At City Hall, Black Lives Matter Members Continue Demands to Drop Charges Against Local Organizer

Supporters speak out at City Council

Published : Tuesday, July 12, 2016 | 5:23 AM

Black Lives Matter Pasadena member Michael Williams addresses the City Council Monday evening, Jul;y 12, 2016.

Despite social media calls to “pack the council,” only a small group of Black Lives Matter supporters appeared and spoke out Monday evening at Pasadena City Council, once again demanding that the Council act to drop all remaining misdemeanor charges against Black Lives Matter Pasadena leader and activist Jasmine Abdullah Richards.

Richards was convicted in June and served jail time on a charge of Illegally Removing a Suspect from Police Custody.

Richards was not present at the meeting.

Black Lives Matter Pasadena member Michael Williams criticized the police chief for posting more police on duty over the weekend, and for asking people to “be vigilant.”

“Why are you prosecuting people who are trying to make things better?” he asked the Council.

Mount St. Mary’s Professor Emerita Michelle Dumont, told the council, “Talk is cheap. People need to see talk in action.”

Dumont also said that she had brought petitions bearing a total of 15,000 signatures to the City Attorney that morning requesting that the charges against Richards be dropped.

“These charges are ridiculous. You participated in a lynching,” Dumont said, referring to Richards’ earlier conviction on a charge which until recently had been legally entitled “felony lynching.”

Pasadena resident Sara Leone also asked the Council to “drop all charges,” saying, “Let’s be the city that is trying ten times harder. I wish that our leadership would take that extra stride to make sure that this is one of the best cities in the world. You can keep resisting us or you can help us … please join us.”

Responding to the speakers’ demands, and at the behest of Councilmember Tyron Hampton, City Attorney Michelle Bagneris explained, “The City Council is not in a position to influence filings and decisions, not with particular cases. The city does not have a role in this.”

Bagneris also said, however, that she has “reached out” to Nana Gyamfi, Richards’ attorney.

Richards is scheduled to appear in court to answer the misdemeanor charges Thursday, July 14.


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