LOS ANGELES – With a trial date set for December 15, today representatives from Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office moved to dismiss misdemeanor criminal charges against freelance journalist Jasmyne Cannick.
Cannick, 38, was charged with three counts of resisting a police officer resulting from being arrested on November 26, 2014 during what the Los Angeles Police Department referred to as the Ferguson protests.
“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],” City Attorney’s spokesman Rob Wilcox. “For all those reasons there was insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction.”
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lynne Hobbs immediately dismissed the case at a trial readiness hearing on Thur. Nov. 19.
A police report claimed that LAPD Sergeant Raul Pedroza identified Ms. Cannick as someone he recognized from television and that she was one of the “leaders” of the protest and allegedly attempted to cross a skirmish line while saying “we’re coming through!” During six months of pretrial hearing, neither the city attorney’s office nor the LAPD ever produced one photo or video of Ms. Cannick engaging in any illegal activity. A YouTube video posted shows Ms. Cannick being arrested without incident.
Ms. Cannick, an EUR columnist and well known journalist and community figure both locally and nationally, always maintained her innocence, identified herself as a journalist at the time of her arrest and told officers that she was not a part of the protest but was there covering it for a local radio station where she freelances as a segment producer. While other news media personnel were not arrested and allowed to leave, Ms. Cannick was not.
“This is a victory for Truth who does not often win in these types of cases,” said civil rights attorney Nana Gyamfi who represented Ms. Cannick. “Independent journalists are entitled to the protection of the constitution. Even those who criticize those in power at the Los Angeles Police Department like Ms. Cannick is known for doing. Ms. Cannick is considering her options for further legal action at this point as she should.”
“While I was prepared to take this case to trial in an effort to prove my innocence I am relived by the dismissal,” commented Ms. Cannick. “This case was about retaliation–retaliation for stories that I’ve broken about the LAPD that have turned into major news stories. From Detective Frank Lyga, to the LAPD essentially hosting a book signing for former Mexican mafia hitman Rene “Boxer” Enriquez to Chief Beck having to admit his involvement in the purchasing of his daughter’s horse by the department for her to use at work in its Mounted Unit—I think the powers that be were attempting to use the city attorney’s office to exact revenge on me. With that said, as long as my free time permits, I look forward to continuing to write, expose and talk about the issues that people care about when it comes to law enforcement—the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Ms. Cannick’s extensive resume includes being selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World, KCET’s Southern California Seven Women of Vision, one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40 and most recently one of Los Angeles’ Most Fascinating Angelenos by the L.A. Weekly.
She has won numerous awards for her work and is a frequent guest on CNN, Headline News, FOX News, BET, National Public Radio, and TV One. She has also appeared on CBS This Morning and the Today Show.
Locally, as a social commentator and opinion writer, Ms. Cannick has been frequently quoted in the Los Angeles Times.
She’s written cover stories for Ebony Magazine. Her op-eds have appeared locally in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Sentinel, The Wave Newspapers, L.A. Watts-Times, Our Weekly Newspaper and Los Angeles Daily News to name a few and her syndicated column appears online and in African-American newspapers from coast to coast.
Ms. Cannick, as a journalist, has interviewed LAPD police chiefs William Bratton and Charlie Beck during her career.
No stranger to radio either, she is the past co-anchor and reporter for the Evening News on Los Angeles Pacifica radio station 90.7FM KPFK and has served as a segment producer on KJLH-FM’s Front Page show, Southern California’s premiere news and current affairs show focused on the African-American community.
As a communications strategist, Ms. Cannick has worked at all levels of government including the California Legislature and in the House of Representatives. She currently works in political communications as media counsel.