Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem has taken a very active role in securing the legal rights of one of their parishioners. Afrika Owes is a 17-year old girl who will soon be on trial for felony charges related to gun and drug trafficking. What makes her unique is that she was also a top student, bound for an Ivy League University. The theory among those who support Owes is that her involvement with the gun and drug trade came largely from undue influence from her boyfriend, Jaquan Layne, who was allegedly running the gang from Rikers Island Prison.
Judge Edward McLaughlin of the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that it is legal for the church to post bail, but only if the church gets permission from the board of directors.
"They can do if they chose to in the manner set out in what the board of directors can do or not do on their behalf," said the judge.