A dramatic video circulating online shows the moment a Black Lives Matter leader in Los Angeles was forcibly carried out of an arena where mayoral candidates were holding a debate.
The video was shared by Melina Abdullah, a BLM leader and a Cal State Los Angeles professor, who said she was “brutally removed” from the closed event as she did not possess a ticket to be there, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Debates should be public … especially at a public university,” Abdullah said in a statement to the outlet, noting there was only a small attendance at the “near-empty theater.”
— sara sadhwani (@sarasadhwani) May 2, 2022
The professor also suggested her race could have played a factor, tweeting after her removal: “the white PBI [Pat Brown Institute] director called the police on me.”
Melina Abdullah attends the 8th Annual AAFCA Awards at the Taglyan Complex on Feb. 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
(Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Videos of the incident show campus police officers, each holding one of Abdullah’s arms, lifting her from the seat and removing her from the premises. Several people who appeared to support Abdullah, stood in front of the officers, blocking their path, or yelled at them for their actions.
Today I attempted to watch the mayoral debate held on the campus where I’ve taught for 20 years. As I waited for it to start, the white @PBI director called the police on me. He and each of the candidates watched as I was brutally removed. @CalStateLA pic.twitter.com/cjihRrwtJq
— Melina Abdullah (@DocMellyMel) May 2, 2022
Following the incident, Abdullah took to Twitter to respond to supporters, thanking them.
As a grassroots leader in L.A., Abdullah has played an active role in local and state politics, which included campaigning for California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021.
During the campaign, Abdullah described Newsom’s Republican opponent Larry Elder as a “Black face on White supremacy.”
She has also supported controversial positions, such as defending convicted cop killers and has called for the abolishment of police departments.
She has also tweeted, “f— the police,” “Don’t be afraid to say abolish the police” and other anti-police sentiments.
Melina Abdullah hugs Marcus Vaughn, husband of Redel Jones, after she is released by police on July 12, 2016.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
She most recently spoke out against Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, calling him a “racist.”
.@elonmusk is a racist, who owns @Tesla, where Black employees are regularly called the n-word and their workplace is named “the slave house” by supervisors. When he buys @Twitter, #HateSpeech is sure to be mislabeled as #FreeSpeech and enabled. https://t.co/rGB7ZYQXul
— Melina Abdullah (@DocMellyMel) April 27, 2022
The debate at the Cal State University facility included the five mayoral candidates that are leading in the polls. The participants included L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, businessman Rick Caruso, L.A. City Councilman Kevin de León and L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.
The debate included several questions and comments about the city’s ongoing homeless crisis.