In January, during a protest against police, “Black Lives Matter” activist Maile Hampton was arrested and charged in Sacramento, California with “felony lynching” for “attempting to seize someone from police custody.” Although the charge is based on a 1993 law, outrage ensued over the fact that a black woman was charged with lynching.
Then, last week, in the wake of the Charleston attack, California lawmakers unanimously voted “to strike the term from the books.
Deputy District Attorney Steve Gripp downgraded Hampton’s charge to “misdemeanor interference with an officer” to avoid language that might otherwise be viewed as inflammatory or “incendiary.”
According to the Associated Press, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (D) was shocked over the charge and “likened the terminology to another painful vestige of the nation’s racist past: the Confederate flag.”
Johnson said, “When I first heard that word–(lynching)–I immediately start[ed] thinking about someone hanging from a tree with a rope around his neck. Is that really what this law is supposed to mean? That’s just a really painful context.”
State senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) said, “To come full circle 2015 and have a woman of color charged with that crime–the irony was not lost on me.” Mitchel sponsored the bill to remove the word “lynching” from the books.
Mitchell’s bill has been sent to Governor Jerry Brown (D) for a signature.
Black Lives Protester Luz Flores “was arrested on felony lynching charges [by LAPD] just last week.”
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