Jeremy Marks Attempted Lynching Charge Dropped by Los Angeles County DA
The felony prosecution of Jeremy Marks has been abandoned by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, which had accused the teen of "attempted lynching" -- a bizarre charge that drew national attention because Marks touched nobody. But he had used cell phone camera to videotape a cop hitting another teenager.
The D.A. faced a big risk taking this odd case before a jury. Prosecutors had thrown the book at Marks, claiming he had tried to incite other kids to join the scuffle between the female campus cop and an unnamed 15-year-old. The DA, with iffy evidence, said Marks yelled "kick her ass!" -- tantamount, they said, to trying to get other kids to "lynch" the cop. The D.A. got hammered after LA Weekly freelancer Katharine Russ's exclusive coverage.
The Weekly published video (click here to view it) showing Marks in the background of a group of students who were razzing the campus cop as she struck and maced the unnamed 15-year old at a Metro bus stop in the Valley.
In the video, Jeremy Marks appeared to be one of the quiet ones.
Yet the accused Marks spent many long months in 2010 in a tough adult jail around hardened criminals -- the Pitchess Detention Center -- because his mom, a swimming pool attendant, didn't have the huge bail sought by the D.A.
A Google engineer, Neil Fraser, heard about the Weekly's coverage, written by Russ, and stepped forward to provide $50,000 to finance the bail for Marks, a young man he had never met.
Jeremy Marks was released from jail just in time to spend Christmas with his family.
According to a statement by his attorneys, Marks recently agreed to plead guilty to resisting arrest, (police tracked him down at a McDonalds where he and his buddies were eating and discussing the physical battle they'd just witnessed between cop Erin Robles and the unnamed 15-year-old).
The statement from Marks' team says:
This count will be dropped to a misdemeanor and expunged from Jeremy's record once he completes three years of probation. Not only is there no jail time for Jeremy, he also will not have a felony "strike" on his record.
This case got worse for the D.A. with seemingly every turn.
His mother got lots of public support after slamming the prosecution for drumming up dubious charges against her boy.
Then, a heavy-handed search of Marks' home by numerous cops with a search warrant-- and drawn guns -- angered much of Marks' working class neighborhood.
There's no word on whether the campus cop, Erin Robles, who the video shows grappling with the unnamed 15-year-old, is being investigated by the corruption-troubled Los Angeles School District Police Department.
Officer Robles is shown in the YouTube video to be clearly incapable of dealing with a smallish, unarmed kid -- whose offense had been to smoke either a cigar or a joint near a city bus stop.
If Jeremy Marks had not stopped to observe the sidewalk battle between Robles and that kid one day last spring, he would have several months of his life back.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.