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U.S. Department of Education spells W.E.B. Du Bois’ name wrong in a tweet honoring him for Black History Month
Jason Silverstein Feb-12-2017 146 0


The U.S. Department of Education needs to bone up on black history — and spelling.

The Education Department, now led by the historically unpopular Betsy Devos, on Sunday tweeted a tribute to the African-American writer and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois — and spelled his name wrong.

The tweet featured a quote from him — “Education must not simply teach work — it must teach life” — and credited it to “W.E.B. DeBois.”

More than two hours later, the tweet remained unchanged.

“Welp, this is a foreshadowing of what #BetsyDeVos is going to usher in @usedgov,” Khary Penebaker, a former Democratic congressional candidate in Wisconsin, tweeted in response.


Du Bois, who died in 1963, was the first African-American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard University. He went on to co-found the NAACP, lead the Niagara Movement for civil rights and write prolifically about racism and social issues.

This was one of the first tweets from the department since DeVos, one of the Trump’s most controversial cabinet picks, took over as secretary. A charter school advocate who struggled to discuss public education in Senate hearings, DeVos was confirmed only after Vice President Pence cast a tie-breaking vote — the first time a vice president has ever had to do so for a cabinet pick.

The Department of Education has been tweeting tributes to black icons through February to celebrate Black History Month — and thus far, the other tweets have been error-free.

The Trump administration has faced mockery through February for its apparent ignorance about black history. Trump referred to Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist who has been dead for more than 120 years, as “an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to defend Trump’s remark, but only cast more doubt on whether they knew who Douglass was — or whether he’s alive.

“I think he wants to highlight the contributions (Douglas) has made,” Spicer said in a daily briefing.

“And I think through a lot of the actions and statements (Trump is) going to make, I think that the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”

Trump chose only one black person for his cabinet — Dr. Ben Carson, who was nominated to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development despite having no prior experience with housing or urban policy.

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JIM SALTER Jun-23-2017 81 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.

Most Americans would rather stay home than go to the movies
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Chris Murray Jun-22-2017 202 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.”

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Jun-21-2017 269 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.
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GENNA MARTIN Jun-19-2017 186 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.
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USA TODAY Jun-18-2017 218 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.
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Nivea Serrao Jun-18-2017 154 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.
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AP Jun-17-2017 133 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.
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STEVE KARNOWSKI Jun-16-2017 158 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.
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Jun-16-2017 129 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.
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