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Lack of action for Lawsons

#JusticeForJosiah week of action to call on DA Flemming

On the clear, crisp morning of Jan. 25, community members gathered at the Humboldt County courthouse to rally together for Justice For Josiah. It was the final day of the week of action in remembrance of murdered Humboldt State University student, David Josiah Lawson. Roughly 15 people came together around 9 a.m. to make their presence heard. For nearly an hour this group of people chanted, “Say his name!” and “When do we want justice?”.

“We will be here to pressure DA Maggie Fleming to do the right thing,” Jill Larrabee, an organizer for Justice For Josiah, said. “We’re going to let the DA know that we’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.”

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Kelsey Reedy leads chants for community members that came out for the final day of this week of action. Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

Just shy of 22 months ago Lawson was killed at an off-campus party and since then his case has remained unsolved, prompting the continuous weeks of action and rallies at different County events. This particular week of action was to bring District Attorney Maggie Fleming into the public light. Humboldt County turned over the case to her in hopes that she would get it resolved, but three months later there has been no outcome.

“We are going to call them out when they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do for those who have elected them,” Charmaine Lawson, mother of Josiah, said. “If they aren’t doing their jobs then we’re going to get them out.”

Lawson met with DA Fleming this past Thursday to talk about the progress on the case. There has been no public announcement made that any headway in the case is advancing, so supporters of this movement continue calling and emailing DA Fleming and asking what is going on.

“Humboldt County is a beautiful place,” Lawson said. “But they have a corrupt police department.”

Lawson believes one reason for the stalling of her son’s case is because DA Fleming and her office refused to communicate with Arcata Police Department. Rick Ehle, who was interim police chief after Thomas Chapman resigned, wanted to get an outside prosecutor to review the investigation before turning it over to DA Fleming, which Lawson said did not sit well with Fleming.

“If APD and the DA’s office were in communication then everything Fleming is reviewing and waiting on right now would already be done,” Lawson said. “All the search warrants, re-interviews, and anymore DNA that needed to be sent over to the DOJ she would have known. If she was doing her job and communicating with APD she would have known what was coming over.”

Although this movement has a support team behind it, fellow organizers such as Kelsey Reedy are surprised by how many community members still show out.

“It’s good to see a group of committed community members,” Reedy said. “Normally people don’t keep their attention span that long.”

*A reminder that on the 15th of every month there is a vigil held in memoriam for Josiah Lawson. This coming month it will be held at the Humboldt County courthouse.

Additional reporting by: Tony Wallin

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