Friends of a popular baker killed in an Oakland robbery are urging that the man responsible be spared prison.
The baker, Jen Angel, was known as being an opponent of prisons and attended police-accountability protests. Since her death, Angel’s friends have come together to honor her memory by calling for the use of restorative justice in her case, according to a June article by Ayla Burnett posted on berkeleyside.org.
“We’re committed to carrying out Jen’s legacy and the vision of the world that she pushed every day to create in her daily life, and we know that does not involve moving towards punishment and harm and retrenching racist and damaging practices,” said longtime friend Pete Woiwode. “We’re eager for the district attorney to take that seriously and move towards potential opportunities for restorative justice.”
The Alameda County DA’s office has acknowledged the desire of Angel’s friends for an alternative to traditional punishment, according to the article. It is unclear how that could move forward.
The crime occurred on Feb. 6, 2023, when Angel was robbed while she was in her car in Oakland. She hung on to the car door and was dragged before letting go, dying in a hospital three days later.
A 19-year old man, Ishmael Jenkins Burch, was later arrested and charged with her murder.
“If there was some sort of alternate place to prison where he could work and have education and learn, and if he wants to become a better human, I’d love for him to have that opportunity if he wants it,” said Julie Barr, a close friend of Angel.
Angel’s fiancé, Ocean Mottley, said, “I don’t know what it’s like to be Black, but I know what it’s like to be young and poor and desperate and thinking I needed to commit crimes in order to survive.”
Angel was known for bringing cupcakes to a variety of social justice events, including homecomings of people released from jail.
“Set a plate of cupcakes in the middle of the table and already, the world is more just,” Woiwode said.
Angel created her Oakland bakery, Angel Cakes, as a commitment to building community while serving those in need, the article said.
The opinion of Angel’s family was not reported in the article. Neither was Alameda’s DA Pamela Price, who won office last year on a platform that included focusing more on restorative justice and less on traditional forms of punishment.