Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles Melina Abdullah was arrested for allegedly grabbing an officer’s arm in 2018. Abdullah filed a wrongful arrest lawsuit but Thursday, a federal jury found probable cause for her arrest, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to the LA Times report, the incident occurred when Sheila Hines-Brim threw the ashes of her niece, Wakiesha Wilson, at LAPD Chief Charlie Beck during a Police Commission meeting. Wilson was reported to have died in LAPD custody in 2016. Hines-Brim was then taken into custody and Abdullah recorded the incident.
More on the incident from Los Angeles Times:
Abdullah watched as Hines-Brim was taken into custody at Beck’s command. Cellphone footage shown to the jury shows Abdullah follow Hines-Brim and a group of LAPD officers out of the meeting room.
Outside the meeting, an officer is heard calling out, “Detain Melina” and “Melina needs to be in custody.”
Footage shows an officer pull Abdullah’s arms behind her back and handcuff her. She said she thought she might have been detained for recording Hines-Brim’s arrest.
Curtis said Abdullah grabbed him by the arm to stop him from taking Hines-Brim into custody.
He described Abdullah’s grasp on his arm as a “c-grip,” but three LAPD officers testified at trial that they did not see the grab or see Curtis yank his arm away.
Abdullah was arrested on suspicion of battery against an officer but the LA city attorney’s office dropped the charges. Six months later, Abdullah sought justice for the way she was handled and filed a wrongful arrest suit against the city, per LA Times. The suit alleged she was targeted because of her prominence in the Black Lives Matter movement and her regular attendance to Police Commission meetings to raise concerns about the killings of unarmed citizens.
The jury concluded there was probable cause for Abdullah’s arrest.
“I did not willfully or harmfully grab the officer. The jury allowed themselves to be distracted. It just reminds us justice doesn’t come from systems that were meant to harm us. We have to constantly usher in justice for ourselves,” said Abdullah via LA Times.