City Hall

Garcetti gets rough reception in South LA

screen-grab-cbsla-garcetti.jpgCBS LA screen grab

Mayor Eric Garcetti was the featured guest last night at a community forum at Holman United Methodist Church that was billed in part as a chance to improve his relationship with African Americans in South Los Angeles. A few hundred people came, but it was the few dozen protesters from Black Lives Matter and other activist groups that had the most impact. They turned their backs on Garcetti as he spoke, took to the stage and cut off Garcetti's remarks, then surrounded the mayor and blocked his way as a cordon of police led him to his waiting car outside. At least one protester walked on top of the car.

No one was arrested, and there were some unhappy community residents about the meeting being cut short.

Not a great TV showing for the mayor. From the LA Times story:

Toward the end of the hourlong session Garcetti, ringed by police officers, struggled to reach his car as he was swarmed by a crowd of chanting activists — and once inside the vehicle, he was forced to wait amid blaring sirens until the crowd was dispersed by the LAPD.

“The mayor has neglected, disrespected and abused the black community for far too long,” Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan African Studies at Cal State L.A. and organizer for Black Lives Matter, said at the meeting. “We are here today because this is real for us. This is not a political game. This is not about your reelection. This is about our lives.”

Others voiced exasperation at what they described as the usurping of a general-purpose community meeting by a small and unrepresentative group of protesters. Many of those seated in the pews as the meeting began rose and left as the faction of protesters became more strident in questioning Garcetti. Others tried to quiet the demonstrators when they interrupted Garcetti.

“You had a sub-group that was trying to take over the town hall,” said Daryle Shumake, 45, a healthcare worker who lives in South L.A. Shumake, who is black, said he had come to the meeting to ask about the likelihood of L.A. succeeding in its bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

“Whatever they were talking about is not my reality,” he said of the demonstrators.

Garcetti said in a statement later Monday night that "I am disappointed that our conversation was cut short when there is so much work for us to do together to make our neighborhoods stronger and safer. I believe in our city and my commitment to our shared concerns continues, stronger than ever.”

CBS LA coverage:

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