Prosecution-Lynching-Conviction of Jasmine Abdullah Richards, Black Lives Matter Organizer in Pasadena

Dear Feminists,


"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept."

~Dr. Angela Davis

As many of you have heard, BLMLA/DENA organizer Jasmine [Abdullah] Richards has been charged with felony lynching. As students of Cal State LA and advocates of a social justice politic, please consider signing the petition to Free Jasmine Richards from political imprisonment.

If you are unfamiliar with what is happening to Jasmine, please read on & watch the videos below.

Black Lives Matter Organizer Jasmine [Abdullah] Richards Convicted of "Attempted Lynching"

"The charge stems from an August incident where Richards and other Pasadena, California, activists tried to remove a Black woman from police custody. Black Lives Matter Pasadena founder Jasmine Richards was found guilty of a felony on Wednesday (June 1). As Mic reports that Richards was charged under a California law that—until last summer when legislators amended it to omit the racially-charged word—defined lynching as "the taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer." The charges stem from an August 2015 incident when Richards led a march highlighting Pasadena police officers' 2012 killing of Kendrec McDade. When Richards and other activists saw police arresting a Black woman at a nearby restaurant, they surrounded her and tried to remove her from their custody. Activist and New York Daily News journalist Shaun King shared a video of that incident in his own article about Richards' charges. This isn't the first time the law has been used to prosecute an activist. In January, Maile Hampton was charged under the same statute for attempting to free a fellow protestor from police custody. The Sacramento Bee reports that prosecutors dropped the charge in April. "A law that was enacted for the purposes of defending Black people against hangings and torture is now being used against Black people who are fighting for the lives of Black people who are killed by the police," Richards' attorney, Nana Gyamfi, told Mic. Gyamfi also said that no Black people served on the jury that convicted Richards."

--Sameer Rao, Colorlines, June 3 2016

Read the whole article here:

Watch this video of the pretextual incident (warning: police violence):

"Political prosecution and the attempted lynching of Jasmine Richards." 

-- Nana Gyamfi, attorney of Jasmine Richards. 

"Jasmine is a political prisoner and represents probably the hugest threat to the state in that folks at the bottom can recognise their own oppression and rise up against it." 

--Melina Abdullah, Chair and Professor, PanAfrican Studies, California State University, Los Angeles, Black Lives Matter organiser

You can watch "Democracy Now" broadcast about Jasmine Abdullah Richards here:

Watch interview on "Uprising with Sonali" with Patrice Cullors and Jasmine Abdullah Richards about forming Black Lives Matter.


Habeas Quaestus' analysis of the history of CA Penal Code § 405a :

Please consider signing and forwarding; please spread the word.

Judge Elaine Lu presided over the case and is set to sentence Jasmine on Tuesday, June 7th. The charge could bring as much as 4 years in state prison. Will you please quickly sign the petition before Tuesday?

Text of the petition:

In a perverse misapplication of a 1933 California law intended to stop lynch mobs from forcibly removing detainees from police custody and engaging in public murders of Black people, Black Lives Matter organizer Jasmine "Abdullah" Richards was convicted of attempted felony "lynching" on June 1, 2016.  

The 29 year-old lead organizer for the Pasadena Black Lives Matter chapter was found guilty of charges related to an attempt to shield a Black woman from what she believed to be unlawful detainment by Pasadena police, following a "Peace March" that she and the chapter organized.  While there are no allegations of violence and no injuries suffered, the peaceful gathering of 15-20 children, mothers, and community members was dubbed a "riot" by the prosecutor - a necessary element to the "lynching" charge.  

Jasmine's story is incredibly inspiring. Growing up in Pasadena, she has said she felt 'lost' until having a political awakening inspired by the Ferguson protests in 2014. Jasmine traveled to Ferguson as part of the 'Black Lives Matter Rides' and returned home feeling the call to fight back against police violence.

Unfortunately, her newfound purpose was met with aggressive harassment by law enforcement. Jasmine was repeatedly targeted for arrest and faced exorbitant bail amounts and excessive charges. Now local police and prosecutors have taken the extreme step of convicting Jasmine of felony attempted lynching - labeling her 'Peace March' a riot and comparing Black Lives Matter to the Klu Klux Klan in the process.

Judge Elaine Lu presided over the case and is set to sentence Jasmine "Abdullah" Richards on Tuesday, June 7th.  Jasmine is currently being held in Los Angeles County jail.  The charge could bring as much as 4 years in state prison. Jasmine has been fighting for her community. Please join us in standing with her and demand "No Jail Time for Jasmine."

This is the letter we will send to Judge Lu.

Dear Judge Lu,

I am writing you to ask that you not sentence Black Lives Matter activist, Jasmine 'Abdullah' Richards, to any jail time for the preposterous 'attempted lynching' she has been convicted of.

As you know, the law that Jasmine was convicted under was created to protect Black people from race-based mob violence at the height of America's lynching epidemic. It is incredibly insulting to Pasadena's Black communities and all people of conscience to use this law to incarcerate a non-violent Black political activist. 

As a Judge, you are sworn to uphold the constitution including our rights to peaceful assembly and free speech. Regardless, of how you may feel about the cause of police accountability, imprisoning Jasmine for what happened at the Peace March she organized in 2015 would set a dangerous precedent and only exacerbate the lack of confidence Black communities have in the criminal justice system.

Please do not allow your courtroom to be used as a tool of intimidation and retaliation. Refuse to sentence Jasmine to jail time.

Thank you,


Posted by Jai Krishna Ponnappan 

In Solidarity with Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance at Cal State L.A.

@fmlacsula &