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Stephanie Petit Jun-26-2017 59 0
A college professor who recently appeared on Fox News to defend a Black Lives Matter event in which only black people were invited has been fired.

It was announced Friday that Lisa Durden, a former adjunct professor at Essex County College in New Jersey, would be let go from her job following a heated argument on the June 6 episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight. While speaking about an “all-black Memorial Day celebration” hosted by a Black Lives Matter group, Durden, who is black, told the host “you white people are angry because you couldn’t use your white privilege card” to attend the event.

The former professor, who taught communications and pop culture classes as an adjunct according to the Newark Star-Ledger, also called America a “racist society.”

“The college was immediately inundated with feedback from students, faculty and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a college employee (with influence over students) would negatively impact their experience on the campus,” newly appointed Essex County College President Anthony Munroe said in a statement, according to NJ.com. “I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students… The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism.”

Munroe said the school suspended her with pay for six working days and fired her after a public meeting at which Durden addressed the school’s board on June 20.

“The college affirms its right to select employees who represent the institution appropriately and are aligned with our mission,” Munroe said, while noting it “supports and affirms the right of free speech and independent views and expressions of those views for our faculty and staff.”
After her firing, Durden told NJ.com that said she has received support from staff members and students. The Newark resident said she thought living in a “black and brown city” and working for a “black and brown college” would be a “safe space” for her to share her viewpoints.

“It should be a safe place for me,” she said. “I thought when I came home from war, I would be safe.” Instead, “I was fired.”

Durden, who did not mention the school she worked for during the interview, told NJ.com that she was abruptly suspended following her appearance on the show, only learning that she had to cancel her classes when she arrived on campus on June 8 to teach one.

“They did this to humiliate me,” she said. “Essex County College publicly lynched me in front of my students.”
Cleve R. Wootson Jr. Jun-26-2017 42 0
A “friendly fire” incident in which an off-duty St. Louis policeman was shot while coming to the aid of fellow officers has taken on racial overtones after an incendiary claim by the injured officer’s attorney: The officer was viewed as a threat because he was black.

The St. Louis Police Department has not identified any of the officers involved in Wednesday night’s incident. The officer who shot the off-duty policeman is white. All seven officers involved are on administrative leave as the department sorts out what happened.

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What is known is that officers with an anti-crime task force were tracking a car that was stolen from the Maryland Heights community after its license plate had been detected by an automatic reader Wednesday night, interim police chief Lawrence O’Toole told reporters.

Officers fired back, hitting one of the men in the ankle during the ensuing exchange. The vehicle ultimately crashed in a neighborhood on the north side of the city and the occupants jumped out and ran, police said. The man shot in the ankle was quickly arrested, along with a teenager who was caught after a brief chase. A third man — who police believed was armed — got away and remained at large Sunday.

An off-duty officer who lives nearby heard the commotion, grabbed his service pistol and headed to the scene to assist his fellow officers. He arrived as the other officers were carrying out the arrest.

The other officers ordered the off-duty officer to the ground, then recognized him as a fellow policeman and told him to stand up and walk toward them.

As he approached, another officer arrived and shot the off-duty officer in the arm, “apparently not recognizing” him, police told the Associated Press.

The black officer, who is 38 years old and an 11-year veteran of the force, was treated at the hospital and released. The shooter, a 36-year-old officer who has been on the force for eight years, told investigators he had feared for his safety.

But Rufus Tate Jr., the black officer’s attorney, took issue with that claim, saying his client complied with the other officers’ commands and was never a threat.

“In the police report, you have so far, there is no description of threat he received,” he told St. Louis Fox-affiliate KTVI. “So we have a real problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared.”

Tate said the incident was a case of “a black professional, in law enforcement, himself being shot and treated as an ordinary black guy on the street. This is a real problem.”

The St. Louis area was once the epicenter of the nation’s ongoing debate about whether police are too quick to use deadly force against minorities.

On Tuesday, a federal judge awarded $1.5 million to the parents of Michael Brown, according to the Associated Press. Brown, 18, was unarmed on Aug. 9, 2014, when he was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white officer, during a confrontation in Ferguson, about 20 minutes from St. Louis.

Months of protests followed Brown’s shooting. Ultimately, a Justice Department investigation unearthed bias in the criminal justice system in Ferguson, although Wilson was never criminally charged.

But Brown’s killing was just one of many such incidents. In Minnesota last summer, Philando Castile was shot after a police officer pulled him over for a broken brake light. And a North Charleston police officer recently pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge after he shot and killed 50-year-old Walter Scott, an unarmed motorist, as he was running away.

So far this year, 461 people have been shot and killed by police officers, according to a Washington Post database of police shootings. A quarter of them were black.

In 2016, 963 people were killed by police. Twenty-four percent were black.

JIM SALTER Jun-23-2017 82 0
The insurance company for the city of Ferguson, Missouri, paid $1.5 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Michael Brown's parents, the city attorney said Friday.

Attorney Apollo Carey disclosed the amount in an email in response to an open records request. The settlement of the federal lawsuit was announced Tuesday, but financial details were not initially released.

Carey declined further comment on the settlement. A phone message seeking comment from the attorney for the family, Anthony Gray, was not immediately returned.

Wilson resigned in November 2014, soon after a St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict him. The U.S. Department of Justice found no grounds to prosecute Wilson, but the shooting led to a Justice Department investigation that resulted in a consent agreement requiring Ferguson to make significant changes to address racial bias in its police department and municipal court.

Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden sued the city, former Police Chief Tom Jackson and Wilson in 2015, citing a police culture hostile to black residents and claiming Wilson used excessive force.

The parents also argued that the death of their son deprived them of financial support through his future potential wages.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber approved the settlement but disclosed nothing about the amount, saying only that it was "fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim and is in the best interests of each Plaintiff," with the money to be split between the parents.

Webber also wrote that the agreement "shall remain sealed by this Court and shall be considered a closed record" because disclosure of the information "could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators."

Settlements involving public money and public entities like cities are typically open under Missouri law, but Webber wrote that the value of opening the record "is outweighed by the adverse impact to Plaintiffs." He did not elaborate.

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Chris Murray Jun-22-2017 210 0
Ryan Jones, a former linebacker who signed contracts with two NFL teams, was shot and killed Sunday evening, his former high school coach and the Washoe County (Nev.) Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Tuesday. He was 26.

About 8:20 p.m. Sunday, officers were called to the 200 block of Talus Way, north of Rancho San Rafael Park, where they found three men who'd been shot. One of the men – later identified as Jones – died at the scene.

The other victims were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening conditions.

Reno Police Department spokesman Officer Tim Broadway said he could not comment on the circumstances the led up to the shooting as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We can't go into details yet because it's an ongoing investigation," he said. Broadway said "several people" were still being interviewed.

Rollins Stallworth, Jones' football coach at Hug High in Reno, said he started receiving a deluge of texts Monday morning about his former player. Stallworth said Jones touched a lot of people during his life.

“We’re all mourning this horrible tragedy and hopefully we can get past this and stay very positive on what Ryan was able to accomplish and pursue in his short lifespan,” Stallworth said.

Jones played for Montana Tech from 2011-13. Jones jumped onto NFL scouting radars with a strong pro day. He wasn't selected in the 2014 NFL draft but signed a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Jones was the first Montana Tech player to sign an NFL contract.

“He was the perfect example and perfect role model for kids who thought it was Division I or bust," Stallworth said. "He showed that if you give it your all and play really hard, there’s a college and a level for you. His ego wasn’t too big that he wouldn’t go to junior college and his ego wasn’t too big that he wouldn’t go to Montana Tech at that level and excel, and he still got an opportunity with two NFL teams."

Jones was waived by the Ravens a month after signing and given an injury settlement. In 2015, Jones was signed by the New York Giants before being waived again with an injury settlement two months later.

After his football career ended, Jones spent time training in mixed martial arts at a Reno gym. His last fight was May 20 when he won a King of the Cage match at the Silver Legacy Casino Resort.

“He was really positive, had a lot of friends, made a lot of friends quickly," Stallworth said. "But he wasn’t afraid of hard work. That’s what he always had to do. He always was told that he wasn’t good enough to do this or that, he wasn’t big enough or wasn’t strong enough.

"Here’s a guy who went through high school with people telling him that, through junior college and they told him that, went to NAIA and they told him that, went to the pros and they told him that and ultimately he went into MMA and they told him that.”

On Monday, Jones’ popular hashtag, #IBVibiN, began circulating social media with friends paying homage to Jones. The hashtag was shorthand for "I Be Vibing," meaning to always have a positive attitude and do all you can to be great.

Siva Ali, 35, said he knew Jones for more than five years. What first started as a working relationship – Ali was Jones's tattoo artist – developed into a friendship.

"Everything that happened to him just doesn't match everything he was about," Ali said. "He was the good guy. When Ryan would come into the room, you would notice him. He's so tall and so big and had a good smile. ... He was the big fish."

Ali said Jones was always talking about his future and his family, two subjects Ali said Jones was passionate about.

"He did well for himself," Ali said. "He had his life together. He's just gone too soon."

Stallworth said he will remember Jones as a kind, respectful, humble, hard-working kid who pursued his dreams.

“He didn’t have any fears and ultimately that lack of fear got him into the situation he got into the other night," Stallworth said. "Ryan accepted challenges. He never backed down from a challenge. He was married to his career. The last three or four years that I’ve seen at the barber shop or in the community, he was busting his butt working out with Duke Williams and Courtney Gardner (both Hug alums who also signed NFL contracts) trying to make a pro career or he was doing his MMA workouts. He was driven to become a success.”

Jun-21-2017 278 0
The investigation into alleged sexual assault on "Bachelor in Paradise" is over ... and the conclusion -- no sexual assault, and the show will go on.

The show was put on ice after a producer claimed Corinne Olympios was so drunk she was not capable of consenting to oral sex in a swimming pool with DeMario Jackson. Warner Bros. put the show on hold during the investigation. As we reported, multiple people who saw the video claim Corinne was "fully engaged" and lucid throughout the sexual encounter. We're told the investigation is now complete and the finding was there was no sexual assault. We're told DeMario's lawyer met with Warner Bros. lawyers Monday, reviewed the tapes and assured him he was in the clear. Our sources say filming will resume in the same location in Mexico. The show will air this summer. As for the swimming pool incident, Warner Bros. says it will not be released. As for Corinne and DeMario ... we're told no decisions have been made on whether they'll be on the show.
GENNA MARTIN Jun-19-2017 188 0
There were more questions than answers in the hours after Seattle police officers fatally shot a pregnant mother in her home Sunday morning.
Several dozen people attend a vigil outside the apartment building of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-

Charleena Lyles's aunt Tonya Isabell yells out Lyles's name as several dozen people attend a vigil for her outside the apartment building where she was killed by police Sunday morning, June 18, 2017. Lyles has a history of mental illness and police say she brandished a knife during the incident.

Several dozen people attend a vigil outside the apartment building of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old woman who was shot by police after she called them to respond to an attempted burglary, Sunday, June 18, 2017. Lyles has a history of mental illness and police say she brandished a knife during the incident.

Connor Lee holds a "Black Lives Matter" sign as several dozen people attend a vigil outside the apartment building of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old woman who was shot by police after she called them to respond to an attempted burglary, Sunday, June 18, 2017. Lyles has a history of mental illness and police say she brandished a knife during the incident.

Several dozen people attend a vigil outside the apartment building of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old woman who was shot by police after she called them to respond to an attempted burglary, Sunday, June 18, 2017. Lyles has a history of mental illness and police say she brandished a knife during the incident.

Friends, family and other residents of the Brettler Family Place apartment complex in the North Seattle park gathered to remember Lyles and express concerns related to the shooting. Seattle mayoral candidates Bob Hasegawa and Nikkita Oliver were in attendance, as was local hip-hop artist Macklemore.

Family members spoke about Lyles, who was a mother of four who was several months pregnant with her fifth child.

"She loved her kids to death, she was always the life of the party and had a smile on her face ... I loved her so much," her older sister Monika Williams said.

Andre Taylor, whose brother of Che Taylor who was killed by Seattle police last year, and others spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement and grievances with the Seattle Police Department.

Early in the investigation, police contend Lyles was shot after brandishing a knife at officers. A lengthy inquiry is expected.

The shooting occurred just before 10 a.m., after officers arrived at Lyles fourth-story apartment in the 6800 block of 62nd Avenue Northeast.

Police Department spokesman Detective Mark Jamieson said two officers were responded to reports of a burglary. They arrived at the apartment, Jamieson said, and “were confronted by a 30-year-old woman armed with a knife.”

Her children were inside of the apartment at the time. Neither they nor the officers were injured. Police say the kids are being cared for by family members.

In weeks prior, Lyles was trying to get help for some mental health issues, Williams told KOMO News. She had been released from jail on Wednesday after being arrested following an argument with police.

"The obstruction was she wouldn't let go of her baby until I got here and she had some scissors in her hand. She didn't charge nobody or nothing," Williams said. "She just told them to call my sister and tell my sister gets here. And then when I got here, I told them then. 'Cause they didn't know whether to take her to jail or take her to mental health."

Lyles' family said three of her four children were inside the home at the time of the shooting. Lyles' brother, Domico Jones, says officers didn't have to use lethal force.

"If worse came to worse, use a Taser instead of a gun for someone that has three kids inside of their house," Jones said to KOMO News. "I feel that it's not gonna bring no harm to nobody."

Officers attempted CPR after the shooting Sunday, but they were unable to revive her.

The apartment building is owned by Solid Ground, a social service organization in Seattle.

Mike Buchman, Communications Director for the company, said trauma counselors are available for residents in need. The complex includes 9 properties and houses about 400 residents. About half of those residents are minors.

In a statement Sunday evening, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said shooting was a tragedy and called for a full investigation.

"My thoughts are with the many people impacted, including the three children and the responding officers," Murray said. "This will be fully investigated.”

Seattle police said both officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave, per department policy.

Williams set up a GoFundMe Sunday night to raise money to support Lyles' children. As of Monday morning, the campaign had raised more than double its initial goal of $5,000.

SeattlePI reporter Levi Pulkkinen contributed to this report, which contains information from KOMO News.
USA TODAY Jun-18-2017 220 0
A Miami teen who had a scholarship to play football at a California junior college was shot and died days after high school graduation, police say according to reports.

Craig Brown, 19, graduated last week from North Miami Beach High. He was scheduled to leave for Merced College on July 1.

His relatives told Local10.com in South Florida that they believe he was shot during a Craigslist transaction. Brown had advertised video games and a game console and was meeting the person who was planning to buy the items.

"Happy, always smiling, a friend to everyone. Everyone who knew him - I can say at least 200 to 300 people have come here to hug me and told me what a great kid he was. and how much love he just had for everyone," his father, Craig Brown, told the station. "(He) wouldn't hurt a fly, wouldn't hurt anyone. (He) loved animals. He had this dog, you'd think this dog was one of his kids, man."

Brown's father speculated that the shooter and his son, the oldest of four children, might have gotten into a scuffle following a robbery attempt.

North Miami Beach coach Jeff Bertani said Brown played on the team for four years.

"He was phenomenal on the field for us," Bertani said. "He loved every minute he was on that field. His personality was large on the field, his personality was large off the field."

Miami-Dead police are investigating the incident.
Nivea Serrao Jun-18-2017 155 0
Jay Z isn’t the only one having a very special Father’s Day this year. Thanks to the rapper, many fathers who are currently behind bars awaiting bail will now be going home.

The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee recently penned an op-ed for Time in which he not only identified the for-profit bail bond industry and “its predatory lending scheme” as one of the major factors contributing to the United States being one of the most incarcerated countries in the world, but also pledged to give money to organizations that would help bail out men currently being held pending bail.

“If you’re from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you’re unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can’t afford bail,” he wrote. “Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time — not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime.”

He later referenced organizations like Southerners On New Ground and Color of Change that bailed out moms for Mother’s Day. “As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix, we have to get rid of these inhumane practices altogether. We can’t fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry.”

Jay Z noted that while this is one of the issues within the American judicial system that activists and filmmakers like Ava DuVernay have been calling attention to in their work, it’s something he became “obsessed” with after helping with a docuseries about Kalief Browder, a 22-year-old black man whose family could not afford to post bail when he was accused of stealing a backpack. He spent three years on Rikers Island in solitary confinement and later died by suicide.

This isn’t the first time the Knowles-Carter family has proved philanthropic. Most recently, Beyoncé celebrated the one-year anniversary of her Peabody Award-winning visual album Lemonade by starting the Formation Scholars scholarship program, which is aimed at young women studying creative arts, music, literature, or African-American studies at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.
AP Jun-17-2017 134 0
The judge in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial declared a mistrial Saturday after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked.

Jurors deliberated more than 52 hours over six days before telling a judge they couldn't reach a unanimous decision on whether "The Cosby Show" star drugged and molested Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

A conviction could have sent Cosby to prison for the rest of his life. The case has already helped replace the public's image of him as kindly, paternal Dr. Cliff Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," the top-rated 1980s and '90s sitcom, with that of an accused serial predator. Dozens of women have come forward to say he drugged and assaulted them, though Costand's encounter with Cosby was the only one to result in criminal charges.

Cosby's lawyers have said he and Andrea Constand were lovers sharing a consensual sexual encounter.
Prosecutors get four months to decide whether they want to retry Cosby, 79, or drop the charges.

Cosby's lawyer had repeatedly demanded a mistrial as the talks wore on without a verdict. The judge initially said there was no precedent to send the jury home.

"I have no authority to do this," Judge Steven O'Neill said in the 52nd hour of deliberations Friday night. "I'm sorry it's causing everyone frustration."

Cosby lawyer Brian McMonagle had fired back that jurors might be under the assumption they have to deliberate until "the cows come home."

The jury got back to work early Saturday as deliberations on the fate of the man once known as America's Dad pushed into Father's Day weekend, but the judge declared a mistrial soon after.

When no decision was in sight, the TV star thanked his fans and supporters -- first in a tweet, then in brief comments as he left the courthouse late Friday.

"I just want to wish all of the fathers a happy Father's Day," Cosby said. "And I want to thank the jury for their long days. Their honest work, individually. I also want to thank the supporters who have been here. And, please, to the supporters, stay calm. Do not argue with people. Just keep up the great support. Thank you."

The epic deliberation has produced some testy exchanges in court.

The judge previously challenged McMonagle's requests to end the trial without a verdict, saying that for all he knew, the jury might have been working toward an acquittal.

"You don't know why they were deadlocked. Everyone is assuming one way or another," said O'Neill.

As jurors left for the night Friday, O'Neill praised their "hard work, dedication and fidelity to your oath." The jury, from the Pittsburgh area, had been sequestered for two weeks about 300 miles from home.

McMonagle objected in court to the panel's repeated requests to review testimony, saying it suggested some jurors were trying to coerce other jurors in an attempt to bring an end to the deadlock.

The judge said he saw no evidence of coercion or trouble in the deliberating room after the jurors reported their impasse on Thursday and he instructed them at the time to keep trying for a verdict.

"There's a misperception that there's a time limit," he said.

Jurors got the case on Monday. They were supposed to come to a unanimous decision to convict or acquit.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.
STEVE KARNOWSKI Jun-16-2017 159 0
A Minnesota police officer was acquitted of manslaughter Friday in the fatal shooting of a black motorist who had informed the officer seconds earlier that he was carrying a gun.

Jeronimo Yanez was also cleared of two lesser charges in the July traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb. Yanez testified that Philando Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so. The defense also argued Castile was high on marijuana and said that affected his actions.
Castile had a permit for the weapon. Prosecutors questioned whether Yanez ever saw the gun. They argued that the officer overreacted and that Castile was not a threat.

The case garnered immediate attention because Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, streamed the aftermath live on Facebook.

Yanez, who is Latino, was charged with second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though sentencing guidelines suggest around four years is more likely. He also faced two lesser counts of endangering Reynolds and her daughter for firing his gun into the car near them.
The jury got the case Monday, after just five days of testimony, evidence and arguments. The 12-member jury included two blacks. The rest were white. None was Latino.

Castile's shooting was among a string of killings of blacks by police around the U.S., and the livestreaming of its aftermath attracted even more attention. The public outcry included protests in Minnesota that shut down highways and surrounded the governor's mansion. Castile's family claimed he was profiled because of his race, and the shooting renewed concerns about how police officers interact with minorities. Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton also weighed in, saying he did not think the shooting would have happened if Castile had been white.

Yanez testified that he stopped Castile in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights because he thought the 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker looked like one of two men who had robbed a nearby convenience store a few days earlier. Castile's car had a faulty brake light, giving the 29-year-old officer a legally sufficient pretext for pulling him over, several experts testified.

Squad-car video played repeatedly for the jury shows a wide view of the traffic stop and the shooting, with the camera pointed toward Castile's car. While it captures what was said between the two men and shows Yanez firing into the vehicle, it does not show what happened inside the car or what Yanez might have seen.

The video shows the situation escalated quickly, with Yanez shooting Castile just seconds after Castile volunteered, "Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me." Five of the officer's seven shots struck Castile. Witnesses testified that the gun was in a pocket of Castile's shorts when paramedics removed him from his vehicle.

Prosecutors called several witnesses to try to show that Yanez never saw the gun and acted recklessly and unreasonably. But defense attorneys called their own witnesses to back up Yanez's claim that he saw Castile pulling the gun and that Yanez was right to shoot.

After shooting Castile, Yanez is heard on the squad-car video telling a supervisor variously that he didn't know where Castile's gun was, then that he told Castile to get his hand off it. Yanez testified, "What I meant by that was I didn't know where the gun was up until I saw it in his right thigh area."

He said he clearly saw a gun and that Castile ignored his commands to stop pulling it out of his pocket. His voice choked with emotion as he talked of being "scared to death" and thinking of his wife and baby daughter in the split-second before he fired.

Prosecutors argued that Yanez could have taken lesser steps, such as asking to see Castile's hands or asking where the gun was. After Castile told the officer he had the gun, Yanez told Castile, "OK, don't reach for it then," and, "Don't pull it out."

On the squad-car video, Castile can be heard saying, "I'm not pulling it out," as Yanez opened fire. Prosecutors said Castile's last words were, "I wasn't reaching for it."

Reynolds testified that she began recording the shooting's aftermath because she feared for her life and wanted to make sure the truth was known. Defense attorneys pointed to inconsistencies in several of her statements.

Defense attorneys also argued that Castile was high on marijuana and said that affected his behavior. But a prosecution expert testified there's no way to tell when Castile last smoked marijuana or whether he was high.
Jun-16-2017 130 0
A newspaper investigation has found that only three Texas law enforcement officers were indicted out of the 289 cases in the last decade in which a person has died while in the custody of officers.

Separately, the investigation by the Austin American-Statesman also found only three instances in which an officer was fired or suspended for their actions following an in-custody death.

Punishment rarely occurred even when officers were found to have violated use-of-force or other policies.

Families of those who died in police custody often turned to civil courts to address their complaints. Since 2005 more than $20 million has been awarded to families in settlements and judgments.
The newspaper's findings were largely based on a Custodial Death Report maintained by the Texas attorney general's office.
Victor Blackwell Jun-15-2017 222 0
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of the South Georgia teen found dead in a rolled gym mat has been dismissed by a federal judge.

US District Court Judge W. Louis Sands dismissed the case because Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson failed to serve defendants with their amended lawsuit in a timely fashion.

Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found dead at Lowndes High School in January 2013. A state autopsy determined that Johnson's death was accidental. His parents believe he was killed.

Johnson's parents filed the $100 million lawsuit against dozens of local and state officials in January 2015. The suit named Johnson's former schoolmates Branden Bell, Brian Bell and their father, FBI Special Agent Rick Bell, as defendants of a wrongful death claim.

"We're pleased to see the case dismissed once again. The case was meritless from the beginning and has now been dismissed twice," said attorney Patrick T. O'Connor, who represents the Bell family.

"The only thing remaining is for the Superior Court of Lowndes County to make an award of attorney's fees in favor of the defendants," O'Connor added.

The Johnsons' attorney, Chevene King, filed a motion for dismissal in March 2016 as a Department of Justice investigation proceeded. The Justice Department declined to file charges and the Johnsons' suit was refiled several months later.

In August 2016, Georgia Judge Richard Porter ordered the Johnsons and King to pay legal fees of several city and county officials named in the suit. Porter has not determined the amount the Johnsons and King must pay.

When asked about the dismissal of the case, King declined to comment.
bob stewart Jun-15-2017 212 0
The jury deciding Bill Cosby's fate said Thursday that it’s deadlocked.

"We cannot come to an unanimous consensus on any of the counts," the sequestered panel of five women and seven men told Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill.

The jury had been deliberating for more than 29 hours, reportedly a record for the courthouse in Norristown, PA.

Cosby's defense lawyer Brian McMonagle heard the news and made a motion for a mistrial, which the judge denied.

Judge O'Neill sent the jurors back to keep trying.

"I will not set any specific time for deliberations," he said.

Cosby, 79, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand inside his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004.

He has pleaded not guilty. The charges carry sentencing guidelines of five to 10 years each.
Elizabeth Elizalde Jun-15-2017 111 0
Minnesota EMTs on Monday removed a partially clothed woman found unresponsive in a packed plane’s bathroom — as some passengers criticized the way they removed her from the flight.

Relatives identified the woman as Theresa Hines, 48, of Carrollton, Tex. She died shortly after emergency workers found her unresponsive in the bathroom of an American Airlines Boeing 737 en route from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Ross Feinstein, an American Airlines spokesman, said in a statement to the Daily News the airline crew onboard provided medical assistance to Hines, who they described was “in medical distress” before landing.

“The paramedics worked immediately to remove our passenger from the aircraft and provide her with medical aid, but unfortunately, they were unable to revive her,” Feinstein said.

Airport officials emphasized they had followed the proper protocols.

"From our standpoint everything was handled according to the textbook," airport spokesman Pat Hogan told The Associated Press.

Hogan said Hines was wearing underwear and a shirt at the time of the incident. When the plane landed, medics transported her out of the plane in a portable stretcher down the aisle, he said.

“She was not half-naked,” passenger Dave Sampsell told The Star Tribune. “Her pants were unfastened, but I saw nothing that any of the airline or EMT staff did inappropriately.”

He told the Tribune EMTs crossed the line when they “dragged her down the aisle” while not covering her.

“The EMT was out of line,” Endress, who was seated not far from the plane’s bathroom, told the newspaper. “The flight attendants could have thrown a blanket on her."

On the ground, firefighters and an ambulance were waiting for the plane to land. Hines — on the stretcher — was taken to the jet bridge where emergency workers tried to revive her.

Her cause of death wasn’t immediately known.

“We are deeply saddened by this event, and our thoughts and prayers go out to our passenger’s loved ones,” Feinstein said.

Hines’ family has set up a GoFundMe page to pay for her funeral expenses.
Andrew Shuster Jun-13-2017 86 0
An “America’s Got Talent” contestant named Brandon Rogers died in a car accident over the weekend before his episode was scheduled to air. The 29-year-old aspiring singer was also a doctor who finished medical school last year.

Rogers went viral earlier this year after posting an Instagram video of himself covering Boyz II Men’s hit song, “On Bended Knee.” The footage caught the attention of the R&B group, who invited the young doctor to join them on stage at one of their Las Vegas shows.

He went on to try out for “AGT” and was said to be a favorite to advance in the reality competition series. Producers have yet to make a decision as whether or not to air Rogers’ audition.
Shortly after the news of his death, Boyz II Men paid tribute to Rogers on their Facebook page. “Today our hearts are deeply saddened to learn about the sudden death of Dr. Brandon Rogers in a car accident,” the group wrote in a statement. “A few moths back we brought this young man out to the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas to perform with us. He was great all 3 nights! Just a genuinely nice person and a really good singer! Gone too young and gone too soon.”

The singers added, “It hurts to know that the world will never have a chance to witness what his impact on the world could have been as a Doctor and even on the music world. A great spirit and a great voice. Even for the little time we knew you you will be sorely miss. May God Bless, keep and comfort your family in this difficult time.” 

Slide 1 of 68: FILE - In this Dec. 11, 1985, file photo, Adam West poses for a photo in Los Angeles. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)
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Stars we've lost in 2017
Adam West, star of the '60s 'Batman' TV series
cbs46 Jun-12-2017 71 0
Gov. Nathan Deal has suspended DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann following an incident involving the sheriff at an Atlanta Park in May.

According to a police report, an officer patrolling Piedmont Park noticed Mann fondling himself. The officer wrote that Mann, who was unidentified at the time, started to walk toward the officer and then completely exposed his genitals as he continued to fondle himself. According to the report, Mann came within a few feet of the bicycle officer when the officer pointed his flashlight at him. That's when he's accused of taking off and running.

Mann pleaded not guilty to public indecency and obstruction.

The sheriff self-imposed a suspension on himself that has since ended. However, after an investigation, Gov. Deal has suspended him for 40 days effective June 13.

SARAH GABRIELLI Jun-12-2017 99 0
A woman who died after getting plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic was in excruciating pain after she returned to the Bronx, a neighbor said Sunday.

Janelle Edwards, 25, died Thursday of a blood clot caused by a breast enhancement, tummy tuck and butt implants performed in Santo Domingo, a relative and police sources said.

Two weeks before her death, Paula Gordon — Edwards’ neighbor in Allerton, the Bronx — saw her doubled over, holding her stomach.

“She said she was in pain and she was going to the hospital,” recalled Gordon, a school-bus driver. “That day she was in excruciating pain and I tell her I’m gonna pray for her. And I do.”

NYC mom dies after failed plastic surgeries in Dominican Republic
Gordon said the botched surgery should be a warning to people seeking body enhancements in the Dominican Republic.

“Sometimes people say cheaper is better, but it’s not always,” Gordon said.

Edwards’ parents found her unconscious, slumped behind the wheel of her car near Co-op City. The mother of two daughters — ages 1 and 7 — died at Montefiore Medical Center’s Albert Einstein Hospital.

“She was all wrapped in bandages and had an IV on a stand. She was in a lot of pain,” Elia Mayo, 50, told The News.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons warns that flying shortly after surgery increases the risk of pulmonary embolism and blood clots.

Edwards’ family said she was a caring, loving person.

"The family is mourning right now, so it’s not really a good time to talk," her cousin Christopher Hamilton, 23, said.
Jun-08-2017 444 0
William Taggart, interim President of Morehouse College in Atlanta has passed away after suffering an apparent aneurysm.

Taggart took over for John Wilson, who was ousted from his position in March, three months before his contract was to expire.

Taggart was an alumnus of Howard University and was the former president and CEO of Atlanta Life Financial Company. He joined Morehouse as the campus' chief operating officer in July of 2015. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.
JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH Jun-08-2017 128 0
Police officers are significantly less respectful and consistently ruder toward black motorists during routine traffic stops than they are toward white drivers, a paper released this week found.

The paper, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, detailed the ways in which footage from body cameras worn by members of the Oakland Police Department in California helped illuminate the disparity in treatment.

The report was written by group of researchers in the psychology, linguistics and computer science departments at Stanford University, including Jennifer Eberhardt, a psychology professor. She said in an interview on Tuesday that it was unlikely that the results were unique to Oakland and that she would expect similar imbalances to show up throughout the United States.

“Based on what we know from other research, there are police-community tensions all over the country,” she said. “You might imagine that those tensions would make their way into the language that people are using with one another.”

“We’d like to look at these issues in other agencies, but our suspicion is that there would be similar results in other places,” she added.

Racial disparities in police officers’ treatment of citizens have long been acknowledged, but the paper provided strong empirical evidence of the oft-cited phenomenon — evidence that did not rely on motorists’ memories of their interactions with the police or on the behavior of officers as observed by researchers.

Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, commented on the study on Twitter: “It’s always important to have the research, but yes, we know.”

The study accounted for the race of the officer, the severity of the driver’s violation and other crucial factors. To control for the severity of the violation, for instance, the researchers ran a separate model on a subset of interactions that were rated according to the severity. The results did not change significantly, they found.

The report describes three interrelated studies that were conducted with the use of data collected from cameras worn by 245 officers during 981 stops in April 2014. In the first study, participants rated the officers’ speech for several criteria that were indicative of respect, including formality, friendliness and politeness.

In the following two studies, the researchers devised statistical models that could analyze whether the speech was respectful, finding that ratings assigned by the models were as consistent with the average human assessment as humans were with one another.

They then applied those models to more than 35,000 distinct utterances captured by the body-worn cameras, finding “strong evidence that utterances spoken to white community members are consistently more respectful.”

The paper included examples of remarks that were rated as disrespectful and respectful. “All right, my man. Do me a favor, just keep your hands on the steering wheel real quick,” was given a negative “respect score” of -0.51 partly because the driver was addressed informally and because of the directive on hand position.

Another phrase, “Sorry to stop you. My name’s Officer [name] with the Police Department,” received a score of 0.84, with the officer’s apology and introduction leading to the positive rating. The study found that white motorists were 57 percent more likely to have heard one of the most respectful statements in the data set, while black community members were 61 percent more likely to have heard one of the least respectful.

The decision to cooperate with the Stanford researchers was made by the former chief of the Oakland Police Department, Sean Whent. The department began implementing new training programs based on its findings as early as 2014. LeRonne Armstrong, a deputy chief with the Oakland police, said that the department viewed the paper as an opportunity to improve.

“I hope that people respect the fact that we are the only police department that’s willing to step out and look at these type of things,” he said. “I hope that they see promise in that a law enforcement agency is willing to take on this issue.”

Dr. Eberhardt emphasized that the findings did not necessarily indicate racial bias on the part of individual police officers. “On the whole, officers were respectful to people,” she said. “It’s just that they were more respectful to whites than they were to blacks.”

She expressed hope that the models her team developed would allow law enforcement agencies to evaluate their officers’ behavior as well as the efficacy of reforms like procedural justice, which emphasize respectful interactions with the public as central to improving trust between police officers and communities.

“It goes well beyond Oakland and well beyond race,” she said of the potential applications of her team’s methodology. “Because this is now quantified, they’d be able to measure the effectiveness of whatever interventions they try.”
Amanda Batchelor Jun-07-2017 125 0
A judge has temporarily banned a South Florida doctor from performing plastic surgery procedures after a woman died under his care, Florida Department of Health spokesman Brad Dalton said Tuesday in an email to Local 10 News.

Dalton said Dr. Osak Omulepu's license was revoked by the Board of Medicine in April.

He said the First District Court of Appeals granted a stay of revocation while on appeal.

A motion by the Department of Health to impose conditions on that stay was denied last Thursday.

Dalton said a second motion Monday by the department to impose conditions on the stay in the case was preliminarily granted.

"We are waiting for a final resolution of that motion, but during this time Dr. Omulepu shall not perform plastic surgery procedures and shall have a board-certified physician present for any other medical procedures," Dalton said.

Miami-Dade police said Lattia Baumeister, 30, of Rock Island, Illinois, was undergoing a cosmetic procedure Thursday morning at the Seduction Cosmetic Center, 2500 NW 107th Ave., in Doral when she experienced a medical emergency.

She was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where she died.

An incident report listed Omulepu, 44, as the physician who operated on Baumeister.

"Dr. Omulepu is absolutely devastated by the complication that occurred in this case," his attorney, Monica Rodriguez, said. "This is the first patient death he has had. Although what happened has been widely documented as a complication of the procedure the patient underwent, it is not a situation any surgeon wants to have."

According to Florida Department of Health records, there was a February 2016 order of emergency restriction of license filed against Omulepu, who was previously affiliated with Encore Plastic Surgery.

Omulepu, also formerly of Vanity Cosmetic Surgery and Spectrum-Aesthetics Center for Cosmetic Surgery, was accused of injuring four patients, ages 29 to 35, in 2015.

Omulepu received the Florida Surgeon General order of emergency restriction after he was accused of botching medical procedures in 2015 that resulted in hospitalizations from three days to three months.

Some of his alleged mistakes included not using the correct proportion of anesthesia.

Records show he has had 12 formal complaints made against him.

The cosmetic center was temporarily ordered shut after the incident by inspectors with the city of Doral.

Below is a list of the violations found at the business:

-Six medical doctors did not possess the city business license.
-Business was performing massage therapy without an active State of Florida massage therapy establishment license.
-Business did not possess an active massage therapy establishment city business license.
-Massage therapists did not possess current city business licenses.
-There were interior alterations within the establishment without the required building permits, including modifications within two operating rooms.

Miami-Dade police are working with Doral police in the death investigation.

The cosmetic center's owner, Gretel Jardon, refused to speak to Local 10 News about the death.

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