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Home / Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs

Rep. Bass comments on professor’s removal from LA mayoral debate

In response to Melina Abdullah, a professor at Cal State LA and an organizer for Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, being forcibly removed from a mayoral debate on the university’s campus, Rep. Karen Bass said Monday that she wasn’t able to see who was being removed.

“I couldn’t see, I had no idea who was being removed,” Bass, a mayoral candidate who participated in the debate, said in a statement to City News Service.

Sunday’s debate, which aired on ABC7, was hosted by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs and the League of Women Voters of Greater Los Angeles. ABC7 reported that Abdullah did not have a ticket for the event.

Cal State LA declined to comment on the incident, saying it would wait until after it conducted a full review. Abdullah, a current professor at the university and the former chair of its Department of Pan-African Studies, was forcibly removed from the debate before it began.

“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 (Pat Brown Institute) director called the police on me. He and each of the candidates watched as I was brutally removed,” Abdullah tweeted Sunday evening.

Video of Abdullah being forcibly removed by campus police was shared widely on social media Sunday.

Abdullah said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times:

“I’m processing that as I was yelling for help, that I was being hurt and called for Karen Bass and Kevin De León … two people who have been very close for more than 20 years, they said nothing, not even a simple, ‘Please put her down,’ nor did any other candidate. It’s both hurtful and outrageous.”

The Times reported that one of its reporters saw PBI’s director, Raphael Sonenshein, ask the campus’ officers what they think about removing protesters.

The university told City News Service Monday that it “will provide a statement after a full review of the incident.”

Previous debates and forums with the mayoral candidates have been disrupted by protesters, including a televised one at Loyola Marymount University in February.

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