Black Lives Matter Activist Convicted of Felony Lynching: "It's More Than Ironic, It's Disgusting"
Under California’s penal code, "felony lynching" was defined as attempting to take a person out of police custody. Jasmine was arrested and charged with felony lynching last September, after police accused her of trying to de-arrest someone during a peace march at La Pintoresca Park in Pasadena on August 29, 2015. The arrest and jailing of a young black female activist on charges of felony lynching sparked a firestorm of controversy. Historically, the crime of lynching refers to when a white lynch mob takes a black person out of the custody of the police for the purpose of extrajudicially hanging them. In fact, the law’s name was so controversial that less than two months before Jasmine was arrested, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation removing the word "lynching" from the penal code. We speak with Richards’ lawyer, Nana Gyamfi, and Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah. "Her conviction is not only about punishing Jasmine Richards, but also is the lynching," Abdullah says. "So it’s really disgusting and ironic that she’s charged and convicted with felony lynching, when the real lynching that’s carried out is done in the same way it was carried out in the late 19th, early 20th century, where it’s supposed to punish those who’ve dared to rise up against a system."