LOS ANGELES—A Black Lives Matter chapter co-founder and Los Angeles professor was removed by campus police from a Los Angeles mayoral debate on May 1 for not having a ticket to the event.
Melina Abdullah was forcibly removed from the debate, co-hosted by the Pat Brown Institute and the Los Angeles League of Women Voters at California State University–LA, for entering the venue without a ticket and declining requests from officers to leave.
In videos uploaded to Twitter, Abdullah can be seen not responding to officers’ requests for her to leave the venue.
“You’re hurting me, you’re hurting me,” Abdullah can be heard saying. “Karen Bass, Kevin de Leon, Mike Feuer—they’re hurting me. This is a public university.”
Another voice can be heard saying: “Why aren’t people being let in?”
Though passes to the debate were not sold, it was hosted live on ABC7.
“Shame on you, shame on you,” Abdullah yelled to the candidates on the stage. Others began chanting as well.
Other videos show police removing her from the venue and being met outside with 20 to 30 protesters from a progressive activist group—known as “The People’s City Council”—demanding Abdullah be let go and attempting to block officers from walking forward.
“This is the city of Los Angeles version of ‘public safety.’ There was no disruption and four cops picked up Melina and pulled her out. All of this for a mayoral debate,” the group wrote on Twitter.
Abdullah took to Twitter, claiming a host of the event had called the police.
“Today I attempted to watch the mayoral debate held on the campus where I’ve taught for 20 years. As I waited for it to start, the white @PBI [Pat Brown Institute] director called the police on me,” Abduallah wrote on Twitter. “He and each of the candidates watched as I was brutally removed.”
This isn’t the first time a mayoral debate has been disrupted by activists. During the first debate on Feb. 22 at Loyola Marymount University, protesters disrupted the event with one charging to the stage before being forcibly removed.
Another mayoral debate on homelessness, which took place at a Jewish temple in LA March 21, ended early due to hecklers entering the temple and screaming at candidates before being removed by security.
Executive Director of Cal State LA’s Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs Raphael Sonenshein, the Los Angeles League of Women Voters, Cal State LA, and campus police did not respond to a request for comment by press deadline.