On Sunday, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (BLMLA) organized a protest at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard, where Keenan Anderson — who later died in LAPD custody — was detained and tased. Anderson’s family has filed a $50 million dollar wrongful death claim against the City of LA. BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who spoke at the event, is Anderson’s cousin.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLMLA, called the protest a “turn up” and encouraged attendees to pressure the Los Angeles City Council to push legislation to remove LAPD officers from traffic stops. She also referred to LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore as “murderous.” The group marched to what they said was the home of CD11 Councilmember Traci Park, where BLMLA activist Baba Akili spoke, calling for Park to vote yes on the removal of LAPD from traffic stops.
Speakers expressed outrage that local officials had been critical of the Nichols killing in Memphis, but were less outspoken on the death of Anderson: “Michel Moore had the audacity to call what happened in Memphis grotesque. There was one murder in Memphis — there were three murders in Los Angeles,” one said.
Cullors knocked on Park’s door, saying she was attempting to have a conversation with Park concerning Anderson’s death and the traffic stops that led to it. She referenced Park’s City Council campaign being supported by the Los Angeles Police Protective League — the union that represents rank-and-file LAPD officers.
Several families who also lost relatives to police violence were in attendance as well. Stephanie Luna, the aunt of Anthony Vargas, told Knock LA, “I lost my nephew in 2018 to the East LA sheriffs. And, y’know, four years later, nothing’s changing. We have policies that have been put in place; nothing’s changed.” Sam Sullivan, the sibling of David Sullivan, told Knock LA that they were there to protest the deaths of Anderson and Nichols. “Legally, cops can still do whatever they want. And they are protected with their [police bill of rights], so they get extra rights. Which is stupid. They’re protected by qualified immunity, by Lexipol, by the other members of the government covering for them because they don’t want to look bad.”
Protest at Traci Park’s House in Venice
Park did not answer the door, protesters left signs on the front porch, and the group dispersed. Councilmember Park’s office did not respond to a request for comment afterwards.
LA City Councimembers Hutt, Harris-Dawson, Soto-Martinez, Raman, and Hernandez put out a joint statement calling for alternatives to armed police officers.
Contributing reporting from Joey Scott.