On Sunday, the Rev. Kelvin Sauls of Holman United Methodist Church announced that a planned return visit to the church by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti had been canceled.
Sauls stated, “I appreciated the intent of the mayor’s visit, to come and be with us so we can deepen our relationship. But in light of the organized social media campaign of Black Lives Matter, I decided it was not strategic.”
Garcetti had spoken at the church October 19, but Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted the event, interupting and booing Garcetti repeatedly while turning their backs to him.
NBC Los Angeles reported, “Garcetti initially came to answer questions from citizens regarding economic opportunity and community safety before protestors began chanting. But the event quickly turned to chaos as Black Lives Matter protesters rushed the podium.”
Ultimately, the LAPD had to intervene for Garcetti to leave safely.
The return visit was scotched when political consultant and commentator Jasmyne Cannick leaked the news on her website, revealing a Police Department email about Garcetti’s planned security detail, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Cannick stated he disapproved of Garcetti’s “secretiveness,” adding that the area where the church is situated is gentrified, adding, “This idea that you’ve got to run from people and hide from people and sneak around people is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know any other community that has to go through this fight for attention from their mayor.”
On Saturday, Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah–a professor of Pan African Studies at Cal State L.A.–who became aware of the cancellation, tweeted that the group should “stand down.”
Sauls was furious about the initial disruption on October 19, asserting, “There were about 800 people here, and 750 of those individuals were silenced because of the disrespect that they have brought to the sanctuary as well as to us as a congregation, misusing our hospitality.” He stated that Black Lives Matter would no longer be welcome at the church and wanted the group to offer an apology.