Twenty-year-old Maile Hampton currently faces the unusual charge of lynching in connection with a police altercation during a protest rally. Hampton is accused of interfering with the arrest of a fellow protester during a January rally against police brutality. Since Hampton’s arrest there have been multiple calls to change the name of the offense as to not associate it with lynching in the traditional sense. In a statement to the Guardian, Hampton’s lawyer Linda Parisi stated “It’s an irony that a woman of color who was at a public rally to shine a light on police brutality is arrested for lynching.”
Video of the incident shows Hampton among a throng of protesters and officers and the ensuing altercation in which Hampton pulls a fellow protester out of the grasp of an officer.
Following an investigation Hampton was arrested and charged with lynching and released on $100,000 bail. In California, this form of lynching is considered a felony that carries a maximum four-year jail sentence. In comparison, a more typical charge of resisting arrest would be a misdemeanor. Sacremento Mayor Kevin Johnson is working with legislators to amend the criminal code. “I was shocked to learn that in California, removing someone from police custody is defined as ‘lynching’. This word has a long and painful history in our nation and it needed to be immediately removed from California law,” he said in a statement to the Sacramento Bee.