Town Hall Meeting Collapses As Protestors Rush The Stage

Oct15Meet1A town hall meeting attended by approximately100 community members and featuring Mayor Eric Garcetti was held at Holman United Methodist Church in South LA Oct. 19, Monday night. It came to an abrupt end when a small group of Black Lives Matter protesters rushed  the stage where Garcetti and others had been speaking about issues concerning the community of South L.A.

Garcetti and his staff had arranged the town hall as well as a resource fair, to give community members a chance to find out about city resources as well as ask the mayor about issues affecting them.

Oct15meet3The meeting began with Garcetti calmly addressing the audience, outlining the progress his administration had made so far in helping the community of South L.A. at which point about 15 Black Lives Matter audience members turned their backs to the mayor in protest.

Oct15Meet2bCal State L.A. Professor and Black Lives Matter organizer, Melina Abdullah got up on the stage and confronted Garcetti about his motives for coming to the town hall. She accused the Mayor of disrespecting, abusing and neglecting the black community. “We are here today because this is real for us. This is not a political game. This is not about your re-election. This is about our lives,” she claimed.

oct15meet4The meeting continued to deteriorate as another agitator led the protesters to rush and take over the stage.

Oct15meet5Believing the mayor was in danger, the police led Garcetti to a nearby car outside. Protesters followed behind and surrounded the car shouting such things as “Black Lives Matter here,” “Fire Chief Charlie Beck” and “You think this is a joke?” The woman who had led the rush to the stage earlier jumped on the trunk of the mayor’s car then ran past police to the front of the car where she joined other protesters in blocking the mayor’s exit. 

Oct15meet6An LAPD helicopter flew overhead shining a spotlight on the car and protesters. Police officers on the ground eventually managed to clear a path for the mayor’s car to leave the premises.

Oct15meet8Non-protesting audience members expressed their disappointment in what happened. Some “voiced exasperation at what they described as the usurping of a general-purpose community meeting by a small and unrepresentative group of protesters,” wrote the L.A. Times.

Mayor Garcetti later issued a statement expressing his disappointment in what happened at the town hall as well.
Photos by Dawn Kirkpatrick


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