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Judge Slashes Ex-US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Child Support
Mar-11-2017 350 0


A judge has slashed the monthly child support payments former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois must make to his estranged wife.

The Chicago Tribune reports a judge in the District of Columbia ordered Jackson on Thursday to provide former Chicago Alderwoman Sandi Jackson with $329 in payments starting Aug. 1 for their two teenage children.

The couple is in the midst of a divorce.

The judge's decision comes after the former congressman challenged a ruling requiring him to make $1,529 monthly payments to Sandi Jackson.

Both Jacksons pleaded guilty in August 2013 to schemes related to the misuse of a congressional campaign fund. Each was sentenced to prison for diverting $750,000 in campaign funds to personal use from 2005 to 2012. They have been released from prison.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Our family will never be the same'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conyers' office later issued the statement confirming a settlement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Thank you," he says, smiling hugely.

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

"Yeah!" Chancellor Lee agrees.

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

Is he looking forward to his birthday party?

"Yeah!"

And what day is his birthday?

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yeah!" he says.

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

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

___

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hearing ended abruptly after the verdict.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expunged or no, we all know who Betty Shelby is and what she did—as my colleague Kirsten West Savali noted, she wears the face of a killer.
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