Crime & Justice

Black Lives Matter activist files $4M lawsuit against LAPD, city

Black Lives Matter activist Greg Akili, right, claims he was wrongfully arrested by the LAPD during a police commission meeting.
Black Lives Matter activist Greg Akili, right, claims he was wrongfully arrested by the LAPD during a police commission meeting.
Frank Stoltze

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Black Lives Matter activist Greg Akili Tuesday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the LAPD and city of Los Angeles claiming he was wrongfully arrested during a raucous police commission meeting last year.

The suit stems from the events that transpired as the Feb. 9, 2016 meeting was getting underway.

Akili and other Black Lives Matter activists were refusing to sit down and stop shouting denunciations of commission President Matt Johnson and the LAPD.

As Johnson gave the 68-year-old Akili his "last warning" to sit down, the activist stood up and pointed his finger at Johnson, saying he had no right to tell activists to be quiet.

Officers escorted Akili out of the building and arrested him, not for disrupting the meeting but for allegedly grabbing a female officer. The city attorney charged him with misdemeanor battery. 

Akili refused a plea deal. The city took the case to trial; a jury convicted him of resisting arrest but couldn’t reach a decision on the battery charge.

For Akili, his arrest had nothing to do with battery.

"I wasn’t arrested for anything but upsetting and disrupting the meeting. And there is no law against that," Akili told KPCC outside police headquarters Tuesday.

The city attorney’s office says it's reviewing his lawsuit.

Akili has been a familiar face at police commission meetings in recent years. He is perhaps the best dressed activist, in his trademark double breasted sport coat, pocket square, dress shoes and brown fedora. He also is often defiant.

Akili remains a regular at police commission meetings – in fact he was asked to leave Tuesday’s session after loudly claiming that the LAPD "is the most murderous police force in the country."