Friday, June 03, 2016

This woman was just convicted of lynching!

How's this for a perversion of the intent of a law? As far as I can figure out, from reading news accounts here and here, in the aftermath of a Black Lives Matter protest, Pasadena police moved to arrest a Black woman for an altercation unrelated to the protest; nearby BLM folks tried to pull the arrestee away; and two days later a BLM leader was charged with "lynching" -- "the taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer" as the California Penal Code puts it.

On this Wednesday, a Pasadena jury found Jasmine Richards guilty of the offense. She faces sentencing on June 7 and could receive as much as four years for the felony. Jamilah King reports:

Richards is the second black female protester to be charged with felony attempted lynching in California in 2016, though she is the first one to be convicted. In April, 20-year-old Maile Hampton was charged in Sacramento with attempted felony lynching when she tried to intervene in the police arrests of activists during a protest near the state Capitol. Those charges were later dropped.

Richards' charges were not. In a statement, Black Lives Matter denounced her conviction. "The perverse nature of this case is stark both because of the law's tragic name but more importantly because police, who have long exercised poor and deadly judgment in cases impacting Black communities, cannot be trusted to make lawful arrests or to guarantee arrestees will make it home alive," the group wrote. "Given that, removing a black person from police custody can be a life-saving action."

King provides historical background on lynching laws.

Lynching has a long history in the United States. In the years following the Civil War, black men and women who were accused of crimes (often falsely) were kidnapped from their homes, courthouses or jails by so-called "lynch mobs," crowds of angry whites who rioted in favor of vigilante justice. Some were hanged from trees or lampposts; others were burned alive or mutilated and tortured to death.

For decades after the Civil War, lynching was used as an act of racial terrorism against African-Americans. Between 1877 and 1950, nearly 4,000 people, most of whom were black, were lynched in the United States. ...

Thanks largely to a decades-long campaign waged by the NAACP, the country's first anti-lynching law was passed in 1922 to help curb the violence. But in more recent decades, law enforcement has used a specific interpretation of the law to crack down on left-wing activists.

Lynching was organized and community-approved white terrorism, torture and murder to enforce white supremacy over black citizens. Police and prosecutors have plenty of options for charging people who interfere with them if they think they must; charging Richards with lynching is obscene.
Color of Change has a petition ...

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