LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Three Black Lives Matter demonstrators confronted at gunpoint by former District Attorney Jackie Lacey's late husband will have to undergo independent mental evaluations given that they claim they suffered psychological issues from the 2020 encounter at the Laceys' San Fernando Valley home, a judge has ruled.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Theresa M. Traber issued her ruling Thursday after a hearing in the lawsuit brought by plaintiffs Melina Abdullah, Dahlia Ferlito and Justin Marks. Lacey's attorneys sought the examinations because the plaintiffs maintain they suffered emotional distress from the encounter.
"Plaintiffs ... generally seek emotional distress damages for the first cause of action for negligence," the judge wrote. "Further, plaintiffs have received treatment for their injuries from a therapist, who has been designated by plaintiffs as an expert in this case. As such, plaintiffs' continuing mental condition is in controversy."
Traber's order limits each plaintiff examinations to one day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with "reasonable intervening breaks" and also designates the specific tests to be performed. In a separate ruling, the judge directed the plaintiffs' attorneys to comply with a Jan. 19 court order that directs Marks and Abdullah to sign waivers so their records from sessions with a therapist can be reviewed by Lacey's lawyers.
Lacey was criticized by Abdullah and other activists for declining to prosecute some law enforcement officers involved in fatal on-duty shootings during her two terms in office. For several years, protesters, including BLM members, gathered in the hundreds outside the Hall of Justice, where Lacey's office was located, every Wednesday to protest against Lacey, some with signs, noise amplifiers and drums, while chanting slogans such as, "Bye, Jackie" and "Jackie Lacey Must Go."
Abdullah is a professor and former chair of the Department of Pan- African Studies at Cal State Los Angeles and a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter.
The confrontation occurred when members of the group showed up at the couple's Granada Hills residence the morning of March 2, 2020. The plaintiffs went to the Laceys' home seeking to confront her for allegedly refusing to meet with them.
Lacey's husband, David Lacey, opened the door after the plaintiffs rang the bell. Video images show him pointing a gun and saying he would shoot if the visitors did not get off his porch. David Lacey died Sept. 5.
The encounter at the Lacey home occurred a day before Lacey -- now 66 years old and the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the top post since the office was created in 1850 -- was forced into a runoff with former San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascón, who ultimately was elected.