black lives matter los angeles
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti faced noisy protests at a meeting with black constituents Monday night. Above, signs protesting the police killing of Ezell Ford are pinned to the gate of the mayor's home, June 9, 2015. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's meeting with African-American residents, including Black Lives Matter activists, devolved into a shouting match Monday evening. His staff ended the gathering at a South L.A. church abruptly, according to the Los Angeles Times, after protesters crowded the stage and snatched microphones.

The mayor’s appearance was an opportunity to improve his relationship with the black community, which has been strained following the police shooting death of a young black resident last year. But when protesters weren’t satisfied with Garcetti’s responses to their statements and questions, the hourlong meeting came to an unruly end.

“I am disappointed that our conversation was cut short when there is so much work for us to do together to make our neighborhoods stronger and safer,” Garcetti said in a statement released late Monday, according to the LA Times. “I believe in our city and my commitment to our shared concerns continues, stronger than ever.”

About 50 chanting protesters from various groups, including the national Black Lives Matter movement opposing police killings of young African-Americans, followed the mayor out of Holman United Methodist Church. As Garcetti got into his car, one person reportedly jumped on the trunk of the sedan. An LAPD helicopter circled overhead.

“The mayor has neglected, disrespected and abused the black community for far too long,” Melina Abdullah, a California State University at Los Angeles professor and Black Lives Matter organizer, said before the meeting ended. “This is not a political game. This is not about your re-election. This is about our lives.”

Not all of the more than 100 people at the forum approved of the protesters’ conduct. “You had a subgroup that was trying to take over the town hall,” Daryle Shumake, a 45-year-old healthcare worker who is black, said after the meeting. “Whatever they were talking about is not my reality.”

During the meeting, Garcetti responded directly to demands for city leaders to acknowledge structural oppression and institutionalized racism. “If you just try to say 'all lives matter,' you write people out of history,” he said during the meeting. “You write slavery out of history. You write oppression and violence out of history. You write racism and lynching out of history. So I get why it is important — just hear me out for one second — you're right.”

Over the summer, the mayor caught heat from Black Lives Matter activists when he attempted to sneak out of his residence on the way to the airport for a political fundraiser in Washington. Garcetti told the activists who had blocked his vehicle in the driveway that he was going to the capital to lobby for community policing initiatives.