Dr. Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, has been “swatted” twice in the past year. The second incident came just a day after filing a lawsuit against LAPD for its disproportionate response to an initial “swatting” incident last August.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the second incident stemmed from someone pretending to be Abdullah’s son claiming his mother had overdosed on pills. An LAPD spokesperson told the outlet that the department would be investigating the origin of the calls.
“It was not accidental,” Abdullah said during a press conference Thursday. “They were not coming to quote-unquote keep me safe. They were coming to evoke terror. They were coming to terrorize.”
“Swatting” is a form of harassment that sends a law enforcement response team into someone else’s home. Often mischaracterized as a kind of prank, “swatting” incidents are dangerous and can lead to deadly results.
CBS Los Angeles reported the first incident involved police forcing Abdullah and her children out of their home at gunpoint. Last year on Aug. 12, an estimated 20 LAPD officers in complete tactical gear surrounded Abdullah’s house with guns drawn, terrorizing her and her children amid racial justice protests and demands for police accountability. (Read the full article here).
In a statement, Abdullah described the second incident as more restrained but still triggering trauma from the prior incident. She said the latest incident supports calls to #DefundThePolice and reallocate police funding to other public services.
“This underscores why we continue to loudly say #DefundThePolice and #ReimaginePublicSafety,” said Abdullah in a statement. “If indeed, there were a medical emergency, paramedics should have been the ones to respond, not police, who came to the house of a neighbor approximately an hour later to ‘check on me.'”
Local civil rights attorney Faisal Gill said it was no coincidence the latest incident happened right after announcing her lawsuit against the LAPD. As a leader with BLM-LA, Abdullah has been crucial in fighting against police brutality and other abuses of power. Her organization has also been a part of a people’s budget process, pushing for a people-centered city budget that funds needed services while simultaneously defunding the police.
“I remain ever-grateful for the beloved community that, once again, ensured my safety through this ordeal, including neighbors, fellow organizers, and members of the media who investigated the reports and checked on me personally,” Abdullah said.