Los Angeles, California – Hundreds overflowed from the courtroom as Melina Abdullah was scheduled to be arraigned and a pretrial motion was heard by the judge. The Los Angeles City Attorney filed eight misdemeanor counts against the college professor and mother, all related to her participation in public meetings of the Los Angeles Police Commission. Dr. Abdullah was represented by lead attorney Ludlow Creary, and supported by 5 additional attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU. The team was encouraged that the judge is seriously considering the demurrer which was filed to drop the charges based on lack of evidence of a crime. Judge Teresa Sullivan will take two weeks to consider before issuing her ruling, on October 12th. Included in the large crowd of supporters were the families of Keith Bursey, John Horton, Donte Jordan, Angel Ramos, and Wakiesha Wilson, all killed by police in recent years, along with notable activists, clergy, students, and entertainers, including actor Matt McGorry, co-star of the hit series How to Get Away with Murder. Abdullah’s arraignment was continued to her next court appearance, set for November 9, 2018 in Los Angeles’ Criminal Courts Building.
Black Lives Matter stands behind Melina and believes the charges are being exacerbated due to Professor Abdullah’s relationship with the organization, her participation in pushing for former Police Chief Charlie Beck’s termination from the Los Angeles Police Department, and her outspoken advocacy for better policing in our communities.
“The nature of these charges are a direct example that our police system needs our attention. Her case highlights the reoccurring misuse of police power in America, and only furthers Black Lives Matter’s mission to draw attention to the over-policing that occurs in our communities and the consequences Black people face when we take a stance against the system,” Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter said. “As one of the original founders of Black Lives Matter, who has been on the frontlines of the fight to challenge America’s failed police system, she is being targeted and charged unfairly by the Los Angeles Police Department. We will stand by her, just as she has stood with the organization’s continued fight to protect Black people’s right and protection against the police system.”
Melina Abdullah was appointed to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission in 2014 and is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements. Melina is the recipient of many awards, most recently the 2016 Racial Justice Award presented by the YWCA, 2016 Fannie Lou Hamer Award for outstanding community service presented by the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals, 2016 Fannie Lou Hamer Award presented by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, 2016 Sacred Sistahs Award, 2016 California Teachers Association Human Rights Award, 2016 BCCLA Ella Baker Award, 2015 Freedom Now Award, and the 2015 Communitas Award. She was recognized by LA Weekly as one of the 10 most influential Los Angeles leaders, “Urban Girl of the Year” by 2UrbanGirls, and one of the 15 “Fiercest Sisters” of 2015 by Fierce. She has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, TV One, ABC, PBS, KTLA, KCET, BET, Free Speech TV, and Al-Jazeera, and is featured in the films 13th, When Justice Isn’t Just, and Justice or Else.
ABOUT BLACK LIVES MATTER– Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. They support the lives of the Black queer and transgender communities, the disabled, the undocumented, those with records, women, and all black lives along the gender spectrum. Black lives network centers those who have been marginalized with Black liberation movements.