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Black Lives Matter claiming small victories
By Charlene Muhammad, Contributing Writer
Published June 15, 2016

 

Throngs of supporters outside courthouse for sentencing of Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Richards, aka Jasmine Abdullah, on June 7 Courtesy Photo

Throngs of supporters outside courthouse for sentencing of Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Richards, aka Jasmine Abdullah, on June 7 Courtesy Photo

Jasmine Abdullah, aka Jasmine Richards, was sentenced to 90 days in jail, three years probation, and a year of anger management on June 7 in Pasadena Superior Court.

The 29-year-old was convicted of one count of attempted felony lynching, which is trying to take someone from lawful custody of police by means of a riot.

While it may seem as a tragedy to many, Abdullah’s attorney Nana Gyamfi and Black Lives Matter are claiming a small victory. The outcome could have been far worse.

“This is a small victory. This is not justice,” Gyamfi said. “Justice comes when the conviction is overturned,” she stated.

Black Lives Matter Attorney Nana Gyamfi following sentencing of activist Jasmine Richards, aka Jasmine Abdullah, on June 7 Courtesy Photo

Black Lives Matter Attorney Nana Gyamfi following sentencing of activist Jasmine Richards, aka Jasmine Abdullah, on June 7 Courtesy Photo 

According to Gyamfi, Abdullah did better than if she had accepted Deputy District Attorney Christine Kee’s plea deal of 180 days in jail, the year of anger management, and an order to stay away from La Pintoresca Park, the scene of the Aug. 29, 2015 attempted felony lynching for which she stood trial.

Kee was adamant Abdullah should have received the four-prison term and the stay away order from the park, but lost both.

Judge Elaine Lu refused despite Kee’s vehement efforts to restrict Abdullah from the park, where the Black Lives Matter activist tutors children, holds peace marches, and other activities.

“Jasmine Richards should have never been charged in the first place. This should have been obstruction of justice or something less,” Atty. Gyamfi stated.

With the 18 days time served, Abdullah could be freed in about 39 days.

Educator and radio broadcaster Tej Grewall waits with supporters to enter courthouse for June 7 sentencing of activist Jasmine Richards, aka Jasmine Abdullah Courtesy Photo

Educator and radio broadcaster Tej Grewall waits with supporters to enter courthouse for June 7 sentencing of activist Jasmine Richards, aka Jasmine Abdullah Courtesy Photo

Abdullah received tremendous support from a cross-section of organizations, activists, academics, and allies from other ethnic communities. That included over 78,000 signatures on a Color of Change petition and over 20,000 signatures in one day from Asian Pacific Islander allies.

Throughout the ordeal, the 29-year-old activist has been harassed, followed by police, fired from her job, her apartment ransacked, and her dog was even killed, according to her attorney. Gyamfi herself has received death threats, she said.

“We have to keep fighting,” said Dr. Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. “The power of the people cannot be dismissed or underestimated,” she continued. She called the outcome a partial victory.

Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter co-founder, said District Attorney, who ran unopposed in recent elections, stated, “She has stripped us of our constitutional rights, and she’s allowed murderous cops to stay in our communities.” That will not happen again, Cullors vowed.

Black Lives Matter is back in court on June 17 for the sentencing of activists Evan Abdullah (Bunch) and Luz Maria Flores. They were convicted of resisting arrest and other misdemeanors for trying to speak to Mayor Eric Garcetti at a public event at a public recreation center, according to attorneys.

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