Homeless Woman Faces Life Over Dropped Cop Baton

LA woman charged with assault at Skid Row shooting didn't swing or hit anyone
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2015 10:10 AM CDT

A homeless woman involved in the chaos surrounding the fatal shooting of a homeless man on LA's Skid Row has been in jail since the March incident, and yesterday Trishawn Cardessa Carey's bail was reduced from $1 million to $50,000 after a judge deemed it "way too high," the Los Angeles Times reports. The charges she faces, dismissed by a local women's advocate as "just updated Jim Crow": resisting arrest and assault with a deadly weapon for picking up a police baton during the cops' struggle with Charly Keunang, a Cameroonian immigrant. Carey faces 25 years to life under the state's three-strikes law. In two different versions of the video showing the confrontation, a person wearing white and IDed by police as Carey can be seen picking up the dropped baton as cops scuffle with Keunang.

But defense attorneys say Carey didn't threaten or hit anyone—she simply held up the baton but didn't swing it before being tackled by police. "Is possession of a baton an assault? No," one of her lawyers said in yesterday's hearing, adding that Carey is mentally ill and should get treatment. "The legal basis appears to me to be a distraction or cover-up of the killing of a man by the police." A report he filed also noted her rough upbringing, including going into prostitution at age 14. The deputy DA, however, says that "an attempt to strike someone is assault" and tried to argue for higher bail because of her priors and the case's gravity. The judge said Carey would have to enter a local rehab program if she makes bail; the founder of that program testified earlier this month that by entering the program, "maybe, just maybe [Carey] would get the first break of her life." (LA has the stomach-turning task of cleaning up Skid Row.)

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