After seven months of languishing in a Los Angeles jail for videotaping a police officer, 18-year-old Jeremy Marks will be home for Christmas.
And he has the internet to thank for that.
It was on Reddit where Google engineer Neil Fraser came across it. Of all the news aggregating sites, Reddit is the one with the strongest liberty mindset (or anti-authority, depending on which way you look at it).
Let’s just say that Reddit has been extremely good to PINAC.
Fraser, who lives in San Francisco, ended up paying Marks’ $50,000 bond, which even though it had been reduced from $155,000, his parents were still unable to afford.
Fraser explains, “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 also sent the family $1,500 for Marks’ defense attorney costs, which was matched by Google.
Fraser breaks it down on his own website:
Short version of the story:
Cop catches 15 year old kid smoking at a bus stop in LA.
Cop beats up kid, slams his head into the bus and uses pepper spray.
More cops arrive. Kid is released without charge.
During the incident, several bystanders start recording videos of what the cop is doing.
Cops pick Jeremy Marks, a 17 year old student, and arrest him at gunpoint (destroying the evidence on his phone in the process).
Since photographing police is still legal in California, they charge him instead with “attempted lynching of a police officer”.
The prosecutor makes an offer: plead guilty and he’ll only serve seven years. He declines.
Jeremy is thrown in jail, bail is set at an extortionate amount his family can’t afford.
He sits in jail for seven months awaiting trial.
I hear about the case on Reddit and provide the collateral to get Jeremy out of jail and back to his family for christmas.
While this is a positive story, it still does not make up for the fact that an 18-year-old high school student was incarcerated for videotaping a police officer.
Yes, he was accused of other crimes, the worst yelling “kick her ass” as the cop struggled with another student, but there is no evidence he said that, even with all the cameras that had been recording the altercation.
He wasn’t even arrested until several minutes later in a completely different location by another cop, who did not even witness the original incident.
People get falsely arrested all the time, but for the most part, it is the poor who end up convicted of these crimes because they cannot afford a proper defense.
And most of us are so caught up in our own lives and in our own debt to give a hand or a few dollars of support.
So hat’s off to you, Neil. What goes around, comes around, so this will come back to you tenfold.