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McDonald's fires mom who let 9-year-old play alone
The South Carolina single mom arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in a park while she worked at McDonald's has been given her daughter back—but has lost her job. The lawyer representing Debra Harrell pro bono says McDonald's has let her go, but he isn't sure why, reports ThinkProgress. A McDonald's spokeswoman declined to comment. Harrell has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child, and her lawyer says that although she has been reunited with her daughter, the Department of Social Services probe is ongoing.

According to the blog Reason, Harrell had been bringing her daughter to work and letting her play on a laptop, but she started dropping her off at a nearby park while she worked after their home was broken into and the laptop was stolen. The lawyer tells CNN he thinks it's "absurd" to say the girl was "abandoned" at the park a few minutes' walk from her house. "Because if this woman gets convicted, guess what? ... From now on, do officers now have an obligation every time they see a 9-and-a-half-year-old not in the presence of their parents, do the parents get arrested?" he says. "It truly is the classic slippery slope." Amid public outcry over the case, a fundraising page set up to help Harrell has received more than $31,000 in donations.
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Jul-23-2014 203 0
The South Carolina single mom arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in a park while she worked at McDonald's has been given her daughter back—but has lost her job. The lawyer representing Debra Harrell pro bono says McDonald's has let her go, but he isn't sure why, reports ThinkProgress. A McDonald's spokeswoman declined to comment. Harrell has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child, and her lawyer says that although she has been reunited with her daughter, the Department of Social Services probe is ongoing.

According to the blog Reason, Harrell had been bringing her daughter to work and letting her play on a laptop, but she started dropping her off at a nearby park while she worked after their home was broken into and the laptop was stolen. The lawyer tells CNN he thinks it's "absurd" to say the girl was "abandoned" at the park a few minutes' walk from her house. "Because if this woman gets convicted, guess what? ... From now on, do officers now have an obligation every time they see a 9-and-a-half-year-old not in the presence of their parents, do the parents get arrested?" he says. "It truly is the classic slippery slope." Amid public outcry over the case, a fundraising page set up to help Harrell has received more than $31,000 in donations.

Jul-23-2014 313 0
An Atlanta man was bilked out of $175,000 when he fell victim to an organized ring that uses identity theft to raid investment and bank accounts, according to Atlanta police.

Atlanta Police Detective Ken Stapler said six-figure identity thefts are increasingly common in the metro Atlanta region as professional criminals target people’s life savings and investment accounts.

“Anybody who is smart enough to do this is smart enough to go after large amounts of money,” said the veteran detective.

Police have identified someone they believe opened up a phony business account at a JP Morgan Chase bank branch in Atlanta, which received $123,000 from Terance Fowler’s Charles Schwab account.

Police say the woman used her own name — Tanya Monique Peel — to set up a business account. Police then linked the name to a woman who lived in Raleigh, N.C., and confirmed it was her from a sultry “selfie” photograph on her Facebook page, Stapler said. Bank surveillance cameras matched the woman who withdrew the $123,000 to the picture on the Facebook page and her driver’s license.

Leaving such clues for detectives to follow was enough to tell Stapler that the 26-year-old woman was not a lone wolf, noting the fraud was clever but its success laid in its simplicity.

“I think she is with a group of professionals,” said Stapler, who is searching for Peel after securing an arrest warrant for her last week. “There is no way she did this by herself.”

Fowler, 45, declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement with the banks and the investment corporation. He reported the case to police.

Fowler lost his money when the group got his identifying information and his cellphone number, correctly guessing the cellphone was how Charles Schwab traders verified whether cash transfer orders were legitimate, Stapler said. The investment company refunded Fowler his loss, Stapler said.

The criminals had all of Fowler’s incoming calls forwarded to an untraceable cellphone and then ordered Charles Schwab to transfer $123,000 to the account controlled by someone police say was Peel and another $52,000 to a Wells Fargo branch in California on Dec. 19, Stapler said. The money that was transferred to the Wells Fargo account was frozen before it could be removed from the account, Stapler said.

When Charles Schwab representatives called Fowler to verify the transfers were legitimate, the call was forwarded to the crooks who impersonated Fowler and authorized the transfers, Stapler said.

Then, police say, Peel withdrew most of the $123,000 in a combination of cash and money orders, with 10 of the money orders made payable to Acquisitions & Consulting Group LLC, another phony business involved in fraudulent account take overs, Stapler said. A Peel confederate made two of the withdrawals, police say.

Jim Wanserski , a fraud expert, said identity thefts like the one plaguing Fowler would continue to rise until corporations adopt the technology improvements to make them more difficult.

“That is not a very sophisticated scheme but it worked,” said Wanserski of Wanserski & Associates. “That is a good example as how easy it can be.”

Crimestoppers of Atlanta is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to arrest and indictment of Peel, who Stapler has been unable to locate. Callers can leave confidential tips at 404-577-TIPS (8477), online or by texting CRIMES (274637).

alan duke Jul-23-2014 235 0
Ray J Norwood has been charged with four misdemeanors in a case in which he's accused of grabbing a woman's buttocks, smashing a police car window and spitting on a cop.

The Los Angeles County district attorney on Monday filed the charges against the singer stemming from an incident at a Beverly Hills hotel on May 30, a court filing said.

Norwood, 33, is infamous as Kim Kardashian's partner in the sex tape that launched her reality show career.

A police spokesman said Norwood's initial hearing is set for Friday, although he does not have to attend since the charges are misdemeanors. The criminal complaint lists four counts: sexual battery, vandalism, resisting arrest and battery.

Beverly Hills police arrested him at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on May 30 after a woman complained that he "grabbed her buttocks," a police statement said.

Although the initial police report said it was decided that the "contact was incidental," the complaint alleged that it was sexual battery because Ray J did "unlawfully touch an intimate part" of the woman for the "specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse."

The vandalism, battery and resisting arrest charges filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney stem from what happened after police arrived at the hotel.

Norwood "became belligerent with the valets and refused to leave," despite repeated requests by hotel security, the police statement said.

"After the uniform police officers took Mr. Norwood into custody and placed him in the rear of a police vehicle, he became belligerent and used his feet to shatter the side window of the police vehicle," the police statement said. "Mr. Norwood was subsequently removed from the police vehicle in order to restrain his feet; at which time he became combative and spat into the face of one of the officers."

Kerry Burke Jul-22-2014 213 0
A highly touted Brooklyn principal was yanked from her post Monday, three days after state police caught her trying to smuggle heroin into a maximum-security prison upstate with a 10-year-old in tow, city education officials said.

Public School 28 Principal Sadie Silver, 40, of Bushwick, was arrested Friday with Michael Acosta, 34, after cops caught the educator and her partner carrying heroin and prescription drugs into Coxsackie Correctional Facility.

Silver and Acosta face felony charges of promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child, since they had a 10-year-old with them when they were collared.

State Police Maj. Patrick Regan said Silver and Acosta had arrived for a previously arranged visit with an inmate at the 1,000-inmate prison for men in Greene County, where they intended to pass off the drugs.

“Silver and Acosta were found to possess a quantity of heroin and suboxone, which they were attempting to deliver to the inmate,” Regan said in a statement. “Silver and Acosta brought a 10-year-old child with them while they attempted to deliver the narcotics.”

The two would-be smugglers were both released on bond. They each face possible prison time if convicted of their alleged crimes.

City education officials removed Silver from her job after hearing of her arrest and reassigned her to an administrative center away from students.

“We’ve reassigned her away from her school pending the outcome of her case,” said Education Department spokeswoman Margie Feinberg. Silver will continue to draw her salary of $129,920.

Before her arrest, Silver was known as an up-and-coming school leader who overcame her own troubled childhood to serve the children in the community where she grew up.

In a 2012 Daily News profile, Silver explained that she was a teen mother who dropped out of high school, but rose above those challenges to earn two master’s degrees. She has worked in city schools since 1996.

“It was the teachers that believed in me, that got me to where I am today,” Silver said in the article, which praised gains in reading scores at the school under her leadership.

But that year, Silver was slapped with a $1,500 fine by the city Conflict of Interest Board for using her position to land her brother a data-entry job at her school.

Reached at home in Bushwick Monday, Silver’s mother, Denise Ortiz, 57, was still reeling in shock over her daughter’s arrest.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Ortiz, who wouldn’t reveal the nature of Silver’s relationship with Acosta, or identify the child who was traveling with them when they were pinched. “She went to college and I taught her to do the right thing. Her record speaks for itself.”

A relative who answered the door at Acosta’s home said Acosta is Silver’s boyfriend and the child they brought with them to the jail is Silver’s daughter.

“He’s been trying to stay away from trouble,” the relative said of Acosta.

Jul-22-2014 134 0
Federal investigators found police repeatedly violated civil rights in New Jersey's largest city, Newark, and recommended an independent monitor to oversee changes, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

The city has agreed to accept the findings of the DOJ probe, which has been under way since 2011 and suggested ways to stop the "pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing by the Newark Police Department," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.

Specifically, the report said, police violated rights through stop-and-arrest practices that disproportionately targeted blacks, use of force, stealing property and cracking down on people who lawfully objected to police behavior.

"Today the city of Newark has taken a bold step toward ensuring constitutional policing that better serves all of Newark's residents," Jocelyn Samuels, the DOJ's acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in the statement.

"The agreement in principle provides a roadmap for reform and underscores the shared determination of the city of Newark and the Department of Justice to making this reform real and sustainable," she said.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has said he would accept the rare but not unprecedented move of appointing a monitor, which had been opposed by his predecessor, Cory Booker, who is now a U.S. senator.

Most recently, a monitor was appointed in Oakland, California, in 2012.

Just eight miles from Manhattan, Newark - once a thriving manufacturing center for leather, celluloid and light bulbs - has worked to overcome its image of urban blight and high crime.

The DOJ investigation uncovered a practice of stopping suspects without sufficient justification in nearly 75 percent of pedestrian cases. It also found police disproportionately targeted blacks, who accounted for 85 percent of pedestrian stops and 79 percent of arrests yet are roughly 54 percent of Newark's population.

Police also violated citizens' First Amendment rights by detaining and arresting people who lawfully objected to police actions or behaved in a way that officers perceived as disrepectful.

Excessive force also was cited in the report. More than 20 percent of Newark police officers reported use of force that appeared unreasonable, authorities said.

Finally, the report found theft of citizens' property by officers was rampant, particularly by officers from narcotics and gang units as well as in the prisoner processing unit.

Under the monitor's watch, the Newark Police Department will "develop and implement improvements to its stop, arrest and force policies and procedures, and train its officers on how to conduct effective and constitutional policing," the U.S. Attorney's office said in the statement.

Jul-22-2014 145 0
Philadelphia Eagles safety Keelan Johnson was arrested in Arizona early Saturday after he allegedly pushed a uniformed officer investigating a disturbance outside a Tempe bar.

Johnson was booked into Tempe City Jail on charges of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in connection with the incident outside Zuma Grill at 605 S. Mill Ave. at around 2:05 a.m.

Police were arresting Johnson's "associate" on charges of fighting inside Zuma when Johnson "and his associates continued to yell over the officers conducting the interviews," according to a probable cause statement.

The officer had been repeatedly telling Johnson and others to "get back" because they were interfering with an investigation.

Mounted officers, blowing whistles, moved toward Johnson and gave several commands to "back up." When Johnson refused to move, uniformed police "used a directional contact with his right arm to Johnson's chest to get him to move back while giving him commands to move back," court paperwork stated.

Johnson obeyed but then started to move toward investigators again, police said. The officer "gave Johnson a directional contact with his single right arm in the chest while ordering him to 'back up,'" the court document said.

Johnson then "took an athletic stance and gave the victim a two-armed impact push to the victim's chest, striking him with great force, knocking him backwards," court paperwork stated.

Police told Johnson he was under arrested for assaulting a police officer and when they attempted to take him into custody, Johnson passively resisted, pulled away from the officer's grasps and threw his hands into the air and lifted his arms to shoulder level, according to the probable cause statement.

The officer continued to try to move Johnson's arms to his back but he refused to comply, police said. Four officers attempted to detain him and took Johnson to the ground. Once on the ground, Johnson placed his hands behind his back.

During police questioning, Johnson admitted to pushing a uniformed police officer "because the officer pushed him and he didn't feel the officers had a right to ask him, tell him, and then make him move from where he was standing," the court document said.

Johnson said he saw his associate, who he described as a "friend of a friend" who went to the bar with their group, beat up the bouncer inside the bar prior to the arrest, the court document stated.

According to court paperwork, Johnson appeared intoxicated.

Police said the incident took place on a busy sidewalk inside of the Mill Avenue District, which is managed by the Downtown Tempe Community, a nonprofit organization which works in partnership with the businesses in the Mill Avenue District and the City of Tempe, in order to provide a safe environment for the patrons of the area.

Johnson was a four-year letterman at Arizona State, appearing in 49 career games with 18 starts. He is a graduate of Mesa High School, where he was one of the top all-around athletes in the state.

He was signed to the Eagles active roster on Dec. 17, 2013.

Edgar Sandoval Jul-22-2014 261 0
Cops heard Eric Garner cry that he couldn’t breathe, a recording captured officers violently taking him to the ground and even Mayor de Blasio said he believes the asthmatic father of six was put in a chokehold.

But an NYPD internal report prepared right after his death on Staten Island last Thursday plays down the incident, with supervising officers failing to note the chokehold and insisting Garner was not in “great distress.”

Sgt. Dhanan Saminath told interviewers that the 43-year-old cigarette peddler was in cuffs with cops “maintaining control of him” and that he “did not appear to be in great distress,” the preliminary report obtained by the Daily News shows.

Sgt. Kizzy Adonis told investigators probing the death that “the perpetrator’s condition did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse.”

Despite those words, Adonis also said she “believed she heard the perpetrator state that he was having difficulty breathing,” the report states.

A witness who talked to investigators told of a more violent scene.

Taisha Allen, 36, said she saw the two officers take Garner “by the arms and put him on the ground” and that he “struck his head and shoulder on the ground and was telling the officers he couldn’t breathe.”

She also said an officer in a green shirt — Daniel Pantaleo — “had his knee on Mr. Garner’s back and was ordering him to put his hands behind his back.” He’s the officer who appears to put Garner in a chokehold while taking him down.

Even from Italy, de Blasio said he was fairly sure what transpired.

“As an individual who’s no expert in law enforcement, it looked like a chokehold to me,” de Blasio told reporters.

He said he didn’t want to comment on what he thought should happen to the officers involved.

“I ... emphasize that you need a full investigation, because all sides need to be heard and all evidence looked at,” he said.

Videos of the incident show Garner telling police he can’t breathe — and then show him on the ground for several minutes, apparently unconscious and unresponsive to police commands.

Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, 65, told The News she’s relieved there were recordings so cops couldn’t cover up what happened.

“I don’t want him to have died in vain,” she said. “As people see, it’s just a godsend that we have the video. Just look at the tape.”

Carr said she wants those responsible thrown in jail “just as they would had given my son if the shoe was on the other foot.”

Carr, heartbroken by her son’s death, also questioned why none of the cops or rescue workers on hand attempted CPR.

“It’s just a lack of humanity,” she said. “That’s what it was. He was nothing to them, but he was our people. He was just a big guy on the street.”

Witnesses told investigators that Garner, who weighed 350 pounds, had just broken up a dispute when cops arrived and accused him of passing a cigarette to someone.

Garner denied that he was illegally selling smokes as he struggled with the cops, the recording of the incident shows.

A source said the cops had to use three sets of handcuffs to secure Garner. He was then loaded onto a stretcher and at some point, went into cardiac arrest, the report states.

A police source said cops found four full packs and one partial pack of Newports on Garner, who had a long history of selling untaxed cigarettes.

Pantaleo’s gun and shield were taken away and he and Officer Justin Damico were both put on desk duty pending the results of an internal investigation, police said.

Two EMTs and two paramedics have been suspended without pay, according to a Richmond University Medical Center spokeswoman. A source identified the EMTs as Nicole Palmeri and Stephanie Greenberg.

The internal NYPD report also points out that Damico, Pantaleo and two other cops were prevented from being interviewed for the preliminary report because of a possible criminal investigation.

The video shows at least a half dozen cops at the scene moments after the takedown.

The medical examiner’s office said a preliminary study found no signs of asphyxiation.

The NYPD prohibited the use of chokeholds in 1993. The city’s independent police watchdog has substantiated 10 chokehold cases filed against cops since 2009, but little has happened to the officers involved, records show.

In one of the cases, the cop accused of putting a person in a chokehold lost up to 10 vacation days, records from the Civilian Complaint Review Board show.

In two cases, the department declined to discipline the officers, and in three cases, cops received “instructions,” or retraining. In another case, the cop retired before he could be disciplined, and the three remaining cases are pending, the records show.

About 24 hours after the incident, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that it appeared that Garner was put in a chokehold.

Jul-21-2014 205 0
After an 11-year-old girl was shot and killed by a stray bullet while sitting on a friend's bedroom floor, Chicago officials met Monday to discuss the city's recent surge in gun violence.

The girl was just one of 47 shooting victims in Chicago over the weekend, five of which were fatal, according to statistics released by the Chicago Police Department.

Shamiya Adams was brought to a nearby hospital in critical condition on Friday and pronounced dead Saturday morning, according to Anthony Brucci, a spokesman for Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

She was visiting a friend when a stray bullet from outside the residence struck her, according to Chicago Police Officer Jose Estrada.

No other injuries were reported at that incident, and no one has been arrested or charged, Estrada said. An investigation is ongoing.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met Monday with the Chicago Police superintendent and community leaders to discuss violence in their city, an event scheduled before the uptick in gun violence over the weekend.

"Our kids only get heard when there is a shot, be it a basketball shot or a bullet shot. There are other kids out there," Emanuel said at the meeting.

"Everybody says, 'So what are you going to do?' As if there's a single thing that's going to resolve this problem," Emanuel said. "It is a communitywide problem, which requires a communitywide solution."

Emanuel went on to say that public safety in Chicago goes beyond police and into investments in after-school and summer job programs, gun law enforcement and penalties and community building.

The violent weekend in Chicago follows a deadly Independence Day weekend when more than 60 people were shot and nine were killed, according to police statistics.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy blamed weak gun laws for the spurt of holiday violence.

"There has to come a tipping point where this changes," McCarthy said then of the violence. "The illogical nature of what's happening here -- that government can intercede and prevent this from happening is overwhelming. And I refuse to think otherwise in a great country like America that we can continue to allow this to happen -- not just on a state, but on a federal level."

Lee Moran Jul-21-2014 234 0
A North Carolina mom-of-five used Craigslist to try and find a home for her kids saw them taken away and put in foster care.

Moshimalee Johnson, 32, took to Craigslist and pleaded for someone to take her kids in after the Durham Department of Social Services refused to help her earlier this month.

"I am currently homeless and looking for someone to take my five kids until I can find a job and a place to live," she wrote in the apartments wanted section of the site.

"I called DSS, and they won't take them," she said in the July 9 posting. "The shelter has a waiting list and Urban Ministries won't let you work if you come there. I am a certified nursing assistant but can't find work due to numerous doctor's appointments because my 6-year-old accidentally hung himself. Please help anyone."

Johnson, who is 8 months pregnant, says that following the posting she had the children — aged 9, 7, 6 and twins who are 2 — taken away and placed into foster care.

Speaking to the News & Observer Wednesday, however, she claims she didn't want to lose her children — rather, she wanted to find a place for them all to live together.

"Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I didn't want to give the kids up. I wanted a place for me and my kids," she said.

Durham County Social Services Director Michael Becketts would not confirm whether the kid were taken away due to the posting.

"You are assuming DSS was aware of the posting. If we don't see it, we don't know it," he told the News & Observer.

Johnson, who lost her health care agency job in 2013 after her minivan broke down and she was late to work too many times because of the bus, was evicted from her apartment and moved her family in with her mom soon after.

She hopes to be reunited with her children once she has a job and a stable home.

David Harding Jul-21-2014 226 0
A 62-year-old woman, Helen Shabangu, in South Africa has married a 9-year-old boy, Saneie Masilela.

To make matters even weirder, the newly married couple were watched by the bride's long-term husband, Alfred Shabangu, 66.

The couple have five children.

The ceremony took place in Ximhungwe, northeastern South Africa.

The Shabangus claim the wedding took place after they were told by dead ancestors to go ahead with the ceremony.

"My kids and I are happy because we don't have a problem with her marrying the boy — and I don't care what other people say," she said.

The young groom said he also wanted another wedding when he is older.

"I'm happy that I married Helen but I will go to school and study hard," he said, according to The Mirror.

"I'm very happy that the boy chose me and my family support and understand that it is part of making ancestors happy," the 62-year-old bride said.

Jul-20-2014 190 0
The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company was whacked with a staggering $23.6 billion in punitive damages in a lawsuit brought by the widow of a chain smoker killed by lung cancer in 1996.

A Pensacola jury also awarded Cynthia Robinson another $16.8 million in compensatory damages Friday, following a four-week trial that left a top Reynolds executive burning mad.

“This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented,” said company vice president and assistant general counsel J. Jeffrey Raborn.

He vowed to appeal the “runaway verdict” that Robinson’s legal team said was the largest wrongful death payout for a single plaintiff in Florida history.

The company's vice president and assistant general counsel J. Jeffrey Raborn vowed to appeal the verdict, stating that it goes 'far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness.'

“The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes,” said Christopher Chestnut, one of Robinson’s lawyers.

Co-counsel Willie Gary said the lawsuit’s goal was to stop tobacco companies — including Reynolds, the nation’s second largest — from targeting young consumers with their ads.

“If we don’t get a dime, that’s OK, if we can make a difference and save some lives,” he said.

Robinson, of Pensacola, sued in 2008 on behalf of her husband, Michael Johnson Sr., who died at 36. He started smoking at 13, and the couple married six years before his death. The hotel shuttle bus driver smoked up to three packs a day for two decades — and he went to his grave with a cigarette in his mouth.

“He couldn’t quit,” Cynthia Robinson told Reuters. “He was smoking the day he died.”

The massive jury award was the highest of any individual case brought since a Florida court overturned a $145 billion class action verdict for smokers in 2006.

The ruling stemmed from a trial that ended six years earlier with the jury finding Big Tobacco was negligent, sold defective products and conspired to hide details about health risks. As part of its decision, though, the court ruled smokers and their families filing individual suits would only need to prove addiction and a link between smoking and their deaths.

Gary predicted the stunning payout will stand: “I hope and suspect that we will keep the verdict. The jury sent a message.”

Robinson, of Pensacola, sued in 2008 on behalf of her husband, Michael Johnson Sr., who died at 36.

Reynolds has some legal precedent in its appeal of the jury verdict: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that punitive damages should generally not exceed more than nine times the compensatory figure.

The jury deliberated for 11 hours before returning the compensatory payout of $7.3 million to Robinson and $9.6 million to the couple’s son.

Seven hours later, they returned with the multibillion-dollar punitive award.

Barry Paddock Jul-19-2014 201 0
The rule couldn’t be clearer.

“Members of the NYPD will NOT use chokeholds,” the NYPD patrol guide clearly states. “A chokehold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe which may prevent or hinder breathing to reduce intakes of air.”

After several people were asphyxiated while in police custody, the NYPD forbade the use of chokeholds in 1983, stating it could only be used when an officer’s life was in danger.

Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly banned the use of chokeholds all together in 1993.

About a year later, on Dec. 22, 1994, Bronx resident Anthony Baez died after Police Officer Francis Livoti put him in a chokehold after a football he was throwing around with friends hit the cop’s car.

Livoti was acquitted of negligent homicide, sparking protests across the city. He was fired in 2007. A year later he was convicted in federal court of violating Baez's civil rights and served seven years.

On Friday, Police Commissioner Bratton said the NYPD would issue a reminder that chokeholds are prohibited and would retrain officers if necessary.

Jul-19-2014 190 0
She watched the shocking footage of her husband being subdued by Staten Island cops for the first time on Friday — unable to stomach it the night before.

Esaw Garner watched the video through eyes reddened by tears. It wasn’t any better for the widow in the morning.

“I couldn’t watch the video of my husband being taken down last night,” she said. “I was too upset. I never slept. I watched it this morning and I got even more upset.”

It was clear to her what happened to her husband, Eric Garner, outside a beauty shop in Tompkinsville.

“They killed him,” she said. “They choked him and took him down and I could hear him screaming that he couldn’t breathe. It was so hard to watch. He was a nonviolent gentle giant and they killed him.”

Esaw Garner says late husband Eric had just broken up a fight when cops tried to arrest him.

Pinky, as the widow is affectionately known, sat in a relative’s living room, wearing pink sneakers and a pink top. She stared out at the Manhattan skyline on what would have otherwise been a perfect summer day.

“He has two grandkids who love him to death,” she says of her husband. “Every time he walks into the room they scream ‘Pop-Pop and Ganpa.’ He was great to me and his six kids. And a wonderful grandfather.”

I could hear him screaming that he couldn’t breathe.

She said her husband was 6-foot-5 and weighed over 300 pounds and loved to eat. He could be as loud as she was when they argued.

“But his bark was always bigger than his bite,” she says.

On Thursday morning, Eric gave Pinky $400 and told her to get groceries for the house and then went to his corner of Bay St. and Victory Blvd. where he made his living selling bootleg cigarettes, $7 a pack and 75 cents for loosies. On the street he was known simply as “E.”

At home Pinky called him Bear.

They met on one of those late-night area code 900 party lines that were popular in the 1980s.

“Out of all the guys on the call I liked what he was saying most,” she says, smiling at the memory. “I gave him my private number and asked him to call me. We met the day before he left for school at Ohio Diesel Tech in September 1988. We had a great time together and he said he’d see me after not too long. But I thought I would never see him again.”

But a few days before Christmas that year Pinky’s doorbell rang in the Bronx.

“I ran downstairs and there he was,” she says. “I told him I was pregnant by another man who was no longer in my life.”

When Eric Garner said he’d happily raise the child, he won Pinky’s heart.

“I fell in love with him right then,” she says.

Together they had five more kids. Their oldest boy, Eric Jr., 18, just graduated from Curtis High and got a basketball scholarship to Essex County College.

“We had a wonderful marriage,” she says. “Sure we had our problems. We separated once. But we never stopped loving each other and got back together.”

He had his flaws. Some of them were endearing.

“Was he perfect? No. He ate too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Oreos and cookies at night,” she says. “He snored like a bear but I couldn’t sleep unless I could hear him snoring.”

Pinky said Eric Garner had been arrested several times, once for marijuana and a few times for selling bootleg cigarettes. Which rates right up there in the crime meter with old ladies selling knockoff DVDs and kids selling lemonade without a license.

On Thursday afternoon, Pinky and Eric exchanged texts: At 1:45 p.m. she texted: “You good out there?”

Eric replied, “Yeah, I’m good.”

At 2:47 p.m. she texted “You ok?”

He replied, “I’m good. What’s for dinner?”

“Pork chops, Fat Boy.”

“I’ll be home early.”

Not long after that, a fight broke out between other neighborhood guys on Bay St.

“Bear broke up that fight,” says Pinky. “Not only was he nonviolent, one of the last things he did in his life was stop violence. But then a group of cops arrived. My guess is someone called 911 about the fight. No way did six or eight cops arrive to bust my husband for selling cigarettes. When they arrived the fight was over. The guys involved walked right past the cops. But they recognized my husband and tried to arrest him when he was the peacemaker.”

At 3:15 p.m. Pinky said she was watching People’s Court when her son Eric Jr. asked for $20 to go to W. 4th St. in Greenwich Village to play hoops. Then he said he received a text saying his father was being hassled by cops on Bay St. Pinky figured he was being arrested again. She started getting dressed when she received a flurry of calls and texts saying Eric Garner had been arrested by a group of cops and stopped breathing.

“I rushed to the hospital in a cab at 4:10 p.m.,” she says. “I couldn’t get answers. I remembered that in the morning before he left I told him I loved him and he said, ‘Right back at ya.’ Then he kissed me ... Little did I know it would be the last kiss he’d ever give me.”

At the hospital Pinky waited from 4:50 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for answers.

“Finally the doctors came out and said they did everything they could to save him,” she says.

By nightfall all her children gathered around their mother to weep for the death of their father.

“The thing I’ll miss most is his snoring,” she says, laughing through tears. “I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to sleep again without hearing Bear snoring beside me.”

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Apr-28-2014 533 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 588 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 809 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 1091 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.
Daryl K. Washington Oct-25-2013 1461 0
I have not said much about this situation because I was hoping it would not get to this point. I will keep this very short because I hope the talks of going forward with a lawsuit is short lived.

For the record, I will say that I was not happy that things transpired the way they did but because it did needed attention was given to the inequities in financial support received by HBCU's. I was initially upset because the thought of canceling a college football game is unheard of. However, if what the players said is true, it's not just about football. If there's proper follow-up to what happened at Grambling, it could benefit all HBCU's and perhaps provide an example for college athletes to follow in their attempts to receive a share of the billion dollar revenue received from college sports.

I understand this may not make sense to everyone but Jackson State suing Grambling is like a Black Greek Letter Organization suing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because he failed to show up at a fundraiser because an emergency required him to be at a last minute boycott where individuals were seeking equal treatment that would have the potential of benefiting everyone. As much as Grambling has done to benefit the SWAC I'm surprised that Jackson State would consider such drastic means. As a graduate of Grambling State University and a former member of the football team, I feel it's about time that Grambling do what Texas A&M and other schools have done in the past few years; change conferences. There's nothing but upside to it.

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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