EXCLUSIVE: Los Angeles Mayor Appoints LAPD Commissioner Who Backs Anti-Police Groups
President Donald Trump proclaimed May 14 through May 20 as “Police Week,” but in Southern California, law enforcement is under a multi-pronged attack that is financed by an unexpected source. Shane Murphy Goldsmith – the newest member of the Los Angeles Police Commission – also heads a group called the Liberty Hill Foundation that funds a number of Black Lives Matter-affiliated groups that have expressed anti-cop views.
Goldsmith, who was appointed to the five-member panel by Mayor Eric Garcetti last September, has been President and CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation since 2013. Under her leadership, Liberty Hill funds so-called "criminal justice reform" activists that have routinely shut down LAPD meetings called by the same commission that she's now part of.
“Twenty-five years after Rodney King’s arrest, structural racism still sacrifices the lives of black men and women to police bullets and prison bars,” Goldsmith said five months before joining the commission.
Founded in 1976, Liberty Hill was formed after “four young people who’d inherited wealth met for a picnic in Topanga Canyon (CA) to discuss better ways to donate to progressive causes.”
Liberty Hill describes itself as “L.A.’s social justice epicenter,” “advancing movements for social change through grants, leadership training and alliance building.”
Goldsmith was hired by the foundation in 2009 when Amy Wakeland, the wife of Garcetti, was on Liberty Hill’s Board of Directors. Before that, Goldsmith spent four years as a senior advisor to then-City Councilman Garcetti – who officiated her wedding in 2008. Goldsmith and her wife were the first same-sex couple married in L.A.
As the Los Angeles Times reported last September:
Garcetti described Goldsmith as someone driven by a “deep sense of compassion that informs everything she does.” Goldsmith, he added, “understands the urgency of conversations” regarding policing.
“I am confident that her values and approach will be an asset to the Police Commission,” Garcetti said.
Police commissioners oversee the operations of the 10,000-officer force, set LAPD policies and have an inspector general who investigates and audits the department on their behalf.
Although George Soros does not bankroll Liberty Hill, one could metaphorically consider it to be a regional version of his Open Society Foundations.
A brief examination of a few alliances built and movements advanced by Goldsmith’s Liberty Hill reveal a coordinated attack on Southern California policing agencies
YOUTH JUSTICE COALITION (YJC), Inglewood, CA
Liberty Hill’s website explains, “YJC is building a youth, family and prisoner led movement to challenge mass incarceration and inequality in the criminal justice system.”
YJC is currently suing LAPD over gang injunctions.
The group’s 2014 tax returns disclosed Hamid Khan as YJC’s “co-treasurer.” He likely managed the funds received from Goldsmith’s foundation. In 2010, Khan was “anointed as Liberty Hill’s Grassroots Leaders to Watch.” The foundation even produced a video honoring Khan as a “hero.”
That recognition opened the door for Khan to receive funding from Soros’ Open Society to “challenge Los Angeles Police Department surveillance and profiling practices.” Savvy followers of the LA Police Commission recognize Khan as the leader of the “Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.”
LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY ACTION NETWORK (LACAN), Skid Row, L.A.
Located in the Skid Row section of downtown, LACAN organizes the homeless to fight for “racial and economic justice.” It honors an alliance with BLM-LA, Stop LAPD Spying, and YJC. Together, they disrupt and shut down commission meetings, often demanding LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s termination.
In July 2016, LACAN hosted a free Prophets of Rage concert for the Skid Row community. Chuck D and Tom Morello used LACAN’s rooftop as their stage, where BLM-LA activist Anthony Ratcliff took the mic and called for the “abolition of policing,” then declared the space a “no cop zone”:
“I want to make sure that you all understand that, Black Lives Matter, what we’re really here for is the abolition of policing. We recognize that the system of policing is inherently racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic and we need to get rid of that whole system.”
Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor at Cal State-Los Angeles who also leads the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, is on LACAN’s Board of Directors.
ELLA BAKER CENTER, Oakland, CA
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights was co-founded by CNN host Van Jones, who was forced to leave the Obama administration after his connections to a socialist group called STORM were revealed.
Ella Baker’s website states “prisons, policing, and punishment-based approaches make us less safe, and prevent people of color and low-income communities from influencing policies that impact our lives.” Last year, Ella Baker advertised BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors as its Director of Special Projects. At that same time, she was arrested, along with BLM-LA’s Abdullah, for refusing to leave an LAPD lobby after two fatal police shootings.
"We're not going to just submit to the will of the police that continue to kill us,” Abdullah told LAist at the time, and:
The activists were protesting at an LAPD press conference at police headquarters where Chief Charlie Beck was addressing the two fatal police shootings over the weekend. On Saturday, Carnell Snell, 18, was fatally shot by LAPD officers following a vehicle pursuit and on Sunday an unidentified Hispanic male was shot dead by officers in South L.A.
DIGNITY AND POWER NOW, Los Angeles, CA
Years before she became a BLM icon, Cullors founded DPN. Liberty Hill calls it “a grassroots organization based in Los Angeles that fights for the dignity and power of incarcerated people, their families, and their communities.”
After President Trump had signed an executive order addressing the assault on police officers, DPN called for the abolition of law enforcement. Last month, DPN organized a seminar called “Abolition in the Age of Trump,” where 1960s radical Angela Davis joined Black Lives Matter leaders in advocating for the end of police, prisons, and capitalism.
DPN organizers mainly target the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), which operates the nation’s largest jail system. The group was instrumental in the recent formation of the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission – a crusade Cullors began in 2012.
As the Los Angeles Times reported:
Activists have long clamored for independent civilian oversight of the Sheriff’s Department. They offered mixed reactions to the creation of the commission, offering praise for having a civilian oversight body of any kind but also criticizing its lack of subpoena and disciplinary powers.
They also denounced a decision not to include Black Lives Matter activist Patrisse Cullors on the commission while appointing law enforcement representatives. Her exclusion “raises serious concerns about whether this commission will protect incarcerated Brown and Black people, which is what Patrisse and the community urgently fought for,” Mark-Anthony Johnson, director of wellness at Dignity and Power Now, said in a news release.
In March, Cullors led a DPN protest outside the Men’s Central Jail near downtown Los Angeles. Demonstrators blocked traffic in response to recent inmate deaths inside LASD facilities.
LABOR COMMUNITY STRATEGY CENTER, Los Angeles
Eric Mann, known for his radicalism from five decades ago, heads the Strategy Center. Mann was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society and Weather Underground groups and went on to mentor and train BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
Mann is on a mission to remove the LA School Police from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). However, Liberty Hill describes his nonprofit as “working to end the criminalization and mass incarceration of Black and Latino communities by addressing the conditions inside LAUSD that put students on the path to prison.”
Last year, Mann’s group strong-armed LAUSD into withdrawing from a federal program which transferred weapons to the LA School Police. Mann sent an ominous message to an LAUSD school board member about the program:
“I think that the LAUSD has been criminal in how you’ve responded to the Strategy Center and the Fight for the Soul of the Cities. You know you’ve had those tanks; you know you’ve had M-16’s. You need to give them back, and you need to admit that we forced you to do it, give us the credit, and that’s the first step in your own redemption.”