LYNCHING- WHAT IS IT?
by Sue Basko
On the evening of January 12, 2012, a group of protesters went to the Downtown L.A. Artwalk. This ended with 2 men arrested. One of them, Sergio Ballesteros, was charged with lynching, a felony. He is being held on $50,000 bail bond as of this writing.
From what I can gather from written accounts and a video, this is what happened: The sidewalks were very crowded. A drummer named Adam stepped into the street to walk around a car. Police swarmed him to arrest him. The police recognized Sergio and cherry-picked him. Sergio and his girlfriend were thrown to the ground. Sergio had just appeared a few days prior on a major mainstream media news talk show, speaking eloquently on behalf of his experiences in the Occupy movement. CLICK TO VIEW. Sergio was arrested and charged with lynching.
WHAT IS LYNCHING?
The California Penal Code defines lynching as:
405a. The taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer is a lynching.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT FOR LYNCHING?
405b. Every person who participates in any lynching is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three or four years.
WHAT IS A RIOT?
404. (a) Any use of force or violence, disturbing the public peace, or any threat to use force or violence, if accompanied by immediate power of execution, by two or more persons acting together, and without authority of law, is a riot.
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO WHAT HAPPENED?
It probably doesn't. The police would have to be saying there was a riot, which does not seem to be the case, unless you count police behavior. Two or more people would have to be engaging in this riot and using it to take someone from police custody. Who are the two people? Where is the riot? Who was in police custody and was taken from it? Sergio alone cannot be engagin in a lynching, because it takes two or more people. None of these things appear to have happened.
Watch the video below. It is ridiculous police activity. At one point, a female police officer is yelling at a man to get onto the sidewalk, and he replies, "Obviously, it's full."
VIDEO OF THE INCIDENT: