December 21, 2021
OAKLAND — A report of an early-morning assault against a teenage girl has led to serious felony charges against five people, four of whom are charged with forcing her into prostitution, court records show.
On Monday, Alameda County prosecutors filed human trafficking, pimping, and pandering charges against Jamel Sneed, 22, Melanie Gritz, 20, Kahlil Crowell, 19, and Joseph Lewis Jr., 24. Additionally, 21-year-old Katina Williams was charged with felony assault, along with Gritz, court records show. Lewis faces charges of carrying a concealed firearm.
The charges stem from a Dec. 16 incident in which the alleged victim — known only in court records as Jane Doe — reported being assaulted at the Jack London Inn on the 400 block of Embarcadero West in downtown Oakland. During a police interview, the girl said she was being held against her will at a hotel room and forced “to walk the streets and perform sex acts for money,” investigators said in court records.
She said when she tried to leave the hotel room around 2 a.m. Dec. 16, she was attacked, with Lewis allegedly pulling a gun on her. Oakland police Ofc. Andriy Volynets wrote in a probable cause statement that Lewis allegedly “presented a firearm towards (Doe), racked the slide and stated something to the effects of ‘Am I going to have to use this?’ ”
During the attack, the girl alleged that Gritz and Williams pulled her head, knocked her down, and kicked her in the head, causing her to lose consciousness. Police say officers found the girl outside of the hotel, where she was still refusing to go back inside. Investigators determined Sneed was renting the room, court records show.
Sneed, Gritz, Crowell, and Lewis were all arrested at the scene and booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where they all remain on no-bail holds. The time and date of Williams’ arrest isn’t listed in court records, and she is not being held at the jail, records show.
The next court date, an arraignment, has been set for Dec. 23.