A well-known community activist has demanded the leader of Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles chapter step down, claiming a recent demonstration by the group has put the county’s top law enforcement official in danger.
The call comes from Najee Ali, who has a long-running feud with Black Lives Matter over whose style of activism best represents the interests of L.A.’s black community.
At a press conference on Friday, Ali condemned BLM-LA co-founder Melina Abdullah, who organized a protest at the residence of L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey last Monday. Demonstrators gathered on Lacey’s front porch, banged on a drum, and rang her doorbell around 5:30 am. The disruption culminated with Lacey’s husband pointing a handgun out the couple’s front door, threatening to shoot the trespassers and ordering them to leave his property. Partial video of the encounter went viral.
#BREAKING This morning Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s husband pulled a gun out on Black Lives Matter activists who protested his wife in front of their house. @BLMLA pic.twitter.com/wnCFMMvaWV
— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) March 2, 2020
“They either need to disband altogether, or reorganize and place those in decision-making positions who actually know how to organize effective protest campaigns,” Ali told The Daily Wire.
Ali described the incident, which took place the day before the primary election, as a “cheap publicity stunt” that was “one of the dumbest protests in the history of Los Angeles activism.”
“Every murderer, rapist, and violent criminal Lacey has put in jail now has her home address thanks to Abdullah,” he said.
Lacey, a Democrat who has served as D.A. since 2012, needs more than 50% of the vote to avoid a November runoff. According to the L.A. Times, the results remain up in the air, with hundreds of thousands of ballots left to tally.
Both Ali and Abdullah oppose Lacey’s re-election for similar reasons. However, Ali said Abdullah’s tactics might have hurt efforts to elect a more progressive D.A., influencing public sentiment in Lacey’s favor.
Beware of those who claim to speak for the Black community, but have no organizational membership, show up only for cameras, but not for the work, assault women, serve as police “consultants,” and echo arguments of White supremacists about Black folks needing to be civil.@kcrw
— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) March 6, 2020
“As she runs for a third term in office, it becomes imperative that she is held accountable,” Abdullah told the L.A. Times. “Demonstrating at the homes of public officials is a tried and true strategy employed by groups ranging from labor unions to students.”
Ali is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Crisis Response Team, a group that responds to traumatic incidents at the request of police and firefighters, acting as liaisons between the victim and emergency personnel. In a recent column published by the Los Angeles Wave, Ali pointed out BLM-LA’s history of disconcerting approaches, which include storming a church during a town hall meeting that featured Mayor Garcetti. Afterward, the pastor said BLM activists had “cussed” at him in the sanctuary and accused them of “disrespect” and “verbal violence.”
“Black Lives Matter wants to portray its members as peaceful,” Ali wrote, “but the facts are Abdullah and other Black Lives Matter members and supporters have engaged in several public acts of intimidation of city and religious leaders in recent years.”
He went on to reference another protest in 2015 when Abdullah’s group gathered at Garcetti’s private residence at 6 am on a Sunday, requesting a meeting. Protesters camped on the sidewalk for three days in an action dubbed #OccupyLAMayor.
BLM-LA has since organized other protests outside Garcetti’s home. While demonstrating against a police shooting in 2016, Abdullah appeared to taunt Garcetti from the scene. She posted a video to Instagram, saying, “You don’t get to kill our kids and think your kid gets to sleep in peace…we’re bringing the hood to you.” Garcetti’s daughter, Maya, was four years old at the time.
The following year, a court granted a restraining order against BLM-LA member Trevor Ferguson (also known as Trevor Gerard), who made uninvited visits to a police commissioner’s home and office. After hearing the testimony, a judge concluded Ferguson intended to “incite fear.”
Abdullah once told another LAPD commissioner, “We know where your ass lives too, and we’ve got cars.”
L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer dropped eight criminal counts against Abdullah last summer stemming from her conduct at police commission meetings. Charges included battery on a police officer, and Abdullah could have faced jail time if convicted. Prosecutors had agreed to dismiss the charges if Abdullah adhered to specific behavior guidelines for a six-month period. In February, after all counts had been officially dropped, Abdullah filed a federal lawsuit accusing the police of wrongful arrest and city attorney’s office of malicious prosecution. She is represented pro bono by attorney Carl E. Douglas, who became nationally known decades ago as a member of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” of defense attorneys.