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Martellus Bennett Says He Won't Go to White House to Honor Super Bowl 51 Win
Joseph Zucker Feb-06-2017 111 0


New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett wasted little time revealing whether he'd join his team when it visits the White House to be honored by President Donald Trump for its thrilling come-from-behind victory in Super Bowl LI.

Bennett told reporters following New England's win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday that he will decline the invite from President Trump, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News.

The Patriots have been linked with Trump more so than any other sports franchise in the United States. On Wednesday, the New York Times' Mark Leibovich reported on the various connections between Trump and New England team owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady.

The president gave a shout-out to all three after the Super Bowl:

Bennett played down any ideological differences he and his teammates might share.

"You just don't bring that to work," he said, per George. "We all have our beliefs. We accept people for who they are."

Bennett's decision to skip the White House visit doesn't come as a surprise. During Super Bowl opening night on Monday, he told reporters he was on the fence, adding he didn't "support the guy that's in the house," per NJ Advance Media's Matt Lombardo.

Bennett wouldn't be the first Patriots star to turn down the opportunity to see the president. Following the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX victory, Brady decided not to attend the team's White House ceremony, citing a family commitment, per ESPN.com's Mike Reiss.



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Harold Gater Apr-26-2017 347 0
A Hinds County Sheriff's Department deputy has filed a lawsuit against singer R. Kelly for allegedly having an affair with his wife.

According to reports by WAPT and WLBT, Deputy Kenny Bryant filed the lawsuit against Kelly on April 21 in Hinds County Circuit Court. The lawsuit claims that Bryant's wife, Asia Childress, had a romantic relationship with Kelly prior to their July 15, 2012 wedding. Bryant says he was told that the relationship was at an end. Bryant said the relationship with Kelly rekindled when his wife attended a Kelly concert in October 2012.

Bryant said his wife convinced him to move to Atlanta for her career. Bryant said he quit his job and moved, but believes her underlying motive was to continue the affair with Kelly, according to the lawsuit.

Bryant was unable to find adequate employment in Atlanta, which hurt him financially, the lawsuit states.

Bryant said in the lawsuit that he tried to keep his marriage together, but “could not prevail against R. Kelly’s continued sexual overtures to Childress.”
Childress has filed for divorce.
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SYDNEY EMBER Apr-26-2017 90 0
Troubles at Fox News compounded yet again on Tuesday, with the emergence of new allegations of racial discrimination at the company coming less than a week after the ouster of the network’s star Bill O’Reilly.

Eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a class-action lawsuit in New York against the network, accusing it of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.”

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, expands a complaint filed at the end of March by Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, two black women who worked in the Fox News payroll department. In particular, the suit contends that Judith Slater, the company’s longtime comptroller, engaged in racist behavior and made racist remarks and that senior executives ignored her actions. A third Fox News employee, Monica Douglas, joined the lawsuit earlier this month. Fox News fired Ms. Slater in February.

“When it comes to racial discrimination, 21st Century Fox has been operating as if it should be called 18th Century Fox,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne M. Christensen, said in a statement, referring to Fox News’s parent company. “We sincerely hope the filing of this race class action wakes 21st Century Fox from its slumbers and inspires the company to take a conciliatory and appropriate approach to remedy its wrongs.”

Another former Fox News employee, Adasa Blanco, filed a separate racial discrimination lawsuit on Tuesday against Fox News, Ms. Slater and Dianne Brandi, the top lawyer at Fox News, in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

The lawsuits contend that Fox News employees repeatedly complained about racial discrimination to current network executives but that no action was taken and that the inappropriate behavior continued.

In a statement, Catherine M. Foti, a lawyer for Ms. Slater, called the lawsuits “meritless and frivolous.”

”All claims of racial discrimination against Ms. Slater are completely false,” she said.

Representatives for 21st Century Fox and Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the class-action lawsuit — which names Ms. Slater, Ms. Brandi, Fox News and 21st Century Fox as defendants — the 11 current and former employees said that Ms. Brandi and Denise Collins, a human resources executive at Fox News, were aware of complaints about Ms. Slater’s racist behavior but told black employees that “nothing could be done because Slater knew too much about senior executives,” including Roger E. Ailes, the company’s former chief executive; Mark Kranz, the chief financial officer; and Mr. O’Reilly.

According to the class-action suit, Ms. Douglas complained in November 2014 to Ms. Brandi about Ms. Slater’s behavior. Another former Fox News employee, Wasim Rafick, who worked in the company’s payroll department from 2003 to 2016, complained about Ms. Slater’s behavior to Ms. Brandi and Ms. Collins in 2015 and in 2016.

The lawsuit filed by Ms. Blanco contends that she informed Ms. Brandi about Ms. Slater’s conduct as early as September 2008.

Among the plaintiffs are Kelly Wright, a current Fox News anchor and former co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend,” who said Mr. O’Reilly refused to allow him on his show to discuss racial conciliation and instead suggested he should call Mr. Ailes and Bill Shine, one of the network’s presidents, and “offer to sing the national anthem at the Fox News Town Halls,” according to the suit. The suit also contends that Ms. Slater demanded that minority employees arm-wrestle white female supervisors for her own “entertainment and amusement.”

Ms. Slater also mocked how black employees pronounced words like “ask” and “mother” and asked some black employees, “Who is going to Africa?” after President Trump’s travel ban, according to the suit.

Fox News has been reeling since the ouster of Mr. Ailes last summer amid a sexual harassment scandal. A New York Times investigation published this month revealed that five women had received a total of roughly $13 million to settle complaints about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by Mr. O’Reilly. The network then faced an exodus by advertisers from Mr. O’Reilly’s show. Protests and denunciations by women’s rights groups followed before Mr. O’Reilly’s ouster.

On Monday, Fox News introduced a new prime-time lineup, and other cable news networks are hoping to take advantage of the upheaval to cut into Fox News’s ratings lead.

Julie Roginsky, an on-air contributor at Fox News, also filed a sexual harassment lawsuit this month against the network, Mr. Ailes and Mr. Shine. Ms. Roginsky said she had faced retaliation for refusing sexual advances from Mr. Ailes.

Also on Tuesday, Rupert Murdoch, the head of 21st Century Fox, sent a memo to Fox News employees extolling the network’s ratings from Monday night, its first night with a reconfigured prime-time lineup without Mr. O’Reilly.

“I know the last few weeks have been tough for everyone here, but our passion for news and commitment to our viewers continue to lead us through,” Mr. Murdoch wrote. “Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work.”



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Sam Hananel, Associated Press Apr-25-2017 89 0
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a Houston man shot in the back by police during a traffic stop, prompting Justice Sonia Sotomayor to complain of a "disturbing trend" in how the high court deals with cases alleging police misconduct.

In a dissent, Sotomayor said the justices "have not hesitated" to reverse lower courts that rule against police officers in cases that involve claims of excessive force. But she said the court "rarely" intervenes when lower courts "wrongly" find that police are immune from charges of misconduct.

Her dissent, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, drew a response from Justice Samuel Alito, who insisted the court applies "uniform standards" when deciding to review all such cases.
Sotomayor has criticized the court before for siding with police in excessive force cases. In a 2015 dissent, she said the court was sanctioning a "'shoot first, think later' approach to policing" when it sided with a Texas state trooper who fatally shot a man fleeing from police.

Her latest comments come as law enforcement agencies face increasing scrutiny over officer-involved shootings or use of deadly force incidents. The high court heard arguments last month in a Los Angeles case where sheriff's deputies mistakenly shot a couple during their search for a wanted man.
The case on Monday began in 2010 when police said Ricardo Salazar-Limon resisted arrest during a stop for suspected drunken driving. Salazar-Limon walked away after a brief struggle and was ordered to stop. The officer said he saw Salazar-Limon turn and reach toward his waistband, and then shot him in the lower back. The injury left him partially paralyzed.

Salazar-Limon alleged the officer fired either immediately or just seconds before he turned around. He filed a claim of excessive force against the officer and the city of Houston.
A federal judge sided with the officer without sending the case to a jury. The judge said Salazar-Limon did not deny reaching for his waistband.

Sotomayor said the case should have been tried before a jury because there were still too many facts in dispute.

"Only Thompson and Salazar-Limon know what happened on that overpass on October 29, 2010," Sotomayor said. "It is possible that Salazar-Limon did something that Thompson reasonably found threatening; it is also possible that Thompson shot an unarmed man in the back without justification. What is clear is that our legal system does not entrust the resolution of this dispute to a judge faced with competing affidavits."

Sotomayor noted five similar cases in the past few years in which the justices reversed lower courts that refused to find police immune from charges of misconduct. She also pointed to newspaper stories noting "the increasing frequency of incidents in which unarmed men allegedly reach for empty waistbands when facing armed officers."

"That these cases are increasingly common makes it even more important for lower courts — confronted with such inconsistencies — to let the jury exercise its role as the arbiter of credibility disputes," she said.

Alito said the lower courts acted "responsibly and attempted faithfully to apply the correct legal rule to what is at best a marginal set of facts."

"The dissent has not identified a single case in which we failed to grant a similar petition filed by an alleged victim of unconstitutional police misconduct," he said in comments joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
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Esha Ray Apr-24-2017 207 0
The anguished dad of one of the Queens fire victims broke down Monday at the scene of the deadly blaze, where fire officials said they found no working smoke detectors.

Glen Edwards’ 17-year-old daughter, Melody, was visiting her friend Jada Foxworth at the Queens Village home that went up in flames Sunday afternoon.

“When I got the news I was at church,” said Edwards, 62. “I never answered the call. I don’t take my phone to church. When I leave the church I see the missed calls. It hurts. It’s so much.

“I heard it on TV. I never knew she died at the time. Her mother said, ‘Call me again. Glen you hear what happened to Melody? I said, What?’ She died in the fire in Queens. The one I was watching on TV.”

“I want to know what happened,” Edwards said. “I lost my baby. That was a gift for me, that girl.”

Killed in the blaze along with Melody was Destiny Dones, 20, her sister Jada Foxworth, 16, Jada’s cousin Rawshawn Matthews, 10, and her two-year-old cousin Chayce Lipford.

At a news conference Monday, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters did not find any smoke detectors in the home.

Nigro, however, downplayed reports that a car fire led to the blaze.

“As of now, we have not found any smoke detectors,” he said.

Nigro also confirmed that the 911 call did not come from the home.

“Perhaps because the fire traveled so quickly, the people inside were not able to (get out),” he said. “The first call we got came from a passing motorist.”

Gordon said he spotted a 45-year-old man he knew as Eugene caught on a second-floor roof with flames closing in behind him. He said he didn’t hear any fire alarms.

Gordon said he and someone else ran to one side of the house and saw that windows were cracking because of the intense heat.

“I took a pole and broke a window and the smoke and fire hit us strong,” he said.

“Another gentleman stumbled out of the house from a side door and started yelling, ‘The kids, the kids!’ He was delirious. He asked the other gentleman who jumped off the roof, ‘Where are the kids?’ Eugene was so out of it, he was foaming from the mouth, he couldn't even talk. We had to coax him to jump.”

Meanwhile, Foxworth’s friend Natasha Khan, 15, said she attends the Young Women’s Leadership School with her. Sobbing uncontrollably, Kahn said, “It’s so hard. I didn’t expect this. It’s devastating.
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Laura Dimon Apr-24-2017 219 0
A 22-year-old Queens woman succumbed to her injuries a day after a drunken cop rear-ended her car in a serious accident, officials said Monday.

Vanessa Raghubar was driving on the Van Wyck Expressway near Rockaway Blvd. Sunday at about 4 a.m. when off-duty NYPD Officer Neville Smith, 32, drunkenly crashed his 2010 Mercedes-Benz into her, cops said. The collision sent Raghubar's 2004 Honda into a tree and a light pole, critically injuring her and her two passengers.

EMS rushed her to Jamaica Hospital along with her passengers Maria Raghubar, 21, and Justin Harricharran, 20, officials said. Vanessa Raghubar died at Jamaica Hospital on Monday.

The collision sent Raghubar's 2004 Honda into a tree and a light pole, critically injuring her and her two passengers.

Smith, a detective in the 48th Precinct who's been on the force since July 2011, was charged Sunday with vehicular assault, assault, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a Breathalyzer test.
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Paula Rogo Apr-24-2017 87 0
It's prom season! And as one Florida teen showed, great style can also have a great message.

Seventeen-year-old Milan Morris' prom dress is gorgeous. But her outfit is getting particular attention because of the Black Lives Matter message it conveyed.

Morris' floor-length gown, designed by Florida-based Terrance Torrence, featured black and white images of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and more of the lives we have lost in recent years to police brutality. She shared a photo of the dress on Instagram. And from her caption, she is utterly unapologetic for it! YES!


Yes I'm black. Yes I'm 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that's bigger than me. #AllLivesMatter?? #BlackLivesMatter #MoveWithPurpose @oprah @steveharvey.tv @beyonce @chrisbrownofficial @badgalriri @tylerperry @kolyon @terrencetorrence @champagnepapi @liltunechi @bigsean @richforever @colinsmith23 @aliciakeys @kendricklamar @realcoleworld @kingjames

A post shared by Mimi ???? (@_milan23_) on Apr 21, 2017 at 9:13pm PDT

"Yes I'm Black. Yes I'm 17. Yes GOD is using me to convey a message that's bigger than me," she captioned a photo of the demure dress, which she complemented with black lace.

Mr. & Mrs. Spliff ???? Thank you Cry for taking me ?? Everyone looked so beautiful last night. @terrencetorrence

A post shared by Mimi ???? (@_milan23_) on Apr 22, 2017 at 10:36am PDT

Torrence, a West Palm Beach based designer who also works in Miami and Atlanta, was the dressmaker who brought the whole look together, Morris told Essence.com.

"He was the mastermind behind this whole thing honestly," said Morris adding that Torrence's "message is a huge issue in America today."

Torrence, who is knee-deep in designing for prom season, said that he knew he wanted to create a dress inspired by Black Lives Matter last year, but it all finally came together in 2017. The dress took four days to make.

"It was powerful," he said of finishing the dress. "It was art. It was surreal. It spoke volumes."


#TSRSickPick: Her prom dress is honoring black lives lost to police brutality! Thoughts, #Roommates? #TSRPromQueenz #BlackLivesMatter via. @_milan23_

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Apr 21, 2017 at 4:55pm PDT

He added: "It was powerful and a movement and I knew people would respond to it."

And respond they have!

As for Morris, the Palm Beach senior is also a basketball star at Cardinal Newman High School, having been recently recognized as an "all-area player" by the Palm Beach Post. She will be taking her talents to Boston College this fall.

What do you think of Milan's dress?
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AP Apr-19-2017 142 0
The death of the first female Muslim U.S. judge—who was found dead last week on the banks of New York’s Hudson River--- is still being investigated and is reportedly considered suspicious.

Sheila Abdus-Salaam's body was discovered along the riverside near Harlem on Wednesday, a day after she was reported missing, police said. Police said her body showed no obvious signs of trauma.

Police sources told CBS2 that family and friends have said she was struggling with depression. Police told the station that although her death is being considered suspicious, there are no signs of criminality.

Abdus-Salaam, who was 65 years old, graduated from Barnard College and received her law degree from Columbia Law School. She started her career as a staff attorney for East Brooklyn Legal Services and served as a judge in Manhattan state Supreme Court for 14 years, according to the state Office of Court Administration's website.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appointed Abdus-Salaam to the state's Court of Appeals in 2013, called her a "trailblazing jurist."

"As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the state's Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer," Cuomo said. "Through her writings, her wisdom and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come."

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said her colleague will be "missed deeply."

"Her personal warmth, uncompromising sense of fairness and bright legal mind were an inspiration to all of us who had the good fortune to know her," DiFiore said.

Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said he knew Abdus-Salaam for many years. He said her death of was "difficult to understand."

"The court has suffered a terrible blow," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
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AP Apr-19-2017 167 0
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction and just days ago was acquitted of a double murder, died after hanging himself in his prison cell early Wednesday, Massachusetts prisons officials said.

Hernandez, 27, was found by guards in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m., Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said in a statement.

The former New England Patriots tight end was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster about an hour later.

Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit in the maximum security state prison. He hanged himself using a bed sheet that he attached to a cell window, Fallon said.

Hernandez tried to block the cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items, Fallon said.

Fallon said he's not aware of any suicide note written by Hernandez and stressed that an investigation is ongoing. He said that officials had no concern that Hernandez was planning on taking his own life, and if there was a concern about his well-being, Hernandez would have been transferred to a mental health unit.

Hernandez was moved to tears on Friday after he was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. Just before his acquittal, Hernandez was seen blowing kisses to the little girl he fathered with fianc?e Shayanna Jenkins. Cameras captured the tender exchange.

But, Hernandez was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister.

Hernandez's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hernandez's death comes the same day the Patriots are making their visit to the White House today to mark their Super Bowl win. Team spokesman Stacey James said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but didn't anticipate the club commenting Wednesday.

Massachusetts State Police remain on the scene investigating the death.
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Jason Silverstein Apr-18-2017 117 0
Facebook murderer Steve Stephens shot and killed himself in Pennsylvania Tuesday morning, ending a three-day manhunt for the Cleveland killer, state police confirmed.

Stephens turned the gun on himself after an attempted traffic stop in Erie County, police said. He was found in a white Ford Fusion in Erie, according to GoErie.com.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf commended police for the pursuit and said no one else in the state was hurt.

Stephens, 37, remained on the run for nearly 48 hours after shooting a stranger in the head in Cleveland and posting the snuff footage on Facebook. 

His death came just hours after police announced that they had received about 400 tips nationwide for the case, but did not have a clear idea of where he might be. 

Police also found no evidence of Stephens' claim, in a Facebook Live rant, that he had killed 13 people. 

The sprawling manhunt ended about 100 miles away from the crime scene — less than a two-hour drive. 
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