Melina Abdullah, leader of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, was removed by California State Los Angeles campus police from a mayoral debate Sunday, reported The Los Angeles Times. Videos were caught of her being dragged outside the event by officers.
Before the event began, students protested outside criticizing the exclusion of certain candidates and the limited audience capacity of only 40 to 50 people. Cal State LA faculty member Raphael Sonenshein was alerted minutes before the event began that people without tickets had been entering the venue. Per LA Times, he asked the campus police to remove them and the protestors.
Abdullah told LA Times she was removed for not having a ticket.
More on the situation from LA Times:
The university released a statement: “One person was removed from the debate, arrested, and released at the scene. There were no other arrests. Cal State LA’s Department of Public Safety has no comment. The university will provide a statement after a fuller review of the incident.”
Abdullah, however, said that police “were attempting to arrest me” but did not arrest her at the scene and told her they would be reaching out to her later.
“I should have been able to watch the mayoral debate that was happening on my own campus,” Abdullah said to The Times in a written statement. “I’m still processing the fact that Raphe Sonenshein, someone who called himself a friend, who I’ve known well since I was in graduate school, called the police and had me forcibly and brutally removed.”
Cal State LA sophomore Agustin Rojas Navarro said the crowd ran to protect Abdullah as she was being removed. Abdullah told LA Times she called for the candidates for help with no response. “They said nothing, not even a simple ‘Please put her down,’ nor did any other candidate. It’s both hurtful and outrageous,” she said.
The LA Times also reported Abdullah had contributed donations to the campaigns of two mayoral candidates, one of which wasn’t invited to the debate.