Jasmine Richards, a Black Lives Matter activist who was recently convicted of “felony lynching” has been freed, according to Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles on Twitter. Her arrest sparked protests around the nation, starting the hashtag #FreeJasmine.
Richards was arrested and charged with “felony lynching” during a Pasadena, California rally in August 2015. Richards attempted to pull away a woman who was being detained by police for allegedly inciting violence. In attempts to protect the woman from the police, Richards was charged with the crime. She faced up to 4 years in prison, but was sentenced to 90 days.
Her arrest also led to a dialogue on the charge for “lynching” and its historical connotations. “California was doing something progressive in the 1930s by criminalizing the act of lynching, which is the taking of someone from lawful custody, for the purposes of doing harm to the person,” a Priscilla Ocen, a Loyola Law School professor, told the Pasadena Star News. The word “lynching” was removed from Los Angeles’ penal code in 2015. A juror in Richards’ trial said while what she did fit the particular crime in the code, it was a “true injustice” and a “political misstep.”
“It would have been a lot different if people on the jury understood what they were looking at was ‘attempted lynching,’ instead of ‘attempted taking someone from the custody of police,'” said Richards’ attorney Nana Gyamfi.
Many have taken to Twitter to celebrate Richards’ release below...
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) June 17, 2016
— Rosa A. Clemente (@rosaclemente) June 18, 2016
— #TCOHHL_Radio (@TCOHHL_Radio) June 19, 2016