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).
Well folks, it’s the final countdown. What I mean by that is, unless the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office comes to its senses and drops the charges against me there’s only one more pretrial hearing between me and the start of my trial.
As it stands now I am still being charged with three counts of resisting a police officer on Nov. 26, 2014 during the third night of Ferguson protests in Los Angeles. And even though this protest and alleged crime took place almost a year ago, I wasn’t charged until March 31 and arraigned until May 13.
For those who don’t know, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Make-A-Wish division, I appeared to be one of the leaders of the Ferguson protest on Nov. 26 and (according to their fairytale) charged police officers on a skirmish line with the words “we’re coming through.” In my best impression of Office Space boss Bill Lumbergh, “yeah, I’m gonna need them to stop lying.”
Never mind the fact that for me professionally it’s just not a good look to be leading a protest against the police or the fact that ethically I just wouldn’t lead a protest against the police—that’s the lie they’ve concocted and that’s the lie they are standing by.
I was arrested in the cul-de-sac behind the public library near 6th and Hope Streets with over 100 other people. Had I not been tweeting and recording in the back of the group I might have escaped my stay at the LAPD’s Van Nuys Division hotel that night but alas, no dispersal warning was given as was the other two previous nights and when I looked up I was surrounded by police who said we were all under arrest.
Now while the Los Angeles Times has chosen to focus on those not charged after being arrested, it’s worth mentioning that according to the their last report on this subject, the city attorney’s office had filed charges against only 27 of the 323 protesters arrested during the Ferguson protests–fewer than 9 percent –and has formally rejected charges against 181. Of the 27 actually being dragged through the criminal justice system, the majority of those folks are Black—a glaring omission from the Times’ coverage.
One of those Black protesters was in court this past week for trial on one count of failure to disperse, one count of obstructing the sidewalk and three counts of resisting arrest. The protester accepted a plea deal in lieu of the five years and lifetime ban from the Hollywood area that the city attorney’s office wanted. The deal consisted of the City dropping all of the charges except for one count of resisting arrest resulting in thousands in fines and a lengthy stint working for Cal Trans. Several more trials are expected to get underway over the next month including my own.
Now to date, the city attorney’s office has failed to provide any audio, video or photographs that show me 1) leading a protest; 2) charging a skirmish line or 3) resisting arrest. In fact, at my arraignment prosecutor Jennifer Waxler, in my presence, told my attorney no such evidence existed. In addition, the city attorney’s office has failed to provide any documentation or proof of a dispersal order declaring an unlawful assembly being given at 6th and Hope streets on the evening of Nov. 26. The city attorney’s office has also maintained that the LAPD does not have a copy of an actual report regarding my arrest from the officers who identified me as being on the television news. But then again this is also the same office that said video didn’t exist from that night and then eventually handed over about 30 DVDs of video footage. Essentially, they have based their whole case off of two paragraphs of hearsay from officers, one of which the city attorney’s office claimed during one of my pretrial hearing that they weren’t even going to call as a witness. Interesting.
Even more interesting is the fact that our friend Captain Jeff Bert is the “reporting” officer regarding my arrest. Now I know quite a few captains and let me tell you 1) they didn’t become captain to continue pushing the same paperwork they had to do when they were a member of the rank-and-file; 2) It is very rare for captains to be “reporting” officer in an arrest and 3) No captain has time to be a “reporting” officer.
Now I will admit that I do believe that Captain Bert has a hard on for me ever since I wrote about and then discussed in great details in the news media his leadership skills (or lack thereof) during the fist two nights of protests in Los Angeles. I think I coined the piece “Who ran this city last night? Not the LAPD or CHP.”
But let’s stay on Captain Bert for a bit.
Recently an African-American 34-year department veteran named Sergeant Wayne Guillary filed a formal complaint with the Office of Discrimination for Complaint Resolution naming Bert. Sergeant Guillary then filed a civil lawsuit against the department for discrimination, harassment and retaliation and guess who’s listed as a defendant? If you guessed Captain Jeffrey Bert, you guessed correctly.
The story goes that Sergeant Guillary was assigned as one of Northeast Division’s Watch Commanders and during this time he wrote letters addressed to the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and to Los Angeles Police Inspector General Alex Bustamante regarding department shenanigans. Guillary then appeared in person at a meeting of the police commission where he informed the commissioners about the implementation of ghost car at Northeast Division and other police divisions throughout the city. He went on record explaining that this was a scheme perpetrated by command staff to have individuals log into patrol vehicle’s computers to make it appear that police officers were on patrol throughout the Northeast area when in reality they were not. He said that command staff at Northeast Division participated in this scheme and were in violation of Government Code 6200, which expressly prohibits the altering, or falsifying of public records or documents. Imagine that? Bert altering or falsifying public records or documents. Say it ain’t so.
Back to Captain Bert as the “reporting” officer for my arrest. Can one of my department folks please explain to me why the arresting officer didn’t write the report? I’d also like to know how many arrest reports Captain Bert has “reported” since becoming a captain (or lieutenant for that matter). Why would a captain write a report months later? Inquiring minds want to know, is this standard operating procedure?
We’ve had several pretrial hearings since my arraignment. None of which has produced any evidence whatsoever of my guilt or having even committed the crimes charged with. The last hearing I had the city attorney’s office handed over a wad of unit logs and communication logs from the night in question after being ordered to do so by the Court—logs they initially claimed didn’t even exist (just like those videos). While none of the logs had anything to do with me, I did take the liberty of publicizing one report where a certain sergeant used colorful language to describe Black Lives Matter activists he assisted in arresting that morning on the 101 freeway.
So where do we stand now?
Well Team Jasmyne under the guidance and leadership of attorney Nana Gyamfi has been feverishly preparing for our Oct. 19 hearing. We’ve filed several Pitchess motions for the officers involved in this lie.
A Pitchess motion is a request made by the defense in a California criminal case, such as a a resisting arrest case, to access a law enforcement officer’s personnel information when the defendant alleges in an affidavit that the officer lied about the events surrounding the defendant’s arrest. The information provided will include prior incidents of use of force, allegations of excessive force, citizen complaints, and information gathered during the officer’s pre-employment background investigation.
In addition to the Pitchess motions, there will be personal invitations in the form of subpoenas for them all to come and join us in court. I have a right to face my accusers and I’m looking forward to it.
I am not going to take a deal regarding this case. I would rather put my faith in the criminal justice system while trusting in one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the state of California and deal with the outcome whatever that may be than admit to doing something that I did not do. I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.
As I have said before, all of this has to do with Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. Between My Little Pony Gate, (Frank) Lyga Gate, Ezell Ford, Brendon Glenn and the list goes on and on, behind all of this I honestly believe that Chief Beck is pulling the strings on this costly puppet show. For him it’s personal but as the saying goes, what is in the dark shall come to light and there are a lot of gaping holes in this case so far.
Well that’s the latest update on the saga that is better known as The State of California vs. Jasmyne Cannick or Case No. 5CA08948.
I’ll be back in court in Department 52 at L.A. County’s Criminal Courts Building on Temple Street on Oct. 19 and I fully expect things to get really interesting quick. Again, a big thank you to Nana Gyamfi and to the public and private members of Team Jasmyne who are making it happen.
Until then…it’s the final countdown.