Drop the Charges! Free Michael Boddie!
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We the undersigned are the friends, neighbors, family members, and supporters of Michael Boddie, a well-known and respected member of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Village Community.
We believe the following is true:
- Michael is a beloved and well-known member of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Village Community. Michael serves as a mentor, father figure, brother, and confidant to many youth and older folks in the neighborhood. Michael, a former gang member himself, has encouraged neighborhood kids in gangs to make different choices and leave their involvement behind. Michael has cared for and supported community members who were incarcerated.
- Michael has made many positive changes to rebuild his life and leave behind his gang affiliation, including gaining employment and covering his gang tattoos.
- Michael has experienced a long history of harassment and abuse by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), including a well-documented incident on September 5th, 2016, during which Michael and two other passengers, an elder and 21 year-old man, were unjustifiably pulled over, detained at gunpoint, then subsequently released because they were innocent.
- Michael was harassed and abused by LAPD at his local workplace, after being hired by the owner due to Michael’s well-known and respected reputation within the community. Despite this, Michael experienced LAPD harassment. None of the reasons the police gave for their presence in his workplace were justified.
- Michael was routinely surveilled, filmed, and pulled over by LAPD in his neighborhood or as he travelled to and from his home.
- LAPD targeted Michael for arrest on March 2nd 2017 in a SWAT operated raid. Currently, he faces multiple felony charges including possession of a firearm and drugs, felony possession of a firearm and possession of sales of narcotics. These charges are unfounded.
- Since his arrest, LAPD and the Prosecutor falsely claim that putting Michael behind bars will make the community safer. We believe that incarcerating Michael and removing him from his neighborhood will actually be detrimental, especially for the youth who look up to him and for his 3 children, ages 4, 6 and 17, who will suffer if Michael is not there to provide guidance and support.
Because of the reasons mentioned above, we ask that all bail and charges be dropped against Michael and that he immediately be released from the North County Correctional Facility.
Over the last decade, Michael has taken many positive steps to rebuild his life, including helping to raise 3 beautiful children, reaching out to at risk youth in the neighborhood, and working multiple jobs. Behind bars Michael’s desire to have greater positive impact in his community and be present in his children’s life will be compromised.
Michael’s life and case is representative of the situations of many other men, women, and children in the community. In communities where residents are denied access to jobs, housing, transportation and food, and where residents are targeted and mislabeled by the police, people like Michael end up unfairly and unjustifiably arrested and cycled within the prison industrial complex.
We ask that Michael be released immediately because when a person like Michael has paid the legal consequences of the law, it’s imperative that they are given every chance to rebuild their life. This is what Michael has attempted to do since has last incarceration over 11 years ago.
There seems to be an effort on the side of the LAPD and others to keep people locked within the prison industrial complex system. This does not serve the best interest of people who are attempting to legitimately integrate themselves into the community, and does not serve the community as a whole.
We are calling for the release of Michael Boddie and others who we believe were unjustly targeted by the LAPD in the March 2nd, 2017 raids. We ask that the LAPD stop labelling Michael as a gang member, shot caller, and gang leader, and stop interacting with him as such.
Beyond this, we call for an end to the harassment policies of the LAPD against Michael Boddie and others in their jobs and in the community.
Finally, we call for more resources in our communities for those who are actively working to improve their lives and change their relationship with the criminal justice system, including more institutional support (rather than harassment and imprisonment) for people like Michael.
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