#FreeThemAll THREAD 1/ We see how the courts often target survivors of abuse. Leena, a young Black mother, fled her apartment after being attacked by her abusive partner. He called police & accused her of assaulting him & Leena was arrested, despite having been assaulted herself
2/ Leena was brought to court & formally charged with felony assault. The judge set $2500 bail that Leena could not afford, so Leena was sent to Rikers Island for two weeks. She had recently been hit by a car, out of work and living in a shelter, so $2500 was impossible to raise
3/ Even when her case was dropped to a misdemeanor and bail reduced to $750, hundreds of dollars--and her freedom--were still out of reach. It was a few days before Thanksgiving and she needed to get out to see her kids. She was brought to court and offered a choice:
4/ Leena could take a guilty plea and get released--with a record of misdemeanor domestic assault. She was being criminally charged with the abuse that she herself was experiencing. If she refused say she was guilty, she would stay in jail for months.
5/ BCBF was able to pay her bail so that she didn’t have to make that choice. But she never should have been arrested or had bail set in the first place.
6/ She was released on bail and returned to court four more times until the case was dismissed. Those were four days--over four months--taken from her job search and her physical and emotional recovery.
7/ What’s more, the courts issued an order of protection forbidding her from seeing her abusive partner, so if they ever had contact, she would be the one arrested by the police. As is common in situations of domestic abuse, this contact continued, and Leena was arrested again.
8/ Now her partner was able to use this order of protection as a tool of control, threatening to call the police if she didn’t do what he wanted. Since police arrest based on allegations, her partner didn’t have to prove that Leena had done anything. They would arrest her anyways
9/ Leena, a Black woman, was not presumed innocent. She was not a ‘perfect victim.’ She was continually arrested, incarcerated, & forced to fight her case in the criminal legal system. She was abused by her partner and the courts alike. At BCBF we see this happen too often.
10/ Leena deserves freedom, as do all survivors, regardless of their “criminal history.” Survivors should not be punished for the abuse they experience. End the criminalization of survivors of domestic violence. #SurvivedAndPunished #EndMoneyBail #FreeThemAll

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