Black Lives Matter activist loses lawsuit against Los Angeles police over ‘swatting’ hoax response

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In Los Angeles, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist recently lost her lawsuit against the city’s police department regarding hoax phone calls that led to a significant law enforcement response at her home. The calls, known as “swatting,” were made by three teenagers motivated by racial hatred, targeting various locations, including the activist’s home in Los Angeles.

Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM-LA and a professor at Cal State LA, criticized the LAPD’s handling of the situation, where armed SWAT officers surrounded her house and instructed her to exit through a loudspeaker. Despite her lawsuit against the department for the events of August 12, 2020, a jury ultimately found the LAPD and the city not liable for their actions.

The activist’s legal team argued that the police response caused fear for Abdullah and her children’s safety. However, the jury’s decision, which did not include any Black members, ruled in favor of the police. Despite this setback, BLM-LA expressed determination to continue their fight against what they perceive as police violence.

Sergeant James Mankey, a defendant in the case, testified during the trial that law enforcement received a call reporting a hostage situation at Abdullah’s residence. Despite some doubts about the call’s authenticity, he decided to send officers in tactical gear to the scene, not willing to take the risk of ignoring a potentially genuine emergency.

Abdullah’s attorney, Erin Darling, mentioned that a statement would be issued later in response to the verdict. The case highlighted the complexities surrounding swatting incidents and the challenges faced by both law enforcement and individuals targeted by such malicious acts.

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