California’s Anti-Lynching law was passed in 1933. It states that: “The taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer is a lynching.” Now you may think that the object here is to prevent a mob from seizing an individual in custody and murdering that person. You may think that the purpose of the statute is to protect people from lynchings. You might think that, but you would be wrong: the purpose of the Act is to protect the police.
In People v. Jones, 1971, an appellate judge says that attempting to free someone from arrest by “means of riot” presents a danger to police officers and the intent of the law is to protect them. “Riots” are assemblies of two or more people that are so designated by authorities, i.e., the police. The judge in re Anthony J., 1999 cites Jones and states:
Under California law, “lynching” includes not only the notorious form of lynch mob behavior that aims to take vengeance on the victim, but also any participation in riotous conduct aimed at freeing a person from the custody of a peace officer. Accordingly, we conclude that a person who takes part in a riot leading to his escape from custody can be convicted of his own lynching.
In fact, there is a history in California of people being charged with their own lynching. In 2009, a Modesto DA said that lynching was “a tremendous sign of disrespect to the law enforcement community.”
Got that? Lynching is not a crime of violence against people, it is a crime of dissing cops. There are two elements to anti-lynch laws, says Professor Chris Waldrep, who’s written extensively on the subject: “There’s an unruly crowd, and the act committed is an affront or insult to law enforcement.”
So there you have it. There was an unruly crowd at Frank Ogawa Plaza, the police called it a riot, and Tiffany Tran called out for help as she was being arrested which insulted the police. Obviously she attempted to lynch herself. This just really makes me much much more respectful of police, oh hell yes it does.
(story and many cites via Susie Cagle )
Update: Tiffany Tran and some other incarcerated people had charges against them dropped today (Jan. 4). Two people are still in jail but chances are, they won’t face serious charges. As an outside observer, I think that this is an example of the State using the appearance of Due Process to stifle Dissent, but what’s new about that?