Black Lives Matter activist Jasmine Richards, convicted of "lynching" for interfering in an arrest in Pasadena, California, is no longer behind bars after posting bail, local activists reported on Saturday.
Richards, 28, was the first Black person to be charged and tried for the crime of “felony lynching." Earlier this month she was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation.
Lynching laws were ostensibly created to prosecute vigilantes—like white supremacists—who took "justice" into their own hands and detained or killed people of color.
In this case, Richards was at a restaurant in Pasadena with other Black Lives Matter activists when a young Black woman was detained for allegedly not paying for her meal. When police attempted to arrest the woman, a number of Black Lives Matter activists intervened. Other activists were charged for the same crime but their charges were later dropped.
Richards was also charged with inciting a riot, child endangerment, delaying and obstructing police officers in their duties. These charges were later dropped.
After her trial for lynching, Richards shouted the famous words of revolutionary Black activist Assata Shakur, channeling Karl Marx: “We have nothing to lose but our chains!”
Richard’s lawyer, Nana Gyamfi, called the case against her client "a political prosecution, not a criminal prosecution … This was a jury that could not tell the difference between a loud Black person and a violent Black person.”
The Black Lives Matter movement fights against institutionalized racism and in particular police brutality that is disproportionately carried out against people of color. It has steadily grown in support since it was founded in 2013 following a number of high-profile police killings of unarmed Black men.