Protests against District Attorney Jackie Lacey continue; defund police movement makes strides

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.”