A homeless California woman shown on video picking up a police officer's baton could spend the rest of her life in jail for the act.
When Charly Keunang, an unarmed and homeless black man, was fatally shot by Los Angeles police in March, it set off a firestorm of protest from citizens demanding the officers be held accountable. Police said Keunang reached for a cop's gun before he was killed, but others have disputed that claim.
Caught in the fray was 34-year-old Trishawn Carey, who is seen on video picking up an officer's nightstick from the ground. She can be seen raising the baton before being brought down by LAPD officers.
For picking up the baton, Carey could now face 25 years to life in prison, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Deputy District Attorney Gregory Denton told the Times that Carey attempted to attack the officer when she raised the baton. Video does not show the woman swinging at or hitting anyone with the weapon. Nonetheless, Carey has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer and resisting arrest.
"I've seen the video, you've seen the video; she doesn't go after anybody," defense attorney Milton Grimes told the Times. "Is possession of a baton an assault? No. The legal basis appears to me to be a distraction or coverup of the killing of a man by the police."
Grimes said that Carey has struggled with mental illness and been hospitalized in the past for "acute episodes of psychosis," according to the Times. She has been in jail for nearly five months. On Wednesday, her bail was lowered from more than $1 million to $50,000, according to the Associated Press.
“I was in the wrong place and around the wrong people," Carey told the Times.