Ongoing coverage of protests in L.A.

Updates on demonstrations calling for justice against police brutality.


Saturday, September 5

Protesters demand justice for Dijon Kizzee; block off the 110 Freeway

by Emily Holshouser
A man stands on a flatbed truck facing protesters as they march down Imperial Highway in South Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. (Emily Holshouser)

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Several dozen deputies stood guard in full riot gear outside the South Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station, as roughly 200 protesters gathered on Saturday to protest the death of Dijon Kizzee.

Crowds of people filled the streets of Imperial Highway six days after L.A. sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Kizzee, a 29-year-old Black man in Westmont.

The protest was organized by Black Lives Matter L.A., but speakers from various activist groups, as well as members of Kizzee’s family, spoke to the crowd and prayed. They gripped each other’s shoulders and tearfully described the last days of Kizzee’s life, and mourned for the other members of their community gunned down by the police.

Pastor Eddie Anderson rallied the crowd with a rousing speech and a prayer.

Two protesters look on as a group of about 200 protesters shut down the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Sept. 6., 2020. (Emily Holshouser)

“You are guilty for killing Dijon Kizzee, you are guilty for killing Kenneth Ross, you are guilty for killing so many of our loved ones and the blood cries out from earth today,” Anderson said of the sheriffs. “Today, we say enough is enough.”

Several speakers called for the firing and prosecution of the officers involved in Kizzee’s death.

Shaneika Hall, Kizzee’s cousin, broke down in tears as she spoke.

“Let’s keep it moving … hands up, guns down, period,” she said.

At one point, about half the crowd moved toward the front of the station. According to several protesters, a deputy shot tear gas when someone touched the barrier.

“If you have children, please get them out of here, stuff is about to go down,” BLM-L.A. leaders warned.

The crowd — growing to a few hundred people — then marched east on Imperial Highway and blocked off the northbound 110 Freeway. Several California Highway Patrol and LASD patrol cars and helicopters responded, eventually using patrol cars to kennel the protesters off the freeway.

As the protesters walked off the freeway, they hung a sign for Kizzee on a freeway overpass on Imperial Highway.

As the group of demonstrators walked westbound towards the sheriff’s station, a group of CHP patrol cars gathered at an intersection, beginning a brief standoff with some protesters.

“Your sign is upside down,” an officer in a patrol car watching said to a protester over the car’s loudspeaker.

The protesters marched back to the sheriff’s station, where there were reports of tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls being fired at protesters later that night. An unlawful assembly was declared around 8:40 p.m.

The protest came 100 days after the killing of George Floyd, which sparked protests across the country and started a national movement for police reform and racial justice.

 


Wednesday, September 2

Black Lives Matter-L.A. protests in response to Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies killing Dijon Kizzee

by Samantha Bravo

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — On Monday, Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies shot and killed 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee during a confrontation in Westmont because he was, “in violation of vehicle codes,” according to CNN.

Kizzee was riding his bicycle on Monday afternoon when deputies approached him. He got off his bicycle and ran away from the deputies, who caught up with Kizzee and approached him again.

According to the Los Angeles Sheriff Department statement, an altercation broke out when deputies made contact with Kizzee, who allegedly punched a deputy in the face and subsequently dropped a jacket and a semi-automatic handgun. Deputies shot Kizzee when he “made a motion” toward the gun, according to the statement.

A grainy video of the shooting obtained by the Los Angeles Times showed multiple shots were fired toward Kizzee as he ran and fell away from the deputies.

Ben Crump, a prominent national civil right attorney who is representing the family of Kizzee, said the autopsy will determine how many times Kizzee was shot, according to USA Today.

The deputies involved in the shooting have been “removed from the field” as the incident is under investigation, according to the LASD.

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles organized a protest Wednesday afternoon in front of the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles in response to the killing of Kizzee and to continue protesting against District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

This comes after two days of protests outside the South L.A. Sheriff’s Station, where protesters were demanding justice for Kizzee.

Thandiwe Abdullah, the daughter of BLM-L.A. co-founder Melina Abdullah, said in her speech that she made a will because she does not know when it will be her last day.

“Does anyone care about Black lives? You can sit and post a black screen, but what are you doing?” Thandiwe Abdullah, 16, said. “This is your duty to fight for our freedom.”

Kendrick Sampson, an actor and founder of the activist group BLD PWR, led a number of chants and responded to Thandiwe Abdullah’s speech.

“They’re writing a will just in case something happens to them, because nobody cares about Black lives, and they have all that evidence to back that up,” Sampson said. “If that [doesn’t] make you want to do something, if that [doesn’t] make you want to end the system, you need to take a real hard look at yourself.”

During Sampson’s speech, the crowd noticed L.A. County sheriff deputies taking photos of the crowd from the fourth floor parking garage near the Hall of Justice building. Sampson said the sheriffs are committing acts of surveillance on the community.

“They’re looking at how to pick us apart, they’re trying to find a problem,” Sampson said. “They want us to be peaceful. Have you ever heard a gun go off? It’s not peaceful. Nothing about this is peaceful.”

As the crowd listened to speeches, activist groups provided protesters with beverages and BLM merchandise. The International Indigenous Youth Council provided free BLM patches that read, “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “George Floyd” to protesters.

Kizzee’s partner, Jonnetta Ewing, said she was grateful to see everyone come out and support her. “He would’ve loved to see this,” she said.

Speeches from BLM-L.A. organizers ended and a group of protesters marched down Spring Street around 6 p.m.


Tuesday, August 25

Jacob Blake protests continue outside Twin Towers jail

by Logan Bik, Sloane Bozzi 

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — An initial group of 100 protesters gathered at the south side of City Hall on the second night of protests demanding justice for Anthony McClain and Jacob Blake. Protesters are demanding justice for the two Black men who were shot by police. 

Justin Frazier, a 25-year-old activist, gave a speech to set the protest into motion. When asked why he was on the megaphone two nights in a row, he said: “Sometimes you have to remind people what they’re fighting for.”

The group chanted and marched toward Union Station with no police interference. 

A police helicopter circled above with a light shining down on a few hundred people marching through the streets.

Protesters approached the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. 

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officers outfitted in riot gear met protesters outside of the correctional facility, with PepperBall guns and pepper spray. 

A standoff between both groups took place on Bauchet and Vignes streets. A roll of yellow wire stretched across the street in front of the Men’s Central Jail acted as a barricade.

This is a developing story.

Editor’s note: Edited at 7:58 a.m. on Aug. 26 for style corrections. 


Monday, August 24

Protests continue in downtown L.A. following the shooting of Jacob Blake

by Logan Bik, Michaella Huck

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — A few hundred people gathered at the Los Angeles City Hall on Monday night to seek justice for two Black men who were recently shot by police.

Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Anthony McClain, was another man who was shot by police in Pasadena, California on Aug. 15.

Protests began around 9 p.m. with people of different ages and ethnicities chanting in front of the City Hall — which was illuminated purple and gold for Kobe Bryant’s birthday — as a police helicopter circled overhead.

Lucha Wright from the Revolution Club Los Angeles explained to the crowd the importance of spreading awareness about police brutality and using community policing to protect the city.

“We have to get millions in the streets screaming ‘Black lives matter,’” Wright said.

After speeches, protesters began marching down North Spring Street.

After walking to the intersection of Third and Hill streets,  the group settled outside of the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. The chants calling for justice then shifted towards defunding the LAPD.

The group then toppled the roughly 4-foot metal barricade over, allowing the group to approach the small group of LAPD officers guarding the headquarters.

LAPD reinforcements quickly arrived, declaring the protest an unlawful assembly, thus starting the game of cat and mouse for the night.

As protesters failed to disperse, LAPD used their tactics of rushing through the crowd to create chaos and to disperse the crowd, as well as firing flashbangs and rubber bullets. Many of the demonstrators were prepared for this, some wearing body armor, helmets and other personal protective equipment. At one point in the protest, some protesters threw smoke bombs at the police.

The chase through the city lasted roughly an hour. It is unclear if there were any arrests.

 

On the ground reporting by Logan Bik. At home reporting by Michaella Huck. 

Editor’s note: Edited at 11:20 a.m. on Aug. 25 for style corrections. 


Saturday, August 1

Hundreds outside Garcetti’s L.A. home demand he cancel rent 

by Samantha Bravo, Orlando Mayorquin

CENTRAL LOS ANGELES — A brick fence and hedge were all that separated the towering central Los Angeles home of Mayor Eric Garcetti and hundreds of riled protesters on Saturday. Saturday is August 1st— “Rent Day”.

One one side stood Garcetti’s austere tudor-style mansion lined with piercing stained windows. On the other side stood a lively crowd of diverse and impassioned Angelenos, demanding that the mayor cancel rent.

“What do we want?” “Cancel Rent” “When do we want it?” “Now,” the protesters chanted in English and Spanish.

The People’s City Council, a newly established activist group, organized Saturday’s 2 p.m. protest. The group formed from a number of housing advocacy organizations during the early days of the pandemic. Its bottom line is to advocate for housing as a human right.

The group is demanding that Garcetti cancel rent, ban evictions and convert empty hotels into social housing.

The city and the county have taken some action on rent relief during the pandemic. The County extended an eviction moratorium it enacted at the beginning of the pandemic until the end of next month. 

The moratorium requires tenants to pay any missed rent within 12 months of the end of the moratorium period. Last month, the City of Los Angeles implemented a $100 million means-tested rent relief program. These still fall miles short of PCC’s demand to suspend rent. 

“We’re all here asking Garcetti to cancel rent, but if this doesn’t work then we’re going to be asking for them to house us, because then we would be part of the unhoused population. So our struggle is their struggle and their struggle is our struggle,” said a protester, who went by the name RJ.

Another protester expressed her frustration that people who lost their jobs have to worry about their next meal and paying rent while Garcetti lived comfortably in his mansion. 

PCC is also calling on the mayor to mandate L.A. hotels to turn over their empty rooms to house the unhoused community. 

The group is critical of Project Roomkey, a state program aimed at reducing coronavirus transmission in the unhoused community by providing unhoused people with a hotel room, because it is carried out with voluntary cooperation from hotels. The program reported last month that it housed 3,700 unhoused individuals — 11,300 people short of its 15,000 goal. 

“What we have to say to Garcetti is ‘Be brave. Take care of your city and stop paying us lip service,” said a protester, who identified themself as Esme. 

After about an hour of speeches and chants outside the mayor’s home, the protesters marched to nearby Wilshire Boulevard where they occupied the street and held up their signs and banners. They then marched back to Garcetti’s home.

At around 5 p.m., the situation between police and the protesters escalated. Police arrested a number of protesters before blocking access to the area around Garcetti’s home.


Sunday, July 26

Black Lives Matter protests continue in Los Angeles, showing solidarity with Portland protests

by Logan Bik, Samantha Bravo

WESTWOOD — Hundreds gathered outside of the West Los Angeles Federal Building Sunday at noon to show solidarity with protesters in Portland, Oregon in the ongoing movement against racial injustice. 

In Portland, protesters have been in the streets for over 50 continuous days, starting after the death of George Floyd on May 25. Around three weeks ago, the Trump administration deployed federal troops to Portland. The local government expressed concern with these federal officers putting protesters into unmarked vans; since the deployment of these officers, protests in Portland have escalated.  

Protests in L.A. are beginning to escalate as well, with demonstrators damaging the downtown L.A. federal building and walking on the 101 Freeway last night. While there are currently no federal agents deployed in L.A., protesters are directing their efforts toward targeting federal buildings to protest against President Donald J. Trump’s decision to deploy federal agents across the country. 

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles organized Sunday’s demonstration to protest the Trump administration’s actions against protesters. 

Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of BLM-LA, explained the division between law enforcement and civilians and said Black people are going to continue to rise up and fight oppression.

“They kill our folks, we rise up and say ‘Stop killing our folks’ and they criminalize us for saying “Don’t kill us,”” Abdullah said. “They’re the criminals.”

Kendrick Sampson, an actor and activist, also spoke to the crowd that chanted, “Jackie Lacey must go” — a common chant at most protests organized by BLM-LA. The activist group has long demanded L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s resignation because they say she has failed to prosecute “killer cops.” 

During the speeches, a small group of about 10 counter-protesters began pushing through the crowd chanting “All lives matter” and “Thank you Jesus.” The two sides initially engaged in a shouting match, which later escalated once the counter-protesters forced their way through the crowd. After roughly 15 minutes of arguing and some pushing, a group of BLM protesters stood side-by-side to create a human barricade that separated the two groups. 

Police presence was limited outside of the federal building, with some Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff Department officers and deputies on guard; the officers were not in tactical gear. 

After nearly two hours of chanting and speeches outside of the West L.A. Federal Building, the crowd flowed into the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue around 2 p.m.

Crowds blocked off the intersection, causing drivers to turn their vehicles around. The group stayed in the street for nearly an hour and a half, playing music, chanting and speaking.

After the majority of protesters left, LASD set up a police line surrounding the federal building.

California Highway Patrol officers blocked off the Interstate 405 north and southbound entrances to prevent protesters from entering the freeway.

 


Saturday, July 11

Protesters rallying to “Defend LAPD” are met with counter-protesters at police headquarters 

by Michaella Huck, Samantha Bravo

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — As measures are being taken by many cities and states across the country to defund the police, around 500 protesters headed to Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters on Saturday at 10 a.m. for a “Defend LAPD” rally.

Families of law enforcement and fire department held posters with names of officers who died in the line of duty. 

They were met by a smaller group of around 100 “Defund the police” advocates who countered the supporters of the police department. 

“Defund the police” protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” and “Defund the police, refund the people,” as the other side yelled back, “LAPD, LAPD,” and “All Lives Matter.” 

The rally started with speeches by retired law enforcement officers and civilians who disagreed with the motions to defund the police. 

“Thank you so much for your support. We have tough times ahead. Reform is important, there’s a lot of things we shouldn’t have to respond to so that we can spend more time in our communities, helping the people that need us the most,” Los Angeles Southeast Division Captain Emada E. Tingirides said at the rally. “We welcome positive dialogue and reform and restructuring police work and need your voices to be behind that and give your opinion, so it’s not just 2% of the community asking for a reform.”

Moses Castillo, a retired law enforcement officer, said that LAPD must reform, but the department needs funding in order to improve.

“It is about time that our voices are heard, that our voices are not ignored any longer. We want the best department to be funded,” Castillo said. “We want the best department to have the support of our leaders. I’m calling on the mayor to help and get the message out that ‘We support LAPD.’”

LAPD barricaded the front of their downtown Los Angeles headquarters during a protest that demanded justice for George Floyd on May 28, 2020. (Logan Bik)

There were no barricades to prevent protesters from entering the police station; however, there were barricades erected for previous protests at the headquarters. “Defend LAPD” protesters were allowed to enter the police station to cool off from the sun during the protest.

Tyron Robinson, a Los Angeles native and advocate of defending LAPD, added that not all police officers are killers and defunding the police will harm our city. 

“We need to defend, not defund, our Los Angeles Police Department,” Robinson said. “We can not have the 1.5% of bad officers ruin it for the other 98.5% for the brave men in blue that put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve.”

As time went on, protesters on both sides began to argue, resulting in one protester getting arrested for suspicion of battery, according to LAPD Commander Vito Palazzolo. 

This resulted in the police barricading both sides of West First Street to separate the two groups. 

Tara Perry, the founder of the political organization Black Pact, explained the purpose of the “Defund LAPD” counter-protests and clarified the movement’s concerns with defunding the police to anti-defund advocates. 

“We need to reinvest into the people. We have to put resources back into our community,” Perry said. “The concept of policing has become so automatic in our system that we haven’t paid attention to the resources that were draining in order to fund the police.”

As temperatures rose, “Defend the LAPD” organizers asked the protesters to start leaving the area. Protesters dispersed around 12:45 p.m., leaving few to clean up the front of the LAPD headquarters.

 


Sunday, July 5

Protesters march to honor Brendon Glenn and spread awareness of police brutality faced by Black unhoused community

by Chris Torres, Michaella Huck

VENICE — Protesters gathered in Venice on Sunday afternoon to bring attention to the issues facing the unhoused community and the death of Brendon Glenn, a 29-year-old unhoused Black man in Venice, who was killed by former Los Angeles Police Department officer Clifford Proctor in 2015.   

Glenn’s story was used to highlight the rally’s cause — spreading awareness of police brutality against Black people in the unhoused community. 

Sunday’s event was co-organized by Save Venice, Service not Sweeps and the Venice Equity Alliance. The groups gathered at the First Baptist Church of Venice, where speakers and organizers advocated for solutions to racial disparities and homelessness in L.A.

Lydia Ponce, a Save Venice organizer, held an “Indigenous people for Black Lives ” sign while she preached the mission of the march to protesters. 

“(People of color) are holding onto their homes. People are suffering on the streets for many reasons some are unhoused and choosing to be unhoused. How do we take better care of our relatives?” Ponce said. “They are being abused, they’re being hurt. Sometimes their tents are being lit on fire and they’re straight up being beaten, assaulted or killed. So we’re here for unhoused Black lives today.” 

Before the protesters began marching, Glenn’s cousin, Grace McCarthy, gave a testimony describing her anger toward the District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who McCarthy said failed to prosecute the police responsible for Glenn’s death. 

“Jackie Lacey stood in the way of justice and that she’s the reason that so many families, that 608 families have never gotten justice for the killings and brutality they have experienced. Fuck Jackie Lacey, seriously, God,” McCarthy said. “ But what I really want to talk about is how (Glenn) lived. I want you to understand how Brendon lived and who he was.” 

She went on to talk about Glenn and explained what #SayTheirNames means to her. 

“When we say ‘Say Their Names’ we don’t mean you watch the video of them dying. That you watch the life leave their eyes, that you watch them scream out to their mother and these vulnerable moments. We mean that you understand that they were alive and living like you. They had dreams like you. They went to school like you. They were human — like you,” McCarthy said. “When Brendon was killed, (the media) used terms like ‘Black homeless man,’ never using his name and that was all to dehumanize him.” 

From the church, protesters marched down Seventh Avenue and made a left on Rose Avenue. They marched to Third Street, where a safe space was created for the unhoused community to speak at. The march continued on toward Main Street, as protesters chanted for the removal of Lacey and Mayor Eric Garcetti and calling for defunding the police. 

The march made several stops, where speakers from the unhoused and local community gave speeches.

A local protester, who introduced himself as Shaka, explained how Black people are more likely to experience homelessness and racial disparities.

“Our unhoused have become the forgotten of the downtrodden. There is no more time to run from the systemic and economic deprivation that America’s Black people have been forced to endure,” Shaka said. “The legacy of poverty that we are now viciously trapped in, relegated to housing projects, environmentally unsafe neighborhoods, reduced to being the unseen and unhoused house. We are locked out of wealth acquisition.”

At around 5 p.m., the crowd dispersed at Venice Beach — at the site where Glenn was killed in 2015.


Tuesday, June 23

Protesters demand for defunding LAUSD school police at downtown Los Angeles protest

by Chris Torres, Samantha Bravo

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Protesters chanted in front of the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters on Fourth Street and Beaudry Avenue in downtown Los Angeles to demand the defunding of LAUSD school police. 

The protest took place as the LAUSD board meeting was in session. The board is set to reevaluate police presence in schools.

The protesters supported LAUSD board member Monica Garcia’s resolution, which calls for the reduction of school police funding. 

Garcia’s resolution calls for a reduction of police funding by 50% in the coming year, 75% in the following year and 90% in the 2023-2024 school year.

The gradual reduction allows district officials to develop alternative safety and security plans. Garcia’s proposal is 1 of 3 motions up for discussion at the LAUSD board meeting today.

Before the protest, Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, led a libation to pay respects to the lives stolen by police violence. She called on some names of victims killed by the police in the past seven years:  AJ Webber, Jesse Romero, Antwon Rose, Christopher Deandre Mitchell, Andres Delgado, Kenny Watkins, Aiyana Stanley Jones, Elijah Mcclain, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Wakiesha Wilson, Kisha Michael, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. 

“I want us all to summon that name, think of that name — your mother, your grandmother, your grandfather, your uncle, your neighbor. Call them forward, summon their name,” Abdullah said. “Ashe, ashe, ashe.”

After the libation, she shared the reason why BLM-L.A., as well as her own personal reason, came out to protest on Tuesday. 

“We are here to back you up, we are here to say we don’t need no more police in schools, we’re here to say that schools should be places where you are nurtured, not policed,” Abdullah said. “I’m here as an organizer with BLM and I’m also here as the momma of three children in LAUSD.” 

Abdullah said her son, 10, was first visited by the police in school when he was in the first grade. 

“My son was 6 years old the first time he was called on for being a suspected gang member. How the hell are you 6 years old and a suspected gang member?” Abdullah said. “I guarantee you no little white boy has ever been a suspected gang member in the first grade.”

Abdullah pointed to the LAUSD building and said LAUSD need to do better.

“When we talk about defunding the school police, this is not a fucking theory. I’m sorry for cussing in front of the kids. This isn’t just about what we believe, this is about the lives of our very own children who are criminalized and traumatized constantly and then asked why they’re not doing good in their calculus test?” Abdullah said. “If you have school police who have AR-15 rifles in their fucking trucks, how do you think my children are suppose to learn?”

David Turner, a speaker at the protest, cheered, “We got to have it, right now, right now, right now,” which was repeated by the crowd. 

The crowd also chanted “Students not suspects” in between speeches.

Maya Henry, a Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets alumna and incoming UCLA student, shared her experience being a Black student while school police were present on her campus.

“They say if you look into the eyes of a person, you can see their truth, as if all they believe in or every experience reveals themselves to you. Maybe that’s why the officers on our campus wear these shades because if they had the chance to look into their eyes, I’d probably be scared away. Maybe they wear these shades to mask who they really are, because they know if we could look them in the eyes, they wouldn’t be as tough as they try to be,” Henry said. “Dear LAUSD, the more you wait, the more students you fail, the more pain you create. Give us a chance to be great.”

Henry said the LAUSD doesn’t have to get rid of school police — they can reform, reinvent and reimagine it.

“Divest from school police, invest in Black youth,” Henry said.

Joseph Williams, a BLM-L.A. organizer, said the organization has been having these conversations before the George Floyd protests. He shared stories from friends who have sons that have been criminalized and accused of sexual assault at 6 years old.

“We have students crying, talking about how they were trying to break up a fight and being attacked by school police. Stop criminalizing our kids, stop criminalizing our students and look at us as children that we are,” Williams said. “Unfortunately as we know it, Black pain is not enough. We’ve been telling people long before George Floyd, we’ve been talking about that for a long time, but they haven’t listened to us until now.”

 


 

Wednesday, June 17

Protests against D.A. Jackie Lacey continue; defund police movement makes strides

by Chris Torres, Orlando Mayorquin

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Thousands gathered in front of the Hall of Justice on Wednesday for Black Lives Matter Los Angeles’s weekly protest demanding the removal of L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who the group says has failed to prosecute “killer cops.” 

Several family members of people who died at the hands of police spoke at Wednesday’s protest. One of them was Tommy Twyman, the mother of Ryan Twyman — a Black man who died last year when L.A. County Sheriff deputies fired 34 rounds into his vehicle. 

“A year later, you see officers beating up people and getting arrested and all of that, but she isn’t doing anything about them murdering people,” Twyman said, likely referring to charges Lacey filed last week against an LAPD officer who was filmed beating a homeless man last month. 

Lacey has not filed charges against the two deputies who shot and killed Ryan Twyman. 

Black Lives Matter-L.A., led by co-founder Melina Abdullah, has appeared on the Hall of Justice’s front steps to demand Lacey’s resignation since October 2017, but the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd have propelled the campaign’s momentum to remove Lacey.

The campaign, which Black Lives Matter-L.A. has dubbed “#JackieLaceMustGo,” is just one component of the organization’s movement. The organization is also advocating for the defunding — and eventual abolition — of the police. 

“They act like abolition is some radical demand. It’s a commonsensical demand,” Abdullah said at Wednesday’s demonstration. “Policing is a remnant of chattel slavery. Abolish that fucking shit.” 

Abdullah and other organizers presented the People’s Budget, Black Lives Matter-L.A.’s proposed city budget, to the city council on Monday. The budget proposes reducing LAPD’s portion of the budget to less than 2%.

The push to defund the police scored a couple of victories on Tuesday, as the L.A. City Council voted 11-3 to cut $150 million from the LAPD’s budget and six councilmembers introduced a motion that would dispatch social workers instead of police to respond to non-violent emergency calls. 

“It’s really important that we remember that each of our bodies means power. Each of our bodies has power in it,” Abdullah said, citing Tuesday’s breakthrough motion to illustrate her point. 

After the speeches in front of the Hall of Justice, the protesters marched around downtown L.A. while reciting protest chants that have marked the years-long struggle against systemic racism and police brutality.

“Say his name. Robert Fuller.” 

“Black lives matter here.” 

 “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” 

 


 

Tuesday, June 16

Hundreds march to defund LAUSD school police

by Victor Rojas, Samantha Bravo

 

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES —  Over a hundred students, parents and teachers protested in front of Miguel Contreras Learning Complex on Tuesday morning for a march to defund Los Angeles Unified School District school police and fund psychiatric counselors, social workers, mental health resources and campus aid.

The march was in collaboration with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and L.A. Students Deserve, a youth-led organization of students, teachers and parents who seek justice in the education system.

Joseph Williams, a Black Lives Matter-L.A. organizer, said they are calling for the defunding of LAUSD police department and reinvesting of funds to help Black students and, ultimately, all students.

“Folks have been uprising all over the country after the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade and other folks. Today we’re here to make that call as well for our schools,” Williams said. “Today we’re going to show the city and the school board that there is a growing movement and a student-led movement to defund the school police and to reimagine public safety in LAUSD schools.”

Williams said that the system of policing, which is connected to the system of colonization and enslavement, continues to brutalize Indigenous and Black people.

“We know that criminalization starts happening when we are children and when we have police in schools, things that are child behavior or adolescent behavior are often criminalized,” Williams said. “When we say defund the police, we know that’s a step towards creating a new system of public safety for the community that doesn’t rely on punishment in cages and on criminalization.”

A speaker, who introduced herself as Sarah, said Black children are more likely to be a victim of police brutality.

“To know that my little brother can be targeted is painful,” Sarah said. “Black students represent 8% of the district, yet made up a quarter of arrests in schools. To know that Black bodies are not only disregarded in this world, but in a place that is supposed to represent the freedom of expression and education of all people is painful.”

Last year, the LAUSD Board of Education voted to eliminate the use of random wanding or searches using metal detectors. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said on Monday he is planning on recommending to the district’s school board that campus police can no longer use pepper spray.

“Although that is a victory, that (use of pepper spray) is no longer a primary focus,” Sarah said. “We are not here to reform Los Angeles School Police Department, because no matter how many tactics and body cams and cultural training they had, they will not change history.”

Mya Edwards Pena, a speaker at the march, shared personal poetry and said this problem is toxic from the roots and that LAUSD chooses to invest $70 million in an outdated system that criminalizes black and brown youth.

“I never talked or spoke to a policeman a day in my life, but I have friends who have been questioned, searched, arrested, tested, even pepper-sprayed, one, two, three, four times,” Pena said. “We are not here to remove, reform or reimagine police. We are here to defund and put those dollars towards students like you and me.”

“Imagine caring for Black and brown youth like the tree with the long roots — like us, dare I say — love us, nourish us, with psychiatric social workers, school psychologists, nurses and college aid who want to see us improve,” Pena said. “Divest that money in the school police and see how soon we’ll flourish and bloom because once we keep mental health resources in our schools, Black and brown students will blossom like the tree you planted.”

After speeches, the crowd marched to the downtown LAUSD office on West Fourth Street and South Beaudry Avenue while chanting, “Hey LAUSD, defund school police.”

The crowd dispersed around 1 p.m.

 


 

Sunday, June 14

Protesters march against injustice faced by Black LGBTQ community

by Chris Torres, Michaella Huck

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood Boulevard was filled with rainbow flags and signs on Sunday for an All Black Lives Matter march, which was organized by a group of Black LGBTQ leaders from different organizations.

The group, also known as the Black LGBTQIA Advisory Board Council, organized the event in direct response to the death of Tony McDade, a Black trans man who was killed by police. The event also protests against systemic racism, racial injustice and other forms of oppression, according to B.L.A.C’s statement.

The march began at 11 a.m. on Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue and ended at the intersection of San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards in West Hollywood.

Paul Scott, an organizer and founder of the organization L.A. Black LGBT Movement, explained the importance of fighting for Black LGBTQ lives, as well as others.

“The challenge for us as gay, same-gender-loving queer people within the Black race is that we often are marginalized,” Scott said. “We’re often sort of an afterthought, if we’re a thought at all. We want to make sure that we are within that umbrella of the Black family and that our lives matter as well.”

He went on to outline how far this generation has come, but the progress they have made doesn’t seem far enough.

“I grew up in a very segregated in America. Michael Jackson was one of the first Black artists we had. So before that, it was all white and now there’s progress being made,” Scott added. “I still think white people are scared of us. They’re just scared of me and there’s nothing I can do about that — it’s demonstrated every day. They just shoot us. That’s fear, but I think that’s embedded in the culture.”

As the protesters began marching, LGBTQ activists such as Blossom Brown gave examples of trans people who have died and yet to receive justice. Brown mentioned Dominique Rem’mie Fells, a Black trans woman whose remains were found on Monday in the Schuylkill River near Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia.

“Black trans people are being left out of the Black movement and I have some shit to say about it,” Brown said. “Dominique Fells was mutilated. They fucking mutilated a sister like she was nothing. I have every right to be angry.”

Following the words from Brown and other activists, protesters chanted, “This is what democracy looks like,” as they marched west toward Santa Monica Boulevard.

Charles Britton-Eisman, a local protester, explained why allyship is important in the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Trans Black people and queer Black people are put in a very unfortunate intersection where they not only have to face the injustices (faced) by the Black community that we are protesting (against) now, but they are also faced with injustices for being a queer,” Britton-Eisman said.”It is important that we, as a community, acknowledge that those struggles are real and that we hear them and that we want to support them in fixing those as well.”

As the protest came to a close around 3 p.m., Yuriel Young, a trans community activist, performed Beyoncé’s song, “Formation,” before the crowd dispersed.

 


 

Saturday, June 13

Northridge Black Lives Matter call for defunding CSUN police, protecting ethnic studies

by Michaella Huck, Orlando Mayorquin, Samantha Bravo

NORTHRIDGE — Hundreds of protesters Saturday morning came together in Northridge to call for the defunding of the police and other measures as nation-wide demonstrations enter the third week.

Northridge Black Lives Matter, a new group fronted by CSUN students, organized the event which largely focused on demanding change at CSUN, including defunding the school’s police department.

“We wanted to show you all that we’re not just coming out and marching. We’re coming out with demands now, we’re coming out here to change,” said Carrole Logan, a member of Northridge BLM.

The protest began in the Sears Auto Center parking lot at the Northridge Fashion Center. Organizers started by performing a libation, where they said the names of Black lives who have been lost to police brutality and officer-involved shootings, before speakers delivered remarks.

Speakers from the Northridge BLM, Youth Justice Coalition and West Valley People’s Alliance put the key issues and proposals, which underscore the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement, into specific context — for CSUN and the San Fernando Valley.

“We can live in a world without police. We have communities right now across the world who do that everyday,” said Justin Marks, a member of BLM-L.A., Revolutionary Scholars and recent CSUN graduate. “We want to defund CSUN PD, we want to close the jail at CSUN, we want CSUN to end its contract with the California Prison Industry Authority and we want to make ethnic studies a requirement.”

Marks called for the defunding of CSUN’s police department and the closure of its on-campus jail. He also said CSUN has a contract with the CALPIA, a state institution that oversees prison labor and manufacturing, and called on the university to terminate it.

Ebony Martin, CSUN student and member of Northridge BLM, said defunding CSUN’s police department and police in general could mean more funding for education and more funding for people who specialize in work untrained police are asked to do.

“A lot of police are not trained to deal with someone having a mental breakdown so we’d take those funds and either train them to deal with mental breakdowns or have those calls go to people who know how to deal with mental breakdowns,” Martin said.
Saharra White, the mother of Quinten Thomas’ 3-year-older daughter, spoke at the event and led chants of her late partner’s name. Thomas was a CSUN student who died in 2018 while in police custody.

“(The institutions) try to stereotype us all the time and assassinate our character once they assassinate us. That’s what they’re going to try to do to Quinten,” said White, who brought a sign with Thomas’ picture to the event.

“They’re gonna try to assassinate his character,” White said. “Little do you know, he was in his third year of college, trying to be a registered nurse, trying to help people. The nurses in the jail couldn’t even do their job and help him.”

Before they began to march, the crowd sang the Black national anthem and held a moment of silence for Robert Fuller, 24, who was found hanging from a tree in front of Palmdale City Hall on Wednesday.

The group, led by the speakers from the different organizations, marched east on Nordhoff Street from the Northridge Fashion Center toward the CSUN Department of Police Services building, located on the west side of the CSUN campus.

Demonstrators held a long banner that read, “Black Lives Matter” and “#defundthepolice.”

Protestors chanted the names of Fuller, Thomas and Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in her home in Louisville, Kentucky last year.

Along the way, the group formed a circle and occupied the intersection of Nordhoff Street and Reseda Avenue, where organizers delivered more speeches and protesters continued to chant.

The demonstrators eventually made their way to the campus police department, where they gathered outside and reflected on the change needed at the university.

Marks, who majored in Africana studies at CSUN, spoke about the student activism on campus in the late ‘60s — activism that led to the creation of the university’s Educational Opportunities Program and ethnic studies departments that exist today.

“This is your history,” Marks told the crowd that consisted mostly of students. “Do you have anything to commemorate them? No … But I see a giant Matador, a symbol of colonialism on this campus.”

Marks, himself, has a long history of activism on campus. In 2010, a 22-year-old Marks was one of six CSUN students arrested during a protest against educational budget cuts. The charges were dropped two years later.

“We’re fighting for George Floyd. We’re fighting for Assembly Bill 540 and Assembly Bill 1460. We’re fighting to make ethnic studies (a) mandatory (graduation requirement) for all,” Marks said.

Ethnic studies was a main part of the conversation at Saturday’s demonstration. AB 1460 is a state bill that would make ethnic studies a graduation requirement in the California State University system. The state assembly is set to vote on the bill on Monday.

Tyrone Carter, the former Chair of the University Student Union’s Board of Directors and formerly incarcerated, spoke to the subject.

“I was blessed to be able to take advantage of education and academia, but that came with a challenge. As I walked through the rooms of CSUN and other schools, their academics were very Eurocentric,” Carter said. “That’s the same education I received growing up. They denied me (W. E. B.) Du Bois. They denied me James Baldwin. They denied me all the Black scholars who were out there.”

Miriam Neal, former CSUN student, called for the commitment of non-Black allies to the movement before the group marched toward Los Angeles Police Department’s Devonshire station.

“In your everyday lives you have to show up and you have to check your fucking heart …You have to be able to take the conversations and understand, ‘Hey, you might be a part of the problem.’ You might be. It’s just what it is,” Neal said.

The protesters then marched up Reseda Boulevard and assembled outside LAPD’s Devonshire station, where the demonstration ended.

Marks reminded everyone of BLM-L.A.’s demands, which include defunding the police, prosecuting killer cops and adopting the People’s Budget L.A.

He also reminded everyone of demands specific to the CSUN community: closing of CSUN’s jail, ending CSUN’s contract with the CALPIA, renaming the Delmar Oviatt Library — which Marks said is named after a racist — and getting justice for Thomas.

 

Echo Park rally led by housed, unhoused Black individuals calls for defunding police, adopting People’s Budget

by Samantha Bravo, Natalie Miranda

ECHO PARK — The Los Angeles Community Action Network, Democratic Socialists of America Los Angeles and Street Watch LA and other co-sponsors organized a rally for the unhoused Black community in solidarity with Black Lives Matter on Saturday, meeting at the Echo Park Lake Boat House.

The rally was led by housed and unhoused Black individuals, who are more likely to experience police violence. They demanded L.A. City Council to defund the police and called for the reallocation of funds to housing and healthcare for the unhoused community.

Pete White, an LA-CAN organizer, welcomed the crowd by asking everyone to look to their neighbors on either side and say, “There’s a problem in Los Angeles.”

“Once we acknowledge there’s a problem, we are duty bound to do something about it,” he said, quoting the book, “Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson.”

White recently read a headline this year attributing the rise of homeless numbers to racism. This is something he and organizations like LA-CAN have witnessed first hand and have been actively fighting against for decades.

“Racism is the cause for a lot of organized abandonment in our communities, and it’s interesting that Los Angeles is now talking about racism being the cause, when we’ve been talking about it from the ground for 25-30 years,” White said. “We’ve been talking about industrialization, we’ve been talking about redlining and segregation, we’ve been talking about runaway unemployment, underemployment and just no opportunities for Black folks in this city – all you have to do is take a ride around.”

Individuals took turns sharing personal stories. One person who spoke about his journey was Theodore Henderson, who has been unhoused for seven years. Henderson hosts the podcast “We the Unhoused,” to amplify the voices within his community.

Henderson said the stereotypical perception of unhoused individuals does not accurately reflect who they are – a reality he knows too well.

“What people first think of me is that I am unhoused and I am a criminal,” Henderson said. “They don’t see that I am unhoused and an educated man – they don’t care.”

Henderson, a former educator, said he lost his home after falling ill.

“My story doesn’t begin in the park like many of our unhoused neighbors,” Henderson said. “We didn’t grow up one day and say, ‘We’re going to live out on the street.’ We had a life, we had a family and so did I.”

Henderson said he has encountered brutal treatment as a Black and unhoused person in L.A.

“I’ve gone through unhoused white vigilantism,” Henderson said. “I’ve gone through terrorism from police officers that look like me and some that don’t look like me, and I do mean guns drawn, billy clubs out in the rain that throw me out of the park, because they felt I was dangerous – a crazy, drug dealing Black man.”

He wants to see funds allocated toward helping communities on the ground level instead of policing.

“When you criminalize people, people like me – I’m in that boat too – you diminish their humanity,” Henderson said. “When you defund the police and put the money in ways to help our humanity, you liberate all of us – all lives matter.”

The crowd marched to the 13th District Office on Sunset Boulevard while chanting, “Defund the police” and “House keys not handcuffs.”

Ashley Bennet, Ground Game L.A. co-founder and organizer, posted a list of demands on the wall outside of City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s office. Demonstrators joined by adding their own messages.

The list of demands consisted of three points: defunding the police, implementing the People’s Budget to include services, healthcare and housing, as well as calling for Councilmember O’Farrell to step down as the Chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.

“We must do better,” Bennett said. “It’s our job to take the reins and rebuild the system.”

 


 

Friday, June 12

‘Peace and inclusion’: Comedy club organizes protest to educate and unite

by Mano Baghjajian, Victor Rojas

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Protesters gathered outside the Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard to raise awareness against police brutality and social injustice. What started as a small group of people grew to over 50 participants at the event’s peak.

“This is a serious situation going on in the world,” said Edwonda White, a stand up comedian. “It’s so great to see people of so many ethnicities that are supporting equality.”

The Laugh Factory is one of the biggest comedy clubs in Los Angeles, making it a center of joy and laughter for people of all genders and races. The location of the protest may have encouraged the spread of unity and joy instead of anger and hate among the protesters.

“We brought a bunch of comedians and stars here to demonstrate that we need justice for African-Americans in this country,” said Jaime Masada, the owner of the Laugh Factory. “Laughter is healing. We need to start healing people and bringing each other together.”

The demonstration itself began around 12 p.m. and continued for hours as people from many different groups gave powerful speeches about the importance of racial equality and explaining how the people can begin to make a change.

“Protest doesn’t mean looting and rioting, it means peace and inclusion,” said E.J. Joseph, one of the protest’s organizers. “This change isn’t only for Black people — it’s for the world.”

Joseph and Sade Sellers, a screenwriter, organized the protest in order to peacefully educate people about the injustice that has been around for decades and how it can be stopped with love and peace.

Comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish, as well as Hollywood celebrities such as Ciera Foster and Lil Rel Howery, gave a speech advocating for social change and justice for African-Americans all over the nation.

“I care about all people, especially people that look like me,” Haddish said. “It was really important for me to speak from my heart today to hopefully connect with the hearts of others and make some effective change.”

This protest is just one of the hundreds that have been going on around the country over the past few weeks in response to the death of George Floyd. Many protesters hope that these protests can lead toward systemic change.

 


 

Thursday, June 11

Downtown L.A. protest focuses on community building, bringing about change at an individual level

by Sofia Gutierrez, Tiago Barreiro, Michaella Huck

 

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Around 100 people showed up in front of Los Angeles City Hall in support of Black Lives Matter on Thursday. 

As they chanted, “Racism is over,” protestors set up art that called for unity and love on the steps of City Hall. 

Following the chants, demonstrators observed a moment of silence for those who have died, including George Floyd, due to police brutality and racial injustices. 

Humna Khan, a local protestor, explained how the movement resonates with her and the importance of the protests to push for policy change. 

“It’s not so much of the protest as it was. It’s peaceful and it’s really going to end with policy change. That’s the expectation right now,” Khan stated. “I would encourage people to come out … the media has been really falsifying the way protests are working here.” 

As the temperature increased, protesters gathered under the shade in Circle Park, located beside the City Hall. They formed a circle and shared their names and passions in an effort to build unity amongst the group.

 


 

Wednesday, June 10

Protest against D.A. Jackie Lacey continues; organizers call for maintaining protest momentum 

by Cristina Boktor, Natalie Miranda

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, along with hundreds of demonstrators, gathered outside of the Hall of Justice on Wednesday afternoon to protest for the defunding of the Los Angeles Police Department and District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s inaction to prosecute police officers for misconduct. 

Police in riot gear surrounded and guarded the Hall of Justice, as the crowd chanted, “Jackie Lacey must go. Jackie Lacey will go. Killer cops ain’t funny. New DA for 2020.” 

A section of the sidewalk in front of the Hall of Justice was covered in flowers and signs that were dedicated to victims of police-involved deaths. Family members of the victims lost to police brutality spoke to protesters, sharing their experiences of losing their loved ones.

Anya Slaughter, the mother of Kendrec McDade, lost her 19-year-old son in 2012 at the hands of Pasadena police. She shared her hardship with the crowd. 

“It’s been eight years since my son was taken away from me by the police department – officers Jeffrey Newlen and Matthew Griffin,” Slaughter said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my son. It’s hard for me at times, but I just stay uplifted by things like this.” 

She said demanding justice for those lost to police brutality, like George Floyd and McDade, will make a change.

“Their lives will never be in vain if we continue to do things like this,” Slaughter said. “We have to make a change. We can’t accept nothing less. Jackie Lacey must go.”

Slaughter voted for Lacey during the 2012 election. But six months later, McDade was killed by police. Lacey promised to prosecute the officers after the Office of Independent Review Group released its report, according to Slaughter. After six months of silence from Lacey, Slaughter got word that Lacey wasn’t going to prosecute Newlen and Griffin.

“My son lost his life on the same street he was conceived on,” Slaughter said. “I am not going to let this pass. I’m going to fight for my son until I can’t breathe anymore.”

She called on everyone in attendance to continue the fight.

“We have to come out together all the time. We have to get her out of office. L.A. County vote Jackie Lacey out,” Slaughter said, to which the crowd responded by chanting, “Jackie Lacey must go.”

David Cunningham, a member and organizer for BLM-LA, said he wants to see Jackie Lacey out of office and school police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department be defunded.

He said BLM-LA has been organizing every single Wednesday for two and a half years fighting for change, and although the crowds are large now, the crowd size often doesn’t last.

“We’ve seen crowds go away in a couple of weeks, we have to organize to a point where crowds stay,” Cunningham said. “That’s the only way we’re going to continue to see change. These large crowds have made changes in defunding the LAPD a little bit, but that’s not enough. We need more.”

“We hope the LAPD is defunded and we create this new system that works for everyone, where people aren’t being killed unjustly at the hands of government officials who are sworn to protect and serve,” Cunningham said.

Reign Morton, another organizer with BLM-LA, said strategy and spirit are important in the fight for justice.

“I’m mentally strong, physically fit and spiritually sound, because this isn’t a physical war — this is a spiritual war,” Morton said.

He said the fight for the movement is for the next generation.

“They’re seeing this, y’all,” Morton said. “I don’t have kids, but I’m terrified to bring them into this world – terrified. Things aren’t going back to the way it was.”

 


 

Tuesday, June 9

Burbank protesters march to sustain momentum of Black Lives Matter movement

by Victor Rojas, Michaella Huck, Robert Gonzalez

BURBANK — Around 60 people marched from Burbank Empire Center to Burbank City Hall to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Tuesday. 

Benjamin Abiola, the protest’s organizer, explained why he felt it was necessary — now more than ever — to use his platform to spread knowledge and awareness about violence against Black people in this country. 

“(Racism) is something that has been around since before I was born,” Abiola said. “And if not now, when? This is the perfect time to seek real change and I couldn’t just sit back and watch that happen. It would be a shame to sit through this historic year and not come out with real change.” 

Protestors met around 1 p.m. at Burbank Empire Center on Empire Avenue. After a short speech from Konstantine Anthony, a former actor who is running for Burbank City Council, the protesters marched from the shopping center over to Burbank City Hall. 

The demonstrators brought signs and megaphones to spread awareness of the racial injustice facing the Black community. The protesters stopped briefly on the Olive Avenue overpass and waved their signs at the Interstate 5 traffic below them.  

One sign read “Black love, Brown pride,” affirming the diverse support the movement has gained across the country. 

Stacy Timothy, a CSUN student, said allies could help the movement by continuing to voice their support.

“It’s as little as posting on your social media and being out here with Black people marching,” Timothy said. 

Timothy wants people to understand that as a Black woman, she won’t stop marching until she sees a change in America. 

“I hope people aren’t just here marching for clout. I actually hope this carries on after,” she said. “I hope the momentum carries on after this is done.”

Around 3:30 p.m., protestors made it to Burbank City Hall where they chanted, “What do we what? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” 

Right before 4 p.m., the crowd returned to the shopping center where the protest began, and gradually dispersed. 

 


 

Monday, June 8

Hundreds attend George Floyd memorial service in downtown Los Angeles

by Victor Rojas, Mano Baghjajian, Orlando Mayorquin

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — On Monday at 12 p.m., mourners gathered in downtown Los Angeles to pay their respects to George Floyd.  

“We wanted to come out and show strong support for Black Lives Matter,” said Reverend James Thomas, one of the clergies at the protest. “We as clergy stand firm behind the demands that have been made here today, which are to prosecute killer cops and defund the police.”

The memorial service was organized by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. 

“We’ve seen a lot of different types of protests, so it’s good to go out every day as much as we can,” said Molly, a protester at the memorial service. “It has been great to see the variety of different ways people are supporting the movement.

Beginning at 8 a.m., car processions from the San Fernando Valley, Santa Ana, Long Beach and South L.A. made their way to downtown Los Angeles, where the memorial service was held at 12 p.m. 

A caravan made up of vehicles and protesters made their way through downtown L.A. and eventually congregated at L.A. City Hall. The caravan included multiple hearses carrying unoccupied coffins to symbolize Floyd and other police brutality victims. People arrived with floral arrangements to honor Floyd and other Black victims of injustice.

“It’s a cry directed towards the system,” said Jason, a protester at the demonstration. “It’s not just the cops. It’s the jury, the DA and the judges. The system shows that the darker your skin is, the harsher the punishment is.”

The group of around 500 attendees included people of all races, as well as mothers of Black men who had lost their lives due to police brutality.

The gathering was entirely nonviolent and conveyed a message of unity and community amongst those present.

 “(Looting) is something we don’t want because we are all part of the community and want to work on a solution,” said Gabriel Salazar, a protester. “We want to show the difference between doing it peacefully opposed to the other ones which are destroying everything.”

Salazar, 43, echoed a sentiment shared by other protesters — that these demonstrations can start a dialogue with those in charge of the police department, which would lead to better training for officers along with other reforms. 

“As an individual, you need to go (protest) as much as possible because it reminds people that we have power,” said Hannah, a protestor at the service. “If you go and see a small group of people, you might feel shy and not want to go. But if you look out your window and see thousands of people marching, that gets the momentum going and gets more people to come out.”

“We wanted to show just how peaceful we are and how strategic we are in terms of making our demands,” Thomas said. “We wanted to show our power, and I think we were able to do that today.”

 


 

Sunday, June 7

Demands for defunding LAPD, DA Jackie Lacey’s removal continue at Hollywood Black Lives Matter protest; Minneapolis City Council members back move to disband police department

by Orlando Mayorquin, Logan Bik, Michaella Huck

HOLLYWOOD — Thousands showed up for another day of protest in Hollywood on Sunday to demand for the defunding of the police and the removal of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Sunday’s protest, which also honored victims of police brutality, is part of the nationwide movement to defund police departments. The movement scored a win early Sunday as a majority of the Minneapolis City Council, which presides over the city where George Floyd was killed by police, announced it would back a move to disband the city’s police department.

At around 4 p.m. protesters gathered in front of the Capitol Records building in 80-degree heat. Black Lives Matter Los Angeles partnered with popular rapper YG and Kendrick Sampson of BLD PWR to organize the protest. 

Before demonstrators began marching, Sampson and YG said some opening words. YG also played his new single, “FTP,” and danced with protesters. Sampson delivered a speech to the protesters. 

“How many of you all are ready to do this work every day? How many of you all are ready to end this legacy of slave catching that is the policing system? Say defund the police!” Sampson said. 

While BLM-LA has called for defunding of the Los Angeles Police Department for the last five years, the national outcry sparked by Floyd’s death, as well as the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and more, has given the effort new momentum. 

Protesters in L.A. gained some ground last week when Mayor Eric Garcetti put forth a plan to cut and redirect $250 million from the city’s budget — with up to $150 million in cuts to the LAPD budget — to programs for the city’s impoverished and minority communities. 

The cuts scaled back Garcetti’s original proposal for a 7% spending increase for the LAPD. The department still accounts for nearly half of the city’s budget under Garcetti’s proposed cuts, which are still a far cry from protesters’ and activists’ demands for the total defunding, if not abolishment, of the police department. 

“We want culturally competent mental health care in our community. We want housing in our community. We need education, health care and jobs. That’s what keeps us safe,” Sampson stated. “We need to abolish the police, abolish prisons, we need to defund the police. The prison system was founded in slave catching, so stop asking why they operate that way.” 

BLM-LA and other local activist groups are championing a city budget proposal they are calling the People’s Budget,” which proposes a reduction of the LAPD’s portion of the budget to 5% while allocating nearly 70% of the budget to “Universal Aid and Crisis Management” and “Reimagined Community Safety.”

Protesters also continued to call for the resignation of Garcetti and Lacey, who activists said has failed to prosecute “killer cops.”

“Getting rid of Jackie Lacey is all a part of a corrupt system that needs to change and be dismantled so while the catalyst is George Floyd he’s just one of the thousands,” said Jeff Atkins, a protester.

Organizers sat in the back of a pickup truck surrounded by protesters as it drove down Hollywood Boulevard. The truck stopped at the intersection of North Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, where BLM activist, Joseph Williams, recited BLM’s demands. 

“We got to defund the police, prosecute killer cops and reinvest in our community,” Williams said.

The protests concluded around 6 p.m. with a message from BLM co-founder, Melina Abdullah.

”We can not just stand here and submit to the lynching of our people,” Abdullah said. “We cannot just stand here and submit to the murder of our people at the hands of the police that were designed to do exactly what they are doing.” 

BLM-LA will continue their protests next week. They will meet at Leimert Park at 10 a.m on Monday for a George Floyd memorial. On Wednesday, they will protest against Lacey at the Hall of Justice.

 


Saturday, June 6

USC student organized peaceful protest to battle negative media portrayal of protests 

by Victor Rojas, Samantha Bravo

RESEDA — As protests across the country continue, a University of Southern California student organized a gathering in front of the West Valley Police Station in Reseda on Saturday morning, in hopes of challenging media portrayals of violence and looting happening during protests. 

The organizer, who only gave the name Eduardo, said he has noticed individuals who are concerned about attending protests because the media has portrayed them as violent. 

“The motivation was to create something here in our backyard as a way to change the communities’ perspective of what a protest looks like, that (protests) are not violent and that we can get our message across by being just here,” Eduardo said. 

He said he wanted to show that the community stands with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We want them to know that we are here, as peaceful as it is, we are making noise, we want them to hear us inside, we want them to know that the community has committed sustained engagement in these issues, and we won’t stop until there’s justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the countless other Black lives that have been lost to police brutality,” Eduardo said. 

The police station was closed and there was no police presence outside the facility. The police station had a sign that read, “Thank you West Valley for your support.”

Celeste Watson, 27, attended the protest and said it was important for demonstrations to take place outside of downtown Los Angeles. 

“We’re talking about in the suburbs, we’re talking about places where you wouldn’t expect because racism and police brutality happen everywhere,” Watson said. “We need to have (protests) happen in Reseda, we need it to happen in Beverly Hills.”

Xavier Booker, 26, hoped to educate others on Black Lives Matter by attending protests and having conversations.

“My life matters, it’s time for a change. People are tired,” Booker said. “At the end of the day, whatever uniform you put on, when you take that off, the color of your skin remains the same.”

 

Protesters call for Simi Valley council member’s resignation, march for Black lives

by Gillian Moran-Perez, Munina Lam

SIMI VALLEY — Protesters in Simi Valley showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and called for the resignation of Simi Valley City Council member Mike Judge as they marched from the intersection of Cochran Street and Sycamore Drive to the city’s police department. 

Judge, a 30-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran, shared a meme with the text “Wanna stop the Riots? Mobilize the septic tank trucks, put a pressure cannon on em… hose em down…. the end.” on his personal Facebook page on Monday. He captioned the post, “This is brilliant, it will also enforce the mask rule!!.”

There are two petitions calling for Judge’s removal from the city council, according to the Ventura County Star. The petitions, created by Katie R and a Simi Valley resident on Thursday, pointed out that this wasn’t the first time Judge has shared inappropriate content on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Judge has since removed Monday’s post. He posted an apology on his Facebook page Thursday night.

Jarome Ricard, a Simi Valley resident and alumnus of CSUN and Cal State Long Beach, said he could not stand sitting around not doing anything after learning about Judge’s post. 

“Mike Judge’s comment about using (septic tank) hoses to shut us up is a racist comment,” said Ricard, who drew a connection between Judge’s post to the ’60s when high-pressure hoses were used on Black people in the South. “He needs to resign, we need to do something about that too.” 

Ricard said he’s never experienced racism firsthand in Simi Valley, but he remembered seeing racist signs in the area when former President Barack Obama was elected. 

He also said he was proud to see many young people at the protest, because it concerned their future. As a retired L.A. Unified School District teacher, he considers himself an advocate for the younger generation. 

Amongst the crowd of protesters, one of the signs read: “This is for my generation.” 

Kaylin, 14, who has a Black father and four Black siblings, was holding the sign. She said she came out to show her support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“I wanted to come out to help my future because I’m going to be here for a long time, and I want things to be better,” she said. 

Kaylin also talked about her own privilege as a mixed Black person. 

“I am very privileged, personally, because I don’t pass as a Black person even though I am. I get treated a lot better than Black people would,” she said. “But I want to show all my Black family and Black friends that I am here for them.”

The Simi Valley police force was armed and present at different areas where the protesters were headed. Police blocked a few state Route 118 exit ramps, including Tapo Canyon.

As the protesters reached the police station, an altercation occurred between a young protester and an older white man who criticized the protest. 

Maxillian, 29, a protester from Lobo, Kentucky, stepped in to de-escalate the situation by telling the young protester, “It’s about love, chill out.” He then turned to the crowd and said, “If you guys react to this, (people against Black Lives Matter protests) win!.” 

Maxillian said he came to the protest to record it on his camera and participate in the peaceful demonstration but once he saw the disagreement, he felt he needed to step in.

“There was an altercation just because people had different views but at the same time at the end of the altercation, they were standing for the same thing. If anything put me in between that altercation, it was love,” Maxillian said.

As the crowd gathered around the Simi Valley Police Department, protesters used a megaphone to lead chants for George Floyd and Breanna Taylor. A protester, who identified himself as a small business owner of a veterinary clinic in Simi Valley, spoke to the crowd about using his white privilege to advocate for Black lives.

“My wife and myself are gonna put our money where our mouth is. Do not support a business that does not think Black lives matter,” he said, as the crowd erupted in applause. 

The crowd chanted, “People not profits.”

Another protester led the crowd in a moment of silence. The group kneeled for eight minutes, 46 seconds — in honor of Floyd.

 


Friday, June 5

Video: Demonstrations continue in downtown L.A.; diverse crowd remembers Breonna Taylor, calls for local government action

by Sofia Gutierrez, Tiago Barreiro

DOWNTOWN L.A. — Protesters showed up to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to protest the local authorities’ handling of police brutality. They also celebrated what would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday.

 

CSUN students lead another protest in Northridge

by Mano Baghjajian, Victor Rojas, Natalie Miranda

NORTHRIDGE — Northridge Black Lives Matter organized another protest, which was attended by more than 100 protesters, to march against police brutality and celebrate the life of Breonna Taylor. Protesters marched from the Northridge Recreation Center to the Chatsworth Courthouse, and back to the park. 

Before marching to the Chatsworth Courthouse, the protesters sang “Happy Birthday” to commemorate what would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday. Louisville Metro police officers, who had a “no-knock” warrant,  shot and killed Taylor when they raided her home during a narcotics investigation in March. The officers have not been charged with any crimes. 

As protesters left the park and traveled southbound on Reseda Boulevard, they chanted “No Justice, no peace.” 

Abby Rivas, a protester, said she wanted to vocalize her emotions with fellow protesters.

“I’ve been so angry and frustrated at what’s going on in the world,” Rivas said. “I’ve been feeling so helpless, and I can’t do anything about it, but I know that my voice is one of my only assets so I just wanted to speak out against the injustices that have been happening.”

Rivas said she was overwhelmed with emotion to see people care about the same cause.

“When I got here I started to tear up,” Rivas said. “It’s been amazing seeing everyone come together – different ages, different ethnicities. It’s just so beautiful that we can be united and fight for each other.”

Protesters formed a circle at the intersection of Reseda Boulevard and Nordhoff Street, where they dedicated an eight minutes,  46 seconds moment of silence for George Floyd, who was killed in the custody of Minneapolis police. Some protesters kneeled while other protesters sat on the ground.

Brandon Seed, a protester, said he drew a connection between the video of George Floyd’s death and his personal life.

“It’s sad to see a video of a person who cries out ‘Mom, I can’t breathe.’ I personally saw my uncle die in my house and he said “I can’t breathe.” So when I heard that, it just hit,” Seed said.

The circle of protesters chanted Taylor and Floyd’s name in remembrance before making their way to the intersection of Reseda Boulevard and Tampa Avenue, where they formed another circle and chanted.

Eventually, the protesters reached the Chatsworth Courthouse, where they were met with police in riot gear guarding the courthouse’s entrance.

Robert Mah, a protester who marched while holding an upside down American flag with “Ignorant America” written on it, said he’s disappointed in the police brutality he’s witnessed and the way the police have been treating protesters. 

“I don’t want to pay taxes for these policemen that are shooting rubber bullets at people,” Mah said. “I almost got shot at in the face. It’s ridiculous. I don’t understand it. I have relatives that are police, too, and I lost all respect for them – all of it – entirely.”

Rivas said the Los Angeles Police Department and police around the country need policy changes in regards to police brutality.

“I know people are saying that the protests don’t do anything, but the protests are exactly why all of the officers that are involved in George Floyd’s murder were convicted and the murder was changed from third-degree murder to second-degree murder,” Rivas said. “And that was a victory in itself, and I think all of this is just the beginning and we’re going to keep fighting until African Americans and people of color are treated equally in this country.” 

Organizers paused to address the crowd, many of whom sat peacefully on the floor, at the courthouse. At 3 p.m., the group marched back to the park. The protest officially ended at 4:30 p.m. 

Friday’s protest was the second demonstration organized by Northridge Black Lives Matter, which was founded by Black CSUN students who hope the group will become an official chapter of Black Lives Matter. The group announced the event via Instagram on Thursday.

Saeed Yusuf, one of the organizers for Northridge Black Lives Matter, said they wanted to form this group to give San Fernando Valley a voice through their activism.

“We made our page Monday and we were out marching on Tuesday,” Yusuf said. “We’re ready for our voices to be heard.”

Corrolee, another one of the organizers, said the motivation behind the protests was rage.

“I got some people and made a flyer and posted it, and then let God do his work,” Corrolee said. “And all of a sudden, we received so much support and it just went crazy. Now, we know we have support, we’re confident and we’re going to keep going.”

Yusuf reiterated a statement that has been chanted across the country.

“We want justice,” Yusuf said. “There will be no peace until we get justice.”

 

Celebrating the life of Breonna Taylor on what would have been her 27th birthday

by Samantha Bravo, Sloane Bozzi

WEST HOLLYWOOD — About 500 demonstrators met at the Laugh Factory comedy club on Sunset Boulevard and North Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood to honor Breonna Taylor’s life on would have been her 27th birthday on Friday afternoon. As the event set into motion, demonstrators were given the option of sticking around the Laugh Factory or marching around the area.

The event was organized by Sade Sellers, who announced it through Instagram on Thursday.

“Today Breonna Taylor would have been 27 years old,” Sellers said at the beginning of the event. “It’s her birthday, it is a day she should be spending with us but she is not. Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been charged.”

Louisville police officers shot and killed Taylor in her home in the middle of the night during a botched narcotics investigation into two men who lived far away. As of Friday, the officers involved have not been charged. 

“She deserves justice. She deserves to rest in peace,” Sellers said.

 Outside of the Laugh Factory, a DJ began playing music as people celebrating Taylor danced in the streets. The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” over a box of donuts adorned with lit candles.

A gate near the Laugh Factory served as a memorial, as people hung small bouquets of flowers and signs with neon pink duct tape. The memorial area was set up by two young girls, who also donated flowers.

“We wanted to make a memorial right here on this empty space,” said Emilia Fernandez, who was one of the organizers. “Hopefully nobody takes it down. We hope it lasts as long as possible. Even though she’s passed, her legacy is living within us and her death particularly is leading us right into the future.”

After an hour of marching in the streets of West Hollywood, participants met back at the Laugh Factory to give speeches about police brutality. The celebration concluded at 3 p.m.

 

More than 100 people turn out to clean South L.A., support Black businesses

by Michaella Huck, Orlando Mayorquin, Tiago Barreiro


SOUTH LOS ANGELES A group of over 100 people gathered at a Jack In The Box parking lot at West Florence Avenue and South Western Avenue in South Los Angeles to participate in a community clean up event and support Black businesses on Friday morning.

The group cleaned a one-mile stretch of Western Avenue. They began at Florence Avenue and worked their way south on Western Avenue toward a grocery store parking lot on Manchester Avenue, where five Black-owned food trucks awaited the participants.

“What my position is in this protest is actually taking some action, and cleaning up the community while we’re protesting,” said Dime Jones, one of the event’s organizers.

The event took place just around the corner from Florence and Normandie avenues, ground zero of the 1992 Los Angeles riots which erupted over the acquittal of four LAPD officers who were videotaped brutally beating Rodney King, a Black man.

“Every day I see how my community was affected by the 1965 and Rodney King riots and how we still have yet to recover. Instead of protesting and walking I wanted to protest and clean,” Jones wrote in an Instagram post that promoted the event. 

Organizers made it clear to the participants that there would be no chanting or traffic disruption. 

“I feel like us chanting in a neighborhood that already faces police brutality and povertyit’s just not a good thing. So I wanted to do something good while people feel a part of something,” Jones said.

The event organizers provided participants with gloves, rakes and trash bags. Participants picked up trash and wiped down graffiti as they made their way down Western Avenue.

The event ended at a Ralphs parking lot, where people filled the bed of a pickup truck with stuffed trash bags and purchased food from a number of Black-owned food trucks.

 


Thursday, June 4

Thousands of peaceful protesters march in downtown L.A.

by Logan Bik, Orlando Mayorquin

 

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — A few thousand protesters gathered in front of Los Angeles City Hall in the early afternoon on Thursday. The protest remained peaceful as the police and National Guard presence was limited to protecting surrounding buildings, a continued shift in tone from the clashes that took place in downtown over the weekend. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti lifted the curfew for the city of Los Angeles just before the protest began downtown.

Several protesters spoke to the crowd about the importance of voting and political involvement. 

“I swear to God I will get into policy. I will end systemic racism. I represent all of you. I hope that all of you can go to school to get educated, and to get into politics to fix the fucked up system,” said Julianna Mack, a 19-year-old speaker.

Mack said officials at Mack’s grade school defended a boy who called Mack the n-word, on the claim that it was the boy’s right to free speech.

“We’re going to change this bullshit. I’m done. My dad, my grandmother and my grandfather had to protest this shit. I can’t believe we still have to protest,” Mack said. “It makes me so mad.” 

At around 4:30 p.m., the crowd marched through the tunnel on Third Street toward Figueroa Street and the 110 Freeway. Police blocked the freeway entrances, but the demonstrators made no attempt to walk onto the freeway as other protesters had in days past. 

The crowd snaked through the streets of downtown. The protesters returned to City Hall at 5:30 p.m.  Some demonstrators delivered speeches to the crowd. Bestia, a local Italian restaurant, handed out free pizzas to the crowd. 

The group resumed its march at 7 p.m., making another round through the streets of downtown. 

The protesters eventually made their way back to City Hall at 8 p.m., where they chanted “Jackie Lacey must go”, building on yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest in downtown which specifically targeted Jackie Lacey, L.A. County’s district attorney. Activists have called on her to resign on the charge that she has tolerated police misconduct.

Most of the protesters left around 9:30 p.m., but some stuck around and socialized. One group of about 50 people gathered around a speaker and sang in unison to Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me.” 

 

UCLA students call for funding of Black Resource Center, divestment of UCPD at campus protest

by Samantha Bravo, Michaella Huck

WESTWOOD — UCLA’s Black Graduate Student Association hosted a protest to show solidarity with all those who have died in officer-involved killings and proclaim a list of demands of the government and the University of California system.  

At 1 p.m., around 500 protesters gathered in between Royce Hall and Powell Library on the Westwood campus. 

Mason Foster, an incoming UCLA graduate student, began the protest by discussing why the protesters were assembling. She talked about the effectiveness of protests around the country. 

“Yesterday, we had so many victories. Yesterday was the victory of moving Chauvin’s charges from third-degree to second-degree,” Mason said. 

Mason’s speech was followed by her calling out their list of demands, which were separated into three parts: demands for the federal level, the city of Los Angeles and the University of California system. 

Their federal demands — the arrest of all four officers involved in the George Floyd case and a second-degree murder charge for Chauvin — were met as of yesterday.

Their demands for the city of L.A. and the UC system include a lifting of all countywide curfews, the reopening of COVID-19 testing facilities and the development of a Black Resource Center at UCLA. The demands also called on all UC schools to divest from the University of California Police Department. 

Before speakers delivered their remarks, demonstrators made signs and wrote a list of emergency contacts on their wrists to ensure their family members could be contacted if any disruptions occurred as they marched. 

Protesters shouted “ No justice, no peace, fuck these racist police” as they marched about two miles north of the campus.

They stopped in front of Franz Hall Tower around 3:15 p.m. The organizers then allowed students to speak about police brutality. 

JeiRonemo Thomas, a UCLA freshman, said Black students like him have seen police brutality their whole lives. He talked about how it has affected him. 

“We aren’t supposed to be freedom fighters. It didn’t start that way, America made us this way. We watched as little kids in 2009 as Oscar Grant got killed by police and we were innocent but, we knew something was wrong,” Thomas said. “We were helplessly enraged in 2012 seeing George Zimmerman walk free for killing Trayvon Martin, who carried nothing but an Arizona and some damn Skittles… they hate us. They hate me we have to realize that” 

After the crowd listened to student testimonies, they made their way back to Powell Library. Protesters chanted the names of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, three Black Americans whose killings fueled nationwide demonstrations against anti-Black racism and police brutality, until the protest’s conclusion at 4 p.m. 

 

Peaceful march on Burbank City Hall

by Sloane Bozzi, Victor Rojas, Munina Lam

BURBANK About 100 people convened at McCambridge Park, located on Glenoaks Boulevard in Burbank at 12 p.m. on Thursday as the eighth day of protests continued throughout Los Angeles. The group marched from the park to Burbank City Hall.

The protest was organized by Reed Shannon and Natalie Kinlow. Kinlow, 18, is an incoming CSUN freshman majoring in dance and minoring in biology. 

“Both Reed and I have grown up in this community and we understand as Black youth growing up in this community how hard it can be,” Kinlow said. “I think this community is very cut off from the racial injustices, very racially insensitive in some ways. We wanted to raise awareness of the injustices that Black people are going through today.”

“We’re here today to bring awareness to the death of George Floyd,” Kinlow said. “And even though his murderers were charged and arrested, we believe that sustainable change still needs to happen and in order for that change to come, we cannot be quiet, we cannot stop protesting.”

A diverse crowd made up of young people and families with children made up the protest group. Along the way its march to the City Hall, the group paused outside of the Burbank Police Department. 

What started as an initial group of 100 participants grew in size as the protest made its way through downtown Burbank. At the end of the protest, Kinlow announced 1,420 people had participated.

“The fact that we did this today peacefully with no violence, no looting, no hate at all, just pure love, we’re fighting it in the best way possible,” said Jade Piteri, a 19-year-old protester.

The first peaceful protest in Burbank took place on Monday with some police presence. 

The Burbank Police Department made 14 arrests Monday night after the city’s curfew. According to a press release, a majority of the arrests were based on the suspicion of looting.

Despite the high number of arrests after Monday’s protest, there was a moderate police presence during Thursday’s protest. Streets in downtown Burbank were blocked by police to ensure protesters’ safety and minimal traffic disruption.

The city of Burbank announced there would be no enforced curfew Thursday night, in accordance with L.A. County. 

The group made their way back to McCambridge Park and the active protest ended at 3 p.m.

“They heard us today, they saw us today,” Kinlow said. “But tomorrow cannot be the same as yesterday.”

 


Wednesday, June 3

Thousands protest against D.A. Jackie Lacey at Hall of Justice; Actor Lakeith Stanfield speaks out on the inaction of those in power

by Tyler Ridgle, Tiago Barreiro

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES A Black Lives Matter protest took place in front of the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The protest is part of an ongoing campaign to oust Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, whom BLM alleges has been lenient on police brutality by the LAPD. Actor Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out, Atlanta) was present and spoke out on the inaction of those in power.

 

Black Lives Matter protest in DTLA calls on L.A. County District Attorney to resign; Garcetti announces $250 million in cuts from city budget to fund programs for minority communities. 

by Michaella Huck, Orlando Mayorquin

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Thousands gathered in front of Los Angeles City Hall at 3 p.m to participate in a Black Lives Matter protest calling for the resignation of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Protesters claim that Lacey has failed to prosecute police officers for their misconduct. 

The protesters made their way north to the L.A. County Hall of Justice on Spring Street

Members of the National Guard and police officers stood guard atop the Hall of Justice’s steps and on the rooftops of surrounding buildings. 

Black Lives Matter organizers and other activists delivered speeches to the crowd.

“The Hall of Justice that we paid for is protected by the LAPD and the National Guard, by the people who own it. Does that look like justice to you?” said Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the L.A. chapter of BLM. 

One of the speakers was Fouzia Almarou, the mother of Kenneth Ross Jr., a 25-year-old Black man who dealt with mental illness, who was fatally shot by Gardena police in 2018. 

“We live in the killer-cop capital of the world. My son was killed in the Crenshaw mall and Jackie Lacey won’t do anything about it,” Almarou said. 

Last year, Lacey’s office decided not to file criminal charges against the officer who shot Ross,  concluding that he acted in self-defense. 

Shortly after 6 p.m., Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in a press conference that he would not be increasing the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget as he had proposed last month. 

The mayor announced $250 million in cuts to city departments, including the LAPD, to reinvest in programs for minority communities. 

The announcement comes after a week of activist demands for the defunding of the LAPD and condemnation of Garcetti’s budget, which proposed a spending increase for the LAPD while other city departments had their funding cut. 

Eileen M. Decker, president of the LAPD commission, announced measures within the department which included expanded implicit bias training. 

The crowd of protesters outside City Hall and the Hall of Justice shrunk by more than half in size by 7:30 p.m. 

 

Protesters show support at Woodland Hills protest despite the 99 degree heat

by Logan Bik

WOODLAND HILLS — Demonstrators honored the life of George Floyd outside of the Warner Center in Woodland Hills on Wednesday. 

Despite the 99 degree heat, a few hundred protesters gathered around 3 p.m., holding up signs on the sidewalk as drivers passing by in their vehicles honked in support. The group was a mix of ages and races. Most protesters held signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, which is sweeping across the county. 

“The country is having this movement and we need to jump through this window of opportunity,” said Charmain McDowell, 44, who was protesting. 

For many, this local protest was a way for them to show their support, without having to go to downtown L.A.

Tongie Scott, a 50-year-old medical doctor who grew up in racially divided Mississippi, said that she grew up in a racist environment, but was happy to be in Los Angeles, where racism is not as prevalent. 

Scott expressed the importance of this movement and was happy to be out protesting. This was the first protest she had been a part of in her life.

“I figured if you want to see change, you have to be an agent of change,” Scott said. “Today has affected me to the core. I never imagined this.”

While this was Scott’s first protest, she was not alone. For many others, this was their first protest as well. 

For siblings Kevin Somossa, 27, and Janelle Cassarubia,18, today was their first time protesting. 

“It’s important that we express how we feel in person,” Somossa said. “We are one, the people versus police brutality.”

The protest had a plethora of support from the community as cars that drove by constantly honked in solidarity.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, June 2

Students lead peaceful protest on CSUN campus and surrounding neighborhood 

by Samantha Bravo

NORTHRIDGE A group of CSUN students organized a peaceful protest that took place on the CSUN campus Tuesday.

The protest began at noon on the Oviatt Lawn and ended at around 3:30 p.m. with a moment of silence for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other victims of police brutality.

The protest was announced Monday on Instagram by an account that was created on the same day, @northridgeblm. While the account’s name suggested it was an official Black Lives Matter chapter, the official Black Lives Matter did not have a Northridge chapter listed on their website.

Individuals, weary of the mismatched information and relative newness of the account, raised their concerns on one of the account’s posts.

Instagram user “sheerfadel” commented: “A lot of people are not going to this anymore because we see that this page was just recently made yesterday. And we don’t know what and who you’re associated with.”

The @northridgeblm account expressed safety concerns around revealing the identity of its members in a post. On the morning of the protest, the account revealed that it was run by Black CSUN students who intend to establish an official Northridge chapter of Black Lives Matter in the future.

The account continued to emphasize that there would be no looting or vandalism taking place on the CSUN campus or the Northridge community while protesting peacefully.

“We’re here today to show that justice at the system that was created for us, is constantly targeting us as a threat. We’re not thugs and we’re showing here today that we’re peaceful as a CSUN community, as a Black community, brown community, Asian and white community,” said Ebony Martin, one of the CSUN students who organized the protest. “We’re all coming together to show that Black lives matter.”

The crowd was small at the beginning of the protest, but it grew as the crowd started marching off of campus and onto Nordhoff Street toward Reseda Boulevard. The group paused on Etiwanda Avenue to take a knee and held a moment of silence for George Floyd. Many motorists drove by, honked and raised their fists out of their windows in solidarity.

“We have to let them know we’re here to speak our concerns, but we’re also here to be peaceful today,” Martin said. “No looting.”

CSUN police and Los Angeles Police Department officers blocked Reseda Boulevard for protesters to make their way toward Dearborn Street.

“Today we decided to organize peacefully because we want to keep walking in solidarity for the Black lives that have been continuously taken by officers and law enforcements, people of power are constantly taking people lives and they are not being held accountable and they need to be held accountable, they need to be in jail for murder, period.” said Coco McMillian, another CSUN student who organized the protest. “Black Lives Matter and they will continue to matter. If they keep getting hurt, we are going to keep doing this. I’m going to keep doing this.”

The organizers, as well as many who attended the protest, brought water to give to protesters. As the temperature was in the high 90s, the group paused between each street so the crowd could keep up.

“I’m very proud of the demonstration that I saw today, I think that the group represented themselves very well,” CSUN Chief of Police Gregory Murphy said. “I think it sent a resounding message that was inhibited by any distractions and all I can say is that I’m proud of the effort and support the cause.”

President Dianne F. Harrison addressed the peaceful protest in an email sent to the student body.

“In the midst of tremendous pain being experienced by so many, we all have a role to play in combating systemic racism,” Harrison wrote. “Earlier today, a peaceful protest took place on campus and the surrounding neighborhood, showing the determination of the Northridge community to participate in change.”

After the protest, the organizer took to social media to acknowledge the success of the protest and the community’s support.

“The support means so much. Our main goal is to become an official Black Lives Matter chapter in Northridge that upholds and demonstrates the same values and mission of @blklivesmatter. We want to show the world that Northridge cares about Black lives,” the post read.

 

Thousands of protesters rally at L.A. Mayor Garcetti’s official residence

by Michaella Huck

CENTRAL LOS ANGELES A police helicopter flew overhead as approximately 2,000 protesters rallied in front of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s official residence, the Getty House, in Windsor Square to demand change in the policing system Tuesday evening.

Led by Black Lives Matters’ Los Angeles chapter, the event saw people of different ages and ethnicities in unity as they held up signs with messages demanding action from Garcetti and L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

“Chant down Babylon, Black people are the bomb, we ready, yeah fuck Garcetti,” protesters chanted in front of the mayor’s home.

The organizers explained to the protesters that Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd were a few examples of many instances of police brutality in our nation.

According to L.A. Times’ homicide report, 15 people have died in officer-involved shootings in L.A. County since 2019.

A Black Lives Matter member, who did not give his name, shared stories about how LAPD has negatively affected his life. He described the school-to-prison pipeline and said his first run-in with the police came at the age of 11.

“I was 11, my crime was horseplay. I was arrested at 13 years old for leaving to get a haircut before school ended. I was chokeslammed and arrested again at 14 years old for speaking during an assembly,” he said. “This is what L.A. has chosen to spend our money on.”

Unlike other protests over the last week, Black Lives Matter L.A. organized this protest with three demands for non-Black allies and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter L.A. chapter, read the demands aloud.

The first demand was for white people to “stop calling the police on Black people for simply living.”

She then explained the importance of organization for a protest to be successful. The second demand was for more people to join an organization like Black Lives Matter to create a structure for protests.

Finally, she called for a defunding of the policing system as a whole and the removal of Jackie Lacey and Eric Garcetti from their positions in office. The crowd then cheered and chanted, “Defund police, defund police.”

Rochelle Smith, a local protester, explained that she was there because Black people deserve change.

“It’s time for all people to stand up and be together,” Smith said.

 

Peaceful protest outside of L.A City Hall; protesters marched on 110 Freeway briefly

by Logan Bik

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES Demonstrators gathered outside of Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday afternoon to demand justice for George Floyd and a revised Los Angeles Police Department budget.

After chanting outside of the City Hall’s steps, the few thousand demonstrators marched through the city and eventually made their way on the northbound 110 Freeway. Just before 2 p.m., the protesters walked onto the freeway, where there was no police presence. The protesters got off the freeway at the next exit.

Local residents cheered on the protesters from their balconies, while the rifle-wielding National Guard members defended local businesses.

As the protest settled outside the LAPD headquarters, demonstrators urged police officers to take a knee with them. None of the LAPD officers did.

The group got frustrated and made their way back to the City Hall and continued to chant, “Justice for George!”

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, June 1

Black Lives Matter protests in Granada Hills

by Gillian Moran-Perez, Michaella Huck, Mano Baghjajian

GRANADA HILLS Young people and families gathered on the corner of Zelzah Avenue and Chatsworth Street to show their solidarity peacefully on the sixth day of George Floyd protests.

Around a hundred people of different ages and backgrounds chanted “Black lives matter” and held signs with messages against police brutality such as “I can’t breathe” and “Coronavirus isn’t our only plague.”

Onlookers cheered on the crowd and drivers held signs and honked in support as they drove by.

Fluke Fluker, a local activist and teacher, explained what needs to happen in the future.

“I’m sick and tired. Enough is enough. Three more arrests need to happen. I’m tired of Black lives being snubbed. We’re here in unison, as one people, as one America, to say enough is enough,” Fluker said.

Julie Baca-Williams, a Granada Hills resident, was at the protest with her two daughters. They held signs that read “Charge them all” and chanted with the crowd.

“I’m here to protest the injustices that continue to happen with our police departments on the local and state level and for justice for all people, Black and every color. This needs to stop,” Baca-Williams said.

Jennifer Brown, a CSUN film student, was doing her part protesting, but she also tried to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by giving out hand sanitizer to the crowd.

“Everyone is giving out water and snacks, but I didn’t see any hand sanitizer,” Brown said. “I didn’t want people to be out here and not contribute because of the virus.”

All of the protesters wore masks and facial coverings due to the pandemic. Brown said she felt that handing out hand sanitizer would help the protesters’ morale and put their minds more at ease.

“I realized that it was very dangerous for us all to be out here together,” Brown said. “So I put on some gloves and started giving out hand sanitizer because it’s the least I could do.

At around 3 p.m., a public safety alert notified protesters of Los Angeles County’s 5 p.m. curfew. Nearby business owners, with help from volunteers, began to board up their businesses to protect them from looting.

“There is no looting here yet, but as the day goes on it might get worse,” said Nicholas Knapp, a volunteer. “We are trying to prevent people from breaking in and looting and burning like we’ve seen on the news.”

Knapp, along with a handful of men, helped put up plywood slabs across businesses’ windows down Zelzah Avenue and Chatsworth Street. They boarded up the buildings as a precaution, as the store owners still feared looting was real amongst the store owners.

The protesters continued to demonstrate peacefully until the city-wide curfew took effect at 5 p.m. By 5:15 p.m., nearly all the protesters had peacefully left the area without any police involvement.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, May 31

Peaceful protests continue while looters take advantage of situation

by Michaella Huck

Protesters continued to march peacefully in Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles to protest police brutality and the killing of George Floyd, while looters rushed in and caused havoc.

The city of Santa Monica declared a city-wide 4 p.m. curfew to get people off the streets.  Los Angeles County has been under a 6 p.m. curfew for the past two days.

SANTA MONICA — At around 4:30 p.m., police launched tear gas into the crowd at Santa Monica as an attempt to push the crowd northbound, away from the promenade.

Prior to the use of tear gas, the National Guard warned protesters that action will be taken if they do not move north in five minutes. Protesters retaliated by throwing eggs, water bottles and rocks at police. When the police shot less-than-lethal rubber bullets and tear gas, the protesters made their way to Santa Monica City Hall, which was already blocked by police.

Earlier in the day, protesters peacefully marched down Ocean Avenue while holding signs with messages calling for justice for George Floyd and condemning police brutality. They were halted by police officers and National Guard members on the intersection of Colorado and Ocean avenues around 2 p.m. According to police, this was to stop the further damage of storefronts and local businesses.

Protesters faced the officers and chanted, “No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police.”

Jonelle Lewis, a Black Lives Matter activist and yoga instructor, expressed her frustration with the police department.

“I’m out here to show my solidarity with brothers and sisters on the front line in Minneapolis and in all the cities across America that are over-policed and underserved,” Lewis said.

The protest was peaceful until the curfew. Protesters eventually dispersed, while looters converged on the Santa Monica businesses.

While officers blocked the Third Street Promenade, looters broke into the surrounding businesses. Shattered windows left merchandise exposed, and buildings and storefronts were covered in graffiti.

Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud announced early Monday that more than 400 people were arrested under the suspicion of looting and burglary at around 7 p.m., three hours after curfew, on Sunday.

The city of Santa Monica announced a 1 p.m. curfew for businesses and 4 p.m. city-wide curfew for Monday.

 

Protesters standoff with National Guard in front of City Hall

by Logan Bik

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — In downtown L.A., protesters called for a peaceful protest and chanted, “No looting, no graffiti.”

As the group of approximately 1,000 protesters approached the steps of L.A. City Hall at 5:00 p.m., officers from the Los Angeles Police Department stood on steps behind the National Guard as the peaceful demonstrators chanted, “George Floyd.”

A group of men, who identified themselves as House Plan, was passing out pizza and water from the back of their pick up truck as demonstrators were approaching City Hall. They expressed the importance of supporting other Angelenos through this difficult time.

“This is our house, that’s why we’re here,” House Plan said. “We gotta take care of our people.”

The protesters congregated and took a knee and held a moment of silence in honor of George Floyd.

Following that, LAPD Captain Billy Brockway spoke with the protesters, who wanted to have a peaceful conversation.

“Today was beautiful. People came and had their time and were peaceful. We need to have more conversations as a part of the healing process,” Brockway said.

Captain Brockway said the National Guard was there to protect LAPD officers after days of violence.

“I can’t have my men and women hit with rocks. (On Saturday) we had 11 police cruisers destroyed, totaling out to $1.1 million in damage,” Brockway said.

An additional 1100 National Guard members were deployed throughout the state on Monday, bringing the total to 4, 500 National Guard members in the state according to California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Most of the crowd in downtown left as the county-wide 6 p.m. curfew approached, with roughly 100 people that stayed to see what would happen.

A group of five Black men expressed the importance of being out, even if it was past curfew. One of them wanted to be identified as Tokyo Revenge.

“You can only be so nice. The National Guard is just a scare tactic. We don’t want to return to normality, that means we failed,” Tokyo Revenge said.

After roughly 30 minutes after curfew, the protesters approached the National Guard and LAPD while chanting and asking them to take a knee. Neither did.

As the protesters began to get frustrated, they approached a small group of National Guard members. There were small conversations between protesters and the National Guard members, which eventually led to a hug between a National Guard member and a protester.

Curfews are continued to be enforced throughout the state.

In L.A. County, the curfew is from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. According to the L.A. County sheriff’s department, individuals traveling to and from work, individuals seeking medical treatment, people experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter and credentialed members of the media involved in media gathering are exempted from the curfew; Police officers, National Guard, and other military personnel are exempt from the curfew as well.

 

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Saturday, May 30

National Guard deployed to L.A. due to violence and destruction.

by Logan Bik, Gillian Moran-Perez, Samantha Bravo

FAIRFAX Peaceful protesters gathered to honor George Floyd near Pan Pacific Park in Fairfax on Saturday where they were met by a line of Los Angeles police officers, resulting in another day of violence between police and demonstrators.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti expanded a curfew for downtown L.A. to the entire city at 7:00 p.m. The citywide curfew would be in place from 8:00 p.m. until 5:30 a.m., giving Angelenos only one hour to vacate city streets. California Gov. Gavin Newsom later declared a state of emergency in L.A. County and deployed the National Guard to assist local law enforcement after four days of protests in L.A.

As of Sunday, the National Guard has been deployed in 24 states across the country as protesters continue to cry out against police brutality and the racial divide between police and Black Americans.

The protest at the Pan Pacific Park was organized by the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter. A large crowd of a few thousand gathered at the park and began peacefully marching westbound on West Third Street.

Marcos Mendez, 27, from Pacoima expressed the importance of participating in the protests.

“It’s not about color anymore, it’s about what’s right and what’s wrong, and what the police have been doing is wrong,” Mendez said.

Protesters were chanting “Defund the police” and “George Floyd, say his name,” as they carried signs that read “No justice no peace” and “Riot is the language of the unheard,” the famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

A woman and her partner’s five-year-old son, who sat on her shoulders with a sign that read “Am I Next?,” were stopped frequently to have their pictures taken.

The mother, Laporchea, said her inspiration for the poster came from frequently seeing Black men being killed. “He’s a growing Black man. You’ll never know if he’ll be next,” Laporchea said.

She said she tells her son why they are protesting.

“I tell him that we’re protesting for the people that come behind us because before us, there was Martin Luther King Jr. and all these civil rights activists that protested for us,” Laporchea said. “We’re doing it for the people that are in his generation so that they don’t have to feel the way that we feel.”

Another woman carried a large poster filled with pictures of the faces of Black men and women who were killed by police, along with short descriptions of where they were from and how they were killed.

Johnnetta Tripplett, a South Central resident, said this was her first protest and she was fighting for justice. She has a 30-year-old son for whom she fears for.

“When I look at all these pictures of these men, especially the man who just got murdered, I see my son. Those are our sons that they’re killing and it needs to stop,” said Tripplett. “Enough is enough. We’re tired.”

The protest started with people smiling, children running around, dogs walking on leashes and people holding posters high in the air, but it soon turned into a battle between the LAPD and protesters.

A line of approximately 30 police officers attempted to block the thousands of protesters marching on Third Street. Protesters quickly surrounded the police which resulted in backup officers arriving on scene using deterrents, such as flash bangs and rubber bullets.

Once the police began to use force, protesters began to destroy police vehicles, eventually lighting one on fire.

The police then began a push into the crowd, whacking protesters with their batons when they did not follow orders. Police began to arrest protesters as they refused to move. The crowd eventually dispersed onto side streets and made their way up north onto Melrose Avenue, where all hell broke loose.

The scene was chaotic as police occupied nearly every corner: graffiti-covered walls, sidewalks lined with broken glass, looters emerged from stores with handfuls of merchandise, fires burned in the middle of the streets, sirens rang throughout the area, helicopters circled above and fireworks lit up the sky.

“Why are you doing this, this is not why we are here,” said one protester who opposed the looting.

It is unclear whether the looters were protesters or individuals who took advantage of the situation.

The owner of Front Row, a clothing store on Melrose, who gave his name as Emanuel was sad to see the city in such distress, especially after dealing with the closures from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m hurting, it’s terrible. First COVID-19, now this. We were supposed to open next week, but I don’t think anybody is going to come,” Emanuel said.

Things did not let up through the night despite the curfew. Structure fires broke out on Melrose Avenue and people ran through the alleyways to avoid police.

 

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Friday, May 29

Over 500 protesters arrested after peaceful protest turned violent.

by Logan Bik

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES Hundreds of protesters were arrested after a peaceful protest turned violent in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

This was the third evening of protests in downtown L.A. following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. In the video of the incident, Floyd can be heard pleading with Chauvin and saying, “I can’t breathe.”

The four officers involved with Floyd’s death were fired on Tuesday, according to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

The protest started around 4 p.m. outside of the L.A. City Hall. The protesters moved throughout the city, as police blocked their path.

At around 7:30 p.m., demonstrators made it onto the northbound 110 Freeway and eventually made it onto the southbound side as well.

After holding up traffic for approximately 30 minutes, the California Highway Patrol blocked off the path and led the demonstrators off the freeway.

After roughly eight hours of protest, the streets turned into a battlefield as demonstrators clashed with the police. Six police officers were injured, according to LAPD. It is unclear how many protesters were injured.

Protesters refused to leave the streets after the LAPD declared the protests were an unlawful assembly around 9:30 p.m., which led to the majority of the arrests.

Protesters threw debris at the police, lit fires in the streets and set off fireworks in between the tall downtown skyscrapers.

Police officers shot flashbangs and bean bags as a way to disperse the crowds.

Police did not deploy tear gas, as has been the case with protests in other cities. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz deployed the state’s National Guard to Minneapolis, the site of Floyd’s death, to quell demonstrations.

Some downtown L.A. businesses were looted during the protest. The looting and burglaries were not necessarily a part of the original protest, but rather people who took advantage of the situation, according to LAPD.

A total of 533 people were arrested, with suspected charges such as failure to disperse, looting and attempted murder, according to LAPD.

Last night’s events led to the highest number of arrests at a demonstration in recent L.A. history. The last mass arrest of a similar scale was when 300 protesters were arrested at an Occupy L.A. camp at City Hall in 2011, according to L.A. Times.

 

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Thursday, May 28

Demonstration, which started at LAPD headquarters before protesters marched the streets of DTLA, ended peacefully.

by Samantha Bravo, Logan Bik

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES On Thursday, protesters marched through downtown Los Angeles starting from the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters and demanded justice for the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

A portion of the protesters swarmed and stood in front of a California Highway Patrol vehicle, as a line of CHP vehicles drove by the headquarters. At least one water bottle was thrown at the cruiser, but the officer was able to drive away without any physical damage to the vehicle. No protesters appeared to be injured.

The same cannot be said for the day before, when Black Lives Matter protesters stopped traffic on both sides of the U.S. Route 101 near Union Station. Protesters held onto a CHP vehicle as it drove through the crowd. Protesters smashed the rear windshield, which caused the officer to speed off while protesters were on the vehicle. A protester fell off the vehicle and sustained injuries.

The initial group of approximately 100 protesters grew through Thursday evening as they began walking on the streets of downtown L.A. The protesters were eventually met by a line of LAPD officers at the intersection of Third Street and Grand Avenue.

The demonstration ended peacefully, after an approximately hour-long standoff. LAPD informed the crowd through a loudspeaker that the protest was deemed an unlawful gathering. Not only did they threaten to use less-lethal force, the LAPD also threatened to arrest protesters.

In Minneapolis, protests have continued and looting has occurred. A police station was set on fire by rioters on Thursday.

The Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, declared a state of emergency in Minneapolis and activated the National Guard to respond to the protests in St. Paul and surrounding communities.

“Peaceful demonstrations are a keystone of our democratic system. We must also allow those who wish to protest peacefully to do so safely,” Walz wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, some individuals have engaged in unlawful and dangerous activity, including arson, rioting, looting, and damaging public and private property.”

The L. A. chapter of Black Lives Matter has planned another protest at Pan Pacific Park this Saturday.