A law originally created to protect Black people from vigilantes is now being used to criminalize and intimidate activists, by locking up a freedom fighter who made it her life’s work to oppose police violence and killings of Black people.
That freedom fighter is Jasmine Abdullah (known to the state as Jasmine Richards). Last year, Abdullah was arrested after a protest in the streets of Pasadena, Calif., demanding justice for Kendrec McDade, who was killed by Pasadena police in 2012. She was taken for supporting another Black woman, not even a protester, in a run-in with local police. Abdullah’s charge? Felony lynching — a term in the California penal code that was so controversial that the name was recently changed — which refers to “the taking by means of a riot of another person from the lawful custody of an officer.” Last week, she was convicted of this offensive, outrageous charge.