Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Opening Arguments Expected in First Black Lives Matter Trial in LA
By Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News
02/22/16, 7:27 PM PST

City prosecutors will make their case Tuesday against two Black Lives Matter Los Angeles activists in the first of six criminal cases involving the group that has gone to trial.

Activists Luz Flores and Evan Bunch have pleaded not guilty to multiple misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer involving an event last June at the Mount Carmel Recreation Center in South Los Angeles. Bunch was also charged with trespassing in the case, according to court documents.

The activists were attempting to speak to the mayor at the June 24 opening of Summer Night Lights, a violence-reduction program, to set a meeting about the group’s concerns about the killing of black people at the hands of police, said Attorney Nana Gyamfi, who is representing the defendants.

“We’ve always maintained that their arrest and their charging is part and parcel of the intimidation tactics being used in the city to suppress speech and to avoid accountability for the damage being done to black lives,” Gyamfi said.

Prosecutors will deliver their opening arguments starting at 10:30 a.m. in Department 68 in the Metropolitan Courthouse downtown and call witnesses to testify, which could take several days. The defense will then have an opportunity to respond, if desired, Gyamfi said.

A bench warrant with a body attachment was issued against LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Feb. 16 to testify after he failed to appear in the case but quashed through a motion by the City Attorney’s office the next day, she said.

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