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Tavis Smiley Upset with Chicago Public Radio for Dropping Show
Oct-29-2012 1580 0


Tavis Smiley and his beloved brother in the struggle, Cornel West, just got kicked off a Chicago radio station due to declining ratings.

Smiley addressed the split recently in a heated open letter to Torey Malatia, president of Chicago Public Radio affiliate WBEZ.

“One could argue that it is easier for an African American to be president of the United States than it is to host a primetime radio program on Chicago Public Radio,” Smiley declared. He went on explaining how “demeaning, derogatory and dead wrong” Malatia and his folks are about the drop.

Smiley explained Chicago Public Media cut them off, citing declined ratings. According to the group, listeners went from 37,900 to 13,200. Besides that, officials didn’t like that the show was slanted a particular way.

“The show had developed much more of an ‘advocacy’ identity, which is inconsistent with our approach on WBEZ,” a spokesman said.

Others, however, suspect the cancelation had more to do with the pair’s relentless criticism of the president.

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Vincent Frank Jun-28-2016 51 0
Zurlon Tipton, who played for the Indianapolis Colts in each of the past two seasons, has reportedly died after shooting himself in Michigan on Tuesday morning.

Tipton, 26, played 16 games for the Colts over the past two seasons. The Central Michigan product was arrested back in December after being accused of firing an assault rifle (via the Indy Star).

That incident came just five days after his final game with the Colts.

Tuesday’s accidental shooting came after a gun in his car was discharged.

Here’s a snippet from a local CBS affiliate in Indianapolis on Tuesday afternoon.

“The man went to take a duffel bag out of the trunk of his vehicle, and one of the two guns inside the bag reportedly went off. He was struck in the stomach. He was taken to the hospital in good condition, but later died.”

Tipton signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2014 season. Playing primarily on special teams, he recorded a total of 38 rushing yards in two seasons with the team.
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Wesley Yiin Jun-27-2016 108 0
Three weeks ago, 16-year-old Chauncy Black approached Matt White at the Kroger grocery store in Memphis, Tenn., asking if he could help carry White’s bags in exchange for a box of donuts.

“He had me at donuts,” White would later write.

White, a 30-year-old singer-songwriter, asked Black if he had come to store alone. Black said he had, and in fact, he’d trekked across town to make it to the “rich people’s Kroger” in an effort to find someone who could buy him and his mother food.

And so, instead of parting ways at the end of the transaction, Black and White went on a shopping spree, buying “just a little bit of everything”: chips, pizza, vegetables, melons, pasta, toothbrushes, soap, peanut butter. They talked while they shopped, and Black explained how he was trying to help his mother pay the rent. Black also said that, despite his poverty, he was earning straight A’s in school and hoped to someday be wealthy enough to help the poor and needy, just as White was helping him then.

Astonished by Black’s story, White gave the boy a ride home. Walking into his house, White had to hold back tears, as everything Black described was true — and then some: The house had no furniture, except a couple of lamps, a couch and some sleeping bags. The refrigerator was empty. Black’s mother, Barbara, turned out to be his 61-year-old grandmother (he calls her “mom”) who is physically disabled due to diabetes, according to the Commercial Appeal.

The whole experience left White so moved that he posted a long account of it on his Facebook page. To his surprise, the story was shared thousands of times.

Realizing the power and the draw of Black’s story, White decided to set up a GoFundMe page, titled “Chauncy’s Chance,” on which he listed items that Black and his grandmother needed.

“I didn’t think it could happen, but it did. I’m 30 years old, and I have a new hero,” White wrote in the GoFundMe description, before going on to describe his first encounter with Black. He listed the clothing sizes for Black and his grandmother, solicited part-time job offers on Black’s behalf and set up an email address through which donors and readers could contact them. He set the fundraising goal to $250.

It was met within a few hours. White raised it to $500, which was met in just hours as well. In this short time frame, Black also received a lawn mower, an entire bed set, and a window AC unit.

By the next day, someone had offered Black a job.

And so, roughly once a day, White posted an update on the site. In almost every one, he expresses his gratitude for the donations and for God, explains what new items Black has received and increases the fundraising goal. Some updates include videos of Black and his grandmother.

“I’ve never cried so much in one day,” he wrote in update five.

By update 10, posted a week ago, $15,000 had been raised. “I have a new family!!!!” White wrote.

Update 12: $17,000. “It’s like a love avalanche and we’re buried alive!!!!” White wrote.

At update 14, three days ago, White announced that he was making the GoFundMe campaign public. Since then, the total amount raised has gone up to over $271,000 — more than 10 times what White and Black had received before going public. The campaign page has been shared 9,600 times, and more than 11,000 people have donated.

In their comments on the GoFundMe page, donors have noted how moved and inspired they are by the resilience of Black and his grandmother, and by White’s generosity. Many share White’s religious fervor.

Some have picked up on the story’s racial coincidence:

“With all the racial problems were having between Police and African-Americans lately, could this be a sign from God for us to all get along[?]” wrote a donor who self-identified as “A G.” “Not only has God given this great kid a chance to prove himself, but to show his real power God picks a Black person named Black, and he picks a White person named White; what are the odds of that ever happening again?”

The success of the fundraising has led to some distress for Black and his grandmother. Barbara Black told the Commercial Appeal that previously estranged family members, including Chauncy’s birth mother, have reappeared in their lives to ask for money.

“We’ve had phone calls from them constantly saying, ‘Where y’all at? Send me some money,'” White told the Commercial Appeal. To avoid this unwanted attention., the family has been living in local hotels. In his most recent GoFundMe update, White wrote that he went to Black’s house with a police escort to pick up their belongings.

Despite these disturbances, Black and his grandmother are grateful for the financial boon. Soon, they may have a new house, with furniture donated by local businesses.

“God’s looking over Matt right now, saying, ‘This guy is a hero,'” Black said to the Commercial Appeal.
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Alfred Ng Jun-27-2016 110 0
Right after leaving a rall for peace in Baltimore’s streets, a rapper was ambushed and killed by the gun violence he wanted to end.

Lor Scoota, a rising 23-year-old rapper from Baltimore, known for his infectious “Bird Flu” song in 2014, was gunned down in broad daylight on a busy intersection in the city on Saturday, after the shooter jumped in front of the musician’s car and opened fire.

Investigators believe the ambush was a targeted attack, with Scoota as the intended victim.

“A kid that has been involved in a number of different rallies for peace throughout our city is the latest victim of crime here in Baltimore,” Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith told reporters at a press conference on Sunday.

An hour before he was murdered, Scoota, also known by his real name Tyriece Travon Watson, was at the “Touch the People” charity basketball game at Morgan State University.
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wfaa Jun-23-2016 119 0
A grand jury has cleared the McKinney Police officer seen on video forcing a teenage girl to the ground outside a pool party last year.

Seven minutes of video posted to YouTube put Eric Casebolt and the city of McKinney in the national spotlight in June 2015.

In that video, Cpl. Eric Casebolt is seen using profanity and aggressively throwing a 15-year-old girl in a bathing suit to the ground, face down, outside a pool party in Craig Ranch. He then appeared to pin her down with his knees.

A Collin County grand jury on Thursday determined there was not enough evidence to warrant criminal charges against Casebolt, who was a 10-year veteran of McKinney PD.

The Texas Rangers completed an investigation into the incident in January. The results of that investigation were given to the district attorney's office and then presented to the grand jury.

The full results have not been made public.

McKinney Police will hold a public forum next week regarding the grand jury's decision, according to a statement from the city:

Several community leaders involved with the Police Chief’s Advisory Council will be on hand to speak at the meeting focusing on the theme: Moving Forward, Strengthening Police and Community Relationships. All McKinney residents are invited to attend this meeting.
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CHEVEL JOHNSON Jun-23-2016 124 0
About 200 people showed up Friday to help celebrate a Louisiana honors student and standout athlete who was blocked from participating in his graduation ceremony last month because of facial hair.

Democratic state Rep. Katrina Jackson of Monroe and the Rev. Roosevelt Wright III of New Orleans sponsored a ceremony for Andrew Jones after news spread that he was prevented from attending his graduation ceremony because of a Tangipahoa Parish Schools System policy about facial hair.

The dress code policy, found in the Student Handbook for grades 4-12, states the following:

"Hairstyles and mustaches shall be clean, neatly groomed and shall not distract from the learning environment nor be a safety factor for any of the school's curricular offerings. Beards will not be allowed. Any hairstyle that distract from the unique environment of a school shall be dealt with by the principal or his/her designee of that school."

The new celebration was held at the African-American Heritage Museum in Hammond. Some students from Jones' class and other graduates from the area are expected to participate.

Superintendent Mark Kolwe defended the decision to prohibit Jones, a 4.0 student and summa cum laude graduate, from walking with his class at Amite High School, saying rules have to be enforced and Jones received enough warning before the ceremony to shave.

A telephone message from The Associated Press left for Kolwe was not immediately returned.

Kolwe in an earlier statement noted that Jones was one of four graduates who arrived at the ceremony unshaven. Three of them shaved in a restroom at the site where the ceremony was held with a razor provided by the school. Jones, who had a professional shave off the sides of his beard and neatly trim his goatee, refused.

"This policy was explained to the student in question on multiple occasions prior to graduation day, and the consequences for failing to comply with that policy were explained to him and his parents on multiple occasions on graduation day. The student's parents tried to convince him to shave, but he ignored their request ... Andrew made that decision for himself by failing to comply with the reasonable requests made by his parents and school officials that he comply with the rules applicable to all other students," Kolwe's statement said.

Amite High School Principal Renee Carpenter declined to discuss the situation when contacted by The Associated Press.

Jones and his family have told other media outlets that the rule was not enforced throughout the school year and they know of students with facial hair at other schools in the district who were able to participate in their graduation ceremonies.

They refused comment when contacted by The Associated Press, citing a pending lawsuit.

"He was unfairly excluded from the most important day of his life," Jackson and Wright said in a statement. "A beard should NEVER upstage academic excellence."

Jackson said when she initially heard about Jones' situation, she believed he should have submitted and shaved because he didn't follow the rules. But after hearing that he was allowed to participate in other school activities with facial hair, she believes the prohibition was unfairly enforced on what is generally considered a student's biggest day.

"It's wrong to enforce that policy on a young man who had worked so hard to achieve his goals," Jackson said. "Students are responsible for following rules, but we as adults are responsible for enforcing them. As adults, we can't arbitrarily enforce the rules. This was a rule that was never enforced until graduation."

"Anytime a young man such as Andrew has shown academic excellence, it's unfair to not reward him," Wright said. "His academic achievements are incredible."
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Lawrence Hurley Jun-23-2016 202 0
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the practice of considering race in college admissions, rejecting a white woman's challenge to a University of Texas affirmative action program designed to boost the enrollment of minority students.

The court, in a 4-3 ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, decided in favor of the university in turning aside the conservative challenge to the policy, meaning a 2014 appeals court ruling that backed the admissions program was left intact.

The Supreme Court was weighing for the second time a challenge to the admissions system used by the University of Texas at Austin brought by Abigail Fisher, who was denied entry to the school for the autumn of 2008.

Affirmative action is a policy under which racial minorities historically subject to discrimination are given certain preferences in education and employment.

Fisher said the university denied her admission in favor of lesser-qualified black and Hispanic applicants. She maintained that the program violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Kennedy said that "considerable deference" is owed to universities when they are seeking to determine student diversity. He said that "it remains an enduring challenge to our nation's education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity."

But in the Texas case, the challengers had failed to show that the university could have met its needs via another process, he said. Kennedy noted that the university "tried and failed to increase diversity" through other race-neutral means.

The university has disputed whether Fisher would have gained admission under any circumstances. University officials contend that having a sizable number of minorities enrolled exposes students to varied perspectives and enhances the educational experience for all students.

The high court upheld a July 2014 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the university. That court endorsed the school's "limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity."

The university admits most freshmen through a program that guarantees admission to students in the top 10 percent of their Texas high school graduating classes. It uses other factors including race to admit the remainder. Fisher was not in the top 10 percent of her high school class.

The high court had considered Fisher's case once before. In June 2013, it did not directly rule on the program's constitutionality but ordered the appeals court to scrutinize it more closely.

Writing in dissent, Justice Samuel Alito contended that the court's majority had turned its back on principles from the first Fisher ruling, which he said required judges to give more scrutiny to racial admissions and defer less to university officials, and he opened his dissent remarking, "Something strange has happened since our prior decision in this case."

"Here, UT (the University of Texas) has failed to define its interest in using racial preferences with clarity. As a result, the narrow tailoring inquiry is impossible, and UT cannot satisfy strict scrutiny," Alito added.

Alito added that while the university's stated goals are laudable, "they are not concrete or precise, and they offer no limiting principle for the use of racial preferences. For instance, how will a court ever be able to determine whether stereotypes have adequately been destroyed? Or whether cross-racial understanding has been adequately achieved?"

While the university's program has resulted in a measure of racial and ethnic diversity, the percentage of black and Hispanic students on campus still remains lower than in the state's overall population.

Fisher, now 26, graduated from her second choice college, Louisiana State University, and now works as a financial analyst in Austin. Fisher said she has stayed in the case to help others in similar positions.

"I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled that students applying to the University of Texas can be treated differently because of their race or ethnicity. I hope that the nation will one day move beyond affirmative action," Fisher said in a statement.


Edward Blum, a conservative activist who engineered Fisher's challenge, said that racial classifications and preferences are among the most polarizing policies in America today.

"As long as universities like the University of Texas continue to treat applicants differently by race and ethnicity, the social fabric that holds us together as a nation will be weakened. Today's decision is a sad step backward for the original, colorblind principles to our civil rights laws," added Blum, the president of the conservative Project on Fair Representation.
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Reuters Jun-23-2016 152 0
Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr was found not guilty on Thursday of second-degree depraved heart murder in the death of black detainee Freddie Gray, the most serious criminal charge he faced.

Judge Barry Williams handed down the verdict in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Goodson, 46, was the driver of a police transport van in which Gray broke his neck in April 2015. His death triggered rioting and protests in the majority black city. (Reporting by Donna Owens; Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe)

A Maryland judge will issue his verdict on Thursday in the closely watched murder trial of a Baltimore police officer for the death of black detainee Freddie Gray, an incident that triggered rioting and protests.

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr, 46, was the driver of a police wagon in which Gray broke his neck in April 2015. Prosecutors said he gave Gray a "rough ride," failed to ensure his safety and should have called for a medic.

Goodson's defense team argued in Baltimore City Circuit Court that Gray caused his own injuries by falling inside the transport van. Goodson also lacked the training to recognize that Gray was hurt, they said.

Goodson faces the most serious charges among the six officers charged in Gray's death, making his the marquee case for prosecutors. They failed to secure a conviction in two earlier trials of officers.

Judge Barry Williams will hand down his verdict on Thursday morning. Goodson waived a jury trial, and Williams is hearing the case in a bench trial.

Gray's death spawned protests, rioting and arson in the majority African-American city of 620,000 people and stoked a debate on U.S. police treatment of people of color.
Gray, 25, was arrested for fleeing police officers unprovoked in a high-crime area. He was bundled into Goodson's van shackled and was not seatbelted inside the van, a violation of police procedure.

Goodson, who is also African-American, is charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, three counts of manslaughter, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

If convicted on all charges, he faces more than 68 years in prison.

During closing arguments on Monday, Williams peppered prosecutors with questions about what evidence they had that Goodson had bounced Gray around in the van with intent to harm him.

Prosecutor Michael Schatzow told Williams that Goodson's failure to secure Gray and his injuries were enough to show that Gray had gotten a "rough ride."

In the two previous cases, the manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter ended in a hung jury in December, and he faces retrial in September. Williams acquitted Officer Edward Nero of misdemeanor charges last month. (Writing by Ian Simpson in Washington, editing by G Crosse)


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Jun-22-2016 127 0
Florida is one of 26 states to receive a failing grade for its gender and racial diversity, according to the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, progressive legal organization. Florida ranked 29 out of 51 state court jurisdictions in the country because it's judiciaries are 45% less diverse than the state population.

The findings echo some of the research done by the Herald/Times in 2014, which found that Gov. Rick Scott appointed only nine black attorneys to judgeships in his first four years.

The report, authored by law professors Tracey E. George and Albert H. Yoon, compiled the race, ethnicity, and gender of 10,000 sitting judges on state courts. It is titled The Gavel Gap: Who Sits in Judgement at State Courts?

“The vast majority of Americans’ interactions with the judicial system, ranging from traffic violations to criminal proceedings, happen in state courts,” said George of Vanderbilt University. “When people do not see themselves represented in their community leadership, when the vast majority of judges cannot relate to the lived experience of those they serve—this is a problem. It creates a mistrust of judges, and propagates the mystery surrounding the court system. For the first time, we have the data we need to identify and address this serious problem.”

Photo: Tampa Bay Times
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Matthew Dolan Jun-22-2016 122 0
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will announce he is filing a civil lawsuit Wednesday arising from his Flint drinking water investigation, Schuette's office said late Tuesday.
Schuette's office gave no details about the civil suit.

Schuette is to be joined at a 10 a.m. ET news conference by Special Assistant Attorney General Noah Hall and members of his investigative team, which is led by Royal Oak attorney Todd Flood and Andrew Arena, the former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI office in Detroit.

In April, Schuette announced felony criminal charges against two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials and one city of Flint official in connection with the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water. The city employee, Mike Glasgow, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and is cooperating with the investigation as other charges were dropped. The two DEQ employees, Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, are awaiting preliminary examinations.

Flint's water became contaminated with lead when the city, under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, switched its drinking water source from Lake Huron water treated by the Detroit water system to Flint River water treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials have acknowledged a disastrous mistake in failing to require the city to add corrosion-control chemicals as part of the treatment process.

The corrosive water caused lead to leach from pipes, joints and fixtures. Although Flint reconnected to Detroit water in October, after state officials acknowledged the lead-poisoning problem following months of denials, the risk remains because of damage to the water infrastructure system.

Officials also are exploring possible links between the river water and outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease tied to 12 deaths.


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