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Cory Booker Would Be Front-Runner In Prospective 2014 New Jersey Senate Race, Poll Finds
Nov-29-2012 407 0


Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) would likely fare well in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race, according to a poll released Thursday by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.

If Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) doesn't run for reelection, 48 percent of Democrats would support Booker, putting him far ahead of potential rivals Rob Andrews and Frank Pallone, PPP found. Nearly six in 10 Democrats said they'd rather see Booker run than Lautenberg, while 22 percent would rather see the current senator stay in place.

Lautenberg, who is 88, has refused to comment on his 2014 plans. His spokesman told NJ.com that he is focused on rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, and that "retirement is the last thing on his mind."

In the general election, Booker would defeat one possible Republican candidate, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, 52 percent to 29 percent, PPP found. Lautenberg would win 48 to 33 percent against the same opponent.

“Democrats will likely hold onto their Senate seat in New Jersey regardless of their 2014 candidate,” said Dean Debnam, PPP's president.

Booker would face longer odds if he entered the 2013 gubernatorial race against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), whose approval ratings have shot up since his handling of the storm. A Quinnipiac poll found Christie leading Booker by 18 points in a hypothetical matchup. Lautenberg recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he's not sure any Democrat could win against Christie.

The PPP polled surveyed 600 New Jersey voters between Nov. 26 and Nov. 28, and had a 4 percent margin of error. An oversample of 300 Democratic primary voters had a 5.6 percent margin of error.

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Nov-25-2014 45 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.

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Nov-25-2014 78 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.”

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Corinne Lestch Nov-25-2014 132 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.

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Nov-25-2014 155 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.

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Nov-25-2014 214 0
As the world discussed the implications of Michael Brown's death, his mother sat alone in a plush hotel room full of people, silent, stoic and staring at her phone as she awaited word from the grand jury.

When the word came, attorney Benjamin Crump fielded the phone call. "The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges," he said.

Lesley McSpadden, Brown's mother, screamed and sobbed.

After months of press conferences and speeches and testimony before the United Nations, Lesley McSpadden now had few words. A button pinned to her chest read "Indict Now." The white knit hat with photo of her son pulled tight on her head called for "Justice for Mike Brown."

Minutes before, she had watched quietly as a TV anchor recounted the details of her son's death, a litany she had heard hundreds of times. Brown died Aug. 9, after he was shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, 28. A prosecutor convened a grand jury Aug. 20 to hear evidence in the case.

At issue is how Brown died. Police say Brown struggled with Wilson inside his police car, then reached for Wilson's weapon. Brown's family and some witnesses say Wilson killed Brown as he raised his hands in surrender.

As the announcement time drew closer, McSpadden joined hands with her family to pray.

"I know God will prevail. We know it's in God's hands," she said. Her head bowed, McSpadden wept.

"God will have justice no matter what," Crump said.

The call from Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch's office came at 7:50 p.m. CT. Crump nodded sadly as he listened. A few seconds later, he delivered the news. McCulloch, he said, would be willing to meet with her. McSpadden jumped to her feet and wailed.

She ran from the room with her husband and family members running after her.

"I have to explain to Michael Brown's parents why the system didn't work for them," Crump said. "We believe the justice system failed once again. If we don't change the system, we are going to keep seeing this happen on a weekly basis."

Crump said the family still has hope that a federal civil rights investigation will hold the officer and the police department accountable. They will also consider filing a civil wrongful death lawsuit, he said.

"The family felt the whole process was completely unfair to them," he said. "Police officers are not held accountable when they kill young people of color."

The Brown family in a written statement expressed disappointment, but made a plea for peaceful protests.

"Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction," the statement said. "Let's not just make noise. Let's make a difference.

The family called on protesters instead to work toward requiring police officers to wear body cameras.

"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions," the statement said. "While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. "

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Nov-24-2014 969 0
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Bar Association is questioning how the Grand Jury, considering the evidence before them, could reach the conclusion that Darren Wilson should not be indicted and tried for the shooting death of Michael Brown. National Bar Association President Pamela J. Meanes expresses her sincere disappointment with the outcome of the Grand Jury’s decision but has made it abundantly clear that the National Bar Association stands firm and will be calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue federal charges against officer Darren Wilson. “We will not rest until Michael Brown and his family has justice” states Pamela Meanes, President of the National Bar Association.

President Meanes is requesting that the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri not allow this decision to cause an unnecessary uproar in the community that could lead to arrests, injuries or even deaths of innocent people. “I am asking for everyone to remain as calm as possible and to join in solidarity as we continue to support the family of Michael Brown and put our legal plan into full effect” says President Meanes “I feel the magnitude of the grand jury’s ruling as Ferguson, Missouri is only minutes from where I reside”, adds President Meanes.

Over the last couple of months, the National Bar Association has hosted Town Hall meetings informing attendees of their Fourth Amendment (Search & Seizure) constitutional rights, whether it is legal to record police activity, and how citizens should behave/respond if and when they interface with police officers. “The death of Michael Brown was the last straw and the catalyst for addressing issues of inequality and racial bias in policing, the justice system, and violence against members of minority communities,” states Pamela Meanes.

The family of Michael Brown requested that District Attorney McCullough step aside and allow a special prosecutor be assigned to the investigation to give the community confidence that the grand jury would conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the tragic shooting death of 18 year old Michael Brown. The grand jury’s decision confirms the fear that many expressed months ago — that a fair and impartial investigation would not happen.

“The National Bar Association is adamant about our desire for transformative justice. While we are disappointed with the grand jury’s ruling, we are promoting peace on every street corner around the world. The only way to foster systemic change is to organize, educate, and mobilize. We are imploring everyone to fight against the injustice in Ferguson, Missouri and throughout the United States by banding together and working within the confines of the law,” states President Meanes.

For complaints related to Ferguson, please contact the FBI 24 Hour Hotline at 314-589-2500.
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ABOUT THE NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 60,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students.The NBA is organized around 23 substantive law sections, 9 divisions, 12 regions and 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit: www.nationalbar.org

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Nov-24-2014 172 0
A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.

The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.

Prosecutor McCullough made the announcement in an unusual nighttime presentation in a courtroom. He spoke at length about media coverage of the case and what he called the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. He said the grand jury weighed evidence and testimony before concluding there was no probable cause to indict the officer.

"The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction,'' McCulloch said.

He said prosecuting attorneys presented five potential indictments to the grand jury, and all were rejected.

"The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,'' Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown's family, said after being informed of the decision by authorities.

Brown's family attorneys received a call from McCulloch shortly before the announcement. Crump took the call and and delivered the news to Brown's family in an area hotel.

"The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges," Crump said to Lesley McSpadden, Brown's mother. "He (McCulloch) said he would be willing to meet with you all."

McSpadden began crying and shouting. Her body vibrated with pain as she jumped to her feet.

"I do want to meet with him right now," McSpadden screamed. "What do you mean no indictment?!"

She then ran out of a hotel room followed by family members.

Brown's family later released a statement saying, "We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.'' The urged others who share their pan to "channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.''

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that "regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.''

Crowds gathered around the Ferguson police headquarters in anticipation of the announcement at the courthouse in Clayton, Mo., another St. Louis suburb.

The 12-person grand jury had been considering whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Wilson, 28, the white officer who fatally shot Brown, an 18-year-old black man, after their Aug. 9 confrontation. The shooting inflamed tensions in a largely minority community that is patrolled by an overwhelmingly white police force.

Brown's lifeless and bleeding body lay for more than four hours in a Ferguson residential street after the shooting, prompting dismay and anger as a crowd gathered. Protests turned into rioting and looting the following night, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas, triggering a nationwide debate over police tactics.

The 12-person grand jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months, hearing evidence and weighing whether Wilson's should face charges that could have ranged from involuntary manslaughter to murder.

Brown's family joined thousands of protesters to demand Wilson's arrest. As anger at official inaction grew following Brown's death, protesters clashed with police, who began patrolling the streets with military-grade weapons and armored vehicles.

Wilson has been on paid leave and largely invisible since the shooting.

While the grand jury met in secret to hear evidence in the case, two starkly different versions of the events leading to the shooting emerged in media accounts.

Police have said a scuffle broke out after Wilson asked Brown and a friend to move out of the street. Wilson told investigators he shot Brown only after the teenager reached for the officer's gun. Some witnesses said Brown had run away from Wilson, then turned and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender before he was shot in the head and chest.

The unusual timing of the grand jury's announcement, after darkness had fallen, was a decision of prosecutors, Nixon said.

He said several local churches would provide shelter, safe haven and medical care in the event of unrest.

As officials called for peace, security preparations were beefed up around the courthouse and at other locations including the Ferguson police headquarters. Barricades were erected and Missouri state troopers were present with rifles, 3-foot batons, riot shields and other equipment. Crowds of protesters waving signs and chanting spilled into streets near the police offices.

"This is not the time to turn on each other; it is a time to turn to each other,'' said St. Louis County Executive Charley Dooley. "We are one community,'' he said.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay acknowledged the case "has deeply divided us'' but said "turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated.''

"The world will be watching us,'' Slay said.

Anthony Gray, a lawyer for the Brown family, said they were informed the announcement by the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, was imminent.

Police have said Brown struggled with Wilson inside his police car, then reached for Wilson's weapon. Brown's family and some witnesses say Wilson killed Brown as he raised his hands in surrender.

The death of Brown, 18, touched off weeks of protests, and the decision by the grand jury on whether to bring charges prompted extraordinary precautions by law enforcement and the community. The Ferguson school district canceled Tuesday classes.

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Nov-24-2014 397 0

The National Bar Association Issues A Call to Action Against “The War on Police Brutality”
A National Conference Call Will Be Held In Wake of The Grand Jury’s Decision in St. Louis, Mo

Who: Pamela J. Meanes, President of the National Bar Association
Benjamin Crump, Attorney for the Michael Brown family and President Elect of the National Bar Association
Daryl Parks, Attorney for the Michael Brown family and Past National Bar Association President
Anthony Gray, Attorney for the Michael Brown family and National Bar Association Member
Patricia Bynes, Democratic Committeewoman For Ferguson Township
Dr. Cornel West, American philosopher, academic, activist and author
Pastor Chantel Renee Wright, Founder of Songs of Solomon
Bernard Butler, Founder, Urban Diary TV
Pastor Gregg L. Greer, Founder of Freedom First International and Committee Member of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference

What:
A National Conference Call: A Call to Action “War on Police Brutality”

Call in Number: (712) 432-1212 Enter Passcode: 873-266-995

When: November 25, 2014 at 12:30 a.m. CST
(Four hours and twenty minutes after the verdict was announced on November 25, 2014, which is the length of time Michael Brown's body laid in the street after he was killed.)

Discussion: Brown Family Attorneys Crump, Parks and Gray will discuss the family's response and how the community may offer support. Ferguson Township Committeewoman Bynes will discuss how the nation should stand in solidarity with the Ferguson citizens to effectuate positive change. In addition, Dr. West, Pastors Wright and Greer and Mr. Butler will discuss why they believe that a national economic boycott with a local impact will help to eradicate police brutality. Finally, the National Bar Association will set forth the legal action against Darren Wilson, social media blackout and legal reform.



Copyright © 2014 National Bar Association, All rights reserved.
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Nov-24-2014 146 0
Americans are sharply divided along racial lines as to whether Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson should be charged with murder in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday finds.

Fifty-four percent of nonwhites -- including blacks, Latinos and Asians -- say Wilson should be charged with murder, while just 23% of whites agree. And 38% of whites say Wilson should be charged with no crime at all, while just 15% of nonwhites hold that position.

The poll's results come as the grand jury prepares to make its decision, with an announcement expected Monday evening.

Most Americans agree that Wilson should at least face some form of criminal charges, the poll finds.

A combined total of 32% say a Missouri grand jury should charge Wilson with murder, while 25% say he should face lesser criminal charges and 21% say he should be charged with no crime at all.

The CNN/ORC International survey of 1,045 Americans was conducted Nov. 21-23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

There is broad 63% agreement that peaceful protests are justified if a grand jury doesn't indict Wilson for murder. But a racial divide exists over whether violent protests are justified in that case, with 22% of nonwhites saying yes while 10% of whites agree.

Voices of Ferguson

The differences underscored the broader perceptions of prejudice among police officers.

Only 19% of whites said some or most police officers in their areas are prejudiced against blacks, while 33% of nonwhites held that opinion.

Half of all whites say that "almost none" or "none" of the police in their areas are prejudiced against blacks. Only 35% of nonwhites agreed with that view.

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