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Jeremy Marks "Attempted Lynching" Case 

Black teen who filmed an LAUSD campus cop hitting a student faces bizarre charges and years in prison

Thursday, Dec 9 2010
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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.

click to flip through (2) Jeremy Marks, Verdugo Hills student
  • Jeremy Marks, Verdugo Hills student
 
 

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Lydia Grant, an LAUSD student safety activist and community liaison, says she's disgusted by the piling-on of accusations against a student observer with a cell phone camera, and the severe charges that could send him to a California prison.

"In my opinion, the district is responsible for the beating of a youth and the entire bus-stop incident, including the false imprisonment of a special education student for seven months," Grant says. "The officer involved failed to write a police report, and the LASPD has failed on two occasions to appear in court, under subpoena, to turn over any evidence."

Coincidentally, six days before the bus incident, Grant says she reported two officers to school authorities, Erin Robles and Angelica Kegayan, "and asked for their removal," after Grant got complaints from students and parents that the two were harassing them.

L.A. School District Police Department deputy chief Tim Anderson stands by the case against Marks, saying, "When someone is arrested, we obviously have to know everything from reasonable suspicion, probable cause, the elements of the crime, etc."

Berry-Jacoby says Robles met with deputy District Attorney Ed Green for nearly three hours and told Green she saw a video taken by a "kid" inside the bus that would substantiate her claim that Marks urged the 15-year-old to attack her.

Berry-Jacoby says she has asked the D.A. for a copy of the video, as is her right as a member of the defense team.

But, she tells the Weekly, she was appalled to learn from Deputy D.A. Chuck Stodel that Officer Robles never viewed the video purportedly taken from inside the bus — and the student on the bus no longer has the phone that purportedly contained the footage.

Cooley's office says it cannot comment on evidence outside of court, and the "kid" from inside the bus has not been identified by prosecutors as a witness.**

School police chief Anderson says, in defense of the stiff bail hike that is keeping Marks in the rough adult Peter Pitchess jail for months, "I don't know him personally or have any other information about him. However, one of the unique things about our department is that we are on or around these two campuses every day, and we get to know the students, the staff, the community, etc., very well."

But in fact, L.A. Weekly investigated the tiny, and controversial, school police agency in 2009 in its cover story "LAUSD’s Finest: How an Oblivious School Board Lets a Tiny, Scandal-Ridden Campus Police Force Endanger L.A. Kids" (Sept. 4-10, 2009) and found a different situation.

The Weekly found the tiny police force is a little-watched and highly isolated organization, heavily armed and given extremely broad policing powers on Los Angeles city streets — not merely on school campuses.

Its officers and brass are subjected to very little oversight or accountability, and two extensive, secret 2007 audits obtained by the Weekly called for a radical remaking of the police force.

Unlike virtually every other police department in California and in the West, the LAUSD's campus cops and their top brass have undergone no serious, modern-day reforms.

Most important, the Weekly found, the Los Angeles School Police Department's internal affairs division "sat on 16 investigations of police wrongdoing for so long that the officers can't be punished, even though all were ultimately found guilty of misconduct." As the story reported, "Its top brass have failed to heed sharp private warnings against letting its woefully undersupervised cops patrol L.A.'s streets far beyond school boundaries."
It may be that Jeremy Marks was a kid unlucky enough to have been in trouble with the LAUSD school police in years past.

Before his parents requested his transfer to Verdugo Hills High School in 2009, Marks was involved in fights at Kennedy High School, had been given "truancy tickets" by campus police and was arrested once for robbery.

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