A woman who claimed to throw cremated remains at Los Angeles’ top cop last week is a self-described Black Lives Matter activist who had helped launch a new anti-cop coalition “to respond radically” to police violence just six days before.
Sheila Hines-Brim, 55, was protesting the death of her niece, Wakiesha Wilson, who died in LAPD custody more than two years ago.
As another Black Lives Matter demonstrator distracted officers safeguarding last Tuesday’s L.A. Police Commission meeting, Hines-Brim had a clear pathway to the dais where LAPD Chief Charlie Beck sat unprotected.
“That’s Wakiesha,” Hines-Brim shouted after throwing a white, powdery substance, some of which landed on Beck. “She’s going to stay with you!”
Hines-Brim was arrested and booked on suspicion of battery on a police officer. Dr. Melina Abdullah, who leads the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM-LA), was also detained during the ruckus.
Media portrayed the exploit as the actions of a grieving aunt but neglected to report that Hines-Brim was donning a Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles t-shirt at the time of her arrest, after she posted bail, and during interviews with local journalists.
Less than a week before throwing an ash-like substance at the police chief, Hines-Brim stood next to Abdullah as the duo helped launch a new statewide coalition “to respond radically to state violence” called Justice Teams Network. The alliance consists of several “rapid response organizations” which intend to mobilize communities when perceived injustices occur, like police misconduct, officer-involved shootings, or last week’s arrests of Hines-Brim and Abdullah.
The Justice Teams Network was founded and is advised by Patrisse Cullors, a police abolitionist who also co-founded Black Lives Matter. She currently leads multiple criminal justice reform efforts in California, often working with professional media strategists to shape narratives and generate coverage. One such ally mocked last Tuesday’s incident with Chief Beck on social media, seemingly joking about the possibility that Hines-Brim had placed a “hex” or “curse” on him.
However, Hines-Brim did reveal that she has received telepathic communications from her deceased niece from beyond the veil. According to a local television report, Hines-Brim claimed that Wilson’s departed soul instructed her to throw the ashes on Beck.
“I heard her clearly tell me; I use her ashes so that they could be with him so he could feel her,” Hines-Brim told KCAL News. “He murdered her. They covered it up.”
Wilson, 36, was found hanging from an LAPD jail cell in March 2016. Authorities said it was a suicide, but family members and Black Lives Matter activists dispute that conclusion. In December, the City of Los Angeles settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Wilson’s mother and son for $298,000.
Dr. Abdullah asked allies to “pray that Wakiesha’s spirit guides us towards justice” after she and Hines-Brim were released from jail last Tuesday.
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @Near_Chaos.