August 24, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Los Angeles, CA — Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soberoff has shown himself to be a indifferent, callous agitator — and I’m wondering if his agenda is to incite riots.
On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, activists from Black Lives Matter issued a subpoena for Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to appear before a people’s tribunal to answer to charges for the death of Ezell Ford. The very next day, LAPD officers shot and killed a woman named Redel Jones. A witness said Ms. Jones was shot in the back while running away, contradicting the official story that she moved toward officers with a knife.
On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Steve Soboroff was either ignoring or interrupting Los Angeles residents as they spoke during public comments. He did not have the self-control or respect to remain silent and pay attention for two minutes at a time to give the people who had concerns and criticisms about the LAPD a chance to speak. One person who spoke said, “When we calmly spoke the commissioners began to ignore us every time we used words like accountability.” The LAPD Police Commission callously disrespects people outraged at the continual unchecked murders of black and brown people by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor at CSULA and member of Black Lives Matter, spoke Tuesday morning at the LAPD Police Commission meeting. “So I’m hearing,” she began when Steve Soberoff interrupts. “Can you identify yourself for us please?” he asked. “My name is Melina Abdullah and you know who I am,” she replied. Soberoff interrupted a second time. “For the record, we all do,” Abdullah attempted to continue when she was interrupted a third time, this time by a man on the panel seated third from the left. “We all need to identify ourselves,” he said.“Can I have my clock reset?” Dr. Abdullah asked.
“I’m here because we were here last week and we were here to voice our rage around the murder of Ezell Ford. Let’s call it what it is. It was a murder of Ezell Ford. We thought that the energy that we put in last week was gonna be the height of the energy that we needed to express for at least sometime. The very next day your officers killed a black woman who was accused of nothing more than carrying a kitchen knife and possibly stealing eighty dollars. They killed her in cold blood in her own neighborhood, in one of our neighborhoods. The report from the community was that she was running away and shot in the back four to five times and it didn’t even make it into the report. That’s the kind of thing that outrages the community. That’s one of the reasons that we have to stand up. That’s one of the reasons there’s so much frustration and outrage around who you all are.
Who are you? Why are you not standing up for the community? You’re supposed to be the people’s commission, representing us. I know you said that Beck is on vacation but this is the second week in a row that Paysinger is here to give the chief’s report. For me, it looks like he’s running. If there’s an emergency, anybody who works for an organization where there’s an emergency, you come back from your vacation to handle that emergency. The murder of Redel Jones is an emergency. They killed a black woman at 1:40 in the afternoon in front of people. People saw it as if her life didn’t matter.
We’re here to say black lives matter. For it to not even make the report is a huge insult and indicative of your valuation or lack of valuation of black lives. Maybe all of y’all need to go somewhere and you need somebody new. People can replace this whole panel. So that the panel, the commission, the folks up here actually believe that black lives matter. We gonna continue to turn out and make sure that you all understand that. This is a matter of life and death.“
Activist Michael Novick also addressed the commission. “Last time I was here you walked out when people expressed their grief and rage. That’s outrageous. The executive director there took a subpoena for the officers involved in the killing of Ezell Ford. I would like to know what he did with it,” he said.
Hamid Khan of Stop LAPD Spying Coalition said he and his colleague were not allowed to come inside the meeting for thirty minutes after they arrived, denied the opportunity to speak at public comments.
After ignoring and then constantly interrupting people speaking at the LAPD Police Commission meeting on Tuesday morning, President Steve Soberoff threw a tantrum and left the room, along with the entire panel. The room was immediately flooded with armed, uniformed police officers who appeared to be protecting the desks where the commissioners sit. There were about 20 activists and 40 police officers. This appeared to be a clear attempt to intimidate the unarmed civilians — who had each passed through security — from exercising their first amendment right to free speech. Activists decided to keep the meeting going with or without the consent of the commission. The commission panel returned and more public comments were heard.
Soberoff then threw another tantrum, leaving the room again, along with the entire panel. Some time later, a uniformed police officer informed everyone that the meeting was over. Once again, the perimeter of the room was filled with police officers. Some of the people who had filled out public comment cards were not allowed to speak. Dr. Abdullah pointed out that LAPD sends black and brown cops when Black Lives Matter shows up.
Soberoff, who has disrupted the meeting several times, seemed more concerned with the disruption caused by activists chanting “Black lives matter,” than with the fact that in the eyes of LAPD, black lives clearly do not matter. The blatant selfishness, and lack of concern for Los Angeles residents who live in daily fear for their lives agitated the activists and incited their already justified rage.
Activist groups in Los Angeles plan to speak again at the next LAPD police commission meeting on August 25, 2015 at 9:30 AM. Click here for more information.
Follow the hashtag #LAPCfails for more information on how the Los Angeles Police Commission is failing Angelenos. Also follow these Twitter accounts to stay updated:
Videos from the LAPD police commission meeting can be found on the PMbeers YouTube Channel.
Steve Soberoff Disrespecting People Speaking at LAPD Police Commission
Melina Abdullah Speaking at the LAPD Police Commission Meeting
Steve Soberoff Leaves His Seat to Talk While Woman Speaks at the LAPD Police Commission
Steve Soberoff on Phone While Black Lives Matter Organizer Speaks
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PM Beers joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in April of 2014. Her topics of interest include mental illness, neurology, quantum physics, Tourette’s, Autism, compassionate parenting, horizontal democracy, activism, and art.Born in Long Beach, California, she currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Learn more about Beers here!