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Black Lives Matter sit-in continues at City Hall

Black Lives Matter protesters assembled outside a meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners at LAPD headquarters on July 12, 2016. The commission was considering whether LAPD officers' shooting in August 2015 of a 30-year-old black woman, Redel Kentel Jones, was justified.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC
Black Lives Matter protesters assembled outside a meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners at LAPD headquarters on July 12, 2016. The commission was considering whether LAPD officers' shooting in August 2015 of a 30-year-old black woman, Redel Kentel Jones, was justified.

Black Lives Matter activists are now in the sixth day of a sit-in at City Hall in downtown. Their goal is to force LAPD chief Charlie Beck from his job — whether he resigns or mayor Eric Garcetti fires him.

Melina Abdullah, an organizer for Black Lives Matter, tells KPCC: "That's why we're at City Hall. Because this is where Garcetti does his business and we want his business to be to fire the chief of police and to lead the police department in a way that isn't dangerous to black people's lives."

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The sit-in began on Tuesday, July 12, soon after the LA Police Commission ruled that the fatal police shooting of Redel Jones was within LAPD policy. Jones, a 30-year-old black woman, was shot in a Baldwin Hills alley last year after police say she came at officers with a knife.

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Abdullah says that approximately 70 people are currently camped out on the Main Street side of City Hall. She tells KPCC that the sit-in attracted approximately 500 participants its peak on Wednesday night and had about 50 participants at its lowest point.

She described the mood on Sunday as uplifted and resilient.

"We're absolutely certain that if we do nothing, the police chief will remain — and that's not something we're willing to accept," Abdullah says. "Mayor Garcetti needs to think about what kind of Los Angeles he wants to build."

Meanwhile, Garcetti has said that he still supports Chief Beck. He will be up for reelection in 2017. 

"We have long memories," Abdullah vowed. "One year isn't too long to remember. We'll remember if he does the right thing. And we'll also remember if he refuses to."