Latest Guides

top box 1

Black Lives Matter Pasadena Founder, Sentenced June 7 to 90 Days in Jail, Released Saturday

Published on Sunday, June 19, 2016 | 8:41 am
Black Lives Matters Pasadena founder and organizer Jasmine Abdullah Richards has been released from jail after serving less than two weeks on a 90-day sentence. Image: Twitter

Jasmine “Abdullah” Richards, the founder of Black Lives Matter Pasadena who was convicted on one count of attempting to free a prisoner in police custody during a 2015 incident in Northwest Pasadena and sentenced on June 7 to 90 days in jail, was released on Saturday and is now free.

“She has completed serving her sentence on the felony attempted lynching matter,” Richards’ attorney, Nana Gyamfi, told Pasadena Now this morning.

Gyamfi’s media representative Jasmyne Cannick added that Richards “had a bail on a misdemeanor protest case which needed to be paid for her to be released by the jail.”

When Richards’ arrest was originally announced, authorities said she had been charged with attempting to break a California state law known as “felony lynching.” The irony of that law’s title being used to arrest a black activist was widely written about in national media.

Richards’ arrest, trial, conviction and sentencing became a cause célèbre for civil rights activists, who claimed that Richards was targeted by Pasadena police and over-charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney in retaliation for her political activities.

Her sentencing at the Pasadena Courthouse less than two weeks ago attracted hundreds of supporters, who chanted, danced and sang outside as inside Judge Elaine Lu weighed prosecutors’ request to hand down a one year jail term.

In the courtroom during the sentencing on June 7, Judge Lu originally told both attorneys that she was “tentatively leaning towards probation.”

Richards’ attorney Gyamfi, in asking for the minimum sentence, told Judge Lu of the groundswell of support that Richards had received from a wide range of community members, including activists as well as academics. An online petition had garnered more than 78,000 signatures over the five days that Richards had been in custody awaiting sentencing.

A juror in Richards’ case also submitted a letter to Judge Elaine Lu requesting minimum sentencing for Richards, who faced potentially up to four years in prison.

LA Deputy District Attorney Christine Kee asked for 180 days in County Jail, and pointed out Richards’ previous convictions over the years, including petty theft and assault. Richards had also received two violations while on bail for the charge.

The probation department’s recommendation was for one year in County Jail.

Judge Lu handed down 90 days less time served plus required that Richards take anger management classes.

Attorney Gyamfi said she was satisfied with the verdict and somewhat relieved. “We would have of course, preferred probation instead of jail time, but this could have been a lot worse,” she said.

Richards will return to court July 14 for pre-trial hearings in two separate pending misdemeanor cases. She is charged with making a criminal threat and disturbing the peace in one incident, and battery of a police officer and resisting arrest in a second incident.


Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.

Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m.

Make a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *