CRIME

Black woman's arrest on 'lynching' charge stirs anger, prompts move to amend 1933 law

  • FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2013 file photo, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif.  In January,  black activist Maile Hampton was arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento and charged with felony lynching. The charge for interfering with police during an arrest drew outrage from African-American leaders including Johnson who noted the irony of the charge. A bill by state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, to remove the word "lynching" from the state penal code is now before Gov. Jerry Brown.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,file)

    FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2013 file photo, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. In January, black activist Maile Hampton was arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento and charged with felony lynching. The charge for interfering with police during an arrest drew outrage from African-American leaders including Johnson who noted the irony of the charge. A bill by state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, to remove the word "lynching" from the state penal code is now before Gov. Jerry Brown.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,file)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Friday June 19, 2015, state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, speaks before the Senate at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.  In January,  black activist Maile Hampton was arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento and charged with felony lynching. The charge for interfering with police during an arrest drew outrage from African-American leaders who noted the irony of the charge. Mitchell's bill to remove the word "lynching" from the state penal code is now before Gov. Jerry Brown. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

    In this photo taken Friday June 19, 2015, state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, speaks before the Senate at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. In January, black activist Maile Hampton was arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento and charged with felony lynching. The charge for interfering with police during an arrest drew outrage from African-American leaders who noted the irony of the charge. Mitchell's bill to remove the word "lynching" from the state penal code is now before Gov. Jerry Brown. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)  (The Associated Press)

When Sacramento police arrested black activist Maile Hampton over her role in a protest last winter, it wasn't for obstructing traffic, trespassing or disturbing the peace.

It was for felony lynching.

No one was killed or even hurt in the protest. But the 20-year-old woman was booked under a 1933 section of the California penal code that applies the word "lynching" to the crime of attempting to seize someone from police custody.

While the offense was later downgraded to something more conventional, the use of the lynching charge incensed many community leaders. And it led California lawmakers to unanimously vote to strike the term from the books.

The measure won final approval last week and is now before Gov. Jerry Brown.