For the first time in American history, a Black woman has been convicted of “lynching.”
Last week, a California judge sentenced Jasmine Richards, a 28-year-old Black Lives Matter activist to 90 days in jail for lynching, defined in California as “the taking by means of a riot of another person from the lawful custody of a police officer”, reports Vox.
The conviction stems from an incident that took place last August, in which police were called because a Black woman had been accused of exiting a restaurant without paying.
As police attempted to arrest the woman, Richards, who was nearby at a Black Lives Matter protest, approached the officers. Video shows Richards standing by the woman, but police claim she was trying to pull her away.
Richards was arrested and charged with delaying and obstructing peace officers, inciting a riot, child endangerment and lynching.
Though other African-Americans in the state have been charged with lynching, Richards is the first to be convicted. Lawyers for Richards say that this is an attempt at silencing the activist.
“Clearly this is a political prosecution,” her attorney, Nana Gyamfi said to Vox. “Its intention is to stop people from organizing and from speaking out and challenging the system. There’s a political message that’s been sent by both the prosecutor and the police and, by conviction, the jury.”