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Supporters of Black Lives Matter Organizer Jasmine Richards to Demand Charges Against Her Be Dropped Today

Published on Monday, June 27, 2016 | 4:17 am
Ironically, one of the two charges Richards' supporters will demand at the Public Safety Committee meeting Monday be dropped arose during an earlier meeting of the same Committee. Richards was charged with resisting arrest in the wake of her confrontation with officials during that November 16, 2015 meeting. Above, in a video screenshot shot in the hallway after she left Council Chambers, Richards raises a clenched fist towards three police officers.

[Editor’s Note: Shortly after this article was originally published, Pasadena Now received word that today’s Public Safety Committee Special Meeting is to be cancelled. “The meeting will be canceled.  I received information over the weekend that we would be unable to make a quorum,” Mermell said in an email.]


Despite clear indications that the Pasadena City Attorney has no plans to drop two misdemeanor charges against Black Lives Matter Pasadena Organizer Jasmine Abdullah Richards, as well as Committee rules which forbid comments on unagendized subjects, and a warning to followers “there will be heavy police presence,” Richards’ supporters apparently intended to “pack” the Public Safety Committee meeting Monday afternoon at Pasadena City Hall.

Early Monday, the meeting was cancelled because of the lack of a quorum, according to Interim City Manager Steve Mermell.

Richards’ supporters apparently plan to also address the full City Council meeting as well, during which their comments could be heard. A number of members of the group earlier appeared at the June 20 Council meeting to demand the charges be dropped, prompting Mayor Terry Tornek to turn to City Attorney Michele Bagneris for a statement.

Bagneris explained it is illegal for her office to bend to “political pressure” and gave no indication the prosecutions would wane.

Richards was recently convicted and sentenced in a separate widely-publicized felony case for “attempting to unlawfully remove a suspect from police custody” during an incident last August, 2015 in Northwest Pasadena. She has since been released after serving only 12 days of a 90 day sentence, but is due to return to court July 14 for pre-trial hearings in the two unrelated pending misdemeanor cases.

Reached for a comment about Monday’s planned activities in support of her client, Richards’ attorney Nana Gyamfi said could not speak for the Black Lives Matter organization.

“But I can say as an activist myself, and movement attorney, and member of other organizations that are and have been part of moving for the liberation of black people, not just in this country, but wherever black people are oppressed all over the world, that our ultimate goal is the dismantling of the system as it is, because of the way the system has been set up, and continues to propagate violence, oppression, torture, inequality; all of these things are part and parcel of the system itself,” Gyamfi said.

“The goal with policing,” she continued, “would be a redefining of public safety in a way that is completely separated from what we have now, a policing that does not rely on the occupation of black communities, and that has a different kind of investment in a community so that you don’t have all these millions of dollars invested in policing where there is hardly any money, comparatively, in community development and in community sustenance.”

The Public Safety Committee will meet Monday, June 27, at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers at Pasadena City Hall.

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