Jodie Sweetin Shares Her Message After Police Pushed Her to the Ground During Abortion Rights Protest
By Mona Khalifeh
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Jodie Sweetin wants to shift the focus off of herself following Saturday's abortion rights protest in Los Angeles, which saw the Full House actress captured on video being pushed to the ground by police. ET's Nischelle Turner spoke with the longtime activist about why it was so important for her to hit the streets following Friday's Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, and why it's something she will continue to do despite the police brutality she encountered while demonstrating.
"I mean, there was not an official organization running it, there were a lot of people there, several hundred people there. It was peaceful, we were marching through the streets. We had legal observers there to make sure we were well within our First Amendment rights," Sweetin said of Saturday's abortion rights protest. "So, we we were using our right to protest and stand up against something that we feel really strongly about, and the biggest thing I want to say is, this is not about me."
Sweetin continued, "If people are really bothered by what they saw, then I hope that they get out into the streets and take action. There's great organizations here in L.A., Community Control Police, there are people like Sean King, there are a lot of wonderful people out there advocating for families and victims of police brutality as well as women’s rights and things like that."
Stressing once more that Saturday's act of police brutality against the 40-year-old actress was not about her, Sweetin said that if it gets people to pay attention, then "all the better."
"I just really I want people to know, this is not about me, but if it gets people paying attention, then all the better," she added.
It's not the worst Sweetin said she's seen at a protest, or even saw that day, telling ET that she has videos of police officers trying to steal women's bikes, hitting women with batons and more.
"It was such a crazy day, and there was so much happening, but I was behind the police line -- I was walking back and I was walking forward and one of the officers grabbed the handle on the back of my backpack as I was walking, actually threw me down and that was what you see in the video," Sweetin explained of the violent moment, which was caught on camera and has made the rounds on social media ever since.
She continued, "I have other videos of that day of other officers trying to steal women’s bikes, who were pushing young women, 15-, 16-year-old women to the ground, hitting them with a baton. There was a lot going on that day, so it was not just me."
While Sweetin and other protestors appear to be on the freeway in the video, she said that they were not blocking traffic and were simply using their First Amendment rights to protest peacefully and safely.
"The cops had the freeway blocked off at the entrance, so we were there, we were on a bridge over the 110 in downtown, and we weren’t in the middle of traffic, we weren’t disrupting traffic on the freeway. We were using our First Amendment rights, and the majority of the crowd had not moved any further," Sweetin explained. "I was just trying to keep everybody as safe as possible. I'm not responsible for people out there, and I don't try to police everything else that’s going on, but I definitely do at least just want to keep us safe, because I know that out there, we keep it safe."
While Sweetin said she doesn't recall the police officers saying anything after pushing her down to the ground, she maintained that she will not be deterred by the incident and is going to continue to exercise her right to peacefully protest.
"I was just with my bullhorn, and trying to get the message out there and trying to really be loud, and protests can be inconvenient, they can be loud and involve a lot of people, and that is our First Amendment right, and one of the things about this country, so as long as we exercise that, I am happy to continue to do so," she said.
The LAPD shared a statement with ET following the incident, saying that they are evaluating the use of force against Sweetin and will continue to facilitate protesters' First Amendment rights "while protecting life and property."
"The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway," the LAPD told ET. "The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD's policy and procedure."
The statement continued, "As the nation continues to wrestle with the latest Supreme Court decision, the Los Angeles Police Department will continue to facilitate 1st Amendment rights, while protecting life and property."
After hearing the LAPD's statement, Sweetin said that she's not going to press charges, but she is going to continue to protest against injustice, from women's rights to police brutality, LGBTQ rights and more.
"They can review policy, they can do something, I'm not pressing any charges," Sweetin stressed. "I think the most important thing is for people to realize what's going on, to continue to use their voices, to find other leaders in the community that are out there every day working against police brutality, working for women's rights, working for our LGBTQ family. We're still here in Pride Month, all of those things."
"You know, if this bothers you, if this hurts your heart, let me tell you the problem is much bigger than this, and I really, really hope that people get involved," she added.
On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade that established the right to an abortion. The ruling marks a seismic shift in abortion law and will usher in new rules limiting or banning access to the procedure in half of the states, in some places immediately.
The ruling came in a case involving a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and the court reversed the decision of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which blocked the measure.
The decision undoes nearly 50 years of precedent and will have sweeping ramifications for women, trans men, and nonbinary people across the country as abortion rights are curtailed, particularly in GOP-led states in the South and Midwest, and lead to a patchwork of laws absent the constitutional protection. Thirteen states have so-called "trigger laws" on the books, in which abortion will swiftly be outlawed in most cases with Roe overturned.
Sweetin is the latest celeb to speak out and protest for abortion rights. Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Lizzo, former first lady Michelle Obama and more have all reacted to the Supreme Court's decision on Friday, with many asking for a call to action to ensure that those who need an abortion can continue to have safe access to one.