Black Lives Matter occupies LA City Hall Plaza

From the September-October 2016 issue of News & Letters

Los Angeles—Members of LACAN (Community Action Network), Stop Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Spying Coalition, and Black Lives Matter (BLM) have been protesting the murders of unarmed Black and Brown men and women by LAPD officers every Tuesday at the Los Angeles Police Commission meetings.

People from Black Lives Matters and others outside LA City Hall on July 18, 2016. Photo: Facebook.com Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles

Months of voicing our outrage in Public Comments to the five-member Police Commission and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck have done nothing to bring the killer police officers to justice. Both Beck and the commissioners determined that the murders are all “in policy,” and no crime has been committed.

On July 12, 100 Black, white, Brown and Asian youth protested against these ongoing “legalized” murders chanting: “Not one more, not one more!” We held signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Chicanos for BLM,” “Justice for Redel Jones,” “Justice for Lakeisha Wilson,” “Justice for Charlie Keunang Africa,” “Justice for Ezell Ford,” “White People for BLM,” and “Justice or Revolution!”

Meanwhile, inside the Police Commission meeting, Beck ruled that the officer’s killing—shooting Redel Jones five times—was within policy. Jones was 30 years old and a mother of two. Melina Abdullah, one of the founders of LA Black Lives Matter, stated: “LAPD officers killed a woman who was accused of carrying a kitchen knife and of possibly stealing $80. They killed her in cold blood—the reports from the community are that she was running away and was shot four or five times in the back, and it didn’t even make it into the [police] report.”

After Chief Beck’s ruling, protestors marched to City Hall to urge Mayor Eric Garcetti to dismiss Beck. Barred from entering City Hall by LAPD officers, LA Black Lives Matter started an occupation of City Hall Plaza until the mayor fires Chief Beck.

At times we occupiers number in the hundreds. Many people come by to support us. They donate food, water, mattresses, blankets and books. Cars and buses honk their horns in support. There are circles of discussions on various topics as well as smaller group interactions. Tents are set up from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am.

As of Aug. 4, the occupation is in its 24th day.

—Basho

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