• Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

Family of murdered Californian baker urge police to not jail killers

The family and friends of a baker who was savagely killed are urging authorities not to jail her assailants to align with her social justice beliefs.

The plea came after Angel Cakes owner Jen Angel was robbed by two thieves who smashed her car window and ran off with her purse in California in the US on Monday afternoon, the San Franciso Chronicle reported.

Ms Angel, 48, chased after the duo’s getaway car, but got caught in the vehicle’s door and was dragged more than 15 metres, smashing her head on the footpath.

She was put in a medically induced coma and declared dead on Thursday, the New York Post reports.

“As a long-time social movement activist and anarchist, Jen did not believe in state violence, carceral punishment or incarceration as an effective or just solution to social violence and inequity,” her loved ones wrote on a GoFundMe page set up in the wake of the attack.

The suspects, who are known to police, were still on the loose as of Friday, according to the Chronicle.

Ms Angel’s loved ones urge the city to honour her memory by making sure that they do not do hard time if caught, according to the GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $US138,000 so far.

The group said that they would be open to alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as “restorative justice”.

One of Ms Angel’s friends, Emily Harris, who is an anti-prison director, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the baker was her first political mentor and believed that using prison to punish individuals actually prevented both victims and aggressors of crimes from actually healing.

Locking up the people responsible for her friend’s death would only “perpetuate more harm”, Ms Harris said.

“That doesn’t mean that there isn’t accountability that we would want for (the perpetrators),” Ms Harris said.

“What (that) could look like isn’t about putting a person into further harm … (but) understanding how we’re going to prevent this from happening to the next Jen Angel.”

Friend and political activist Pete Woiwode told the Chronicle that Ms Angel regularly turned to the community for help and support in times of trouble, including when a speeding car crashed through her bakery’s window and caused major damage in 2019.

A year later, she reached out to her neighbours and friends for financial assistance again when an unhinged man used a paving stone to smash her store’s window.

“It was totally random, and just unfortunate on so many levels, like the state of mental health care in general and the randomness of that connecting with our big window,” Ms Angel wrote on Instagram after the incident.

Oakland Police told the Chronicle that it was investigating the case as a homicide.

Major crimes in Oakland are down 9 per cent through February 5, compared to the same period last year.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.

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