In May of 2010, 18-year-old Jeremy Marks was charged with interfering
with an officer, making criminal threats to an officer, and “attempted lynching” (i.e., attempt to start a riot). He was a bystander taking a cell phone video of Officer Erin Robles, a particularly aggressive officer, who bashed a 15-year-old boy’s head into a window because he was smoking a cigarette. Several other bystanders also recorded the encounter with their phones. The videos, including the one taken by Mr. Marks himself, do not indicate Mr. Marks even approached Officer Robles, much less made criminal threats, attempted riot, or otherwise interfered (see our original post here).
Nevertheless, Marks faced up to 18 years in state prison. His family
could not afford the $155,000 bail, and he was in jail for months as a
result, despite having hurt no one – until a generous engineer at
Google, Neil Fraser, donated his own money to pay Marks’ bond. After the
story of Jeremy Marks was exposed in LA Weekly, Fraser wrote to LA Weekly, “I am in a position to post bail for Jeremy so that he may spend Christmas with his family.”
Fraser explained, “When I was growing up, I spent several years in
Germany — a country still traumatized by the Holocaust. One of the
things I learned was that bad things can only happen if good people do
nothing. I consider myself to be a good person, so I had no choice but
to act when I saw something like this happening.”
This touching story is enough to stir the hearts of even calloused,
cynical people. But of course, just as one sees a glimmer of hope, the
police are on the trails of the only silver lining in a cloud of lies,
quick to smash the last iota of justice remaining in a sordid tale of
corruption and tyranny.
Most recently, the police conducted a violent raid on Marks’ family.
The raid involved about 30 Los Angeles Police Department officers with
their guns drawn. The police searched and trashed the house. They looted
the entire place, seizing all forms and means of communication
including phones, cameras and computers. They also drew guns on a
neighbor who was trying to get his children. Jeremy’s legal documents
were also seized (more here).
Yet again, when it comes to police, the rules of civility, justice
and even the law, do not apply. Attorney-client privilege means nothing.
“Innocent until proven guilty” means nothing. The Fourth Amendment
right against unreasonable search and seizure is indeed illusory. There
are few things more “unreasonable” than a search and seizure that
involves looting, theft, guns drawn on innocent people, and destruction
of one’s home.
A young man who had not so much as touched a hair on an officer’s
head had already been in jail for months because he could not afford
bail. If “innocent until proven guilty” was ever a cherished concept in
the United States, it certainly is not evidenced by the manner in which
the legal system now operates. Marks sat in jail until a generous
benefactor could pay his way out – this is not innocent until proven
guilty; it’s the precise opposite. And of course, when the poor boy
finally, and miraculously receives respite from the onslaught of
shameful abuses by the legal system, the police are instantly there to
quash any hope that there might yet be justice.
Assuming the evidence most unfavorable to Jeremy Marks, his
actions towards Erin Robles amount to mere disrespect at the very worst.
Yet such disrespect resulted in months of jail, and looting and
destruction of his family’s home. Disrespect for a hallowed officer of
the law was met with violence, theft and force by an agency that
laughably claims to serve and protect people. If it weren’t for the
badges and uniforms, the police undoubtedly would be virtually
indistinguishable from a violent street gang.