By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
"I was very scared," Robles testified. "I got my O.C. spray to control (the 15-year-old student) that was facing me, and went to spray him. Sprayed him for about one, maybe two seconds. He had hit the pepper spray out of my hands and it landed in between the bus and the sidewalk in the gutter. It was starting almost a riot.
"It was getting very, very wild. There was screaming, people were walking behind me. There were individuals trying to reach for my O.C. spray that had fallen on the ground. I was screaming for help on my radio. I could not leave that weapon there for all the juveniles and a few adults, as well, in the area. So after the O.C. had fallen out of my hands, I used my right hand and got my baton out next.
"There is a subject by the name of 'Victor' that went after my O.C. spray, a minor as well. And also — defendant (Jeremy Marks) wasn't necessarily going to grab it, but he was walking around me — made me believe that he was. I believe when I told (Officer Gilbert) Rea that (Jeremy Marks) was in the area — I don't know what conclusions (Officer Rea) formed when he was writing the [incident report], or this Arrest Report."
One student waiting for the bus last May described the incident to the Weekly as being driven by Robles' repeated overreactions after coming down on a kid for smoking: "The officer (Erin Robles), initially, confronted the student over a cigar." After the student yelled at and grappled with Robles, "She slammed the student into a wall, threw him on the ground, took out her pepper spray, slammed him into the bus, broke the window out of the bus with his head, sprayed him in the face and slammed him into the bus some more."
Marks' mother, Rochelle Pittman, has barely been able to sleep since the campus cops and Los Angeles County prosecutors began to single out her son as the bad actor that day.
Yet he had no physical contact with anyone during the bus incident, was shown on video to be among the quieter students watching the altercation, and spent much of the time taking pictures of it with his cell phone.
Pittman tells the Weekly that Los Angeles School Police Officer George Sandoval told her on the day her son was arrested that Marks was being charged with a serious crime for saying, "Kick her ass!"
Several Verdugo Hills students and parents have questioned whether the alleged words spoken by Marks even rise to the severe criminal charges of "attempted lynching," which means trying to "incite a riot during an attempt to free a suspect from police custody."
All the other students initially detained by police, including the student who shoved and fought with Robles, were released May 11.
But more and more charges were piled onto Marks.
Cooley's team claims Marks "resisted arrest" at the McDonalds where he was arrested after he watched the bus incident.
Pittman says her son and two of his friends walked to McDonalds after the excitement was over. At McDonalds, "Police cars came flying from everywhere, jumped out on my son with their guns pointed right at him, yelling and screaming for him to get on the ground," she says.
Pittman says Marks did not resist arrest, doing everything he was asked.
His own mom might be expected to say that. But for many present at the bus incident, something doesn't add up.
Student eyewitnesses told the Weekly that Marks is not the student who laughingly told the teenager being struck by Robles to "kick her ass!" But they are terrified of repercussions against them on campus if they speak out against LAUSD's school police.
Pittman expects the grandmother of the student struck by Robles to sue the L.A. School Police Department. Attorney Berry-Jacoby says she has a copy of an invoice that shows an order to replace the MTA bus window.
The campus police, now blaming Marks for grabbing the pepper spray can after Robles dropped it, have dropped all interest in the "Victor" identified by Robles in her sworn testimony.
Says Berry-Jacoby: "In Officer Rea's report of what Officer Robles allegedly told him, Jeremy tried to take her pepper spray after it was knocked out of her hand. In her testimony in court she stated that 'Victor' tried to take her pepper spray but that Jeremy was walking around behind her."
The Weekly contacted Cooley's office four times for an explanation of the changing stories by school police officers. ** Sandi Gibbons, public information officer for says, “I can’t tell you about the details of the case, about the evidence. In the first place, we don’t discuss the evidence outside of court." Gibbons says a trial is set for February 14, and a bail hearing for January 4, in San Fernando. "The judge felt there was sufficient evidence to hold the defendant for trial on all three counts," she adds.
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