California vs. Cannick: Case Dismissed!

 

We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).

“In further preparation for trial, we carefully assessed all the evidence including witnesses and prospective witnesses for both sides as well as the specific elements of the charges and defendant’s criminal history [or lack thereof]. For all those reasons there was insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction.”
— City Attorney’s spokesman Rob Wilcox

 

…and just like that The People of the State of California verses Jasmyne Cannick came to an abrupt albeit long overdue conclusion.

To recap for those who don’t know my story, I was arrested for the first time in my life on November 26, 2014 in the cul-de-sac behind the library in downtown Los Angeles at 6th and Hope Streets. I was arrested with over 100 other people after the Los Angeles Police Department surrounded a large group protesting the decision by a Ferguson grand jury not to prosecute a white police officer in the death of Black teenager Michael Brown.

It was the third night of consecutive protesting in Los Angeles since the decision had been announced. The first two nights saw hundreds if not thousands marching through the streets and the third night was no different—except for one simple yet very important fact.

On the first two nights of the protesting, which I also observed and reported on—both the California Highway Patrol and the LAPD declared an unlawful assembly and gave dispersal orders to the protesters. I remember this happening near USC, the 110 freeway and the 101 freeway. After the orders were given, protesters had the opportunity to leave or stay. If they stayed, and some did, they were well aware of the chance of them being arrested for being in violation of the order. I heard the orders and complied on both Monday and Tuesday nights.

But on that Wednesday, all hell broke loose in downtown Los Angeles. Protesters had started protesting at the federal courthouse early in the afternoon and by the evening had made their way into the heart of downtown Los Angeles. It was a moving protest. With every block passed the protest seemed to get larger and larger. By the time I had caught up with the protesters that evening around 7ish there had already clashes with the LAPD and it seemed like the protesters were playing a game of cat and mouse in trying to evade the police.

At some point the protesters were blocked from going northbound on Figueroa and I remember everyone being pushed to go through the park on the side of the library and down a bunch of stairs with led to a cul-de-sac. Hundreds of people made the trek but it was the ones who weren’t moving as fast that found themselves face to face with the police officers in full riot gear. I was in that group.

I was too busy recording audio, video and tweeting what was happening that I wound up in the back of the group therefore getting caught up the LAPD’s “kettling” of the protesters.

At the time it wasn’t a big deal to me because I assumed that like on the two preceding nights a dispersal order would be given and at that point I’d be on my way. The LAPD had other plans because I quickly found out that we were all under arrest.

Several television news reporters were also caught up the fray and I watched as the police allowed them to leave. I notified one of the officers that I was with a local radio station and they told me I couldn’t leave. I told the officer who completed my field interview that I was with a radio station covering the protests. She wrote it on my FI card and walked me over to where everyone was waiting to be taken to jail.

I ended up spending the night at the Van Nuys jail before being released on Thanksgiving.

I showed up at court like everyone else a few days later only to be told that nothing had been filed and that the city attorney’s office had one year to file charges—so I went on with business as usual.

In May I was notified by the city attorney’s office via mail that I was being charged with three counts of resisting a police officer.

At my arraignment, my attorney was given a police report that indicated that LAPD Sergeant Raul Pedroza recognized me from television and that I was one of the leaders of that November 26th protest. Sergeant Pedroza, who must have been assigned to the LAPD’s Make-A-Wish Division, said that I attempted to cross a skirmish line saying, “we’re coming through” and that I had to be pushed back by police officers.

Pedroza must have an amazing memory too because his fictional account of that evening was dictated to detectives nearly three months later and neatly tucked into a report as hearsay. Not only wasn’t I even in the location mentioned, I wasn’t even there at the time, but that’s neither here nor there. Pedroza lied and had help with his lie from one Officer Martinez and Captain Jeffrey Bert–Bert who I’m almost 100 percent sure was just salty because his leadership skills had been called into question by me and his own Department after the protesters ran circles around him the first two nights.

I was offered the opportunity to make a deal by the city attorney’s office at my arraignment to which my attorney Nana Gyamfi and I both laughed out loud in the courtroom. For the last six months I’ve had numerous pretrial hearings that have all led up to a trial date of December 15 with November 19 being the last hearing for both parties to let the Court know they were ready to go to trial.

During all of my pretrial hearings—and there were many—the city attorney’s office was never once able to locate the following items requested by my attorney:

  1. A police report signed by Sgt. Pedroza with his account of what I allegedly did
  2. A photograph showing me committing the alleged crime
  3. A video of me committing the alleged crime
  4. Audio of me committing the alleged crime
  5. Video or audio of a dispersal order being given on 6th and Hope Streets

This was odd, especially considering the fact that the city attorney’s office had about 31 DVDs they turned over in discovery relating to the protests from all three nights.

But still, eager beaver Deputy City Attorney Jennifer Waxler was all set to go to trial—even with nothing as far as I could see except for a folder full of my blog posts that I spotted her carrying. Not sure what my blog posts could possibly have to do with me being charged with three counts of resisting a police officer.

So on Wednesday, ahead of my Thursday appearance, my attorney turned over our witness list to the city attorney’s office.

While I can’t go into great detail about who was on it, I can tell you that City Attorney Mike Feuer and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck would have been embarrassed by the testimony of more than one person on that list.

Beck himself was on the list because if the City tried to say that I was not a journalist, Beck could explain how I interviewed him for a front-page story of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper when he was first tapped to replace Chief William Bratton.

On Thursday it’s finally time for Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lynne Hobbs to hear my case and the first thing I notice is that Jennifer Waxler is not there. That’s strange behavior for a woman who has not missed one of my hearings. Not one. But today, she’s not here. I know she has trial across the hall in Department 47 for the protesters who shut down the Blue Line in April but that trial wasn’t expected to get underway until close to 11 a.m. Oh where could she be?

On this day she had another attorney filling in for her on my case. Strange behavior.

And then I hear words I expected a long time ago–the City is moving to have my case dismissed in the interest of justice—and I swear it took all of my self control not to blurt out—no you’re dismissing my case because you have no evidence and Sgt. Pedroza and team straight up lied. But of course I didn’t.

And like that it was pretty much a done deal.

That Jennifer Waxler though is a piece of work. She can bring her highfaluting ass to court any other time but when it’s time to eat crow she sends a flunky attorney to do her bidding. Now that’s trifling. Later I found out she did show up to Dept. 47 where the jury found in favor of the City and convicted the three protesters who had blocked the Blue Line. But of course she did, she won. In case you’re not in the know, Waxler is the prosecutor on all of the Ferguson protest and Black Lives Matter cases.

So what’s next?

For starters, I will be petitioning the court to return my arrest record back to the state it was in prior to November 26, 2014, which was arrest free.

Some people may think that’s not important but to me it is. I had never been arrested before all of this and I shouldn’t have been arrested that night. So yes, I want that arrest off of my record.

Next, like with all of the other 130 or so people who were arrested with me I will be considering what other legal options I have available to me. Remember, the LAPD didn’t just arrest me. They arrested me and concocted one of hell of a lie that they had absolutely no evidence to backup.

What I will say is that I promise not to paint the entire LAPD as a bunch of liars in uniform based on the actions of four people—Police Chief Charlie Beck, Captain Bert, Sgt. Pedroza and Officer Martinez. But let’s be clear—the next time someone tells me that the police lied on them I will no longer give them the side eye and not believe them. As the song goes…until it happens to you. I know better now.

I want to thank my brilliant and fearless attorney Nana Gyamfi for her tireless support, diligence and work on my case.

I also want to thank my investigator Alex Salazar for all of his support and work.

I want to thank all of the members of Team Jasmyne who work for the LAPD (and there are many) who I cannot thank by name publicly for standing by me from day one and helping a sista out on the downlow. You know who you are and you are appreciated. Again, just because your colleagues are a bunch of liars, I promise not to paint you with that same broad stroke.

To the other members of Team Jasmyne—my family, friends and readers–you rock and I appreciate you too, especially a certain someone who shall forever remain anonymous.

To the folks I work with and for, especially the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers’ Association—thank you for always believing in me and my innocence regarding this matter. You see it’s kind of hard to be protesting the police and charged with resisting an officer when you with police officers for a living. For the conspiracy theorists, no I am not a cop. I work in politics and communications.

There will be a party at an undisclosed location in the next week to celebrate—believe that. You want in, contact me privately. If I know you, you should be able to do that.

In closing, a couple of things.

One, click here to read what I have to say to and about certain members of the news media in Los Angeles who choose to ignore my case and look the other way. Yes, I threw major shade but I’m tired of their double standards.

Two, mad love and shout outs to Dennis Romero and the L.A. Weekly for their piece on my case. You can read it here if you haven’t already.

Three, between now and February there are a number of trials taking place that have to do with all of the protests from last year and earlier this year. While I can’t speak to the innocence of anyone other than myself—I will say this. Those people who were arrested on November 26th at 6th and Hope Streets should not have been arrested. There was never a dispersal order. Even members of the media caught up in the kettle acknowledged that and the LAPD has backtracked on their version of events more than once since then. As far as I know, the LAPD has yet to provide any of the defendants or their attorneys with video proof or documentation of a dispersal order being given on 6th and Hope Streets. Given all of the cameras out there that night, why is it that no one—not the protesters or the LAPD can produce a single video or photo or the LAPD given a dispersal order on 6th and Hope? The LAPD should know their own rules for dispersal orders in the wake of the 2007 May Day incident at MacArthur Park. Do not be surprised with the amount of lawsuits that are filed in the next week because of this.

And finally, I would say to Chief Beck better luck next time but why in the hell would I wish him luck on trying to screw me over via the city attorney’s office?   Exactly. It is my opinion that Chief Beck and others used the city attorney’s office to exact revenge on me for some less than flattering stories about command staff shenanigans that turned into major news stories in Los Angeles and around the country. But it didn’t work out for them this time around. As for me, I never stopped cranking out the stories and as long as folks trust me enough to confide in me regarding command staff and Department tricks you can expect a lot more.

I’m out.

 

 

The Court of Public Opinion