Prominent Black Lives Matter activist Jazmine Richards was convicted Wednesday with felony lynching after preventing police from arresting a suspect in case that fellow activists have hailed as a “political prosecution.”
Two days after an Aug. 29 altercation with police, Richards was arrested and slapped with four charges for attempting to prevent Pasadena police from arresting woman who had walked out on her restaurant bill. A unanimous jury convicted Richards of “Attempting to Unlawfully Remove a Suspect from Police Officers,” a law that was formerly referred to as a “lynching.”
Under California penal code, she could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.
On the night of Aug. 29., an unnamed woman left a Pasadena restaurant without paying her bill, and crossed the street to a park where Black Lives activists were gathering after a march they had attended.
When police arrived to arrest the woman, Richards and fellow activists stepped in to prevent the arrest.
As Lt. Tracey Ibarra first told Pasadena Now, “Officers then at that point attempted to go ahead and made contact regarding the assault that had occurred in the restaurant. When the officers attempted to detain her [the woman] then, part of the Black Lives Matter protest group attempted to intercede.”
Reports say that Richards and other activists surrounded the cops and tried to block the police cars; some activists chanted “police brutality.”
Supporters are labeling Richards as a “political prisoner.”
Her lawyer Nana Gyamfi said, “This was a jury that could not tell the difference between a loud black person and a violent black person. This jury has nothing to be proud of.”
Leaving the courthouse yesterday, Richards marched out, chanting “It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other!”
Richards will be formally sentenced for the lynching charge on June 7. Her charge carries a maximum of 4 years in jail.
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