Black Woman Charged With Lynching During Police Violence Protest

An African-American protester was charged with lynching during a police violence protest in Sacramento, California, after she attempted to pull a fellow activist from a police officer’s hands. The 20-year-old woman, Maile Hampton, is facing a possible four years in prison along with a felony listed permanently on her record for the charge.

The Guardian reports that under California law, removing someone from police custody is defined as “lynching.” Therefore, when activist Hampton attempted to pull her friend from the police during the protest, she was attempting to “remove” someone from police custody, which led to the lynching charges. The mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, was shocked to learn that such a historically painful term was being used in California law. Johnson tweeted his thoughts on removing the term from written law due to its painful history.

Many have voiced concern that the dated law is being used to intimidate protesters and is not being used as it was originally intended. California’s lynching law was put on the books in 1933 to prevent mobs from forcibly taking people from police custody for vigilante justice. The Black Youth Project points out that the law was “clearly” written as a way to protect minorities from being murdered, but is now being abused by police officers.

“Clearly the law was written to prevent people, most often black and Latino, from being murdered. But police are now using it to target anti-police violence activists.”

It is pointed out that police and prosecutors often use lynching laws as a means to arrest protesters. A video of the altercation between Hampton and police have left some questioning the validity of the charges.

“Video of the rally shows police tussling with a protester in the street while activists on the sidewalk yell: ‘Who do you protect? Who do you serve?’ A woman who appears to be Hampton enters the street, carrying a bullhorn. She grabs the handle of a sign held by the protester being detained by police and attempts to pull it away from an officer who is also holding it. She is then pushed away by other officers.”

What do you think of California’s lynching laws? Are they being abused by the police force as a means to intimidate protesters?

[Image Credit: Facebook/ Maile Hampton]