A local Black Lives Matter leader is suing the city of Los Angeles and its former police chief in federal court, alleging that the woman’s 2018 arrest at a meeting of the Police Commission violated her civil rights.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, a Cal State Los Angeles professor and Black Lives Matter organizer, alleges that during a raucous May 8, 2018, meeting of the commission, she was “falsely, wrongfully, and intentionally detained, imprisoned, and arrested,” according to the complaint for unspecified damages filed late Monday in Los Angeles federal court.
“We are here to cleanse the LAPD one cop at a time,” Abdullah’s attorney, Carl Douglas, said Tuesday at a downtown Los Angeles news conference. “LAPD unfairly caused her arrest and attempted to silence her. She will not be silenced.”
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department said the LAPD does not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit names then-LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and numerous police officers as defendants.
Abdullah was arrested at the Police Commission meeting, along with another woman, Sheila Brim, whom authorities said threw a powdery substance at Beck. Brim’s niece, Wakiesha Wilson, died in police custody in 2016, and Brim suggested at the meeting that the powder was Wilson’s ashes.
Brim reached a separate agreement with prosecutors to resolve four misdemeanor charges stemming from her actions at the meeting.
Abdullah was charged with misdemeanor battery on a police officer stemming from the meeting. But she also was charged with seven other counts, including interfering or obstructing a public business establishment and interfering with the lawful business of the Police Commission — the majority involving alleged crimes in July and August 2017.
In August, all criminal charges were dismissed against Abdullah. City prosecutors said they had agreed to drop the case if Abdullah adhered to guidelines aimed at preventing her from disrupting the weekly meetings.
The guidelines included exiting and not returning to the meeting if she was found to be disrupting the proceedings and ordered to leave.
“The accusation that I would cause any violent action is a huge insult,” Abdullah said.