District attorneys in Los Angeles have accused a local activist of concocting “outright lies” to “grease the passage” of a bill moving through the California Legislature that could loosen sentencing for some gun crimes committed in the state. At one point in her testimony, Kim McGill of the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) told lawmakers five provable falsehoods within a span of just 20 seconds.
“Regardless of how you feel about the legislation, we are disturbed, and every legislator should be disturbed, that a witness called to testify in support of Senate Bill 620 told multiple lies to the California Senate,” officials from the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) wrote in a recent newsletter.
McGill is the founder and lead organizer of the YJC — an anti-police nonprofit based in Inglewood, California, which has received grants from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. YJC often hosts events for the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, including a rally last year that resulted in hundreds of activists shutting down a nearby freeway. McGill’s group, currently suing the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), ironically, also receives funding from a foundation headed by an LAPD commissioner.
At a recent meeting in the State Capitol, McGill testified before the Public Safety Committee where she tried to sway senators to support SB 620 — legislation that would water down California’s current “Use a Gun and You’re Done” policy. According to the Los Angeles Times, “current law says anyone who uses a gun in committing a felony must have their sentence increased by 10 years or more in prison on top of the penalty for the felony.”
During her testimony, McGill described that existing statute as harsh and unfair. In so doing, she re-created a 2007 robbery involving a man named Travis Manning, who is currently serving a prolonged prison sentence because he used a firearm while committing his crime. Altering the facts of the case, McGill embellished a bogus narrative which would later be cited by at least two senators as evidence of a flawed justice system.
Partial transcript as follows (refuted disinformation in bold):
KIM McGILL, YOUTH JUSTICE COALITION: Travis was 19 and had severe learning and developmental disabilities. He entered GameStop and asked for a $100 game while holding a BB gun. A month later, he took that same game back to GameStop to turn it in for a new game — not even understanding the consequences of his actions. The police were called, and he was arrested. It was his first arrest.
Contrary to McGill’s testimony, Travis was not 19 when he was arrested for the robbery she so inaccurately described. According to the ADDA, he was a 23-year-old convicted felon. In fact, Manning was still on probation after serving jail time for possession of cocaine base with intent to sell. Further, a jury determined — and it was affirmed on appeal — that Manning used a real gun to steal a Nintendo Wii console, games, accessories, and more than $600 cash from the electronics retailer.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D –Santa Barbara) was not present during McGill’s testimony. She later asked the bill’s author, Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), for an example where he would envision a court removing a mandatory sentence enhancement for a crime involving a firearm, as his SB 620 bill would allow.
Referencing McGill’s fable, Bradford replied, “It was a young man who used a BB gun in the commission of a crime, never fired it, and got 17 years.”
McGill is also accused of making up a quote from a judge — alleged false testimony that was repeated by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) as she elaborated on the vague misinformation that Bradford had just passed on.
“As the author indicated, there was testimony about a particular individual who had developmental disabilities, who had a BB gun, did not use it,” Skinner blindly enumerated. “The judge even stated at the sentencing that, due to the lack of ability to use discretion because of the way the law is currently written, they had to do the sentencing the way they did. I will be supporting your bill today, Senator Bradford.”
The rest of the Senate went on to approve SB 620 by a 22-14 vote, without any Republican support. The bill now awaits consideration by the California State Assembly, where it is scheduled to go before committee on June 13. It remains to be seen if McGill will be called to testify again.
Video of McGill’s testimony below:
Video of senators repeating McGill’s false testimony below:
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @Near_Chaos