At sentencing on June 7th with 200 individuals showing their support at the courthouse, Jasmine Abdullah was sentenced to 90 days in jail after being convicted of lynching last week, on June 2nd. Go ahead and send Jasmine a letter, and let her know just how many people out here are thinking of her and support her. Check out the ” write a letter” page for some tips as well.
Address your letters to Jasmine Abdullah, but to ensure that your letter gets to her, address the envelope just like this:
To: Jasmine Richards #4681452
Century Regional Detention Facility
11705 Alameda st.
Lynwood, CA 90059
And check out the statement below from Black Lives Matter, regarding Jasmine Abdullah’s conviction:
Black Lives Matter Organizer, Jasmine Abdullah AKA Jasmine Richards Targeted and Convicted of ‘Attempted Lynching’
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA — Today, after months of targeting and harassment by Pasadena Police and the Los Angeles County District Attorney in Pasadena, Black Lives Matter organizer, Jasmine Abdullah, AKA Jasmine Richards, was convicted of attempted lynching, a conviction that carries a maximum sentence of four years imprisonment. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Elaine Lu presided over the case.
The California Penal Code defines lynching as “The taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer is a lynching.” Penal Code 405b provides the penalty: “Every person who participates in any lynching is punishable by imprisonment…for two, three or four years.” While it is notable that the term lynching was challenged and changed in 2015 by State Senator Holly Mitchell through the legislative process, the substance of the charge remains the same.
“The facts presented at trial did not support the charge. Attempted lynching requires a person to attempt to unlawfully take a person from the lawful custody of a peace officer,” Jasmine’s attorney Nana Gyamfi said before her hearing on May 19th. “It also includes an element of inciting a riot to do so. The historical use is to charge a crime of lynching when the lynch mob takes the Black person out of the custody of the police for the purpose of lynching the Black person.”
California’s lynching law was put on the books in 1933, to prevent mobs from forcibly taking people from police custody for vigilante justice. 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. Given that, removing a Black person from police custody can be a life-saving action.
“Obviously, the police, District Attorney, and entire system are trying to make an example out of Jasmine, using this outrageous conviction to intimidate other organizers from fighting for an end to police terror and other forms of state violence against Black people,” said Black Lives Matter Los Angeles chapter organizer, Melina Abdullah. “It won’t work.”
Jasmine’s organizing grew from her experiences on the streets of Pasadena. Like other cities, a divestment of resources from the Black community by state and local officials has led to poverty and gang violence. The community is vulnerable and eager for social, economic, and political empowerment. Jasmine, alongside local youth, uses her experiences to advocate for the basic rights for Black residents. Jasmine’s deep community connections along with her tremendous ability as an organizer make her a threat to the existing system and make her a prime target.
“This prosecution of Jasmine [Abdullah] Richards is an attempted lynching of Jasmine and, by extension, the Movement for Black Lives in Pasadena, with the Pasadena District Attorney’s office and Pasadena Police Department as the lynch mob,” said Gyamfi. “In my 22 years of practice, I only know of one case where a person has been brought to trial on a lynching charge – this one.”
An uptick in protests, direct actions, and police accountability measures have given way to an increase in attempted lynching charges. Both Black Lives Matter and Occupy organizers have been brought up on the charge in the last five years. Just last year, Black Lives Matter Sacramento organizer Maile Hamilton was arrested for “lynching” after trying to pull a fellow activist away from police during a January rally against law enforcement brutality in Sacramento.
Prosecutor Christina Kee demanded Jasmine be remanded upon conviction, and she was. As she was taken from the courtroom, she led supporters in a chant coined by political prisoner, Assata Shakur and used commonly among Black Lives Matter organizers:
“It is our duty to fight for freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and protect one another.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
The Black Lives Matter International Network demands the following:
- For Jasmine Abdullah’s (Richards’) conviction to be overturned
- If there is a refusal to overturn the conviction, we want the fairest sentencing possible with no jail time.
- We want all other pending changes for Jasmine Abdullah (Richards) and all other Black Lives Matter protesters, activists, and organizers and all other political prisoners to be dropped immediately.
Sentencing is set for Tuesday, June 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Pasadena Courthouse, 300 E. Walnut, Pasadena, California.