Black Lives Matter activist sentenced to 90 days in jail, probation

Black Lives Matter activist who was found guilty of interfering with Pasadena police officers as they were taking a suspect into custody last year was sentenced to 90 days in county jail and three years’ probation on Tuesday. 

Jasmine Richards was arrested by Pasadena police in September after a demonstration in La Pintoresca Park. Police arrived at the scene after a woman reportedly walked out of a restaurant in the 1300 block of North Fair Oaks Avenue without paying. The woman joined a group of people, including Richards, who had gathered at the park after a peace march, said her attorney, Nana Gyamfi. 

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When police took the woman into custody, Richards tried to start a riot, prosecutors said. Richards was arrested several days later after police reviewed evidence of the incident.

She faced a maximum four-year sentence and will get credit for the 18 days she has already served. 

In the past, Richards has spoken out against the actions of police, including the killing of Kendrec McDade, a black 19-year-old who was shot while running away from two Pasadena police officers in 2012.

Nearly 82,000 people have signed an online letter of support for Richards, and during the sentencing hearing nearly 200 people gathered outside the courthouse to show their support for Richards, chanting “Free Jasmine Now.”

Gyamfi said she would appeal the decision, although it is unlikely to have an effect on the amount of time Richards serves.

In the meantime, Gyamfi said Richards’ case has galvanized support for the Black Lives Matter movement. “People who have been on the sidelines have jumped onto the right side of history,” she said after the hearing.

Before Richards was sentenced, state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) criticized the verdict.

“Sadly, this case is likely to contribute to the notion that justice is selectively enforced,” she said in a statement.

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jason.song@latimes.com

@byjsong


UPDATES:

12:39 p.m.: This post has been updated with sentencing details.

This article was originally published at 6 a.m.

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