Los Angeles BLM leader sues cops who responded to “swatting” call, then gets swatted again. And again.

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LOS ANGELES, CA – The woman who serves as one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles chapter was recently the victim of a “swatting” incident – twice – earlier in September.

An attorney representing the woman proclaims that the recent incidents were a form of “retaliation” against their client, after the BLM Los Angeles chapter co-founder filed a lawsuit against police for their response to a different swatting incident that occurred in 2020.

Back on August 12th of 2020, Melina Abdullah was the victim of what authorities suspect to be was a swatting incident, which is when someone places a fake 911 call that would typically prompt a swift and heavy police response.

During that August incident, an unknown individual called 911 and said that there was a man holding hostages at Abdullah’s residence. Considering the nature of the call, LAPD dispatched officers immediately to the scene only to find out that there was no such incident ongoing.

Yet, Abdullah seemed to take the police response personally, thinking that it was “not accidental” that police arrived in SWAT gear at her home – alleging that police targeted her last August due to her being instrumental in organizing BLM protests throughout the summer.

On September 21st of 2021, Abdullah filed a lawsuit against the LAPD for their response to the August 2020 incident, saying before the press the following:

“They were not coming to quote-unquote keep me safe. They were coming to evoke terror. They were coming to terrorize.”

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents many LAPD officers, issued a response to Abdullah’s framing of the August 2020 police response and newfound lawsuit, saying that Abdullah likely would’ve staged a lawsuit had police not responded that day:

“We have no doubt that if LAPD officers would have been delayed in their response or did not take the threat to kill hostages seriously, Ms. Abdullah would be suing the city for not providing an adequate police response.”

On September 22nd, one day after Abdullah filed the lawsuit against police over the response to the August 2020 incident, she was the victim of another swatting incident. During the September 22nd incident, a 911 caller was pretending to be Abdullah’s son and told the dispatcher that his mother had just overdosed on pills.

Of course, police responded to the home swiftly.

A neighbor of Abdullah was able to get her on the phone and police were able to determine that they were the subject of another fake 911 call.

But this wouldn’t be the last incident.

On September 29th, LAPD officials say officers were dispatched to Abdullah’s home at around 5:45 p.m. after someone called 911 and proclaimed to have kidnapped the BLM activist and was holding her at gunpoint.

Six police units and a supervisor were dispatched to the home due to the severity of the 911 call, but officials say the officers left the scene once it was determined that no one was in any legitimate danger.

LAPD Captain Stacy Spell explained that even though Abdullah’s home has clearly been the target of some prank 911 calls, the LAPD cannot simply assume that incoming reports are a prank:

“It is the department’s obligation to treat every radio call, especially those threatening violence, seriously until we can determine otherwise.”

Abdullah’s attorney, Erin Darling, claims that the recent swatting incidents appear to be “retaliation” regarding the lawsuit filed earlier in September:

“This sure looks like retaliation for her filing a lawsuit.”

Police officials haven’t commented on whether they have any leads on where these fake 911 calls are coming from.

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Black Lives Matter protests fatal police shooting of man who pointed gun at cops at U.S. Open of Surfing

(Originally published September 28th, 2021)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – Black Lives Matter is protesting after an armed man was shot and killed by police in front of bystanders at Huntington Beach in Southern California over the weekend, and it was caught on video.

The shooting took place about 3:15 p.m. Saturday after officers received reports of a man with a gun at Huntington City Beach, police said in a press release.

The shooting happened about 3:15 p.m. on the sand, just south of Huntington Beach Pier and near the pathway, said Jennifer Carey, spokesperson for Huntington Beach police.

Witnesses said three police officers were pursuing a man in a white t-shirt and jean shorts as he passed under the pier.

Video capturing the incident showed the man holding something covered by a t-shirt. Officers said they approached the man and gave “multiple commands” for him to drop his weapon. The man refused to comply and raised the item and pointed it at officers.

At that point, fearing for their safety and the safety of bystanders, the officers fired on the man.

Hector Tovar, a Chino Hills resident, described what he heard:

“We started hearing pop, pop, pop. I thought it was fireworks, that’s how many rounds there were.”

The man, later identified by police as 43-year-old Andrew Garcia, fell to the sand wounded. While on the sand, Garcia frantically reached for the t-shirt concealing what appeared to be a firearm. Officers continued to fire until Garcia stopped moving.

Officers administered first aid to Garcia, and he was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A gun was found at the scene, said Huntington Beach spokesperson Jennifer Carey.

 The beach was crowded at the time of the incident. The U.S. Open of Surfing is underway at the beach this weekend, though apparently competition for the day had ended prior to the shooting.

A World Surf League spokesperson said in a statement:

“The WSL is aware of the incident that occurred near the Huntington Beach event site after competition ended for the day. All athletes and staff are safe and accounted for.”

Carey said the incident occurred at the best time possible for such an occurrence:

“The crowds, the athletes had kind of dispersed. That was one great thing about the timing of it. Additionally, because of the U.S. Open, we had a lot of extra officers on hand.

“Due to that, our officers were able to get to the call much more quickly and much more effectively.”

Despite the video evidence, multiple witnesses, and the gratitude expressed by Carey, Black Lives Matter began organizing a protest immediately following the shooting.

Tory Johnson, a founding member of Black Lives Matter-Huntington Beach, demanded officers involved in the shooting of the armed man be held accountable for their actions despite having possibly saved multiple lives:

“This is what we’re fighting. We’re fighting police aggression, whether they are black, brown, purple.

“What we are saying is you can’t go around killing minorities, and you can’t treat people a certain way just because they look different from you, or they don’t fit the mold of an average citizen in our city.”

The City of Huntington Beach took a more measured approach for those who may have been impacted by the shooting. They will be hosting a community meeting in the coming days for members of the public directly impacted by the event to express their concerns and ask questions related to the incident.

Representatives of HBPD, Be Well OC and the city itself will be present. The date, time and location of the meeting will be made available the police department’s (@hbpolicedept) Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

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Washington school bans “controversial” Thin Blue Line flag, but BLM and Pride flags still allowed

(Originally published September 30th, 2021)

MARYSVILLE, WA – A teacher at a middle school in Marysville was ordered to take down a Thin Blue Line flag that was hung up inside of her classroom, with school officials telling her that it was a controversial symbol that made students feel unsafe.

Yet the school still allows for the likes of Black Lives Matter and Pride flags and messages to be displayed from inside of classrooms.

According to a report from Jason Rantz, the flag removal order was handed down by school district officials to a teacher at Marysville Middle School.

The teacher had the Thin Blue Line flag hung inside of her classroom as a means to show support for police officers, yet the school district’s human resources department alleged that the flag is a “political symbol” that could cause a “disruption” in the classroom.

However, a double standard seems to exist – in that Pride and BLM flags can remain being displayed inside of the school.

Chris Sutherland, the brother of the teacher who is also a former police officer with the Marysville Police Department, claims that the existence of this double standard is rooted in anti-police sentiments coming from school staff at the middle school.

It all started with a simple Thin Blue Line sticker that the teacher had placed on her laptop, once again to show support for the profession and her brother. At the time of the sticker being placed on the laptop, an assistant principal at the school objected to the sticker.

A human resources document pertaining to the mere sticker debacle noted that the assistant principle approached the teacher with “concerns about how students, families, and community members might interpret what the image is intending to communicate, and that this interpretation may cause a disruption to the learning environment.”

Despite there being initial objections over the sticker, the school reportedly dropped the issue.

However, when the teacher hung a Thin Blue Line flag inside of the classroom with photos of her brother posted around it – then another assistant principle got involved and ordered the flag to be taken down.

Sutherland told Jason Rantz that this order was delivered with the repeated message of possibly upsetting students:

“They told her that it’s controversial to have that flag up. That it makes kids and staff feel unsafe, which to me, that does not make sense at all.”

The teacher reportedly received a “Letter of Clarification” from a district human resources representative regarding concerns over the display of the flag inside of the classroom.

These concerns outlined in the letter noted “about the impact of this political symbol on students, staff, and families of Marysville Middle School” and how an assistant principal at the school “had heard concerns from other staff members about how this political symbol might negatively impact the overall professional work environment.”

Said letter from the district’s human resources department mandated that the teacher “refrain from using the ‘Thin Blue Line Flag’ symbol” completely – stickers and all. And in the event the teacher decides to go against the grain, it could “result in further disciplinary action.”

This “Letter of Clarification” proclaimed that the district supports police but wouldn’t offer a firm explanation on why the Thin Blue Line flag is somehow being construed as a “political symbol”.

But an all the more confusing aspect regarding this disallowance over the propensity for the Thin Blue Line flag to be considered a “political symbol” and how it could disrupt the learning environment – BLM flags, imagery and the sort is still permitted, Sutherland stated:

“There’s also, she was telling me, BLM stuff hanging on walls, which she was told is OK. Just for whatever reason, just the Thin Blue Line flag cannot be hung up there.”

One would hardly doubt the framing that BLM is a political movement – as it has been the name and rallying cry amid numerous protests (and riots) that aims to redress policies believed to adversely affect black Americans.

And the same could certainly be said about the Pride flag, as it has been often used as a political symbol in an effort to advance civil rights within the LGBT community in the past. In fact, the same teacher told to remove the Thin Blue Line flag has a Pride flag displayed in her own classroom.

While Thin Blue Line flags have certainly cropped up at various demonstrations over the years as well, there has never really been any sort of desired policy prescriptions aligned with the flag and what it represents.

The school district has not come forward to explain why political symbols for BLM or Pride are permissible, but the alleged undefined political connotations of the Thin Blue Line flag result in a barring of the symbol being displayed in all forms.

Sutherland says that he “can hear in her voice how much it actually hurts her being told to” remove the Thin Blue Line flag from her classroom, saying in their conversations about the matter he finds it “frustrating because I know how much she cares and how much this means to her. For her to have to go through that…it’s just not fair.”

Still, Sutherland says that his sister will continue to push the issue in hopes that she’ll be able to eventually redisplay the flag without facing possible termination – but the whole ordeal with the human resources department getting involved has “left a lasting impression.”

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