We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
For all those wondering how a Black man who claims to be for the people and a community activist could press charges against another Black man who is a community activist…keep reading.
Opening statements are slated to begin Monday morning in Los Angeles in a criminal trial stemming from news media appointed community activist and National Action Network-LA’s political director Najee Ali’s allegation that Jeffrey Page also known as General Jeff and the Mayor of Skid Row punched him in the face.
The case (No. 5CA15706) centers on a November 10, 2015 meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission where according to court papers Najee Ali told the police that General Jeff was an “activist with the Black Lives Matter Movement.” Shortly afterwards, in the lobby of LAPD headquarters, Ali was allegedly heard by officers yelling, “What the hell!” before pointing out General Jeff to the police and asking if he could have him arrested for punching him in the face.
General Jeff, a well known advocate for the homeless and Skid Row, denies being a member of Black Lives Matter or punching Najee Ali.
According to a statement given to the police by Najee Ali, this all happened after Commission President Matt Johnson called a recess of the Police Commission meeting and cleared the boardroom after a disruption, forcing everyone into the lobby of LAPD headquarters.
Ali claims that he was called a “sell out,” “Uncle Tom” and a “House Nigga” by Black Lives Matter activists.
Feelings were still running high between Ali and Black Lives Matter activists after a community meeting held the month before by Mayor Eric Garcetti to shore up Garcetti’s relationship with Blacks in South L.A. The meeting, held at Holman United Methodist Church, ended in chaos when Garcetti and others were challenged by Black Lives Matter activists for not doing enough around the killings of unarmed Black people by the police and for using the meeting for political gain.
Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Cal State L.A. Pan African Studies professor and organizer for Black Lives Matter Los Angeles Dr. Melina Abdullah said at the meeting, “The mayor has neglected, disrespected and abused the black community for far too long. We are here today because this is real for us. This is not a political game. This is not about your reelection. This is about our lives.”
It was after this October 19 meeting that Najee Ali took to Facebook and posted a picture of Abdullah’s children questioning her parenting skills. This is a particularly sensitive issue in the Black community in Los Angeles County where Black children make up 28 out of 100 foster children according to Department of Children and Family Services data and where many Blacks believe that social worker’s bias against Black parents is to blame for the high number of Black children removed from homes and placed in the foster care system.
In a Facebook thread in the Leimert Park Beat group regarding his post, Ali confirmed questioning Abdullah’s parenting skills to 2UrbanGirls.com publisher Melissa Hébert stating, “My comments were true…And no parent should have children in the middle of a potentially violent protest. Would you allow and bring your children into this chaos?”
Although held in Mid-City Los Angeles, the meeting at Holman was billed as a South L.A. Town Hall with Mayor Eric Garcetti and not a protest.
Flash forward to November 10 when Dr. Abdullah, Black Lives Matter Pasadena organizer Jasmine Abdullah Richards and Ali were in the lobby of LAPD headquarters.
Following up on his Facebook comments, Ali was allegedly overheard by witnesses questioning Dr. Abdullah about her children including asking where her kids were, why she was downtown at the Police Commission and telling her she needed to be at home with her kids.
According to court documents, officers overheard General Jeff yell, “Don’t disrespect women!”
Witnesses say that General Jeff, in defending Dr. Abdullah from Ali’s verbal attacks and to make him stop, made a flinching movement toward Najee Ali to which Ali seemingly got scared before ducking and going over to the front desk to report to the police that he’d been allegedly punched in the face.
Shortly after being allegedly punched in the face, Ali, rejoined the meeting of the Police Commission and made the following comments.
It’s no secret that relations are strained between Najee Ali and Black Lives Matter activists. Besides denouncing the group, Ali, a community activist, has publicly admitted to pointing out protesters to the police to be arrested. He regularly posts photos of himself smiling alongside of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck as well as publicly praises Beck before the Police Commission. Beck continues to be a target of Black Lives Matter who has called for his firing over the officer-involved shooting deaths of Ezell Ford, Redel Jones, Brendon Glenn, the in-custody death of Wakiesha Wilson and numerous others.
Last year, Najee Ali started a shouting match with Dr. Abdullah and Jasmine Abdullah Richards before a meeting of the Police Commission, wherein he accused the latter of being a felon before turning and verbally threatening me–all in front of the news media and numerous police officers. While being escorted with kid gloves to the other side of the boardroom he told Marcus Vaughn, the widower of Redel Jones a Black woman killed by the police in 2015, “That’s why she was killed” causing the woman’s husband to attempt to jump on him. On that day, the Police Commission was going to rule whether the officer-involved-shooting of Jones was in or out of policy. Once on the other side of the room, the founder of Project Islamic H.O.P.E., Najee Ali, continued his inflammatory comments by telling a person he assumed was a Muslim, “Don’t blow up nothing while we in here.”
Disclaimer. I belive in giving those who have been formerly incarcerated a second chance–maybe even a third or a fourth where it’s warranted. This ain’t the case.
A multiple felon, Najee Ali’s most recent stint in prison came after he was found guilty in 2008 of trying to tamper with a witness outside of his daughter’s preliminary hearing. For that he received four years. Jasmin Eskew, Najee’s daughter, was awaiting trial on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of leaving the scene of an accident stemming from an incident in July 2007 involving her vehicle and a group of motorcyclists on the San Bernardino Freeway.
As the Los Angeles Times reported back then, “Ali would have received two years in prison, but a prior robbery conviction in 1992 doubled his time to four years, Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said. The judge also found that Ali had violated his probation in a 2004 case in which he was convicted of felony hit-and-run and perjury.”
Najee has a history of attacking Black women.
After the LAPD shooting death of 43-year-old Charly “Africa” Leundeu Keunang on Skid Row, Najee Ali took to Facebook to attack and “gang bang” on civil rights attorney Nana Gyamfi.
In 2008, the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper documented one of the multiple restraining orders filed against Najee Ali by various women including at one time Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
“Ali has had confrontations with many well-respected elected officials and community leaders including Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, Councilman and former police chief Bernard Parks, Brother Tony Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, Laura Hendricks, a merchant in Leimert Park and even his former father-in-law, Imam Warith D. Muhammad. He has a reputation of antagonizing members of the community, forcibly intervening in the affairs of families during their time of crisis, and showing up and/calling press conferences to promote himself. Some of the mainstream media are complicit in Ali’s less-than-honorable behavior; they seem to parade him as a leader which actually insults the community where he is generally considered a person non-grata and a predator.
“Hendricks is one of the individuals whom Ali has intimidated to the point that she had to get a restraining order against him. When told that he had been sent to prison, she said, “I think it’s about time that some of these things he has been doing catch up with him because he’s been slipping and sliding all through the system …. So it’s about time, that’s the way I feel.”
“The slipping and sliding through the system that Hendricks referred to are the numerous encounters Ali has had with the law. He was arrested for hit-and-run for leaving the scene of an accident while he was on bail for another charge of purchasing false documents to be able to get two drivers licenses from the Department of Motor Vehicles.”
Police documents say that Najee Ali picked General Jeff out of a photo line-up.
A Follow-Up Investigation report by Officer J. Hill says that, “Ali viewed the photo line-up and immediately told me that the man in photo number two was the person that hit him with a fist.”
The report also goes on to say that Ali was, “adamant about prosecuting.”
In Najee Ali’s online blog for the Wave Newspaper “Najee’s Notes” dated November 12, 2015 Najee said that Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck promised him that General Jeff would be arrested. A point he reiterated on Facebook.
“On an interesting side note, this writer was physically assaulted in the lobby of LAPD headquarters by Black Lives Matter and Skid Row activist General Jeff Page. I was sucker punched by Page, as I was speaking to Rev. Tulloss, Rev. Smart, and other activists who were all dismayed by BLM activists calling us house Negros, which is comical in itself since this coalition of activists which I’m proud to a part of have been and continue to be the forefront of police reform for decades.
“General Jeff took exception to us calling for peace and respect, and unexpectedly punched me in my jaw. This is the same activist who threatened physical violence against Pastor Kelvin Sauls of Holman United Methodist Church at the mayor’s town hall meeting two weeks ago and had to be restrained in the church sanctuary.
“It’s sad and troubling that Black Lives Matter and its allies continue to use threats and violence against members of our community. How can you be against police brutality but your organization and its allies are threatening other peaceful activists and assaulting them in public? In fact what type of idiot assaults someone in the lobby of police headquarters surrounded by cops?
“General Jeff ran off before he could be arrested. But city officials and community leaders are condemning his cowardly attack and Chief Beck himself has promised he would be arrested and brought to justice. More on cowardly Jeff and his shenanigans in next week’s blog.”
Opening statements are expected to begin at 10:30 a.m. in Department 54 of the criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles before Superior Court Judge Alison Matsumoto Estrada. General Jeff is represented by private counsel Jaime Segall-Gutierrez and is being prosecuted by the Office of City Attorney Mike Feuer–who wants to be Los Angeles’ next mayor.
Potential witnesses include: Pastor William D. Smart, National Action Network-LA president Reverend K.W. Tulloss, former board member of the Los Angeles Police Permit Review Board Dallas Fowler, Dr. Melina Abdullah, Police Commission President Matt Johnson, Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and multiple police officers.
In addition to the assault on Najee Ali, General Jeff is charged with one count of battery on a peace officer and one count of resisting arrest stemming from a June 7, 2016 incident in which he is accused of pushing an officer and going out of the wrong door of the Police Commission boardroom.
At least one dozen people have been arrested during commission meetings in past two years, either on suspicion of resisting an officer, battery on an officer or refusing to disperse.
Because of prior convictions, General Jeff is facing 16 months to 3 years in state prison if convicted on all charges. The trial is expected last two weeks. Of the seven men and five women that make up the jury, including three alternates, there are no Blacks.
Tuesday a jury found Skid Row activist General Jeff GUILTY of assault on Najee Ali.
General Jeff was found NOT GUILTY on the charge of battery on a peace officer, NOT GUILTY on the charge of battery on Najee Ali, and the jury was hung on the lesser charge of assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest stemming from a 2016 meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 2. General Jeff faces 16 months to 3 years behind bars. On November 2, prosecutors will also announce their decision on whether or not to re-file assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest charges against General Jeff.
On Thursday, November 2, General Jeff was sentenced to 4 months in jail. He will turn himself in to begin serving his sentence on Friday, November 3.