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Activist, Waters declare a cease-fire

November 23, 2006|John L. Mitchell | Times Staff Writer

With both sides saying they have proved their points, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and community activist Najee Ali agreed Wednesday to drop temporary restraining orders they had obtained against each other after a confrontation in a church parking lot last month.

Ali and Waters' lawyer, Rickey Ivie, asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard E. Rico to dismiss the orders he had issued last month in response to requests from each of them.

"Basically, it's over," said Ali, who had been the first to seek an order. "I feel that I proved my point that no one is above reproach; the justice system should be fair and impartial to all people. It was fair to me and took my complaint seriously."

Ivie expressed similar sentiments.

"It wasn't a productive or fruitful use of the congresswoman's time to pursue the matter further," Ivie said after the hearing. "She made her point, and she's prepared to move on."

Hostilities between the two date back several years, they both said. The most recent flare-up occurred Oct. 2, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was supposed to make a campaign stop to speak with black ministers at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in South Los Angeles. Waters arrived with 100 protesters and accused the clergy of being sellouts to Schwarzenegger, who never appeared. Then Ali and Waters got into an argument.

Afterward, Ali said: "I didn't know what had gotten into her. She ran up to me, yelling at me.... It caused me to fear for my safety."

In her court filing, the 69-year-old congresswoman said Ali had "confronted me on several occasions."

Waters said she believed that he was trying to "set me up" and accused the activist of having a "long history and reputation for confrontation."

She asked that Ali not be allowed to touch her, stalk her, disrupt her personal appearances, shadow her or block her entrance to her home or public places she visits. The order also covered her son and daughter: Edward and Karen Waters.

Ali, 43, denied that he had ever threatened or stalked Waters.

At Wednesday's court hearing, he said he "tried to take the high road."

"I indicated to the judge I would drop my restraining order if she dropped hers," he said. "It's a distraction. We both have important work to do in South Los Angeles."

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