LA Police Commission removes protesters, discusses hiring liaisons
In the latest swell of demonstrations, Black Lives Matter protesters were ordered out of the Los Angeles Police Commission's weekly meeting, after interrupting the meeting to chant the names of people who had been shot by LAPD officers.
The group's actions prompted commission president Matthew Johnson to call for a recess and clear the room.
In the courtyard outside, protesters continued to chant the names of people who were recently killed by police. They clapped, waved flags and joined hands, protesting throughout much of the afternoon.
"Jessie Romero was 14!" one volunteer called out through a megaphone. The crowd of about one hundred people answered back "Jessie Romero was 14!"
Black Lives Matter protesters have maintained a presence around L.A. City Hall for more than a month. Members are calling for a face-to-face meeting with Mayor Eric Garcetti, and for Garcetti to fire Police Chief Charlie Beck. In the days leading up to the Police Commission meeting, the group asked its members to show up, prompting a large turnout.
As protesters marched outside LAPD headquarters, the commission meeting resumed, but the public was not allowed in. Security guards allowed journalists inside.
Addressing a nearly empty boardroom, commissioners discussed crime statistics. They also introduced a proposal to hire two "family liaisons" to provide direct communication between the LAPD and the families of people shot by police. The proposal was not on the commission's written agenda and was discussed without the public present.
Black Lives Matter demonstrators later criticized the commission's decision to keep them out of the meeting, and said they saw the liaison program as a move in the wrong direction.
"What that says to me really is that you're planning for there to be more of that – more death and more killings," said Ebony Fay, who was part of the protest.
In the meeting, Beck said he supported the proposal. The commission said they'd continuing discussing the idea in future meetings.