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Anorak | Jeremy Marks Spent Months In Jail For Filming An LA Cop Arresting A Weed Smoker: Neil Fraser Saved Him

Jeremy Marks Spent Months In Jail For Filming An LA Cop Arresting A Weed Smoker: Neil Fraser Saved Him

by | 24th, December 2010

JEREMY Marks was saved by British Google worker Neil Fraser (pictured left).

Marks was jailed for filming a LAUSD campus police officer arresting a 15-year-old boy at a bus stop for smoking a joint. The cop has a gun. The cop has pepper spray. The cop has a big stick. The cop is one Erin Robles.

She uses her baton and sprays the youth with mace. Had only marijuana been made legal, none of this would have occurred. But the law is an ass. And the youth massed about Officer Robles have little or no respect for it. None come to her aide. But, then, none assist the teenager either. They stand around filming the incident. And then a voice yells out: “Kick her ass.”

If you were the officer would you worry? She says the youth called her a “bitch” and a “dyke”. He struck her. She dropped her can of pepper spray. Another youth picked it up. The officer slams the teen’s head into the bus window. Hard.

Marks, 18, is identified as the heckler. He is arrested and charged with “attempted lynching of a police officer” and “making a criminal threat”. But he never harmed her. It could be argued that the only violence is being enacted by the officer. And why is she so heavy-handed? Indentifying the puffer cannot be so hard. He can run – he won’t get far.

He is released back on May 11.

But it’s Marks who’s going to get the full force of the law on his head. He was filming the fracas. He did not shout anything. Someone else did. But Officer Robles says it was Marks. He is arrested at gunpoint. His phone is seized and the video wiped. You want evidence? Forget it.

Marks appears before the Beak and is placed on a $155,000 bail. Marks mother cannot afford to pay. Marks is offered a deal: plead guilty and get seven year jail. He declines the offer. So, for the next seven months he is in jail.

Sick stuff. The news makes the front page of Reddit. Google engineer Neil Fraser read the story. He said:

“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.”

Fraser posts $50,000 bail. (Is Marks turns up to court, Fraser gets his cash back.) A Celes King IV posted the rest. Marks is duly released.

Says Fraser:

The whole experience of what happens pre-trial was a real eye-opener. One of the things which I learned was that if one uses a bail bondsman in the US they require a 10% payment which they keep even if you do show up for court. That makes getting out of jail phenomenally expensive.

The alternative is to raise enough cash to pay the entire bail, which will then be returned after the trial. The amount of work it takes to liquefy investments and raise that sort of cash is ridiculous. If one were inside jail and limited to a few phone calls, it would likely be an impossible task.

What would you do if you unexpectedly ended up in an American jail with one phone call? Are you going to pick a lawyer at random from the yellow pages (assuming those pages still exist in the jail’s copy)? Do you have family who will take charge of the situation? In my case I’m fortunate: I could just phone the consulate for one of Her Majesty’s governments. Those pages are likely to still exist in the jail’s phone book.

You can phone, Mr Fraser. But it might not do you any good. Linda Carty knows…



Posted: 24th, December 2010 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink