News Release

CFA calls on LA City Attorney to drop trumped up charges against Cal State LA Professor seeking LA Police accountability

‘Criminalizing police critics has to stop’

  LOS ANGELES — The California Faculty Association calls on Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer to drop all charges against Cal State LA Professor Melina Abdullah, a prominent critic of police shootings and a founding member of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 22: A hearing regarding the charges is scheduled on Tuesday, January 22 at 8:30 am in Department 43 of the Los Angeles County Court House at 210 W. Temple St. in downtown Los Angeles.

Dr. Melina Abdullah is available for interviews by phone in advance and in person after the hearing. For more information, contact Audrena Redmond

The arrest last May occurred as Dr. Abdullah arrived to an L.A. Board of Police Commissioners meeting. Minutes after her arrival, police removed and subsequently arrested Sheila Hines-Brim, another meeting attendee who is the aunt of Wakiesha Wilson, a young woman whose 2016 in-custody death sparked outrage. The arresting officers passed Dr. Abdullah as she entered the meeting and she questioned that arrest. Alleging she touched an officer as he passed her, she was charged with battery on a police officer. At the time of her arraignment, seven additional counts from three different dates were piled on, many related to “disruption of a public meeting.”

“Dr. Abdullah was singled out by police when she urged others to video record the arrest of Ms. Hines-Brim,” said Anthony Ratcliff, vice president of the CFA Chapter at Cal State L.A. and a teaching colleague of Dr. Abdullah.

“We must stop criminalizing watchdogs of the police,” Ratcliff said. “Dr. Abdullah was there to observe and comment to a public board on literally a deadly subject. She consistently addresses the Police Commissioners about the trauma endured by family members of those killed and injured in police shootings in the hope that Los Angeles can become a better, more just city for its people.”

Ratcliff added, “These are trumped up charges in hopes to stifle her, and we who believe in democracy must speak out.”

Dr. Abdullah teaches Pan-African Studies and Political Science. She said in an interview shortly after the incident, “I teach my students the importance of civic engagement and so I go and make my voice heard. …I think it’s insulting to the folks who show up every week [to suggest] that we are eroding democracy when we are the very definition of democracy.”