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Call to remove head of police commission


Claim abuse of power

Community activists this week called for the removal of Erroll Southers, president of the Board of Police Commissioners, for what they say is his involvement in “squashing'' pro-Palestinian support on area campuses.

Members of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition held a news conference outside police headquarters downtown to demand that Mayor Karen Bass remove Southers from his leadership position for allegedly “directing the removal'' of Asna Tabassum's USC valedictorian speech, calling in the Los Angeles Police Department to clear pro-Palestinian protesters from USC's campus, and abusing his power to have members of the public detained by police at public meetings.

Matyos Kidane of Stop LAPD Spying Coalition–an organization based in Skid Row that works to end what it calls police spying and data-driven Policing–said they are focusing on Southers because he serves as USC's associate senior vice president of safety and risk assurance, responsible for overseeing the Administration Division's safety departments.

“Erroll Southers has reached these places of prominence as appointed by Mayor Karen Bass through a career in law enforcement, but also through a career in academia for research–or  what is passed off as research–that has demonized the Black community, Muslim community members and continues to do so,'' Kidane said. “We're seeing now that Erroll Southers in this position of prominence and he's expressing his political will, and acting on an agenda, that serves the genocidal apartheid state at the expense of the health and safety of not just students but Angelenos.''

BLM organizer Greg “Baba'' Akili said the protests on college campuses have been “overwhelmingly peaceful,'' and have only gotten violent when police show up.

“The titular head of that force is a person (Southers) who sits here, but who also has a history of supporting, promoting and connecting that force and repression to Israeli policies and US policies,'' Akili said. “So, he needs to go.'' Akili also criticized Bass for her silence, noting that he remembers when she participated in anti-apartheid protests.

USC became a focal point of Southland pro-Palestinian protests following its April 15 decision to cancel valedictorian Tabassum's commencement speech in response to complaints about her online posts critics called antisemitic. USC officials insisted the move was solely a security issue, not a political decision.


Tags: local, Erroll Southers, LA Police Commission, Black Lives Matter