LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Police Department was investigating Wednesday after an apparent prank call brought armed officers to the home of Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
Abdullah began streaming live video via Instagram at about 9 a.m. from her home showing armed officers staged outside the residence in the 2100 block of Wellington Road.
“I don’t know why they are here,” said said in the video. “They have guns pointed at my house. There’s a helicopter overhead. Nobody’s knocked at the door, but apparently they’ve made announcements for people to come out with our hands up. My children are in this house. My children are in this house. I don’t know what this is.”
An officer on a loudspeaker could then be heard specifically identifying Abdullah’s address from outside, before telling those inside to come out with their hands up and that the home was surrounded.
There were no injuries as a result of the call, though Abdullah repeatedly expressed concern for the safety of her children and fear that officers would escalate the situation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles City Councilman took to Twitter following the incident calling for an immediate investigation into the incident and for those responsible to be held accountable.
— Herb J. Wesson, Jr. (@HerbJWesson) August 12, 2020
According to LAPD, a call was made stating that there were three people inside the home being held hostage by a man with a gun.
“After the officers were able to verify the safety of the residents, the on-scene investigation determined the call was a hoax,” the department said in a statement.
Abdullah later spoke about the incident at an event held in support of a campaign to name her as dean of the new College of Ethnic Studies at Cal State Los Angeles, where she is currently a professor of Pan-African Studies.
“We don’t even believe that [LAPD] got that call,” she said. “We believe it’s yet another tactic that’s being used to block us from ushering in Black freedom and, by extension, freedom for all people.”
LAPD confirmed that it was investigating the call as a “possible swatting” incident.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)