Ashes to ashes, disgust over a bust.
A woman whose niece died in Los Angeles Police Department custody threw her ashes at the police chief during a commission hearing Tuesday.
Sheila Hines-Brim was caught on camera hurling the ashes of Wakiesha Wilson at LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and, shouting, "That's Wakiesha! She's going to stay with you."
Wilson died in LAPD custody in 2016, after she was arrested for allegedly attacking another person in a hospital emergency room, according to police records. She was found in her Metropolitan Detention Center jail cell hanging by a piece of cloth tied to a telephone cord, and a coroner's office ruled her death a suicide. But her family and activists argue otherwise. They blame the LAPD for the death and say police failed to notify them about it.
The city paid Wilson's family nearly $300,000 in a settlement for a wrongful death lawsuit, according to NBC4 in Los Angeles. Detention officer Reaunna Bratton was discharged from the LAPD earlier this year after she was accused of refusing to render immediate medical aid to Wilson.
Hines-Brim and Melina Abdullah, a pan-African studies professor at Califoria State University, Los Angeles, were arrested as police cleared the floor of the ashes. Police charged both of them with battery on a police officer. Police and the fire department's hazardous materials crews responded to the scene to determine that Hines-Brim hadn't thrown a dangerous substance, according to FOX11 in Los Angeles. They didn’t confirm if it was human ashes, but Hines-Brim told media outlets that it was.
“I used her ashes so they can be with him, so he can feel her, because he murdered her,” Hines-Brim told to KAL9 in Los Angeles. “They covered it up.”
Abdullah told Oxygen.com she feels she was wrongly arrested.
“The officer said that I touched his arm on the way out of the room and that constitutes as battery,” she said. “For everybody to know, they are not even alleging that I hit anybody or pushed anyone. They are alleging that I touched an officer's arm and they chose to call that battery.”
She added that she doesn’t think she touched anyone in the crowded room and if she did, it was accidental.
Abdullah told Oxygen.com she arrived late to the meeting. She said she didn’t see the ash throw, only the aftermath.
She said she witnessed Hines-Brim being manhandled and yelled out to police to stop touching her.
Police brought her and Hines-Brim to the same facility where Wilson died. They were released within a day. Abdullah said she found the experience retraumatizing.
The LAPD did not immediately return a request for comment from Oxygen.com.
[Photo: Los Angeles Police Department]