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Dec-07-2017 57 0
Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer who killed unarmed black man Walter Scott, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison.

US District Court Judge David Norton made his decision after hearing emotional victim impact statements from Scott's relatives. Norton earlier Thursday had said the "appropriate underlying offense" for Slager, who is white, was second-degree murder and suggested a sentence of 19 to 24 years in prison.

Slager pleaded guilty in May to violation of civil rights by acting under the color of law in Scott's 2015 killing. Slager's 2016 state murder trial ended in a mistrial.

Federal prosecutors sought a life sentence for Slager, arguing he had committed second-degree murder and also should be punished for obstructing justice by providing the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division with false statements.

Slager shot Scott five times in the back "for running away, simply for having a broken taillight," Jared Fishman of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division told the court in his closing statement this week.

It's "time to call it what it was -- a murder," Fishman said, specifying second-degree murder.

But defense attorney Andy Savage argued that while Slager's actions were criminal, they did not amount to murder. The appropriate offense was voluntary manslaughter, Slager's attorneys said.

A probation officer had recommended Slager be sentenced to 10 to 13 years in prison.

Norton recognized Thursday that neither the Scott family nor the Slager family likely would be pleased with his punishment, adding that sentencing is the hardest facet of his more than 27 years on the bench.

'Our family will never be the same'

Before the sentence was announced, Scott's mother broke down in tears as she addressed the court.

"If you met him, you would like him," Judy Scott said of her son. "I didn't know anyone who didn't like him."

Speaking to Slager, Scott also said she forgave the former officer, a sentiment echoed by Walter Scott's brother, Anthony Scott.

"I miss my brother, and our family will never be the same," he said. "Until I got the help I needed, it helped me to release the pain of losing my brother. God gave forgiveness in my heart for Officer Slager."

"I'm not angry at you, Michael," he added. "I forgive you, and Michael, I pray for you now."

Scott's son had addressed the court a day earlier to accommodate his high school schedule.

"Your honor, I miss my dad so much I can't sleep at night," Miles Scott, clutching a framed picture of his father, told the judge Wednesday. "As I get older, my dad will never see me or his future grandkids. I never thought I would lose him at a young age, and I still can't believe he is gone."
Dec-05-2017 118 0
Representative John Conyers Jr., who faces allegations that he sexually harassed former employees, announced Tuesday that he will leave Congress immediately, and he endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.

Mr. Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House and the longest-serving African-American in history, called into a local radio show on Tuesday to announce, “I am retiring today.”

“I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans. I will have more about that very soon,” Mr. Conyers said from a hospital in Michigan.

He continued to deny that he had harassed any of his former employees and said he did not know where the allegations came from.

“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” Mr. Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, also announced Mr. Conyers’s retirement on the House floor Tuesday morning, saying Mr. Conyers had informed Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader. He also informed Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan.

The decision sets up a battle within the Conyers family for his Detroit-area House seat. Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator and the grandson of Mr. Conyers’s brother, said he also plans to run for the seat held by his 88-year-old great-uncle.

“His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health,” Ian Conyers, 29, said.

The congressman, who took his Michigan seat in the House in 1965, has already stepped aside as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee amid swirling allegations of sexual improprieties. He has been facing intense pressure to resign.

Mr. Conyers, however, remained protective of his time in Congress. “I am very proud of the fact that I am the dean of the Congress,” he said. He appreciated the “the incredible, undiminished support” that he had received from his state and the country as a whole, he said.

He also did not waver from his stance that he did nothing wrong and called the accusations against him false. “Whatever they are, they are not accurate. They are not true,” he said. “I cannot explain where they came from.”

Mr. Conyers also went on to say the allegations were just part of life as a lawmaker.

“This goes with the issue of politics, the game of politics which we are in,” he said. “We take what happens. We deal with it. We pass on and move on forward as we keep going trying to make as much as we can of this tremendous opportunity that has been given to me for so long.”

Mr. Ryan and Ms. Pelosi had each said Mr. Conyers should resign after a woman who settled a sexual harassment claim against him said on television that the congressman had “violated” her body, repeatedly propositioned her for sex and asked her to touch his genitals. Other former staff members have since come forward to say he harassed them or behaved inappropriately.

Ian Conyers said that despite the accusations, he believes Michigan voters will reward his family’s work in politics by electing him.

The congressman “still enjoys healthy support in our district,” Ian Conyers said.

He added, “People are ready to support our dean and to support our family as we continue to fight, as we have for leading up to a century, for people from Southeast Michigan.”

The elder Mr. Conyers called into “The Mildred Gaddis Show,” a local radio program, to make the announcement. His decision comes as several other lawmakers face allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Representative Joe Barton, a Republican and the Texas delegation’s most senior House member, announced last week in an interview with The Dallas Morning News that he would not seek re-election after sexually suggestive online messages that he sent to a constituent came to light.

Representative Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, is also facing pressure after it was revealed last week that he used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim with his former communications director, Lauren Greene. She accused him of regularly making comments to gauge her interest in a sexual relationship, including saying he was having “sexual fantasies” about her.

And last week, an Ohio Army veteran became the fifth woman to accuse Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, of inappropriate touching. Senior House Democrats have also begun calling for Mr. Franken to resign.
Jessica Chia Dec-01-2017 63 0
Two suspected murderers bragged about stabbing a black man and dragging him behind a pickup truck for socializing with a white woman, an investigator testified in court.

William Moore Sr. and Frank Gebhardt, two brothers-in-law from Georgia, were charged with murdering Timothy Coggins after police uncovered new evidence in the 34-year-old cold case.

Jared Coleman of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation claimed the murder was racially motivated, saying, “Something had happened between a black man and a white woman.”

“They were proud of what they had done. They felt like they were protecting the white race from black people,” Coleman added.

Coggins, who was stabbed nearly 30 times before his body was chained to a pickup truck and dragged into the woods, was found dead at the age of 23 in Spalding County.

The brutal murder case went cold until new witnesses came forward this March, according to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.

“Based on the original evidence recovered in 1983 and new evidence and interviews there is no doubt in the minds of all investigators involved that the crime was racially motivated and that if the crime happened today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime,” the sheriff’s office said when the suspects were arrested in October.

Moore and Gebhardt were charged with murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another.

Three others, including two who were employed by local police departments in Georgia, were charged with obstruction.

On Thursday, the judge ruled there was enough evidence for the murder case to go before a grand jury.

A total of five people were arrested in connection to the murder. From left, Frankie Gebhardt, Bill Moore Sr., Sandra Bunn, Lamar Bunn and Gregory Huffman. (Spalding County Sheriff's Department/AP)

Outside the courtroom, Coggins’ family said hearing the new details for the first time was hard on all of them.

“Extremely difficult, extremely difficult to hear, to hold your tears, to hold your emotions, to contain your emotions listening to gruesome details of a loved one that was by himself,” said Coggins’ niece, Heather Coggins.
Jessica Chia Dec-01-2017 65 0
A 10-year-old girl committed suicide after a video of her fighting with a bully emerged on social media, according to her heartbroken parents.

Ashawnty Davis hanged herself in a closet and died Wednesday after spending two weeks on life support, KDVR reported.

The fifth-grader was a “child of joy,” according to her father Anthony Davis — but she changed after she got into her first fight at school in October.

Ashawnty had confronted a girl her mother Latoshia Harris claims was a bully, and the two got into a fight at Sunrise Elementary while a group of kids gathered around to watch.

A cell phone video of the fight was posted on social media, and her father told KDVR, “She was devastated when she found out it had made it to Musical.ly.”

The bullying only intensified, and Harris said, “My daughter came home two weeks later and hanged herself in the closet.”

She spent two weeks on life support at the Children’s Hospital Colorado and died Wednesday.

Her parents are mourning the loss of their daughter, while family members paid tribute to the girl on Facebook.

“My family has lost an angel....The emptiness and unanswered questions are consuming. Please pray for my family during this unthinkable time,” Krystel Banks-Thomas wrote.

The school district, which called Ashawnty’s death a “heartbreaking loss” said they turned the video over to the police adding, “We do not tolerate bullying of any kind in our schools.”



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Adam Edelman Nov-21-2017 97 0
Rep. John Conyers admitted Tuesday to reaching a financial settlement with a former staffer who had accused him of sexual misconduct but the lawmaker denied having done anything improper.

"I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so," Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, said in a statement. "My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative."

"It is important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true," Conyers added.

His statement came in response to a Buzzfeed story, published Monday night, that alleged Conyers had settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a ex-staffer who claimed she'd been fired after refusing Conyers' "sexual advances."

Conyers, who is 88, paid out a $27,000 settlement to the woman in exchange for a confidentiality agreement from her, Buzzfeed reported.

Conyers, in his statement Tuesday, admitted having reached a settlement for an amount that "equated to a reasonable severance payment."

"The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment. There are statutory requirements of confidentiality that apply to both the employee and me regarding this matter," he said. "To the extent the House determines to look further at these issues, I will fully cooperate with an investigation."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as well as some other Democratic House members, said Tuesday that allegations against Conyers should be investigated by the House Ethics Committee.

"As Members of Congress, we each have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of the House of Representatives and to ensure a climate of dignity and respect, with zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, bullying or abuse," Pelosid said. "As I have said before, any credible allegation of sexual harassment must be investigated by the Ethics Committee."

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who revealed earlier this month that she had been sexually assaulted when she was in her 20s by the chief of staff she was an aide to, called the allegations against Conyers "serious" and called for an Ethics Committee probe "immediately."

Earlier Tuesday, Conyers had denied, in comments to the Associated Press, having settled any sexual harassment complaints.

Conyers' office later issued the statement confirming a settlement.

"The Associated Press made an unannounced visit to the home of Congressman Conyers this morning. Congressman Conyers was under the impression the reporter was speaking of recent allegations of which he was unaware of and denied," the statement read.
Scott Fowler Nov-16-2017 117 0
On Nov. 16, 1999, the son of former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth was supposed to die.

Chancellor Lee reaches this landmark as a gentle young man. He has lived his entire life in Charlotte protected and emboldened by a loving grandmother, Saundra Adams, who has raised him from birth.

The party she has planned for her grandson is not a traditional 18th birthday party, but Chancellor Lee Adams is not your typical 18-year-old.

He smiles more, for one thing. He also has cerebral palsy and permanent brain damage owing to the traumatic night of his birth.

That night caused the eventual death of his mother, Cherica Adams - Saundra Adams' only biological child. Chancellor Lee seems untroubled by the dark circumstances that brought him into the world 10 weeks prematurely, however. He has known no other life other than the one that orbits around the beloved grandmother he calls "G-Mom."

For his party, Chancellor Lee plans to go to a pumpkin farm in the Charlotte area, accompanied by a couple of his friends from his therapeutic horse-riding class.

He will take a hayride. He will pet the animals in the petting zoo. He will eat the first piece of birthday cake, which will feature his favorite strawberry mousse filling as well as a picture of a horse.

"Chancellor will be in the starring role," Saundra Adams says, beaming. "And he deserves that. You only get to be 18 once."

We are sitting together in Charlotte's Freedom Park along with Chancellor Lee. It is early November. The leaves are turning from green to gold. Chancellor Lee used his walker - pausing to carefully navigate a 2-inch divot in the asphalt - to make it to the bench where he now sits.

Saundra and Chancellor Lee look happy. It has been a good year. This is in part because the extreme generosity of strangers and friends - shepherded by an NFL assistant coach in San Francisco who once was close to Carruth - that has allowed the Adamses to buy a brand new home in Charlotte.

Saundra Adams says she cannot believe that her grandson is 18. Having covered both Carruth's draft day as the Carolina Panthers' first-round pick in 1997 and his horrifying trial less than four years later, I have a hard time believing it, too. I congratulate Chancellor Lee for his upcoming birthday.

"Thank you," he says, smiling hugely.

"The time has flown by," Adams says. "It really feels like it was just a couple of years ago that we were bringing him home from the hospital."

"Yeah!" Chancellor Lee agrees.

"Yeah" is his favorite word to say in a conversation, closely followed by "thank you." Chancellor Lee generally talks in one- or two-word sentences. In most of those sentences, he either affirms what you just asked him or shows extreme politeness.

Is he looking forward to his birthday party?

"Yeah!"

And what day is his birthday?

"No-vem-ber 16th," Chancellor Lee says, pronouncing each syllable slowly.

His father will not be there for this party, just like he has not been there for any of Chancellor Lee's first 17 birthday parties.

Carruth remains in a North Carolina prison for his role in masterminding the conspiracy to murder Cherica Adams, his on-and-off girlfriend, in 1999. She was pregnant with Chancellor Lee at the time, and Carruth did not want to pay child support.

But it is technically possible that Carruth could attend his son's 19th birthday party next year.

The former Panther is scheduled to be released from prison on Oct. 22, 2018.

Would Chancellor Lee like to meet his father on the day he is released?

"Yeah!" he says.

"He knows about it," Saundra Adams adds. "We've talked about it a lot."

And, with a little more than 11 months to go before Carruth's expected release, that remains the Adams' plan. They want to meet Carruth at the prison gates when he finally becomes a free man.

___

It is early October 2017, and Saundra and Chancellor Lee Adams are inside a jail themselves. This is not the one where Rae Carruth is incarcerated, however. Carruth is imprisoned in Clinton, N.C., 170 miles east of Charlotte.

Carruth once made roughly $40,000 per game with the Panthers. For much of his prison sentence, he has worked as a barber, cutting the hair of other inmates for a dollar a day.

Saundra and Chancellor Lee have instead come to the Mecklenburg County Jail in uptown Charlotte on this day, at the invitation of the jail's correctional staff. They are the guest speakers in an "Anger Management" class.

The Adamses do have some history with this place. Carruth was held at the jail before his sentencing. He also had a brief, heavily supervised visit with his son inside this very jail when Chancellor Lee was a year old.

Saundra Adams was there that day, too. This was in 2000, before Carruth was convicted and sentenced to nearly 19 years in prison. Adams says that once Carruth realized the visit could not be photographed or filmed by the media that he wasn't much interested anymore in seeing his son, and ended the visit after about 10 minutes.

That was the last time the father and the son ever laid eyes on each other.

Now, Saundra and Chancellor Lee have been invited to speak to these inmates - some of whom were in elementary school when Charlotte's most infamous trial was being nationally televised every day. She has spoken at different prisons in both Carolinas about a half-dozen times now.

There are 25 men in front of Saundra and Chancellor Lee, all of them sitting in brown plastic chairs. Most are scheduled to be released in the next 3-6 months. They all wear orange jumpsuits much like the one Carruth wore when he was housed there.

Saundra Adams starts her talk by telling the men that she believes in hope and forgiveness. She says that she also believes a man should not be defined only by the worst act he has ever committed. She plans to get into the reasons she long ago forgave Carruth and her conspirators later.

She launches into her story, going back to the days in 1999 that changed her family forever.

"We normally go through life thinking, 'That would never happen to me, because I'm a good person,'" Adams begins. "And then all of a sudden, something horrific happens. With the case of my daughter, she was dating NFL player Rae Carruth. We thought it was a good match. But after being in the relationship for awhile, it got really tumultuous.


Nov-07-2017 149 0
A mother of six was fatally shot during a robbery while working at an east Oak Cliff Dollar General Monday night, police say.

Officers responded to reports of a shooting in the 4800 block of Sunnyvale Street at about 7 p.m.

Investigators said security cameras captured an armed man demanding property from the store clerk.

The clerk handed the money to the man. He then shot her in the chest before leaving the store and running down a side street.

A woman working at an east Oak Cliff Dollar General was fatally wounded in a robbery and shooting Monday night, police say. Police said the store clerk, identified as 27-year-old Gabrielle Simmons, was rushed to Baylor Medical Center where she died shortly after.(Published 5 hours ago)

Police said the store clerk, identified as 27-year-old Gabrielle Simmons, was rushed to Baylor Medical Center where she died shortly after.

Simmons' six children are now staying with family members, according to relatives.

Simmons and her children moved to Dallas last year from Mississippi.

The suspected shooter is described as a male, wearing ripped blue jeans, a dark-colored hoodie, a turquoise baseball cap and black tennis shoes with while soles. He was carrying a blue gym bag.

If you have any information that could lead to an arrest, contact Dallas police at 214-671-3647.

CrimeStoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the gunman. Contact them at 214-373-TIPS (8477).
Kevin Rector Nov-07-2017 150 0
Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was found not guilty on all administrative charges in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

The verdict was handed down around 1 p.m. Tuesday, after the city announced the panel presiding over the case would reconvene at the University of Baltimore.

Three law enforcement officials began deliberating over Goodson’s professional future Monday following the conclusion of his administrative trial on 21 charges of violating department policies during the 2015 arrest of Gray.

Prince George’s County Police Maj. Rosa Guixens, the chair of the panel deliberating the case, read out “not guilty” 21 times — one for each of the corresponding charges.

Goodson, 48, looked stoic until the 21st “not guilty” reading. A single conviction could have ended his career. Upon the 21st “not guilty,” Goodson broke into a smile.

The hearing ended abruptly after the verdict.

Goodson hugged his attorneys. Sean Malone, one of those representing Goodson, said his client was “wrongfully charged,” and is happy he’ll be able to continue his career with BPD.

Goodson was acquitted last year of second-degree depraved-heart murder and other criminal charges related to Gray’s death. The panel’s decision to clear Goodson of the charges is final.

Many of the charges related to Goodson’s failure to ensure Gray’s safety in the back of his police van or seek medical attention for Gray after he’d asked for it. Gray, 25, who had been handcuffed and placed in leg shackles but not restrained in a seat belt, was found unconscious and suffering from severe spinal cord injuries in the back of the van, and died a week later.

Goodson also faced charges that he made false statements to detectives from Montgomery and Howard counties who conducted an outside investigation into Gray’s death on behalf of the city and the Police Department, and that he failed to properly document his actions on the day of Gray’s arrest.

Goodson is the first officer to face a trial board in the case.

Six officers were charged criminally in the Gray case; none was convicted. Goodson, Lt. Brian Rice and Officer Edward Nero were all acquitted at bench trials, and Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby then dropped all remaining charges against the other three officers.

Five of those officers were subsequently charged administratively in the case. Two — Nero and Officer Garrett Miller — have accepted “minor” discipline in the case, and are back at work with the department, according to a police union attorney. Under Maryland law, punishments officers receive are kept private.

Two others — Rice and Sgt. Alicia White — are fighting the charges against them.

Rice’s administrative trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 13. White’s is scheduled to begin Dec. 5.
Angela Helm Nov-04-2017 143 0
Although a Tulsa, Okla., ex-cop will go down in infamy for killing an unarmed black man on video while he had his hands in the air, a judge has recently ruled that the shooting death can be removed from her employment record.

Sometimes, being black is like living inside a terrible movie where the world is so racist that…

In May, Betty Shelby was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter in the fatal September 2016 shooting of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher; on Wednesday, a judge ruled that the death will be expunged from her record after Shelby petitioned the court in August.

NBC 4 Washington reports that District Judge William LaFortune ordered all documents involving Shelby’s case sealed. The case will be accessible only through a court order and can be destroyed after 10 years, according to state law.

This means that agencies will be unable to find the case during a background search, Shelby’s defense attorney, Shannon McMurray, told NBC.

“Like any other citizen who is acquitted, Betty Jo Shelby was entitled to have her record sealed and expunged,” McMurray said.

The lawyer added that it was important for Shelby “to have that smear on her name removed from public view.”

Shelby testified at her murder trial that she was scared for her life because Crutcher appeared to be on drugs, but video from a patrol-car dashboard and a police helicopter showed that Crutcher had his hands in the air when he was shot and killed.

Shelby got her job back after the acquittal but resigned in July and now works as a reserve sheriff’s deputy in nearby Rogers County.

Expunged or no, we all know who Betty Shelby is and what she did—as my colleague Kirsten West Savali noted, she wears the face of a killer.
AP Nov-03-2017 147 0
A Pennsylvania woman who beat and tried to strangle her daughter for incorrectly reciting Bible verses has been sentenced to prison.

Forty-one-year-old Rhonda Shoffner was sentenced Wednesday to 2½ to five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges including aggravated assault of her daughter, who was younger than 13.

Police say the girl was forced to kneel on the bathroom floor at Shoffner's Middletown home and repeat Bible verses. They say Shoffner slammed her head into the wall each time she made a mistake. They say Shoffner also told the child she was going to kill her and attempted to strangle her.

Police say the girl fought off Shoffner, who told her to leave and never return. The girl called her father, who drove her to a police station.
Greg Price Nov-02-2017 141 0
Hillary Clinton’s campaign took over the Democratic National Committee's funding and day-to-day operations early in the primary season and may have used that power to undermine her rival Senator Bernie Sanders, according to the party's one-time interim chairwoman.

The DNC official, Donna Brazile, now a political analyst, wrote in Politico Magazine on Thursday that she discovered an August 2015 agreement between the national committee and Clinton’s campaign and fundraising arm that gave Clinton “control (of) the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised” in exchange for taking care of the massive debt leftover from President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.

It wasn't illegal, Brazile said, "but it sure looked unethical."

"If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead," Brazile wrote. "This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity."

Brazile wrote that she had “promised” Sanders to find out if the DNC had intentionally “rigged” the primary system in order to prop up Clinton and assure she became the nominee. That assertion first popped up after the DNC’s emails, hacked by Russians, had been published online and showed former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others may have tipped the scales for the Democrat Clinton versus Sanders, an independent seeking the Democratic Party nod.

“I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff,” Brazile wrote. "I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.”

Brazile, a former CNN contributor who was later dismissed after it was discovered she had forked over debate questions to Clinton’s campaign, claimed when she took over as party chairwoman, the DNC was $24 million in debt. Clinton’s campaign, according to Brazile, assumed that debt with its own fundraising.

“Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance,” according to Brazile.

Normally, candidates take over their respective party’s operations after securing the nomination, but Brazile wrote Clinton had done so almost 15 months before last year’s election.

The timeline of when all this allegedly occurred was not fully explained by Brazile, but she wrote that the discovery was made “weeks” before the election. She said she told Sanders what she found out and that he took the supposed information “stoically.”

Brazile took over as interim DNC chair, a spot now officially held by Tom Perez, back in July 2016 after Wasserman Schultz resigned.

AP Oct-30-2017 122 0
Bobby Hines stepped forward, smiling as he embraced the sister of the man he was convicted of killing.

Locked up for 28 years, he'd long wanted to meet Valencia Warren-Gibbs, to talk with her about that night in 1989 when her older brother, James, was shot after Hines and two others confronted him in a feud over drugs.

At 15, Hines had been condemned to life in prison without parole. Now he was out, a 43-year-old man navigating life in a city he left behind as an eighth-grader. Slowly, he was checking off things he needed to do: He'd already found work, enjoyed a meal in an actual restaurant and learned how to take photos with his new cellphone.

And on this Sunday, 20 days into his freedom, he'd come to sit down with his victim's sister and take responsibility for his role in Warren's death.

"You know why?" he told her, tapping a forefinger on a table for emphasis. "I'm never going to forget what I did."
He would not forget but he could make amends, move on and do his best to make the most of his extraordinary second chance. After nearly three decades behind bars, he was learning what it meant to be Bobby Hines again - older, hopefully wiser, and a stranger to the world of 2017.

"We made it," Hines declared, almost inaudibly, as if he'd just crossed an imaginary finish line.
He walked out of prison at 9 a.m. promptly one September morning, arm-in-arm with his sister, Myra, who beamed, laughed and rested her head on her brother's shoulder as they approached an SUV waiting to whisk him away.

More than 10,000 days had passed behind bars, but to hear him tell it, Hines had refused to believe he'd die on the inside.
"God ain't going to let that happen," he'd say, ever confident that one day he would find his way to freedom.

His release came after the U.S. Supreme Court last year extended a ban on mandatory life without parole for juvenile offenders to those already in prison, ushering in a wave of new sentences and the release of dozens of inmates in states from Michigan to Pennsylvania, Arkansas and beyond.

Other former teen offenders still are waiting for a chance at resentencing in states and counties that have been slow to address the court ruling, an earlier Associated Press investigation found. In Michigan, prosecutors are seeking new no-parole sentences for nearly two-thirds of 363 juvenile lifers. Those cases are on hold until the Michigan Supreme Court, which heard arguments this month, determines whether judges or juries should decide the fate of those inmates.

Hines, one of at least 99 Michigan lifers already resentenced, wasn't the gunman. But prosecutors branded him the ringleader in the shooting of James Warren, arguing he'd provoked two other teens, saying something like, "Pop him" or "Let him have it," when the trio confronted him.

When Hines left prison on Sept. 12, he faced the same hurdles as other released lifers: He had no money, no job history and no experience as an adult in society - a world he was told he'd never inhabit again. For some, walking out after 30, 40, even 50 years feels a bit like time travel.

On Day 1, Hines insisted that wasn't true for him.
"I'm not overwhelmed," he said repeatedly to his sister, lawyer and anyone else within earshot. "It's not as hard as I thought it would be. ... I did 28 years, but I don't even feel like I've been in an institution."

He was a small kid, just 5-foot-3, when he suddenly found himself trading a middle school ID for an inmate number. Prison was such a brutal environment, he said, he called it the Serengeti, after the African plains teeming with wildlife where survival of the fittest is the rule. In his first decade, he got in several fights. Then older inmates became surrogate fathers, teaching him how to behave and keep his cell clean.

"After awhile," he said, "you start to adapt ... to depend on incarceration more and more."
Eventually, he earned his high school equivalency diploma, took a preparatory business college course and completed a slew of self-help and training programs.

In June, after he became parole-eligible, Hines was transferred to the Macomb Correctional Facility north of Detroit to join other juvenile lifers who have new sentences and will eventually be released. Prison officials assembled these inmates in one place as they expand existing programs to help them learn about finances, technology and other aspects of daily life. Those with parole dates have access to educational and job training programs that were previously unavailable to them.

"We're trying to do a little more because this is such a unique situation," said Chris Gautz, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections. These inmates had expected to die in prison, he said. "We want to set them up in a way they're not likely to come back."

Most of the juvenile lifers released so far across the U.S. have been out of prison a year or less. Corrections officials in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Louisiana, which together had nearly 1,200 of these inmates, said that, to date, none has violated parole or committed another crime.

Last winter, Hines began meeting with a volunteer from Project Reentry, a program within the state appellate defender's office in which graduate social work students help juvenile lifers gear up for release. One student met with Hines, visited his sister to plan his living arrangements and took photos of Myra's home as part of a comprehensive post-release plan presented to the resentencing judge.

Hines also had candid conversations with his lawyer, Valerie Newman, a state appellate defender who has secured the release of about a half-dozen juvenile lifers in Michigan in the last year. Her advice to Hines, as it has been with others: Take it slowly.

will allen Oct-25-2017 838 0
Two men were shot dead Wednesday morning at Grambling State University in northern Louisiana, authorities said.

The victims were identified as Earl Andrews, 23, a Grambling State University senior from Farmerville, Louisiana, and Monquiarius Caldwell, also a 23-year-old from Farmerville, Grambling State University spokesman Will Sutton said.

Caldwell was not a student at the university, Sutton said.

They were discovered in a courtyard between two dormitory buildings, said Stephen Williams, a spokesman for the Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Office.

Based on preliminary information gathered at the scene, the shooting followed an altercation that started inside one of the adjacent dormitories, Williams said.

Sutton said authorities were alerted to the shooting by a female student who called the Grambling State University police chief on his cell phone.

Grambling's homecoming activities started Sunday, and events are scheduled through Saturday, Sutton said.
Sean Montiel Oct-20-2017 164 0
Allegations recently came out regarding Leak's inappropriate relationship with a student. Leak worked at Edgewater High School in Florida, serving as a football coach and art recovery teacher.

The reports are that back in 2015, a 15-year-old student gave him a massage. Following the massage, he asked the female student to touch his genitals. After the news broke, he did not contest the allegations nor try to plead his innocence.

He resigned once a police report was filed and gave up his teaching certificate voluntarily.

Leak was once a rising star in football, as he achieved great success at Florida.

He started in games all four years, including the 2006 BCS title team. He went undrafted after his senior year, and was quickly signed by the Bears. After an unsuccessful preseason with the team, he was cut and never saw NFL action again.

Steve Brusk and Leigh Munsil Oct-18-2017 186 0
President Donald Trump told the widow of a US serviceman killed in the ambush in Niger that "he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt," according to Rep. Frederica Wilson.

The body of Sgt. La David Johnson was returned home to the Miami area late Tuesday afternoon, with the plane receiving a water cannon salute as it arrived near the gate.

The call from the President to Johnson's widow came shortly before Johnson's casket arrival, Wilson, a Florida Democrat, said on "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon" Tuesday.

"Basically he said, 'Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt,' " Wilson said, adding that she listened to part of the call on speaker phone while in a vehicle with the family.

"That's what he said," she added.

Asked earlier if she was sure the President said that, Wilson told CNN affiliate WPLG: "Yeah, he said that. You know, ... that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn't say that to a grieving widow. Everyone knows when you go to war you could possibly not come back alive, but you don't remind a grieving widow of that. That is so insensitive. So insensitive."

CNN asked the White House for comment. A White House official said, "The President's conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private."

Four US soldiers were killed by enemy fire in an October 4 ambush in Niger. Trump addressed the deaths 12 days later in a Rose Garden news conference.

"I felt very, very badly about that," Trump said Monday. "I always feel badly. It is the toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed."

He then claimed that other commanders in chief hadn't reached out to families of Americans killed in action, indicating he'd been told as much by the generals who serve in his administration.


Maureen Lee Lenker Oct-17-2017 598 0
Mychael Knight, fashion designer and former contestant on Project Runway and Project Runway: All Stars, died Tuesday morning outside Atlanta. He was 39.

“We are still processing the untimely death of our son, brother, friend, and uncle. Mychael meant everything to us and we loved him dearly. He was generous and so full of life. This is how we choose to remember his legacy,” his family said in a statement made to Obvious magazine.

Knight passed away on Oct. 17 outside Atlanta after recently checking into a hospital for treatment for intestinal issues, TMZ reports.

Born in Germany on April 11, 1978, Knight divided his childhood between Alabama and New York. He studied Apparel Design and Merchandising at Georgia Southern University, graduating in 2001.

Knight quickly transitioned to work in the fashion industry with an internship at Wilbourn Exclusives in 2001 and work as a stylist in the music industry beginning in 2002. He first auditioned for the second season of Project Runway in 2005, but did not make the cut; when he auditioned again the following year, he was named one of the season 3 contestants. Knight went on to place fourth in the overall competition and win season 3’s Fan Favorite award.

After leaving the show, Knight launched his own label, Mychael Knight, on BET’s Rip the Runway and also designed custom tees for Starbucks. In 2008, he launched a female and male lingerie label, Kitty and Dick, as well as a unisex fragrance named MajK. In 2010, he debuted a Fall/Winter line at Charleston Fashion Week in South Carolina.

Knight returned to Project Runway multiple times over the years, competing in a 2009 All-Star Challenge, as well as a being a contestant on the third season of the show’s All Stars spin-off in 2013.

Throughout his career, he continued to release new collections. His Spring/Summer 2018 line was his most recent.

Bravo’s Andy Cohen was an executive at the network when Project Runway first began took to Twitter to express condolences and memories of Knight, writing, “I am so sad to hear about Mychael Knight. When he appeared on #ProjectRunway he was the sweetest guy, full of life, ambition & talent. #rip.”

Oct-15-2017 400 0
Baltimore police have charged a woman in connection with the killing of her husband at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Friday.

Anita Nicole Jones, 30, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Baltimore police media relations Chief T.J. Smith called the incident "disturbing, sad and despicable."

Smith said officers were called around 2:13 p.m. to the hospital for a possible suicide.

Police said staff members heard Jones arguing in a hospital room with her husband, Christopher Yancey Sr., while waiting for their 14-year-old son to undergo a medical procedure. Police said Jones and Yancey were the only ones in the room at the time of the incident.

"This argument escalated, and it appeared that the wife used some sort of sharp-edged object, we don't know if it was a knife or what at this point, and stabbed the victim more than one time," Smith said.

Police said Jones emerged from the room and told hospital staff that Yancey had cut himself. Hospital staff discovered Yancey suffering from what appeared to be multiple stab wounds to his upper body. He was pronounced dead.

"This is a world-renowned hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and unfortunately, they weren't able to save him, so it speaks to how significant these injuries were that occurred inside of a room," Smith said.

Jones left the hospital before officers arrived, police said.

Police said Yancey's injuries were not consistent with an apparent suicide, and no weapon was found in the room.

Jones was arrested Saturday and taken to Central Booking.

"It's sad that an argument escalated into this," Smith said. "There is a young child without both of his parents now."

A hospital spokeswoman sent the following statement to 11 News:


"Baltimore City police are investigating the death of a visitor that occurred in a patient room today. This was an isolated incident and at no time were patients, staff or other visitors in danger. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased. Since this is a police investigation, we must defer all inquiries to them."
Alex Dobuzinskis Oct-15-2017 372 0
A decades-old investigation in the U.S. state of Georgia into the murder of a black man in 1983 culminated in the arrest of five white people on Friday, including two law enforcement officers charged with hindering the probe, officials said.

The body of Timothy Coggins, 23, was found on Oct. 9, 1983, in a grassy area near power lines in the community of Sunnyside, about 30 miles (48 km) south of downtown Atlanta.

He had been "brutally murdered" and his body had signs of trauma, the Spalding County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Investigators spoke to people who knew Coggins, but the investigation went cold, Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix said at a news conference.

This past March, new evidence led investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Spalding County to re-examine the case.

Dix did not provide details on the nature of the evidence, saying more tips were received after authorities, over the summer, announced to the media the case was re-opened.

Some witnesses confessed they lived with knowledge about the case for years, but were afraid to come forward, Dix said.

"It has been an emotional roller coaster for everybody that was involved," Dix said.

Police arrested five people on Friday in connection with the slaying. Frankie Gebhardt, 59, and Bill Moore Sr, 58, were each charged with murder, aggravated assault and other crimes.

Authorities did not immediately say where Gebhardt and Moore lived.

Gregory Huffman, 47, was charged with obstruction and violation of oath of office, Dix said. Huffman was a detention officer with the Spalding County Sheriff's Office but his employment was terminated after he was arrested.

Lamar Bunn, a police officer in the town of Milner, which is south of Spalding County, was also arrested and charged with obstruction, as was Sandra Bunn, 58. She is Lamar's mother, according to Atlanta television station WXIA.

Investigators are convinced the murder was racially motivated, Dix said.

"There is no doubt in the minds of all investigators involved that the crime was racially motivated and that if the crime happened today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime," the Sheriff's Office said.

Several members of Coggins' family appeared at the news conference where authorities announced the arrests.

The family held out for justice all this time, said Heather Coggins, a niece of the victim.

"Even on my grandmother's death bed, she knew that justice would one day be served," she said.

It was not immediately clear if any of the five arrested people had an attorney, and they could not be reached for comment.

Dix promised more arrests in the case, as the investigation continues.

Amanda Watts Oct-14-2017 223 0
Everyone has that spot in their house or car where they let the mail and receipts pile up.

For 68-year old Jimmie Smith, it was an old shirt hanging in his closet. Stuffed in its pockets was a stack of unchecked lottery tickets.

"I always told myself, 'I'll check them when I have the time,'" the New Jersey man said.

It's a good thing he did. Because had he waited two days longer, he'd have lost out on $24.1 million.

'Check your pockets. Check your glove box'

More than a year ago, Smith bought a ticket to the New York Lotto.

The winning numbers for the May 25, 2016 drawing were: 05 - 12 - 13 - 22 - 25 - 35.

The New York Gaming Commission knew the winning ticket, worth $24.1 million, was sold at a bodega in New York City -- but it didn't know who bought the ticket.

Winners have a year to claim the prize and that expiration day was quickly approaching.

So earlier this year, the New York Lottery started to get the word out.

"We urge New York Lottery players: Check your pockets. Check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions. If you have this winning ticket, we look forward to meeting you," Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission'sDivision of the Lottery, said at the time.

'Do I see what I think I see?'

Smith, a retired security officer, caught a news story about the search for the mystery winner. That inspired him to check his old tickets.

He went up to the closet where the old shirt hung.

When the numbers matched up, he "stood there for a minute thinking, 'Do I see what I think I see?'"

"I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air,: he said. "I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real."

That was on May 23, 2017. He'd have been ineligible to collect after May 25, 2017.

On Wednesday, the New York Lottery released Smith's name after completing a review.

"We are thrilled that this lucky winner was able to locate this life-changing ticket," Dean, of the gaming commission, said.

Smith chose to receive his payments over the course of 26 years.

A father of two and grandfather of 12, he said he plans to have an "all-family discussion" once things settle down.
K.Reminick Oct-12-2017 166 0
?It has been a long fall from grace for Tracy Porter.

He will forever be enshrined in the Saints history with his memorable pick-six in the Super Bowl off Peyton Manning sealing the win for New Orleans.

Many thought Porter would become a star player but he never quite reached his full potential. He went on to play for Broncos, Raiders, Redskins and Bears throughout his career.

Nowadays, Porter is finding himself in the news for the wrong reasons:

??It's not a good look for the for former Super Bowl champ. According to the report, Tracy was arrested for an incident that happened on Oct. 5.

It was said that a women whom he had been familiar with went to get her keys from him which turned into a verbal argument. The victim alleges that Porter grabbed her by the arm and the throat during the spat.

In addition to the battery charges, police also booked him for the possession of marijuana and the distribution of schedule II drugs.
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