Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors Among Those Arrested During Peaceful Assembly at LAPD Headquarters 

Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles was peacefully assembling and demanding justice for Carnell Snell Jr., 18, who was fatally shot by Los Angeles police last week.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors; Melina Abdullah
Patrisse Khan-Cullors; Melina Abdullah Facebook; Twitter

Updated Monday, Oct. 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT: Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Melina Abdullah and Niki Okuk have been released.


Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors; Melina Abdullah, a professor and chair of the Pan-African-studies department at California State University, Los Angeles; and Niki Okuk were arrested at the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters while peacefully assembling and demanding justice for Carnell Snell Jr., 18.

As previously reported by The Root, Snell was fatally shot by an Los Angeles police officer Saturday on the same block on which he lived:

LAPD officers say the incident began when they saw a vehicle with paper plates, which they believed to be stolen. The car did not stop when they pursued, and police report that two male passengers fled on foot in opposite directions. Two officers split up to chase them, reports CNN.

An officer whose name has not been released fatally shot Snell less than two blocks away. Relatives say he was shot outside of his home.

Snell was allegedly one of the men who exited the vehicle. His sister said that she saw him running and was close by when he was shot.

“At the end of the day, the cops came and shot my brother,” said Trenell Snell, 17. “Killed my brother.”

Protests spread quickly, and Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles has been central to amplifying Snell’s death and demanding answers from the Los Angeles Police Department.

According to reports from activists on the ground, they were removed from LAPD headquarters after being refused entry to a press conference.

BLM-LA activist Janaya Khan has been documenting the incident on Facebook and asking that people call the LAPD and demand that Cullers, Okuk and Abdullah be released. The number to call is below:

According to the Associated Press, black and mentally disabled people are disproportionately shot at by the LAPD:

Of the 223 people shot at by Los Angeles police between 2011 and 2015, 77 were black, according to the report. That means 35 percent of those shot at by police were black, while blacks make up just 9 percent of the city’s population.

Meanwhile the number of mentally ill people shot by police increased from five in 2014 to 14 last year. The 14 mentally ill people represent 37 percent of all the people shot by Los Angeles police in 2015, according to the report, which the police department presented Tuesday to the city’s police commission, a civilian oversight panel.

According to data, the department killed more people than any other agency in the country in 2015.

The Los Angeles Times reports that “on-duty LAPD officers have shot 17 people this year. Fourteen of those people were killed. Last year, on-duty LAPD officers shot 36 people, 21 of whom were killed.”

“These are somebody’s babies,” said Abdullah last month during an LAPD Commission meeting. “If we don’t stand up for our babies, that is criminal.”

Activists have called for the firing of Police Chief Charlie Beck, calling the LAPD “the most murderous police department in the country.”

Kirsten West Savali is a cultural critic and an associate editor at The Root. She was named to Ebony magazine’s 2015 “Power 100” list and awarded a 2015 Harry Frank Guggenheim fellowship. Her provocative commentary explores the intersections of race, social justice, religion, feminism, politics and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter.