From the November-December 2020 issue of News & Letters
Los Angeles—After several years of weekly protests by Black Lives Matter (BLM) against Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, she failed to win a third term in the March 2020 primary election. This forced a runoff with former San Francisco D.A. George Gascon in the Nov. 3 election, which Lacey lost.
On Nov. 4, hundreds gathered outside the Hall of (In-)Justice as relatives of victims who were shot and killed by police took the stage flanked by signs that read “Jackie Lacey! Gone!!” Lisa Hines stated: “Gascon would also face protestors’ anger if he didn’t live up to his promises to hold police accountable.”
PROTESTS WENT FOR YEARS
The weekly protests began several years ago with 40 to 100 activists as more Black and Brown victims of police violence were added weekly. Every Wednesday afternoon, BLM protested against Lacey outside her office at the downtown Los Angeles Hall of (In-)Justice.
The African-American District Attorney had not prosecuted any LA police or County Sheriff officers in the killings of hundreds of mostly unarmed Black and Brown people. Not surprisingly, a large part of Lacey’s $7 million election fund was donated by the police union.
The weekly protests, led by LA-BLM co-founder Melina Abdullah, organizer activist Akili and Paula Minor, included chants of “Jackie Lacey must go!” and the pouring of water on plants in memory of victims killed by police as their name was chorused by protestors. Akili stated: “Police get away with killing us because Jackie Lacey does not prosecute them.” A few of the many victims include Wakiesha Wilson, Brother Africa Keunang, Ezell Ford, Jesse Romero, Jonathan Hart, Dijon Kizzee and Eric Rivera.
THE PAIN OF MANY FAMILIES
Relatives of the victims attended weekly protests and expressed their grief as well as anger. They were joined by community organizers, Skid Row homeless activists, LA Community Action Network members, American Indian Indigenous organizers and others.
Throughout the years of protests, family members spoke of their pain: Caesar Rodriguez’s mother: “He was my only son.” Ezell Ford’s brother: “Jackie Lacey! My Black brother’s life mattered.” John Horton’s mom: “Everyone! Keep coming to support each other.” Wakiesha Wilson’s aunt: “The police stated that Wakiesha died of suicide by hanging. It’s impossible that she hanged herself.” Helen Jones, mother of John Horton: “We need to shut this system down!”
At a BLM “Count Every Vote” march on Nov. 7, several thousand Black, White, Brown and Asians, wearing T-shirts against police brutality and for Joseph Biden, carried signs as they marched from Pershing Square to City Hall. A leading banner read: “Jail Killer Cops—nothing less!”
In a new society, every human being of any race would have equal opportunities to work and live and determine society’s policies that affect their own lives. Every person would be allowed to develop their individuality while engaging in both mental and physical labor in a society without racial and class antagonism.