On August 3, 2018 Najari Smith was arrested by an Oakland police officer for what Richmond Mayor Tom Butt would later say “appeared to be a case of “bicycling while black.””
The unfortunately-named mayor wrote a three-page letter to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and Oakland Mayor Libby Shaaf asking that the charges against Smith be dropped. It worked.
While the move was politically understandable, Mayor Butt likely did not see this footage. Because he was clearly wrong about the reason for Smith’s arrest.
According to Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, although California law generally requires that officers release people who are cited for misdemeanors, rather than taking them to jail, it makes an exception if the person cannot provide satisfactory identification. If officers are actually trying to write you a misdemeanor citation, you may have to provide identification or face arrest for the misdemeanor offense.
Exactly what happened here. Most people don’t get confused about their own birthday.
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