that Black Lives Matter activists have been unsuccessfully trying to score a meeting with Garcetti, but that every time one of them tries to approach him, they are blocked by police.
In this video, you can see activists trying to schedule a meeting with Garcetti as he prepares to leave for Washington D.C. A police officer eventually declares it an unlawful assembly.
Gyamfi also said that the charges against her clients are based "on spite and retaliation," according to City News Service.
"When you file criminal charges, they have to be based upon a violation of the law, and cannot be based on the fact that you don't want to be bothered by people. This is an abuse of the process," she said.
Bunch is been an outspoken activist, and has recently been involved in numerous demonstrations protesting Ford's death. Bunch was one activist who protested outside of Garcetti's home in Hancock Park prior to the Police Commission's decision in June. "We're here to hold Mayor Garcetti accountable because obviously, the police can't hold themselves accountable," Bunch told KPCC at the time.
At a police commission meeting, Bunch threw a pile of comment sheets in the air as a representation of how many people are killed by police, saying to the commissioners, "You are numb to the killing of a human being. This means now, you're like Hitler," according to City Watch LA. Bunch was detained at that meeting for "disturbing the peace" according to Cmdr. Andrew Smith, and the City Watch reporter posted a video of that detainment to social media. Bunch was released the same day.