On Tuesday, January 23, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (BLMLA) activists, supporters and the families of those killed in Los Angeles County by law enforcement held a community meeting on Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s failure to prosecute officers involved in fatal shootings of civilians.
Since Lacey’s election in 2012, over 300 residents of Los Angeles County have been killed by the police or died while in-custody. The district attorney's office has not filed charges against any officer involved in an on-duty shooting in more than 15 years. Lacey hasn’t held a community meeting in South Los Angeles since 2016. The last community meeting held in October 2016 and Lacey walked out of the meeting after things got heated between her and community members from various groups and people whose loved ones were shot and killed by police after they voiced their anger and frustration with her.
Participants of this week’s meeting included Helen Jones, mother of John Horton, who was found hanging in his cell in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in 2009 and Lisa Hines, mother of Wakiesha Wilson, who was died at a hospital in 2016, about an hour after she was found hanging in her cell in a Los Angeles jail. The official ruling on the deaths of Horton and Wilson were never accepted by their families who both believe law enforcement played a role in each of their deaths. Other speakers include, Valerie Rivera, mother of Eric Rivera who was as shot to death by Los Angeles police, then run over by an uncontrolled patrol car in 2017 and Trisha Michael, the twin sister of Kisha Michael who was killed along with her boyfriend by Inglewood in police in 2016 while sleeping in their car. Activists with various community groups including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were also present.
In 2017, BLMLA delivered over 10,000 petitions delivered
to Lacey asking her in her capacity as district attorney to prosecute officers involved in fatal shootings of civilians. According to Mapping Police Violence
, 53 people were killed by police in Los Angeles County in 2017.
"Lacey called me twice," explained BLMLA organizer Dr. Melina Abdullah. "First she said that she could do a community meeting and the next day she called me to say that after she slept on it that she thought it wasn't a good idea. Lacey told me that she would only meet with the individual families of those killed by the police with open cases and that they could give her 'the particulars.' She said she would not meet with any activists--especially Black Lives Matter. Lacey is an elected official. No elected official should be able to escape meeting with or be allowed to refuse to meet with the community they're elected by and ultimately responsible to. I told Lacey that Black Lives Matter was willing to work in a cooperative manner to address barriers that might be preventing her office from prosecuting officers involved in fatal shootings and she said she was not interested. As unpopular as the LAPD and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's are, even they hold community meetings. What makes her office exempt?"
Lacey is the first woman, and first African-American, to serve as L.A. District Attorney since the office was created in 1850. She was re-elected in 2016 unopposed.