Jasmine Richards’ Conviction

Against the Current, No. 183, July-August 2016

JASMINE RICHARDS, A leading Pasadena, California Black Lives Matter activist, was sentenced to 90 days jail time and three year probation following a conviction for what was called, until last year, “felony lynching” — a law written to stop lynch mobs from seizing their victims from police protection — now retitled “unlawfully removing someone from police custody.”

In an Orwellian twist worthy of the U.S. justice system, Richards was convicted for allegedly trying to rescue a Black woman from an altercation with Pasadena police. There no Black jurors in the trial, but one did write to judge Elaine Lu that “I feel sick for upholding a law in which I do not believe.”

As Sonali Kolhatkar wrote (posted by Truthdig, June 10) on why Richards and her friends intervened in the arrest of a woman they didn’t know:

“Black folks and BLM activists have every reason to fear for the safety of black women being arrested by police…One report tallied 15 cases of black women who died in encounters with police.

“Among the most recent cases is that of Wakiesha Wilson, 36, who authorities say hung herself in her jail cell in Los Angeles. Richards had been working closely with Wilson’s family when convicted.”

For background and an account of the case, see Sonali Kolhatkar’s report at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/06/10/partial-victory-black-lives-matter-activist-jasmine-richards.

July-August 2016, ATC 183