Los Angeles, CA – A Black Lives Matter leader was the victim of “swatting” twice this week and her attorney called it “retaliation” for filing a lawsuit against the police for their handling of a swatting incident last year (video below).
Activist Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the Los Angeles Chapter of Black Lives Matter, was the victim of a swatting incident on Aug. 12, 2020, when Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers responded to her home after a 911 caller claimed a man was holding hostages inside it, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Abdullah streamed live on Instagram as she came out of her house with her hands up to more than 20 LAPD officers, many in SWAT gear, who had her surrounded, KCAL reported.
Police determined that the activist had been the target of a swatting incident, when someone makes a fake 911 call that prompts an armed response to the home of an unsuspecting person, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But Abdullah was furious about the LAPD’s handling of the emergency call to her home which occurred amidst nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, KCAL reported.
“It was not accidental,” she said. “They were not coming to quote-unquote keep me safe. They were coming to evoke terror. They were coming to terrorize.”
Attorneys for the Black Lives Matter leader filed the lawsuit in California Superior Court on Sept. 21, alleged that the intimidating show of force by LAPD was in retaliation for Abdullah leading Black Lives Matter protests in the city over the summer, KCAL reported.
The complaint said that the officers’ actions constituted unlawful seizure, false imprisonment, excessive force, assault, and negligence, among other violations of her rights, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The city and the police department said they could not comment on pending litigation, but union leaders issued a statement, according to KCAL.
“We have no doubt that if LAPD officers would have been delayed in their response or did not take the threat to kill hostages seriously, Ms. Abdullah would be suing the City for not providing an adequate police response,” the union that represents LAPD officers said in a statement.
The day after the lawsuit was filed, Abdullah was the victim of another swatting incident, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Police said a caller claiming to be the activist’s young son called 911 and told the dispatcher that his mother had overdosed on pills.
Officers once again responded swiftly to Abdullah’s residence to assist, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A neighbor was able to contact Abdullah on the phone and helped police determined the 911 call was fake.
On Wednesday, less than a week later, Abdullah was once again the victim of a swatting, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD Captain Stacy Spell said officers responded to Abdullah’s home at about 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 29 after someone called 911 and claimed to have kidnapped the Black Lives Matter leader at gunpoint.
Capt. Spell said the department dispatched six police units and a supervisor to the home because of the “serious nature” of the call and because the caller had threatened to “do harm” to Abdullah, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The captain said police left the scene “shortly after it was determined that no one’s safety was in danger.”
“It is the department’s obligation to treat every radio call, especially those threatening violence, seriously until we can determine otherwise,” Capt. Spell told the Los Angeles Times.
But Abdullah’s lawyer had a more nefarious take on what had happened.
“This sure looks like retaliation for her filing a lawsuit,” attorney Erin Darling told the Los Angeles Times.
Abdullah said the “swatting” incidents wouldn’t deter her from her social justice agenda.
“No one is going to scare me out of activism. No one is going to scare me out of justice work,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “The way we stay safe is by having more of us involved in the work.”
You can watch the LAPD response to the initial “swatting” incident referred to in the lawsuit here below: