Colman Domingo
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Patrisse Cullors, Queer Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, Arrested

patrisse cullors

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors was arrested on Monday while protesting the killing of 18-year-old Carnell Snell, Jr. at the hands of LAPD police officers.

On Saturday, Snell was gunned down by law enforcement after officers on duty suspected the 18-year-old was driving a stolen car. Around 1 p.m., authorities with the Metropolitan Division spotted Snell driving a “light-blue Nissan Altima with paper license plates that indicated an incorrect model year,” as KTLA reports.

After police began to follow the automobile, two young black men ran from the car—one of whom was Snell. As police began to pursue him, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck alleges that Snell was “holding his waistband as if he was supporting something.”

During the chase, officers say that Snell removed a gun from his pants.

“While holding the handgun in his left hand, he turned in the direction of pursuing officers, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Beck told reporters at a Monday press conference. “A total of six rounds were fired and Cornell Snell was sent to the pavement.”

The teenager, who did not return fire, was shot twice and died at the scene. The teenager was just one of two men shot and killed by LAPD within a 24 hour span over the weekend, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Cullors, who was named as one of The Advocate's 40 under 40 last year, was one of the many Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at LAPD headquarters on Monday to fight for justice. 

"Carnell Snell was his name,” Khan-Cullors told the peaceful crowd that assembled outside the 11 a.m. conference. “He was an 18-year-old child. He was somebody's baby, and somebody in your department killed him, shot him in the back five times. We're here because we are tired, but we're not afraid.”

The meeting was a “closed-door press conference where the public was not allowed to have access,” Melina Abdullah told the Los Angeles news blog, LAist.

Abdullah, who serves as an organizer with Black Lives Matter, is also the Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University. She argued that the conference amounted to  “double assassination—first killing the body of Carnell Snell, and then assassinating his character.”

“We know that LAPD continues to kill our people and then justifies the killings with whatever they think makes those murders justifiable,” Abdullah said. “That's why we were there."

Khan-Cullors and Abdullah, along with co-organizer Niki Okuk, were handcuffed after being ordered to leave the premises. Despite the arrests, Abdullah claimed that the protesters had every right to be present at the press conference—and, thus, stood their ground in the face of police authority.

“It's a public building and we have the right to make our voices heard,” Abdullah said. “We're not going to just submit to the will of the police that continue to kill us.”

After her arrest, Cullors addressed her followers on Facebook, thanking those who assisted her. 

Khan-Cullors, Abdullah, and Okuk were released Monday evening following a week of protests that swept across Southern California. On September 27, 38-year-old Alfred Olango was gunned down in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego. Police fired on the Ugandan refugee after mistakenly believing his vape pen was a gun.

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