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Man shot dead at close range after exiting Foot Locker in New Orleans on Christmas Eve
A man who was shopping at a suburban New Orleans mall on Christmas Eve was shot to death at close range and a suspect was in custody, police said.

The incident happened around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, less than two hours before the Oakwood Center mall in Gretna was scheduled to close for the holiday, said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

The victim had just purchased something from Foot Locker and had turned from the cash register when a man walked within 3 or 4 feet of him and began shooting, Normand said. No one else was injured.

"Obviously, based on witness accounts, he walked in with purpose of shooting this particular individual," Normand said when asked if the person was targeted.

At least three shots were fired and the man was pronounced dead on the scene, he said.

Sheriff's office spokesman Col. John N. Fortunato said in a statement Wednesday night that the incident was captured on surveillance video and that the victim had been identified as 24-year-old James Vaughn of Harvey.

In the aftermath of the shooting, "there was bedlam in the mall," Normand said. Mall security, deputies and Gretna police calmed everyone to make for an orderly evacuation, he said.

Normand said the shooter was apprehended several blocks from the mall.

The suspect is a 25-year-old man, according to Fortunato's statement. The Associated Press is not naming him because he has not formally been charged.

Normand said authorities were questioning the man, who would likely face a charge of second-degree murder.
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Dec-25-2014 67 0
A man who was shopping at a suburban New Orleans mall on Christmas Eve was shot to death at close range and a suspect was in custody, police said.

The incident happened around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, less than two hours before the Oakwood Center mall in Gretna was scheduled to close for the holiday, said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

The victim had just purchased something from Foot Locker and had turned from the cash register when a man walked within 3 or 4 feet of him and began shooting, Normand said. No one else was injured.

"Obviously, based on witness accounts, he walked in with purpose of shooting this particular individual," Normand said when asked if the person was targeted.

At least three shots were fired and the man was pronounced dead on the scene, he said.

Sheriff's office spokesman Col. John N. Fortunato said in a statement Wednesday night that the incident was captured on surveillance video and that the victim had been identified as 24-year-old James Vaughn of Harvey.

In the aftermath of the shooting, "there was bedlam in the mall," Normand said. Mall security, deputies and Gretna police calmed everyone to make for an orderly evacuation, he said.

Normand said the shooter was apprehended several blocks from the mall.

The suspect is a 25-year-old man, according to Fortunato's statement. The Associated Press is not naming him because he has not formally been charged.

Normand said authorities were questioning the man, who would likely face a charge of second-degree murder.

Nicole Hensley Dec-25-2014 144 0
An attempted robbery at a north Texas home left a promising Howard University football player dead during his holiday break, local reports said.

Terrence Neal Tusan, 22, was identified as one of two suspects discovered shot to death at a Denton apartment complex over the weekend after allegedly breaking into a home, authorities told the Denton Record-Chronicle.

He and Jakobi Dmon Gipson, 18, of Arlington, Tex., are accused of masking their faces and forcing their way into an apartment Sunday before gunfire erupted.

Tusan’s body was found outside the apartment in the 1500 block of Meadow St. Gipson’s body was discovered inside the apartment, police said.

The news shocked his mother, Donna Tusan, who last saw him Sunday to watch the Dallas Cowboys.

The Howard senior came home for Howard University’s holiday break and boasted about his grades.

“He was very happy with his grades,” his mother told the Record-Chronicle. “We were going to do some more Christmas shopping.”

Police are not sure if the attempted robbery was drug-related, but the victims have since moved out of their apartment.

Two handguns were recovered at the apartment - one on a victim’s person and another with the suspects, the newspaper reported.

Tusan played football at Euless Trinity High School before playing three seasons with the Howard Bisons.

The private university in Washington D.C. took note of Tusan’s death in a statement released Tuesday.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Tusan family at this difficult time,” a spokesperson wrote.

His 70-yard touchdown with only 5:22 left in a Sept. 2014 game against Rutgers had a mention in the Daily News, despite his team’s loss.

Tusan's brother, Joe, also a football player, was killed in 2004 during a hit-and-run described as a racially motivated incident. The 18-year-old was riding in the back of a pickup truck that was rear ended and knocked off the road, according to a story published by the Oklahoman in 2005.

AP Dec-24-2014 192 0
A suburban St. Louis police officer shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at him at a gas station late Tuesday, police said.

A crowd of about 100 people were gathered early Wednesday at the scene in Berkeley, Missouri, a few miles from Ferguson, where a white police officer fatally shot black 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

According to a statement from St. Louis County police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schellman, a Berkeley police officer was conducting a routine business check at a gas station around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday when he saw two men and approached them.

One of the men pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer, Schellman said. The officer fired several shots, striking and fatally wounding the man.

The second man fled, and the dead man's handgun has been recovered, according to Schellman.

The St. Louis County Police Department is handling the investigation, and no further details about the incident were immediately available.

Authorities did not immediately identify the man who was shot. But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a woman at the scene, Toni Martin, said he was her son, 18-year-old Antonio Martin.

Toni Martin told the newspaper that her son was with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting.

The protesters who gathered early Wednesday milled around the gas pumps at the station, some taunting and yelling at police officers.

Some had strands of yellow police-line tape draped around their neck, with others using it as a headband.

Authorities from multiple agencies, some in riot gear, stood among the protesters.

Across the street, another gas station's glass doors were shattered, and police were standing outside the door, turning people away.

Orlando Brown, 36, of nearby St. Charles was among the protesters. He said he didn't have all the details about the shooting but said he wondered if it was a case of police aggression.

"I understand police officers have a job and have an obligation to go home to their families at the end of the night," he said. "But do you have to treat every situation with lethal force? ... It's not a racial issue, or black or white. It's wrong or right."

Brown said he was pepper-sprayed during the protest as police tried to separate him from a friend whose hand he was holding. He said his friend was arrested for failing to disperse.

Neither Schellman nor Berkeley police could immediately confirm that pepper spray was used or that arrests were made. Photos from the scene showed authorities scuffling with at least a few protesters.

Brown's death led to weeks of protests and some looting in the St. Louis area, actions that were renewed last month when a grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

Dec-23-2014 193 0
Washington, DC — The shooting death of two NYPD Officers was truly shocking and tragic. The National Bar Association extends its sincere condolences to the officers’ families, the New York Police Department and the citizens of New York City in mourning this senseless loss of life. We also wish a speedy recovery to the Baltimore victim who was seriously injured by the assailant.

Like so many others we have experienced in this Nation, including the deaths of 20 first graders in Connecticut; the murder of 12 and wounding of 58 in the theater shooting in Colorado; and the killing of 6 and wounding of 13 in Arizona at a Congresswoman's political rally, the taking of these lives provide continuing examples of individuals suffering mental illness having easy access to guns.

Many pundits have already suggested a causal connection between the senseless killing of these police officers and recent protests and community activism focusing our Nation’s attention on the issue of “police brutality” and “police shootings of unarmed African Americans."

"Any attempt to gain political mileage from this tragedy is divisive and only heightens the tension in communities across our Nation," stated Pamela Meanes, President of the National Bar Association.

"A careful and independent review of the killer's actions on the morning of the shooting and his background reveals that the senseless killing of these officers was not motivated by recent protests and activism, which for the most part have been peaceful and orderly by people of all races throughout the world, "President Meanes said. "On the same day that he committed the murder of the police officers, the assailant attempted to kill his ex-girlfriend as she tried to stop him from committing suicide. More importantly, the now deceased assailant had a documented history of mental illness, criminally violent behavior, and easy access to guns," stated President Meanes.

The National Bar Association understands and respects the job police officers perform every day to keep communities safe. However, we still believe that “police brutality” and “police shootings of unarmed African Americans” are concerns that requires an open discussion to improve the trust between communities of color and law enforcement. We will not waver in our demand for accountability when unarmed African Americans are being shot and killed.

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 60,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students.The NBA is organized around 23 substantive law sections, 9 divisions, 12 regions and 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit:

Larry Celona Dec-23-2014 235 0
The NYPD’s chief of department abruptly quit Friday rather than take a promotion from Police Commissioner Bill Bratton that the chief believed was a powerless position setting him up for failure, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

Philip Banks III was to be promoted to first deputy commissioner at a ceremony Monday but backed out at the last minute during a heated meeting at Police Headquarters, sources said.

“You still have not done anything. You have not changed the direction of the Police Department. You asked me to come up with six or seven policies that you did not implement,” Banks fumed at the city’s top cop.

“The department is just going to go further into turmoil, and I don’t want to get blamed for that.”

The move left the NYPD without a black or Hispanic person in any of its top three positions after Bratton’s ouster of First Deputy Rafael Pineiro, who resigned under pressure in September.

It also set up a looming crisis between Mayor de Blasio and the minority community, with several City Council members expressing outrage at Banks’ departure.

In a statement, Council Members Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) and Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx) said de Blasio “was elected in large part [by] New York’s black and brown community on assurance that he would mend poor police-community relations.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, an NYPD critic, said he had spoken to de Blasio and would discuss their “conversation about diversity” at a rally in Harlem on Saturday.

Sources said that when Bratton offered Banks Pineiro’s post, Banks — then No. 3 in the NYPD’s chain of command — insisted on assuming more responsibilities than Pineiro had.

Pineiro’s duties were largely administrative, including oversight of the Personnel, Support Services and Criminal Justice bureaus.

Banks demanded that his successor as chief of department report directly to him, which is how the NYPD has historically operated, except under Commissioners Lee Brown and Ray Kelly.

His other conditions included oversight of the Internal Affairs Bureau, sources said.

During his first stint as commissioner, Bratton had restored the first deputy’s authority over the chief of department.

Bratton initially promised to grant Banks’ wishes, sources said.

But Bratton dithered, and the power struggle came to a head during Friday’s morning meeting at 1 Police Plaza as Banks demanded a firm answer.

Bratton said he needed more time to consider the matter, at which point Banks exploded and said he was quitting, sources said.

Sources said Bratton implored Banks to stay, telling him, “I think you’re making a major mistake.”

“I’m asking you to reconsider. Give me 30 days to work it out,” Bratton said.

But Banks refused and stormed out, sources said.

Bratton then called de Blasio, who summoned the commish to City Hall and chewed him out.

“You promised me you were going to use Banks and implement some of his policies. I counted on you to make changes, and now I’m blindsided by this,” de Blasio yelled.

Bratton appeared shaken as he left the meeting and “looked like he needed a glass of water,” which he was handed by an aide, sources said.

Reached Friday night, Banks said he still backed de Blasio and Bratton. “I support both of them and any comments to the contrary are not my comments,” Banks told The Post, insisting there had been no disagreement over policy.

“Those are not my comments. I’m not concerned with that. That did not come from me,” he said.

Sources said the mayor didn’t want to lose Banks, who was First Lady Chirlane McCray’s choice for commissioner over Bratton.

In a statement, de Blasio said he was “disappointed to hear of Chief Philip Banks’ personal decision to step down.”

“He has served New York City admirably during his nearly 30 years on the force, and we were enthusiastic about the leadership and energy he would have brought to the position of first deputy commissioner,” he added.

Bratton told reporters he was surprised when Banks quit, and he insisted he had planned on giving him more responsibilities.

He said Banks “was going to focus very heavily on our personnel-development training initiatives at the academy, and also the significant rebuilding of relationships with the minority communities after the questionable stop-and-frisk issues over the past few years.”

“He was going to effectively be my right-hand man as he has largely been this past year, so he will be missed, certainly by me both personally and professionally,” Bratton said.

AP Dec-23-2014 214 0
A white Milwaukee police officer fired after killing a mentally ill black man in April won't face criminal charges, the top county prosecutor said Monday, a decision that prompted the U.S. attorney to later announce a federal investigation of the incident.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said Christopher Manney won't be charged because he shot Dontre Hamilton in self-defense. Manney is at least the third white police officer across the country to avoid charges in the past month after a confrontation that led to a black man's death.

"(Manney's) use of force was privileged and justified," Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said during a news conference. "On a human level, of course, it's tragic ... (but) our job is not to tell people necessarily what they want to hear."

After waiting eight months for the decision, Hamilton's family reacted with disappointment and anger. At an emotional news conference on the steps of the federal courthouse, family attorneys said they had called for a federal investigation. They also urged that protests be peaceful "so as not to dishonor Dontre's name and the Hamilton family name."

But Hamilton's brother Nate spoke bitterly, saying the family had "cried too long" and "we don't have to be the voice of reason."

"We need to stop the violence in our communities so we can get rid of these pigs that kill us," he said to shouts and applause. "Because that's what they are. They feed, they feed off of us. And we can't let them do that no more."

His remarks came just two days after two New York City police officers were ambushed in their patrol car. Police said that attack was carried out by a man who posted online about putting "wings on pigs."

Police Chief Edward Flynn said he was disturbed by Hamilton's choice of words. "I would like to chalk it up to the emotion of the moment, but we don't need people implying or expressing a need for violence against police," he said.

Jon Safran, a Hamilton family attorney, later said Nate Hamilton doesn't condone "any type of violence" and the family was dealing with "great anxiety and frustration."

Hamilton's family has led mostly peaceful protests in the months since his death. They took to the streets again Monday afternoon, with Nate Hamilton leading a crowd as it marched through intersections chanting "Arrest the police!" and "Whose streets? Our streets!" The group eventually dispersed without incident.

Later Monday evening, more protesters gathered in a pouring rain at the park where Manney shot Dontre Hamilton. Nate Hamilton told the group to remain peaceful because media outlets are looking to broadcast violence and the protesters need to be smarter than that. "Don't nobody be violent," he said.

That crowd left peacefully as well.

About eight hours after Chisholm announced his decision, U.S. Attorney James Santelle said the Department of Justice, along with his office and the FBI, will conduct a review to determine if there was a violation of federal civil rights law. Manney's attorney didn't return a message seeking comment.

Manney shot Hamilton, 31, after responding to a call of a man sleeping in a downtown park. Manney said Hamilton resisted when he tried to frisk him. The two exchanged punches before Hamilton got hold of Manney's baton and hit him on the neck, the former officer has said. Manney then shot Hamilton 14 times.

Several witnesses told police they saw Hamilton holding Manney's baton aggressively before Manney shot him, according to Chisholm's report. Police said they have no video of the incident.

Chisholm consulted with police use-of-force experts, who concluded Manney's conduct was justified. Emanuel Kapelsohn of the Peregrine Corp. said all the shots were fired in 3 or 4 seconds and there was no evidence that Manney continued firing after Hamilton hit the ground.

Manney suffered minor injuries, including a bite to his right thumb, a neck strain and a neck contusion, the report said. He was treated for post-concussion syndromes, a mild traumatic brain injury and had physical therapy for bicep and rotator cuff injuries, the report said.

Flynn fired Manney in October. He said then that Manney correctly identified Hamilton as mentally ill but ignored department policy and treated him as a criminal by frisking him.

Hamilton's family said he suffered from schizophrenia and had recently stopped taking his medication.

The Milwaukee Police Association condemned Manney's firing as a political move, and members voted no confidence in Flynn soon after the firing, which Manney has appealed. On Monday, the union praised Chisholm's decision, saying the officer had "no other option" in the situation.

Hamilton's death preceded the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, but the case hasn't attracted as much attention as those fatal encounters with police.

Erin Calabrese Dec-22-2014 177 0
The Rev. Al Sharpton claimed Sunday that he’s received death threats in the wake of execution-style murders of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn.

Sharpton, appearing alongside the wife and mother of Eric Garner, played a voicemail for reporters purportedly of a racist threat made against him.

“Hey n—-r, stop killing innocent people, I’m going to get you!” according to the barely audible recording.

The voice mail also included three f-bombs that went over live television in New York.

Sharpton also took umbrage with police union leaders who have blamed Mayor de Blasio for allegedly inciting violence against cops.

NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were gunned down in cold blood as they sat in their patrol car on Saturday in Brooklyn.

“To blame the mayor and others is not what we need,” Sharpton said. “The blame game will only lead to further kinds of venom and further division.”

Sharpton urged protesters and police critics to remain peaceful.

“If we go into an area where it’s eye for an eye, then it is only a matter of who can out pluck eyes rather than who can make the system fair for everybody,” he said. “We have in every rally and march … been very clear in stressing of nonviolence. We even would stop rhetoric that was wrong.”

Police-community relations have been tense ever since a Staten Island grand jury failed to indict the white cop who put Garner, who was black, in a choke hold, contributing to his death.

Garner was being arrested for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes when Officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold to subdue him.

Garner’s mom, Gwen Carr, and wife Esaw Garner eulogized the two slain officers Sunday and rejected any link between the protests they’ve led and Saturday’s tragedy in Brooklyn.

“Anyone that is standing beside us, we want you to not use Eric Garner’s name for violence because we are not about that,” Carr said.

“These two police officers lost their lives senselessly, and our condolence (are) with the family, and we stand with the family.”

Esaw Garner added: “My husband was not a violent man, and we don’t want any violence connected to his name, thank you.”

Barry Paddock Dec-22-2014 213 0
Gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley had a “very troubled childhood” and had previously tried to kill himself, his mother told authorities, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

“The mother expressed fear of him, and she said she hasn’t seen him in one month,” Boyce said. “Brinsley attempted suicide in the past and attempted to hang himself a year ago.”

The 28-year-old cop killer, who is estranged from his family, has a criminal record that stretches back at least a decade, with arrests in Ohio and Georgia.

Brinsley had 15 prior arrests in Georgia for misdemeanor assault, shoplifting, grand larceny and gun possession, Boyce said.

Brinsley was also arrested four times in Ohio for robbery and misdemeanor theft and did a two-year prison stint from August 2011 to July 2013 for criminal possession of a weapon, said Boyce.

Despite the long rap sheet, a friend of Brinsley said he was shocked to hear about the twisted execution, describing the killer as a smart and “God-fearing” man.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, left, and friend Jay Romero, right. Romero recounted how Brinsley was a 'God-fearing person' and called Brinsley's actions 'a cowardly move.'
Jay Hustle via Facebook

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, left, and friend Jay Romero, right. Romero recounted how Brinsley was a 'God-fearing person' and called Brinsley's actions 'a cowardly move.'

“This would’ve never crossed my mind for him to do something like this,” said Jay Romero, who spent a month with Brinsley last Christmas.

“It brought tears to my eyes. No human has the right to take any human’s life, that’s wrong,” said Romero, 29. “What he did is a cowardly move. I don’t know what he went through, what was on his mind.”

After shooting his ex-girlfriend in Maryland, cops said Brinsley drove to Brooklyn and ambushed Officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, as they were sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. He then blew his brains out on a nearby G train platform.

The cop killer had a 'very troubled childhood' and had previously tried to take his own life, according to his mom.

He said Brinsley had two daughters and had been dating a woman in Baltimore for a long time and mentioned her often.

“He always talked about her, that she was the only girl he loved,” he said.

Brinsley’s rampage started about 5:45 a.m. when he shot ex-girlfriend Shaneka Thompson in Owings Mills, Md., police said.

She remains hospitalized with wounds to her stomach.

He stole the 29-year-old woman’s phone and took off to his native Brooklyn, posting ominous messages on Instagram showing his bloodstained pants and the handgun that was later used to murder the officers.

Romero said Brinsley would often post news stories on his Facebook page, but never accompanied them with strong opinions. He didn’t remember Brinsley talking about killing cops.

Officials said it didn’t appear that Brinsley was affiliated with any gang.

Brinsley was Muslim and also went by Isaiah and Moses, Romero said.

The Vegas man said he’d refer to his friend as “Brooklyn” when they texted each other.

“He was very proud of being where he was from, Brooklyn,” he said.

Tina Moore Dec-20-2014 373 0
Two NYPD cops were executed Saturday after a gang member from Baltimore drove to the city to kill police officers after wounding his girlfriend, sources told the Daily News.

The shooter, identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, boasted about wanting to kill cops in the hours before he ambushed the officers outside the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant about 3 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours...Let’s Take 2 of Theirs,” Brinsley wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of a silver handgun and a series of hashtags referencing the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Brinsley made good on his promise, firing several rounds into the patrol car parked near Myrtle and Tompkins Aves., witnesses said.
“The perp came out of the houses, walked up behind the car and lit them up,” a high-ranking police official told the Daily News.

Brinsley then sprinted around the corner to the Myrtle-Willoughby Aves. subway station where he shot himself in the head, police said. He was later pronounced dead.

Both officers were rushed to Woodhull Hospital but were later pronounced dead.

Witnesses said the officers never had a chance.

“He just walked up and shot that cop in the head,” one man said.

“They basically dragged two cops out their car,” a second witness said. “I saw it. One was shot in the face. There was blood coming out of his face.”

Brinsley is believed to be a member of a Baltimore gang, Black Guerilla Family, sources said. The gang has vowed retribution for the deaths of Garner and Brown. Garner died after being put in a chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17 on Staten Island. Brown, who was unnarmed, was shot dead by Ferguson, Mo. cop Darren Wilson on Aug. 9th. Neither cop was indicted by grand juries, sparking national protests.

“I have spoken to the Garner family and we are outraged by the early reports of the police killed in Brooklyn today," said the Rev. Al Sharpton in a statement Saturday evening. "Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.

Details of the shooting outside Baltimore were scarce. A family member of the victim told the Daily News Brinsley shot her in the stomach.

She was expected to survive.

Earlier Saturday, Brinsley posted a menacing message on Facebook. “I Always Wanted To Be Known For Doing Something Right...But My Past Is Stalking Me and My Present Is Haunting Me.”

Deborah Hastings Dec-20-2014 233 0
Some witnesses "clearly " lied to the St. Louis grand jury investigating the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., prosecutor Robert McCulloch said in an interview.

"There were people who came in and yes, absolutely lied under oath. Some lied to the FBI, even though they're not under oath, that's another potential offense, a federal offense," McCulloch said Friday, in a discussion with KTRS radio in St. Louis.

Nonetheless, he said he will not seek perjury charges. "Some were clearly not telling the truth, no question about it," McCulloch said. But he wanted all sides to have their say, he added.

In his first public statements since announcing on Nov. 24 that the white police officer who killed the unarmed African-American teen would not be indicted, McCulloch said he has kept quiet because he didn't want "to fire things up."

Even though it was apparent that some witnesses were not telling the truth, McCulloch said he allowed them to testify because he wanted jurors to hear all accounts of how Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot to death 18-year-old Brown.

"I thought it was much more important to present the entire picture and say listen, this is what this witness says he saw, even though there was a building between where the witness says he was and where the events occurred, so they couldn't have seen that," McCulloch told the station.

The credibility of two people who testified, identified only as Witness 40 and Witness 41, has already been questioned after transcripts of their testimonies and other details were released publicly.

Witness 40 admitted to investigators she was bi-polar and racist and had sought donations for Wilson. She came forward five weeks after the Aug. 9 shooting and claimed she had driven to Ferguson "so I stop calling Blacks N------ and Start calling them People," she wrote in a journal that she showed the grand jury.

Witness 41, it was revealed this week, told prosecutors -- after she testified -- that she had recorded the entire shooting incident on her cell phone. But she had dropped her phone in a toilet, she said, and then threw it away.

"Just like any jury, they can believe all, part or nothing of any witness testimony," McCulloch said.

His handling of the case has been criticized from the beginning. On Thursday, Democratic State Rep. Karla May said McCulloch should be investigated for prosecutorial misconduct.

"My job is to not get an indictment, my job is to seek the truth and seek justice and do what is right," McCulloch said in the interview.

Jon Gargis Dec-19-2014 313 0
A recently sworn-in Dalton police officer is off the job following his arrest Thursday on a child molestation charge.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Officer Daniel Tolbert just after 5 p.m., Dalton police spokesman Bruce Frazier said Thursday night. The arrest came nine days after the department placed Tolbert on administrative leave immediately after being informed by the GBI and the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office that he was under investigation on suspicion of child molestation.

“I am very disappointed to hear about this allegation, and upset about the discredit this will surely bring on our department and officers,” Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker said in a news release Thursday. “We would never condone or support the kind of behavior that would warrant this charge. The men and women of this department hold ourselves to a very high standard of behavior, and we know the community we serve expects our behavior to be beyond reproach.”

Though police officials did not have specifics on the allegations against Tolbert, Frazier said the alleged incident did not occur while Tolbert was on the job. At the time of his suspension, he was in the department’s field training program, and as a trainee, he was never unsupervised or alone while on duty. Probationary trainees, Frazier added, ride with an experienced training officer for at least four months after completing the police academy.

Tolbert, 32, completed the police academy in September and was sworn in as an officer on Sept. 16. Though Tolbert is currently on administrative leave, the city will begin the termination process immediately, Frazier said.

Prior to joining Dalton’s police force, Tolbert served in the U.S. Army, the U.S. Border Patrol in California and was a jail deputy with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, according to the police department’s blog.

Rocco Parascandola Dec-19-2014 640 0
The stabbing death of a man whose naked body was found outside a Brooklyn apartment building was the result of a sordid love triangle that ended in two killings, not one — and the arrest of a suspect Thursday.

Jerome Barrett, 35, is believed to have been having sex with a co-worker in a car parked near his East New York home when the woman’s cuckolded husband interrupted their sexual encounter early Wednesday, police sources said. The lovers were naked.

The husband, Steve Whittingham, 48, stabbed Barrett several times in the chest and did the same to his wife, Jonelle Barker, 36, killing them both, police said in announcing Whittingham’s arrest early Thursday night.

Barrett, who also was married, was mortally wounded but managed to flee, still naked and clutching his clothing and wallet, the sources said. He made his way to the entrance of an apartment building on Louisiana Ave. near Seaview Ave. in the Spring Creek Towers shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday, the sources said. He was ringing the buzzer at the main entrance, trying to summon help, when his wounds overcame him, the sources said. His clothes and wallet were found a few feet from his body, just outside the building’s entrance.

A day later, about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Barrett’s car, a Kia, was found parked on New Lots Ave. in Brownsville, the sources said.

Inside the trunk was Jonelle Barker’s body. She was naked, the sources said.

Investigators believe that Barrett and Barker, who worked as baggage handlers at JFK Airport, were having an affair and that Whittingham killed them both in a rage after learning about her infidelity and catching them in the act, the sources said.

Jerome Barrett’s brother, Benjamin Barrett, Jr., who lives in Virginia, was stunned when he heard his sibling had been slain.

“No! ... you’re kidding, man!” he said, adding that their father had died of cancer just last week. “He was just coming back down here this weekend for the funeral.”

Shortly after Barker’s body was discovered, Whittingham surrendered himself to authorities, the sources said. He was charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, which could get him life without parole if convicted. He was due to be arraigned.

Whittingham and Barker shared a home in Windsor Terrace, police said. Outside their Ave. K home on Thursday night an elderly woman was weeping, as neighbors tried to console her. Neighbors said the woman was Whittingham’s mother. She declined comment.

Barrett lived about a mile and a half from the building in the Spring Creek Towers outside of which his body was found. Whittingham drove Barrett’s Kia from the scene after Barrett fled, the police sources said. The sources did not reveal where the car had initially been parked, but they said investigators have recovered surveillance video of the killings.

Barrett’s sister-in-law said that neither she nor her husband knew Barrett was having an affair. “He always seemed to be family-oriented,” Wilson-Barrett said. “He had a heart made of gold.”

“It’s shocking to me,” she added. “I didn’t know that side of him.”

She raged at Whittingham for the way he allegedly responded to his humiliation and grief.

“He could have hit him in the head with a bat or just beat him up,” she said.

“I’m a firm believer of you reap what you sow,” she said, with unintended irony. “I think he should pay for this.”

Dec-17-2014 348 0
Legal justice was a long time coming in the case of George Stinney, a 14-year-old black boy in rural South Carolina who became the youngest person executed in modern times when he was electrocuted 70 years ago for the murders of two white girls.

On Tuesday, Judge Carmen Mullins vacated the boy's conviction and cleared his name for the beating deaths of Mary Emma Thames, 7, and Betty June Binnicker, 11, in segregated Alcolu, S.C. The girls had been riding their bicycles when they disappeared in 1944. Their bodies were found in a watery ditch in the black side of town. Both had been attacked with a railroad spike.

Mullins found "fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process," the judge said. She noted the lack of a credible defense during trial, and said the boy's confession, of which there were two versions, appeared to have been coerced. There were no witnesses and no physical evidence in the case.

Stinney's sisters and a brother testified earlier this year at hearings on whether to overturn the conviction. "They took my brother away and I never saw my mother laugh again," said Amie Ruffner, 78. "I would love his name to be cleared."

His 83-year-old brother, Charles, lives in Brooklyn. There was no answer when the Daily News phoned his home.

The victims' families opposed vacating the conviction, saying very little remained in the way of physical records from the trial, and that it would be impossible to determine exactly what happened decades ago in the Deep South courtroom.

The trial lasted only three hours. It took only 10 minutes for an all-white, all-male jury to convict Stinney. He was sent to the electric chair not quite three months later.

>>--More Black Legal News

Sep-09-2014 806 0
On yesterday social media went crazy after the video of Ray Rice was released. Within hours Rice was released from the Ravens. Don't think for one second that it was not as a result of the public outcry on social media. The Ravens and the NFL did not have a choice but to release Rice because they had been exposed. However, the saddening part about of all of this is that the powers to be proclaimed they had not seen the video until yesterday.

Why do we live in a society where there's always a cover-up? If we are going to be angry at the police chief in Ferguson, MO for trying to cover up for one of his officers who killed Michael Brown we should also be upset with Commissioner Roger Goodell and Coach John Harbaugh because it appears that they took part in a scheme to deceive the public and by tuning in to the games as usual we are saying it's okay to cover-up a crime. Sean Payton, head coach of the Saints, was forced to sit out a year because an alleged wrongdoing took place under his watch. In my opinion, the same needs to happen to the Roger Goodell and Coach Harbaugh because somehow I think they knew and if they did not know it's even worse because they allowed a poor investigation to support a two game suspension.

Let's look at the severity of what they did. Their actions in trying to protect the NFL brand send the wrong message to ladies who are victims of domestic abuse. What the message says is that you should protect the abuser if there's something to lose. In this case, it was football games and plenty of revenue for a major brand. Their actions could help persuade a victim of domestic abuse to participate in a press conference in order to save a star and risk her life. This was not the right thing to do because someone following that same example could end up dead.

Releasing and/or suspending Rice for the year was the proper thing to do months ago but there are additional suspensions that need to be handed down before we stop talking about this. Take a year off Mr. Commissioner and Coach Harbaugh because you dropped the ball on this one. Better yet, if you won't suspend yourselves, donate your salaries for the year to a charity that supports domestic violence victims if you are really serious about the mistake that was made.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Apr-28-2014 1215 0
Sadly but real, it appears as though society feels you can treat a black person poorly by simply offering to give them something of value and everything is forgotten. This mindset has to go away otherwise racism and injustices will remain. Whenever I file a civil rights lawsuit the first question the media asks is how much money the family is asking for? My response is always very clear; the family wants JUSTICE and expects for the individual responsible for the act to be held responsible for his/her criminal acts.

On yesterday, 5-10 multimillionaires played a game of basketball despite being made aware that the owner they are earning millions for hates black people, especially black males. By not playing on yesterday they could have sent a major message out and forced the NBA to react immediately but they gave Donald Sterling and the NBA a way out. Let's face it, the Clippers are no candidate to win the NBA Championship this year so this was/is their opportunity to make a change but instead they are showing America that money and a championship is much more important than fighting blatant racism.

I have to admit that I'm truly disappointed in the Los Angeles Clippers. Professional athletes will stage a sit out when they feel they are not being paid enough money but they will continue to play for a racist owner who admitted to not want black people at the game and use the excuse that we are playing for a championship. Will we continue to turn our heads for money?

Many people criticized the football players at Grambling when they staged a protest last year. If those kids lost their scholarships they could probably not afford to attend college but they took the chance because they wanted to take a stand against what they consider poor playing conditions. They had the courage to do something that the Los Angeles Clippers, a group of multimillionaires, are not willing to do. What message are we sending to the World? You can tell millionaires you hate them but they will still work for you as long as they are being paid. Truly a lost opportunity. All money is not good money.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button
Daryl K. Washington Apr-27-2014 1196 0
Donald Sterling made comments about Black people that have started a lot of conversation. Many people, including myself, have said that it will place Coach Doc Rivers and the players in an awkward situation but after thinking about it, it will also place White people in an awkward position and here's my opinion why. During the Civil Rights movement there were White people on the front lines and there were many who did not agree with the poor treatment of Black people. They were instrumental in helping with the fight for equal treatment.

Fast forward to today. 95% of the fans at the Clippers games are not Black and the majority are White people. It would be a great show of support if the White fans were as insulted by Donald Sterling's comments as Black people are. The games will go on but wouldn't it be great if the White fans proved to the country that they don't support a racist owner. We know it will not happen but only until everyone voice their dislike of what was said will a true change ever be made.

Donald Sterling's views are shared by so many individuals who will allow our talented Black athletes to attend the large colleges because they earn millions of dollars for the schools but will fight tooth and nails to prevent a young Black kid who may have not scored well on a standardized test from attending.

College athletes are fighting to be paid but I think what should be added to their agenda is the equal treatment of their brothers and sisters who are being denied admission to the same universities they are earning millions of dollars for. The fight should not be for money but for equality. Let’s never allow someone to pay us to keep our views to ourselves. We still have a long way to go. We will never get there unless we ALL come together.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.

Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 1473 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

As a country, we came together after 9/11 but soon thereafter the unity went away. There's so much happening in our communities. I thought the Zimmerman verdict would be our wake up call to do more but our young black men continue to be gunned down at a high rate by Men who don't look anything close to their fathers and most of them get away with it. Just in case you mention the black on black crime, remember that the killer normally ends up in prison.

Just recently, the grand jury failed to indict a North Carolina police officer for the killing of Jonathan Ferrell, a young black male, but after there was a public outcry about the injustice that took place he was eventually indicted. Right here in Dallas, Texas we have black men being killed by white police officers and in a great majority of the cases, the police officers are not indicted and judged by a jury of their peers. Instead, the victim is placed on trial and society has become conditioned to believe that it's okay to kill someone if they have a prior criminal record or considered a menace to society. Well, it's not and it's time that it stops.

We need to be proactive and make sure laws that don't benefit us are changed. I will continue to say this until I can't say this anymore; we have to get out and VOTE during the mid-term elections. We need to make sure the right people are elected and the wrong people are removed from office, irrespective of their race. If the same people are in office (local officials) yet we are having some of the same problems, it's time for change. Vote for someone who wants to make a change. Don't just vote based on race or political affiliation; that's what has gotten us to this point where we are today. We have to be proactive or the next Jordan Davis might be our brother, our son, our nephew, our father or our friend. Let's do it. Get involved or get out of the way!!!!!

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.

Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 1812 0
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITIES?: I just finished talking to a mother who lost her son as a result of a police shooting. Hearing this mother talk about her son and how much he loved the holidays was simply heart wrenching. She went on to tell me that she's pleaded for help from our local politicians, pastors, leaders, etc. but no one wants to take her call, especially if the cameras are not rolling. To worsen matters, many of the leaders have put her son on trial and he's dead.

On last week they staged a protest in Dallas and sadly, 95% of the protestors were white. That made me wonder why do people make it in life and fail to reach back to help others? Why do people hear about injustices yet fail to say anything about it other than to say "that's sad!" During the 60's the leaders were individuals (black and white) who had college degrees, had bright futures ahead of them but they risk it all for us to be in the positions we are in today. The sad thing is that many of us believe it's all about us.

We must do more. We have to do more. We have to demand that our politicians and pastors step up to help us fight this battle. It truly takes a team effort. We must hold all of our community leaders accountable. When they ask for your vote, ask them to list ten things they did for the community in the last four years. Ask them how many times have they've attended a rally to show support to a grieving mother or father. We have serious issues and it takes all of us to stop this mess. I'm tired of seeing people who have never fought against a single injustice accept the Martin Luther King drum major for justice award. It's time for change.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
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