L.A. Will Drop Charges Against Professor-Activist Melina Abdullah
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has agreed to drop criminal charges against a Cal State L.A. professor and Black Lives Matter leader accused of disrupting L.A. Police Commission hearings and assaulting members of the LAPD.
Melina Abdullah was arrested last May during a contentious Commission meeting. She was accused of grabbing an officer’s gun during an altercation. She was also charged with four counts of unlawful assembly and one count each of disturbing a public meeting and interfering with a public meeting for actions dating back to 2017.
Abdullah’s attorneys argued the charges were an attempt to “criminalize black protests.” A public relations campaign was launched and 11,000 people signed a petition calling on L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer to drop all charges against her.
Under the agreement reached Thursday, all counts against Abdullah will be dismissed unless she is arrested again. Police will apprehend her for disruption only if she refuses to leave a meeting following verbal warning and ejection.
“We have changed the culture in Los Angeles as it deals with protest,” her attorney, Carl E. Douglas, boasted.
Abdullah and Douglas characterized the city’s decision as a “surrender.” The LAPD has declined to comment.
Melina Abdullah is a well-known social justice advocate and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Los Angeles, California. She is a tenured professor at Cal State L.A. and currently chairs its department of Pan-African Studies.