STOCKTON (CBS13) — A Stockton Black Lives Matter activist said she is not getting fair treatment in court because of a 2016 picture that surfaced from a Halloween party at the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
A request to have the district attorney’s office removed from the case stemming from a 2017 Black Lives Matter protest will go before a judiciary committee.
In 2016, a photo from the district attorney’s office Halloween party showed someone dressed as Snow White and others dressed as dwarves with the sign Dwarf Lives Matter.
The D.A. strongly denies any claims of bias or racism. A spokesperson said the office is and has always been committed to rendering fair treatment in all cases.
But community activist and Lareesha Brown is still hurt from what she saw.
“I felt like them portraying Snow White, seven dwarfs, [and] Black Lives Matter protesters was a complete disgrace to us as humankind,” she said.
Brown, who is a member of Black Lives Matter, was arrested last year, accused of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer during a protest in Stockton. Her lawyers feel the case shouldn’t be prosecuted by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office because of the photo mocking the movement. Instead, it should be handled by the attorney general.
“We don’t think that it’s a joke. We think it’s a clear indication of the racial animus, the attitude that the district attorney’s office has, and the laws are really clear. The district attorney represents the people of the state of California and they are not supposed to biased, they are supposed to be neutral,” said attorney, Yolanda Huang, who represents Brown.
This D.A.’s office apologized for the picture last year, but some say that is not enough.
“We have voices, we have rights and we’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to stand out here and challenge the system especially if they say they are going to work for the people,” said activist, Dionne Smith Downs.
The D.A. has denied Brown and her lawyer’s claims both in public and in open court. The motion to recuse the D.A. has been previously denied, including this past July when the California Attorney General’s Office was present and also argued against the motion.
In a statement, Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said, “Our office is committed to equal treatment and rejects all forms of invidious discrimination. All persons facing charges in this county are afforded fair treatment without regard to status of race, ethnicity, county of origin, religion, gender or any other protected class.”