Arrest Made in Killing of Jen Angel

Family & friends Want Restorative Justice


Fifth Estate # 414, Fall 2023

Oakland, Calif. police made an arrest in June of a 19-year-old man they say is responsible for the death of Jen Angel, the social justice activist, anarchist and baker, during a bungled robbery in February.

Ishmael Burch of San Francisco was identified as the person driving the car in which Jen became entangled as she tried to retrieve her purse grabbed from her as she exited a bank. Angel was the owner of Angel Cakes Bakery in Oakland.

The accused was implicated in a second robbery that day and identified through surveillance footage and cell phone data.

After Jen’s horrific death from being dragged 50 feet by the moving car Burch is accused of driving, the Estate of Jen Angel, a group of trusted friends of the late activist working to support and honor her life and legacy, issued a statement in February calling for “all available alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as restorative justice.”

San Francisco District Attorney Pamela Price does not support lengthy incarceration, but Burch still is facing serious felony charges and a long prison sentence under the California criminal justice system.

It’s not clear what restorative justice would consist of following a death from such an assault, but after the arrest of Burch, the Estate released another statement addressed to the district attorney.

They write in part, “Because the State has discretion in charging and sentencing, we know that Jen would want the DA to work towards generating true accountability and healing. Jen believed that extreme sentencing is not a pathway to true justice.”

Representatives from Jen’s Estate say they “honor Jen Angel’s life, legacy, and values by saying no to incarceration, policing, state violence, and perpetuating cycles of harm in her name. We assert a resounding yes to community responsibility, accountability, and mutual aid.” Angel Cakes, the community-based bakery that Jen founded in 2008, remains open, supported by her estate and staffed by a talented team that made the bakery so popular. Information on the case can be followed at .


Remembering Jen Angel, 1975-2023, FE #413, Spring, 2023.