LOS ANGELES – It is too late for apologies, declared members of Black Lives Matter and a political consultant who accused activist Najee Ali (aka Ronald Eskew) of verbally assaulting and threatening them during a Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) meeting.
Political consultant Jasmyne Cannick, and Dr. Melina Abdullah and Jasmine Abdullah (aka Jasmine Richards), members of Black Lives Matter L.A. and Pasadena, respectively, demanded Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck disavow and fire Ali.
The women say Ali claims to work for Garcetti and is a consultant to Beck.
Ali said he is a volunteer with the Crisis Response Team for Garcetti’s Chaplain’s Office, and has no connection with LAPD whatsoever.
Ali, is also political director for the National Action Network’s Los Angeles chapter, and founder of Project Islamic H.O.P.E., a non-profit organization.
According to Jasmine Abdullah, Ali taunted her during a July 12 BOPC meeting, saying, “That’s why you are a felon.” She stated he was trying to antagonize her. “It was as if he was sent in there just to do this,” Abdullah stated during a press conference in front of LAPD on July 19.
“In the midst of us talking, he stands up, and stands over me, as if he’s going to punch me. Marcus Vaughn stands up … to protect. Najee Ali was blocked by several police, and escorted to the other side of the room,” Jasmine Abdullah stated.
A video of the incident has been circulating in social media. The video shows Ali in dialogue with Abdullah. Footage also shows Ali point his finger in Cannick’s face.
“I have seen the LAPD do more to stop two people arguing on the street, than they did last Tuesday, in that meeting, when Najee was threatening to kick the behinds of three Black women, and one husband in mourning for his wife,” Cannick stated.
“That’s why she got killed,” Ali told Marcus Vaughn in the incident captured on video. Vaughn’s wife, Redel Jones, was killed by LAPD officers in the Crenshaw District on August 12, 2015.
“He was aided and abetted by uniform and plain clothes officers around the room to do that. I have seen people escorted out of that room and kicked out of this building for less, and he was allowed to do that,” Cannick told the Sentinel.
“But because he is an advisor to Chief Beck, and advisor to Mayor Eric Garcetti in some capacity, he gets special treatment here at this building. That’s unacceptable,” Cannick continued.
In a letter sent to the Sentinel, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department Charlie Beck cleared up rumors of Ali’s connection with LAPD stating, “Mr. Ali is not currently nor has he ever been an employee of the Los Angeles Police Department. He is not being directed to speak nor act on behalf of the Los Angeles Police Department.”
Dr. Melina Abdullah said Black Lives Matter has attempted to take the high road for more than a year now, while Ali continues to assault and assail both the individuals who make up Black Lives Matter, as well as Black Lives Matter as an organization.
“This was basically the last straw. We will not tolerate violence. Black Lives Matter was founded to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people,” she stated.
“We are a non-violent movement. We are a peace movement, and to sit back and allow ourselves to be the subjects of attacks, especially from those who are supposed to be advocates for the Black community is something that we cannot take anymore, especially when that violence is enacted against a grieving widower,” Dr. Melina Abdullah continued.
“It is no secret that there are strained relations between Najee Ali and Black Lives Matter, but that’s not the issue. The issue is respect, and the issue is you cannot change the rules for one person,” Cannick said.
She said if Black Lives Matter had incited a riot inside the police commission meeting, they would have been escorted out of the building and banned from future police commission meetings.
“Najee Ali deserves the same,” Cannick said.
Ali has tried to call her, but she has blocked him, Cannick told reporters.
At press time, Ali indicated he had not heard from anyone regarding his apology. The women felt the apology was insincere. According to Cannick, Ali tried to publicly shame them regarding personal, non-related matters, in social media after video of the incident surfaced.
Meanwhile, Ali told the Sentinel he had not seen footage of the press conference calling for his termination.
“The media, who came and covered it, called me and let me know that a response from me was not needed, because they didn’t plan on covering it. It was a non-story,” Ali said.
“First of all, being a volunteer is something that I’ve given my time to, as far as serving our community,” he stated.
“The second thing is, I made an apology last week on social media, trying to always be the bigger person, even though I was threatened, harassed, and provoked by Jasmyne Cannick, members of Black Lives Matter, and the husband of Redel Jones threatened to kill me,” Ali told the Sentinel.
“I don’t have to lie or exaggerate,” Ali said when asked was he serious. “He said that I should be killed, and I responded, ‘That’s why she got killed.’ The same violence that you’re wishing on me is what claimed her life,’” Ali told the Sentinel.
A community activist, who spoke to the Sentinel on condition of anonymity, said the whole incident has caused a distraction from real business at the Police Commission that day: justice for Redel Jones.
He said he does not condone that type of behavior, especially against women. He also opined they provoked Ali into the situation, which he should have seen coming. “Najee should have moved seats instead of responding in anger,” the activist told the Sentinel.
It is easy for people, who are not in a position, when their life is being threatened, to tell someone to walk away, Ali said. He alleged Black Lives Matter has a history of violence, and said, he has a right to defend himself.
“I think it was outrageous. It’s jaw-dropping … What to me, is shocking about what Najee Ali did was that he, as a representative of the mayor, showed callous indifference to Black pain … It wasn’t only callous indifference. It was bordering on sadism, fingering a bleeding ulcer, throwing salt in a wound,” said Jody Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California.