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UMass Amherst cuts ties with alumnus Bill Cosby amid rape allegations
The University of Massachusetts Amherst and its alumnus Bill Cosby have split ways amid allegations of sexual assault and rape.

At least 15 women have spoken out to various media outlets accusing the comedian of sexual misconduct.

For more than 50 years, Bill Cosby has been one of America's leading entertainers: a noted comedian, an Emmy-winning actor and an innovative producer. However, his reputation has been tarnished by allegations of rape. Here's a look at how Cosby, shown here in 2013, has changed through the years:

Many of the women accusing Cosby say he drugged them before he raped them. Some of the alleged attacks took place decades ago.

The 77-year-old comedian has denied some of the allegations and refused to discuss others. He has never been prosecuted.

The accusations have taken their toll on Cosby's reputation as the beloved Dr. Huxtable -- the sweet, sweater-wearing father on the sitcom, "The Cosby Show."

They've also hit his earnings, as Netflix postponed a stand-up comedy special and NBC also decided against moving forward with a Cosby project.

A lawyer for Cosby has called the increasing number of claims of sexual assault against the comedian "ridiculous" and said the media should stop airing "unsubstantiated, fantastical stories."

Martin D. Singer said in a written statement sent to CNN that it defies common sense that "so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years."

One of Cosby's accusers, Andrea Constand, did file a civil suit.

In January 2004, Constand, then a 31-year-old staffer for the women's basketball team at Temple University -- Cosby's alma mater -- was at the comedian's Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, home when Cosby provided her medication that made her dizzy, she alleged the following year.

She later woke up to find her bra undone and her clothes in disarray, she further alleged to police in her home province of Ontario, Canada, in January 2005.

Though Cosby's attorney initially called Constand's claim "utterly preposterous" and no charges were filed, Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand that alleged 13 Jane Does had similar stories of sexual abuse.

When Cosby attorney John Schmitt sent out a blanket denial of several allegations that have cropped up recently, he later amended his denial to say he wasn't referring to Constand, who resolved her differences "to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago."

Ex-prosecutor wanted to charge Bill Cosby but lacked evidence
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Dana Ford Nov-28-2014 122 0
The University of Massachusetts Amherst and its alumnus Bill Cosby have split ways amid allegations of sexual assault and rape.

At least 15 women have spoken out to various media outlets accusing the comedian of sexual misconduct.

For more than 50 years, Bill Cosby has been one of America's leading entertainers: a noted comedian, an Emmy-winning actor and an innovative producer. However, his reputation has been tarnished by allegations of rape. Here's a look at how Cosby, shown here in 2013, has changed through the years:

Many of the women accusing Cosby say he drugged them before he raped them. Some of the alleged attacks took place decades ago.

The 77-year-old comedian has denied some of the allegations and refused to discuss others. He has never been prosecuted.

The accusations have taken their toll on Cosby's reputation as the beloved Dr. Huxtable -- the sweet, sweater-wearing father on the sitcom, "The Cosby Show."

They've also hit his earnings, as Netflix postponed a stand-up comedy special and NBC also decided against moving forward with a Cosby project.

A lawyer for Cosby has called the increasing number of claims of sexual assault against the comedian "ridiculous" and said the media should stop airing "unsubstantiated, fantastical stories."

Martin D. Singer said in a written statement sent to CNN that it defies common sense that "so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years."

One of Cosby's accusers, Andrea Constand, did file a civil suit.

In January 2004, Constand, then a 31-year-old staffer for the women's basketball team at Temple University -- Cosby's alma mater -- was at the comedian's Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, home when Cosby provided her medication that made her dizzy, she alleged the following year.

She later woke up to find her bra undone and her clothes in disarray, she further alleged to police in her home province of Ontario, Canada, in January 2005.

Though Cosby's attorney initially called Constand's claim "utterly preposterous" and no charges were filed, Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand that alleged 13 Jane Does had similar stories of sexual abuse.

When Cosby attorney John Schmitt sent out a blanket denial of several allegations that have cropped up recently, he later amended his denial to say he wasn't referring to Constand, who resolved her differences "to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago."

Ex-prosecutor wanted to charge Bill Cosby but lacked evidence

Jason Molinet Nov-28-2014 165 0
The photo could have been snapped at any Thanksgiving dinner table in America.

It showed off a spiral-sliced ham next to a beautifully baked turkey with deep dishes of sides ready

Except this image, shared by the advocacy group Ferguson Action on Twitter Thursday evening, struck an entirely different tone from the scene played out in countless other households.

It featured a somber Michael Brown Sr. and his family, along with a chair left empty for 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr., who was shot and killed in an Aug. 9 confrontation with police in Ferguson, Mo.

The photo is captioned: "Mike Brown's family sits at the table for their first holiday dinner without him. #StolenLives"

Just four days earlier, a St. Louis grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of the unarmed Brown, which set off riots that saw Ferguson businesses and property burned, looted or destroyed.

"The #StolenLives campaign is our effort to remind people that the victims of police violence are loved and remembered by their families and communities," Ferguson Action's Mervyn Marcano told the Daily News. "While some, like Darren Wilson, see 'demons,' we see our brothers, sisters and friends. Their lives matter."

Ferguson Action's #StolenLives campaign aims to show the impact of loss by highlighting the lives left behind.

The hashtag saw a strong response on Twitter, where photos of countless dinner tables featured an empty chair or unused table setting.

Humanity was on display this Thanksgiving Day.

Jason Molinet Nov-28-2014 152 0
A pregnant St. Louis woman wants justice after she lost her left eye in a violent run-in with police early Tuesday at the edge of Ferguson, Mo.

Before Dornnella Conner went for a ride into the hell that engulfed St. Louis suburb on Monday night, she shared an illustration with her Facebook friends of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin walking arm-in-arm – along with her own thoughts: “RIP – feeling mad.”

Just hours later she would be part of the tragic storyline when a police officer fired a non-lethal bean bag round at the car her boyfriend was driving, shattering the passenger side window and leaving her face a bloody mess, according to reports.

“I will have justice for what they did to me,” Conner wrote on Facebook Thursday. “But I’m happy I’m alive.”

Protesters took to the streets when a St. Louis grand jury chose not to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Brown.

The couple was parked at the BP gas station on New Halls Ferry Road in St. Louis, just north of the mayhem in Ferguson, when police moved in to clear the area. Police reported gun fire from the gas station and eventually made 16 arrests, KMOV reported.

Police also claim someone tried to run down an officer, who fired at the car fearing for his safety. Turns out, Conner was struck. Doctors were unable to save her left eye and Conner reports blurry vision in the other.

“My sister can now only see one side of things – literally,” Conner’s sister, who goes by the name Tikal Goldie, told KMOV. “I really just want to have closure and justice for my sister.”

Conner said she and her beau were just bystanders caught up in an unfortunate situation.

Now she’s disabled and police have issued a warrant for her boyfriend’s arrest.

Reuters Nov-28-2014 115 0
Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri began targeting Black Friday sales at major retailers overnight in a new tactic to vent their anger at a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen.

Kicking off their latest strategy inside a Walmart in another nearby suburb of St. Louis, about 75 demonstrators protested peacefully, chanting "Hands up, don't shoot!", bemusing bargain-hunters pushing their brimming shopping carts.

They dispersed peacefully when ordered by a small group of police, moving on to a Target store where they staged a similar demonstration. More protests were planned for Friday.

Ferguson became a flashpoint for often troubled U.S. race relations after officer Darren Wilson shot dead Michael Brown on Aug. 9. The U.S. Justice Department is probing possible civil rights abuses, and President Barack Obama has called for reflection on the difficulties minorities face in the country.

The grand jury's decision on Monday not to charge Wilson prompted a spasm of fury in Ferguson. About a dozen businesses were torched and more than 100 people were arrested in clashes with riot police that rumbled on into Tuesday night.

But Wednesday and Thursday were far quieter, with no major incidents reported.

Before heading in convoy to Walmart late on Thursday, a group of some 100 demonstrators ate Thanksgiving dinner, sang, prayed and discussed their new strategy in the basement of a St. Louis church.

"We are bruised but not broken," said Cathy Daniels, a woman known to the activists as "Momma Cat" who prepared the food. "We are regrouping. We are not going to take this lying down."

Ferguson, home to about 21,000 people, is a predominantly black city where almost all the political leaders and police are white.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who declared a state of emergency well ahead of the grand jury being announced, has deployed about 2,200 National Guard troops to the Ferguson area to quell violence.

Wilson, who was placed on administrative leave, has said he feared for his life and was acting in self-defense when he shot Brown. Brown's family said he acted with malice and that he should stand trial.

Sasha Goldstein Nov-26-2014 225 0
A 911 dispatcher never told police officers responding to a Saturday call about an armed person in a Cleveland park that the man who called in the threat believed the pistol was fake.

Moments later, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by rookie police Officer Thomas Loehmann.

The boy, who was wielding a realistic-looking airsoft handgun, died Sunday at a local hospital.

The entire video of the shooting, along with the 911 call and police dispatch communications, was released Wednesday afternoon by the Cleveland department after increasing calls from a concerned community over the police killing of the baby-faced boy.

“We have conferred with the family and their representative and considered their wishes as to the path we have taken as to the release of the video and audio evidence,” Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters Wednesday at a news conference.

Officer Thomas Loehmann opened fire on the boy, who had been sitting on a bench in the gazebo, after telling him three times to show his hands, police said.

It was just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday when a man called 911 from Cudell Park and recreation center on the city’s northwest side to report a guy, “probably a juvenile,” pulling a pistol out of his waistband.

“It’s probably fake but he’s scaring the s--- out of me,” the caller told a dispatcher.

The man again says he suspects the gun is fake, but when the dispatcher radios a patrol car, she never mentions that detail or the suspect’s age.

Video taken from the park shows Tamir walking aimlessly around the park, at times pulling the gun, which fires plastic pellets, from his waistband.

He’s seen pointing it and pulling back the slide to cock the facsimile gun. At another point, he is talking on his cell phone, throwing a snowball and sitting on a park bench in a gazebo.

It’s unclear if he ever fires the pistol.

Eventually, the surveillance video shows a Cleveland police cruiser pull into the picture, driving on the grass, and coming to a stop feet away from the boy.

Tamir is seen with his hand in his waistband as the 26-year-old Lohman exits the patrol car and immediately fires the fatal shots in what police said was under two seconds. Both Tamir and the gun tumble to the ground as the officers secure the scene.

“Shots fired, male down, black male, maybe 20, black handgun,” one of the officers can be heard frantically saying on police radio. “Send EMS this way, and a roadblock.”

Loehmann joined the force on March 3, while his partner, 46-year-old Officer Frank Garmback, has been with the department for nearly seven years.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Loehmann gave three commands of ”show your hands” in a matter of two seconds after arriving on scene, Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba told reporters.

This Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 photo provided by the Cleveland Police Department shows a replica gun taken from a 12-year old who was fatally shot by Cleveland police.

It’s unclear whether Tamir said anything to the officers before he was shot, Tomba said.

Every aspect of the incident is under investigation, Tomba said, including why the dispatcher never told officers that the gun could be fake, and why Officer Garmback pulled the cruiser up so close to the armed boy.

Police said the distance between Loehmann and Tamir was under 10 feet when shots were fired, though the medical examiner will be able to give an exact distance. On Monday, the medical examiner ruled Tamir’s death a homicide and said his death was caused by a gunshot wound to the torso with injuries to major vessels, intestines and pelvis.

The replica gun the boy was carrying was lacking the orange safety indicator usually found on the muzzle, according to Tomba.

Tamir’s family saw the video and consented to it’s release, even though it is evidence in the investigation, Tomba said.

“The release of the video is by no means an effort to explain the actions of the division of police or the young man,” Tomba said. “It was released in the spirit of being open and fair with our community.”

Alexis Stevens Nov-26-2014 146 0
It hasn’t been an easy seven months for the Fulton County assistant district attorney shot multiple times by her estranged husband. But April McConnell continues to progress, get stronger and amaze her family and friends.

This holiday season is a stark reminder of just how close those who love her came to losing McConnell, her father said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

“Our family has special reason to be thankful during this 2014 Thanksgiving season; April McConnell will be celebrating with us,” Kevin Ross, an Atlanta lawyer, said of his daughter. “Last year, we would have taken her presence for granted; this year we do not.”

On April 25, two days after filing for divorce, McConnell and a co-worker were sitting in a car parked in southwest Atlanta when they were shot by Tranard McConnell, the estranged husband of the prosecutor.

Tranard McConnell shot April in the arm, face and back and shot Levon Hailey six times before killing himself. Tranard’s body was found hours later in a south Fulton cemetery.

Hailey’s injuries were not as severe. But during the week after the assault, April McConnell underwent six surgeries. After weeks at Grady Memorial Hospital, she was transferred to Shepherd Center for continued recovery, her father told the AJC in May.

In July, McConnell said she didn’t remember her husband shooting her, and learned at the hospital he killed himself the same day he shot her.

“That was surreal,” she said about the news of her husband’s suicide. After a long pause she continued, “For so many reasons, it didn’t have to end this way.”

McConnell graduated from the in-patient program at the Shepherd Center in late July, her father said. From August through October, she continued her physical therapy, and earlier this month, she was admitted to a day program at Shepherd, Ross said. It’s likely McConnell will never walk again, but she says she won’t stop trying.

It hasn’t been all work for McConnell, her father said. Her social life has been busy, too. She’s been to concerts, a museum exhibit, church events

Nov-26-2014 195 0
The tension here got thicker with every tick of the clock Tuesday night. But in the end, Ferguson was spared the kind of damage inflicted on it a day earlier.

There were fewer arrests and fewer instances of vandalism. And while there was plenty of anger among its residents, it was channeled in chants and not chaos.

"We were perhaps not optimistic but we were at least hopeful we would have a better night than we had," said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

To be sure, there were some ugly incidents.
Elsewhere, vandals broke windows and trashed businesses, and St. Louis County police said protesters hurled bottles of "what appears to be urine" at them.

A car was set ablaze at a parking lot near Brown's memorial, but sporadic gunfire in the area stopped officers from responding, Belmar said.

Officers said they seized a Molotov cocktail and 44 arrests -- far fewer than Monday night when anger and dismay over a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black teen led to violence unseen in the city since the initial shooting last summer.

"A day before we were kind of on different pages," Missouri State Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said. "But what what I'm hearing from this community is that we are all on the same page to make our community whole and make sure it stays whole."

Nationwide protests

Like Ferguson, outrage over the grand jury's decision escalated from coast to coast, with protests in about 170 cities nationwide.

From New York to Los Angeles and dozens and dozens of cities in between, protesters flooded the streets to denounce the grand jury's decision. Some demonstrations blocked bridges, tunnels and major highways. But the protests were largely peaceful.

"They have given us no justice! We will give them no peace," protesters chanted as they massed in front of the Underground Atlanta shopping mall.

In the New York area, they briefly blocked one of the entrances to the Lincoln Tunnel.

"We are on the side of Michael Brown to fight for what is right," the Rev. Al Sharpton said in front of Brown's family. "We may have lost round one, but the fight is not over."

Darren Wilson speaks out

Meanwhile, in his first interview since the fatal shooting, police Officer Darren Wilson maintained that he killed Brown, 18, out of fear for his life during their encounter on August 9.

In the interview with ABC News, he said his response had nothing to do with race.

"I know I did my job right," he said.






Watch this video


The big guns of small-town cops

Repeating what he told a grand jury investigating the shooting, Wilson said Brown reached into his police vehicle and grabbed for his gun.

"I just felt the immense power that he had. And then the way I've described it is, it was like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan. That's just how big this man was," Wilson said. "He was very large, very powerful man."

Nina Golgowski Nov-26-2014 226 0
A Tennessee dad reportedly armed himself with a baseball bat while attacking a man he suspected of pimping out his 12-year-old daughter.

The ferocious father's intended punching bag, identified as Brian Jones, ended up calling Memphis police himself after winding up locked in the back of a van Sunday, WMC reported.

Before officers arrived at the scene they were flagged down by the child's father who accused Jones of holding his daughter against her will to perform sexual acts on several men.

Jones, 33, admitted to allowing someone to bring the 12-year-old girl into his apartment, police said.

He also allegedly admitted to knowing that she was involved in sexual activity in one of his bedrooms.

"It's shocking though, when I heard he did that," Jones' nextdoor neighbor, Curtis Nelson Jr., told WMC. "He was a person always trying to demand women around and stuff, but I didn't know he was that type of person, but I guess you can't trust nobody out here."

As of Tuesday, none of the men involved in the sex acts with the child have been arrested, WMC reported.

Jones is being held on $200,000 bond while facing charges of trafficking for sexual servitude and two counts of raping a child.

Nov-26-2014 163 0
Bill Cosby’s reputation has been wrecked by accusations that he sexually assaulted a dozen women over the years, but he’s still No. 1 with the ladies at Spelman College.

Cosby remains a beloved benefactor to the historically black, liberal arts women's college in Atlanta.

But when asked whether the rape accusations might sour Spelman on Cosby, school spokeswoman Andrey Arthur said, “I can’t comment on the allegations.”

Cosby and his wife, Camille, gave Spelman a $20 million gift and the grateful school named one of their buildings the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby EdD Academic Center.

The school also has a long-running William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professorship Program.
And Cosby gave the commencement address at Spelman in 2006.

Spelman is also the alma mater of Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Cosby’s youngest daughter Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”

But other institutions with which Cosby has been associated are now keeping the comedian at arm’s length.

High Point University in North Carolina removed Cosby from its national board of advisors just four months after it called him “one of the most influential performers of our time” when it announced his appointment in July.

In Boston, the Berklee College of Music told WCVB5-TV it was “no longer awarding an online scholarship in Mr. Cosby’s name.”

Cosby, however, remains the honorary co-chair of University of Massachusetts in Amherst’s $300 million fund-raising campaign. He was awarded a doctorate by the school.

The comedian also remains a trustee at his alma mater, Temple University in Philadelphia.

A Canadian woman who was working for Temple accused Cosby of drugging and fondling her in January 2004. Patrick O’Connor, the lawyer who settled the lawsuit in 2008, is the chairman of Temple’s board of trustees.

Cosby, 77, has — via his lawyers — called the allegations that he is a serial sexual predator “innuendos.”

Nov-25-2014 180 0
Attorneys for Michael Brown's family on Tuesday vowed to push for federal charges against the Ferguson police officer who killed the unarmed 18-year-old, and they renewed their calls for peace following a night of violent protests in which several businesses were burned to the ground.

The attorneys said the grand jury process was rigged from the start to clear the white officer, Darren Wilson, in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Brown, who was black. And they criticized everything from the types of evidence St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch presented to the jury to the way it was presented and the timing of the grand jury's decision. They also said they hope that a federal civil rights investigation will result in charges against Wilson.

"We said from the very beginning that the decision of this grand jury was going to be the direct reflection of the presentation of the evidence by the prosecutor's office," said attorney Anthony Gray, who suggested McCulloch presented some testimony, including from witnesses who did not see the shooting, to discredit the process.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon ordered hundreds of more National Guardsmen into Ferguson to help local law enforcement keep order in the St. Louis suburb. Twelve commercial buildings in Ferguson were burned down during the protests that erupted after the grand jury's decision was announced Monday night, and firefighters responded to blazes at eight others, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Fair said. Other businesses were looted, and 12 vehicles also were torched.

There were 61 arrests in Ferguson overnight, many for burglary and trespassing, and 21 in St. Louis, where protesters broke some store windows along South Grand Avenue.

Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County police, said that unless his agency could bring in 10,000 officers, "I don't think we can prevent folks who really are intent on destroying a community."

At least 18 people were injured and sought treatment at area hospitals, including someone who was shot and was recovering Tuesday at SSM DePaul Health Center. The hospital didn't give any details about the shooting. Two other people were admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for undisclosed injuries. Everyone else was treated and released.

Nov-25-2014 310 0
Tuesday, everyone is talking about racism, violence, justice — and what a ding-a-ling CNN's Don Lemon is.

As Ferguson erupted into anger, bullets and flames Monday night, Lemon ham-handedly drew tear gas into his own gas mask, whined for water and a device to contact his producers, and then made a culturally insensitive comment about protesters smoking pot.

Tuesday Lemon was further blasted by critics online for imitating the “St. Louis accent” and for retreating to a “safe room” while other CNN reporters stayed out on the scene.

But it was his useless observation that he smelled drugs in the air that polarized critics.

"Maybe a minute, two minutes ago we heard a gunshot and watched people scattering," Lemon said. "And we're watching people on the roofs of cars, on the tops of cars and, er,… Obviously there's a smell of marijuana here as well."

The latest dose of sour Lemon-aide came just after the anchor was raked over the coals for insinuating that one of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assault victims should have bitten the comic instead of performing oral sex.

He later had to apologize.

Another recent Lemon gem included suggesting that the missing Malaysian airliner, flight 370, might have disappeared into a black hole.

As buildings were torched, gunshots sent protesters scattering through the streets amid rampant looting. The police reacted with more violence, firing rubber bullets at protesters and emptying canisters of tear gas.

The violence was at a full pitch when CNN's Chris Cuomo tried to turn the broadcast over to Lemon who was wearing a gas mask on his forehead. Lemon then trapped gas in his own mask, began coughing and asked for water. Moments later, Cuomo tried Lemon again, but this time the anchor heard on air saying, "I need IFB (a device to communicate with producers). Someone make a phone call."

Lemon was blasted for his on air behavior on Twitter - most specifically his observation that protesters smelled like marijuana — but also for his general incompetence.

“Don lemon ‘obviously I smell Marijuana’ wtf” wrote hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

"At what instance is the stench of marijuana being in the air pertinent information don lemon sheesh smh," tweeted Erik Kynard.

"This from the guy who blamed Cosby rape victim for her assault. #idiot," added Peter Grosz.

"Don Lemon is a disgrace," summarized Shanel Stockman. “He doesn’t speak for me and I think he needs to be pulled from CNN.”

Corinne Lestch Nov-25-2014 205 0
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office has refused to release information about the death of the 12-year-old Cleveland boy carrying a BB gun who was fatally shot by police.

Numerous requests were made by reporters at Cleveland.com to release information about 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot Saturday by an unidentified rookie police officer.

The two police officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

But the website reported that spokesman Chris Harris never returned calls.

The Medical Examiner on Monday ruled Tamir’s death a homicide and said his death was caused by a gunshot wound to the torso with injuries to major vessels, intestines and pelvis.

He died on a local hospital on Sunday, a day after the shooting at the Cudell Recreation Center.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and other city officials are planning to host a community-police relations forum Tuesday night at the scene of the tragic incident, and will take questions from the public.

Police shot Tamir after responding to a call of a “man” pointing a gun at people. An officer fired twice after the boy pulled the fake gun from his waistband after being told to put his hands in the air, but had not pointed it at the cops, according to reports.

Nov-25-2014 219 0
Three Dallas police officers accused of crimes have been fired by the department.

The three officers are Jesus Martinez, Casarae Womble and Julian Harris.

Martinez was arrested after his hearing Monday, accused of using excessive force against a panhandler in June.

The incident was caught on video.

DPD has been investigating this internally since June, and the police union says it expected Officer Jesus Martinez to be fired Monday, but calls him leaving the hearing in handcuffs excessive.

The lawyer of the man who filed the complaint against Martinez says it's justice.

For months, the video from someone passing Martinez and the panhandler was a big part of the decision between right or wrong.

It was recorded on June 8 in downtown Dallas.

On the ground, handcuffed and screaming in agonizing pain was 57-year-old Joe Wesson, a known transient with an extensive criminal history.

In the video, Martinez has Wesson pinned down after tackling the panhandler for swinging at Martinez and ripping his uniform.

The video shows Officer Martinez pulling on Wesson's hands and elbow, jerking them upward several times, and at one point, Wesson is held in that position for 40 seconds.

Even after backup arrives on scene, Officer Martinez stays on top him.

After a complaint and an internal investigation found Martinez used unnecessary or inappropriate force, he was fired, then arrested on charges of official oppression -- a misdemeanor.

“They take your badge, your gun and your freedom because you were out doing the job that they ordered you to do,” said Richard Todd, Fraternal Order of Police President. "…It's going to send a message to our officers that we're not going to back you when you do your job.”

The union is furious over the findings, citing Martinez's 16 commendations in his eight years of service, compared to Wesson's 12 arrests from assault, burglary to resisting arrest.

“In essence, what they're trying to say is well he deserves to be beaten,” said Wesson's attorney, Daryl Washington. “No matter what a person has been charged of, it does not give a police officer the right to abuse someone.”

The union also claims Martinez was blinded by pepper spray he used on Wesson, and pinned him down for his own safety.

“Not one time if you look at the video, not one time did he try to rub his eye or look like he was in any type of pain, so he clearly knew what he was doing at all times and I guess he had to come up with some type of excuse,” said Washington. “...We want to see this officer convicted.”

Martinez has the right to appeal his termination, but not until after the criminal investigation, which is now against him.

A hearing for that is expected to happen sometime next year.

>>--More Black Legal News

Sep-09-2014 704 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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Apr-28-2014 1111 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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button
Daryl K. Washington Apr-27-2014 1125 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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.

Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 1360 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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.


















Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 1674 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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
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