Michael Kimbrew, 44, of Carson, a former staff member for Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn during her days in Congress, was arrested this week on federal bribery and extortion charges that allege he took $5,000 in a shakedown at a Compton marijuana store.
Kimbrew, 44, pleaded not guilty during an appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and was freed on $15,000 bond, prosecutors said. He could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted.
A two-count federal grand jury indictment handed down July 21 alleges Kimbrew approached an employee at a Compton marijuana store in March 2015, told him the store was violating the law and warned it would be shut down unless the owners reached an agreement with him.
On May 7, 2015, Kimbrew met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a business partner of the shop’s owners. Again, they met inside Compton City Hall, where Kimbrew said he worked for the federal government and oversaw all activities in the city, the indictment said.
According to the indictment, Kimbrew told the agent that for $5,000 he would act to prevent the shutdown of the store, not send in local or federal authorities to close it down, help obtain a permit to allow the shop to stay open and persuade other officials not to close the store.
He also allegedly said he would not tell Hahn about the store, “eliminating the possibility that the Congress member would inform the FBI about [the shop’s] illegal activities.” Although Hahn’s name is not used in the indictment, Kimbrew worked for her at the time. Authorities said she did not know anything about Kimbrew’s alleged scheme.
In a statement issued Aug. 2, Hahn said: “I’ve always trusted my employees to have the same sense of public service that I do. If these charges are true, Mr. Kimbrew abused his power as a representative of my office and violated both my trust and the trust of the public.”
The news of Kimbrew being arrested has created quite a buzz. The sad thing is if these allegations are true, it’s crazy to jeopardize your freedom for $5,000. You can’t even get a good lawyer for that amount of money. Let’s keep his dad, Chef Basil, and the rest of the Kimbrew family in our prayers.
A coalition of South L.A. community groups and leaders are speaking out and taking on the National Football League on behalf of Colin Kaepernick.
Project Islamic Hope, the Rev. K.W. Tulloss, western regional director of the National Action Network L.A. Chapter and pastor at Weller Street Baptist Church; and a national coalition of civil rights and religious leaders are calling for a boycott of the NFL until former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick is signed to a NFL team. Protests are also planned outside the L.A. Rams and L.A. Chargers pre-season games.
There is no doubt that Kaepernick is being blackballed by NFL owners for exercising his First Amendment rights in a non-violent peaceful statement. Kaepernick was trying to draw attention to racial profiling, police abuse and the disproportionate amount of people of color being killed unjustly by law enforcement nationally.
The NFL is a form of the modern-day plantation. Most of the players are black and the ownership is all white. They’re treating Kaepernick like a runaway slave, making him an example so other players get the message. Do not get too uppity or we will blackball you. The parallels are very much like slavery, except the players are million-dollar slaves under contract who have made billions for the NFL.
African-Americans, Latinos and anyone who believes in social justice should boycott all things NFL. Kaepernick stood up for all people of color when he didn’t have to and could lose millions of dollars in salary and endorsements.
Kaepernick wasn’t in danger. He has led his team to a Super Bowl appearance and has enough money and fame to deal with the police if he had to. It’s African-Americans and Latinos who continue to be in danger of being unjustly killed by police. It’s our sons and daughters. Kaepernick realized that and took a knee for us and used his platform to highlight those facts nationally.
Now it’s our turn to take a stand on his behalf. The NFL could care less about players’ First Amendment rights, social justice, human rights or the fact that African-Americans and Latinos continue to be killed by police nationwide.
Kaepernick’s teammates voted him the Len Eshmont Award last season, which annually goes to player considered the most inspirational on the team, demonstrating what his teammates thought of his stance and character.
“The National Action Network stands in full support of Kaepernick and will lead a statewide boycott of the NFL along with encouraging others not to attend a L.A. Rams, L.A. Chargers or Oakland Raiders game until Kaepernick is signed to a NFL team,” Tulloss said.
The coalition’s first NFL preseason protest will be Aug. 12 at 3 p.m. outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
For news tips, email Brothernajeeali@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter@Najeeali.