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A white police officer in Mississippi claims racial discrimination cost him his job after he gunned down a black man
A white police officer in Mississippi claims racial discrimination cost him his job after he gunned down a black man who had tried to run away from him, according to a lawsuit.

Canyon Boykin's lawsuit against the City of Columbus, filed this week in U.S. District Court, alleges he was only fired following the Oct. 16 shooting because "he is white and the deceased was black."

The lawsuit reveals the officer's perspectives into the shooting, an incident that remains perplexing four months later.

Boykin, a three-year member of the Columbus police department, was part of the department's special operations group, which is tasked with patrolling high-crime areas.

On the night of the shooting, Boykin and two other officers, Johnny Branch and Yolanda Young, were driving through one of the group's assigned areas with Boykin's then-fiancée — now his wife — riding along. The officers noticed a vehicle without a tag light and gave chase, "under the rigorous enforcement policy that had been mandated" in the city, according to the lawsuit.

The female driver began slowing down.

As the car slowed, a male passenger — Ricky Ball, 26 — jumped from the vehicle and ran.

Boykin ran after Ball. The officer caught up with the man, and shot him in the back with a stun-gun, according to the lawsuit.
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dan good Feb-11-2016 35 0
A white police officer in Mississippi claims racial discrimination cost him his job after he gunned down a black man who had tried to run away from him, according to a lawsuit.

Canyon Boykin's lawsuit against the City of Columbus, filed this week in U.S. District Court, alleges he was only fired following the Oct. 16 shooting because "he is white and the deceased was black."

The lawsuit reveals the officer's perspectives into the shooting, an incident that remains perplexing four months later.

Boykin, a three-year member of the Columbus police department, was part of the department's special operations group, which is tasked with patrolling high-crime areas.

On the night of the shooting, Boykin and two other officers, Johnny Branch and Yolanda Young, were driving through one of the group's assigned areas with Boykin's then-fiancée — now his wife — riding along. The officers noticed a vehicle without a tag light and gave chase, "under the rigorous enforcement policy that had been mandated" in the city, according to the lawsuit.

The female driver began slowing down.

As the car slowed, a male passenger — Ricky Ball, 26 — jumped from the vehicle and ran.

Boykin ran after Ball. The officer caught up with the man, and shot him in the back with a stun-gun, according to the lawsuit.

Feb-11-2016 37 0
Texas A&M University is conducting an investigation after a group of students visiting campus from an inner-city Dallas high school were harassed Tuesday with racial slurs and a demand to "go back where you came from."

About 60 juniors from Uplift Hampton Preparatory were visiting the campus, according to state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, when two black students were approached by a white woman wearing Confederate flag earrings. West said the woman showed the students her earrings and asked them what they thought about them. Then a group of "white male and female students" began taunting the students "using the most well-known racial slur that's directed toward African Americans," said West, whose district includes the Uplift Hampton Preparatory campus.

West wasn't present when the incident occurred, but he said he was briefed on it later by A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.

A&M staffers who were accompanying the students on the tour called campus police. No one was charged; the responding officer told people at the scene that the harassers were expressing their First Amendment rights, according to West. University officials are now reviewing the incident, West said.

Soon after, A&M President Michael Young sent out a campus-wide e-mail saying he was outraged by the event.

"I deeply regret the pain and hurt feelings this incident caused these young students. Be assured that we take such allegations very seriously," Young wrote.

Young said that administrators and students from A&M met with the high school students and told them that the vast majority of students at A&M would welcome them to campus.

"This troubling incident will be thoroughly investigated to the fullest extent possible and appropriate action will be taken," the e-mail said.

West, meanwhile, called for the A&M students involved in the taunting to be "strongly disciplined, if not expelled."

"I call on Texas A&M officials to drive their decision to a destination which says that the halls of higher education are open to any student who is willing to rise to the challenge of earning a college degree," he said.

Yanan Wang Feb-11-2016 54 0
Fifteen months after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer, the city has filed a claim against his estate for the cost of his ambulance ride to the hospital.

The creditor’s claim, filed in Cuyahoga County Probate Court on Wednesday, states that Tamir’s estate is overdue on a $500 payment for “emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense.”

The attached invoice notes requests $450 for “ambulance advance life support” and $50 for mileage.

Tamir was fatally shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann at an outdoor recreation center on Nov. 22, 2014. Loehmann and his partner, Officer Frank Garmback, were responding to a call about a man with a gun. They pulled up in front of Tamir seconds before Loehmann stepped out of the police car and opened fire.

The officers said Tamir appeared to be reaching into his waistband for a gun in the moments leading up to his being shot. In fact, the weapon was a toy.

“The Rice family is disturbed by the city’s behavior,” Subodh Chandra, a lawyer for the family, wrote in an email to The Washington Post about the creditor’s claim. “The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill — its own police officers having slain 12-year-old Tamir — is breathtaking.”

He said the act “added insult to homicide.”

Jonathan Abady, the family’s lead counsel on a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, said in a phone interview with The Post that the claim is “mystifying.”

“This is obviously a deliberate, considered action by the city of Cleveland; it required a formal court filing,” he said.

A grand jury’s decision not to indict the officers last December prompted protesters to call for a federal investigation into the shooting and for the resignation of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.

In his announcement, McGinty said enhanced surveillance video made it “undisputably clear” that Tamir was reaching for something “indistinguishable” from a real gun.

The case fueled ongoing controversy about police shootings and racial profiling: Tamir died days before unrest erupted in response to the non-indictment of officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Eric Garner in New York, two unarmed African American men.

Tamir’s family alleges in the suit that Officers Loehmann and Garmback did not attempt to resuscitate or administer first aid to the boy after he was wounded. Instead, the suit claims, they tackled and handcuffed Tamir’s distraught 14-year-old sister and placed her in the back of the police cruiser.

Tamir succumbed to his injuries in the hospital the next day.

The police officers maintained in signed statements that Tamir appeared to be much older than his age. McGinty was criticized for releasing these statements and other pieces of evidence to the press, which family members viewed the move as a show of support for the officers.

“Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting like the police officers’ defense attorney,” Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said in a statement following the grand jury decision.

The city’s creditor’s claim asks the family to pay the $500 ambulance fee by March 11.

Nicole Hensley Feb-10-2016 94 0
David Joseph, a 17-year-old high school student shot and killed by a Texas police officer, was unarmed and naked when a cop gunned him down in an Austin suburb.

The shooting death boggled his friends, family and local civil rights activists who learned David was both unarmed and nude when Officer Geoffrey Freeman encountered the former football player in a residential street 10 miles north of the city’s downtown.

The teen’s family was notified of the his death Tuesday afternoon, who later demanded an investigation into what led to David's death at 9 a.m. Monday.

“We are shocked and saddened,” wrote David's family, issuing their only public statement Tuesday. “He was taken from us in an unexpected and violent way and (we) are struggling to understand how our child was stolen from us by the police.”

David, a senior at John B. Connally High School, “had a life full of possibilities in front of him,” his family wrote.

He would have graduated this spring He dreamed of going to college this fall. He loved music, played soccer and football. He was a varsity offensive linebacker with the Connally Cougars.

His classmates recalled their fallen friend as intelligent and funny.

“I don’t understand why he was naked and they felt the need to shoot him,” his friend, Samone Morales, 19, told KXAN-TV. "He could have been Tased maybe, something other than being shot. He didn’t deserve to be shot.”

A criminal and internal investigation will probe Freeman’s encounter with the teen, who was found naked in a street near the 12000 block of Nature’s Bend.

Freeman, a 10-year veteran of the Austin Police Department, had just spoken to residents claiming the black teen had chased a man around a nearby apartment complex.

The officer’s dash cam captured the initial encounter with the doomed teen, but it failed to record the moment he allegedly charged at Freeman after ignoring repeated commands to stop. Instead of using a Taser, the officer, who is also black, opened fire, killing David.
“We can tell you today, Mr. Joseph was not armed,” Assistant Austin Police Chief Brian Manley revealed at a press conference Tuesday.

Manley would not comment on Joseph's mental health. An autopsy and toxicology report will determine whether drugs or alcohol were involved.

“We do value the sanctity of all life here at the department — both our officers and the communities,” Manley added.

Manley expressed his condolences to Joseph’s family, whose only public statement said, “David should not have been taken away from us.”

“No family should have to suffer like we are today,” Joseph’s relatives said.

The Travis County District Attorney will be present its findings to a grand jury.

Nicole Hensley Feb-10-2016 88 0
An uncle cried “I love my nephew” after a gun he owned was mistakenly used to kill a 13-year-old boy at a Florida home.

The shooter was a teen relative who brandished the firearm he found in a bathroom. He mistakenly opened fire after losing his balance on a hoverboard at around 1 p.m. Sunday.

The stray bullet struck Lavardo Fisher in the neck while he was hanging out with his brother and two cousins, according to WKMG-TV.

It’s unclear which relative, two of whom were 18-years-old, pulled the trigger.

Fisher was critically wounded, but he later died at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a case of kids goofing off and playing with guns, not knowing what can happen,” said Tony Snelling, a neighbor who heard the gunshot.

The victim’s uncle, Walter Morame, 35, was not home at the time of the shooting, but he was handcuffed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies outside his home for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

News of the shooting devastated the victim’s father, who rushed to the home to be with his son.

“I saw him running down the street,” Snellings told the TV station. “He was pretty messed up about it.”

Meg Wagner Feb-09-2016 77 0
A Black Lives Matter activist killed himself on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse, authorities said.

MarShawn McCarrel's family said his emotionally draining work may well have taken a toll on him. The 23-yearold shot himself in front of the Columbus building Monday night, Lt. Craig Cvetan of the State Highway Patrol told the Columbus Dispatch.

“My demons won today. I'm sorry,” the activist, who recently attended the NAACP Image Awards, posted on his Facebook page about 3 p.m., just hours before his body was found near the Statehouse.

His last tweet read: “Let the record show that I pissed on the state house before I left.”

No one witnessed the shooting, Cvetan said. McCarrel was pronounced dead at the scene.

His mother Leatha Wellington and twin brother MarQuan McCarrel later told the Dispatch he put his causes before himself.

They suspect the never-ending and disturbing nature of his activist and charity work left him mentally and physically exhausted in a way they didn't realize, they said.

"He impacted so many people, touched so many lives," Wellington said.

"He was just so creative," said McCarrel. "He just wanted to serve people."

McCarrel, who had recently worked with Black Lives Matter, helped organize protests in Ohio after a Missouri cop shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in 2014.

He also founded youth mentorship program Pursuing Our Dreams, which launched Feed the Streets, a project to help Ohio's homeless.

He attended the NAACP’s Image Awards on Friday, Pursuing Our Dreams wrote on its Facebook.

The 23-year-old community organizer was named one of Radio One’s Hometown Champions, an award for community activists and volunteers, earlier this year and earned a trip to the California awards show. He took his mom to the Friday night ceremony.

"He is selfless and will give his last in order to make sure others don't go without,” read a nomination page for the Hometown Champions Award. “MarShawn has come so far in life and has inspired so many people to help others”

McCarrel was homeless for three months after he graduated from high school — an experience that inspired him to help others, according to his nomination.

“When MarShawn got back on his feet, he felt the need to give back because so many people helped him when he was down,” it read. “MarShawn stresses the importance of having conversations with the people we feed because they'll get hungry in 2 hours but a good conversation will carry them over for a lifetime.”

“All everyone needs is love,” he told 614 Columbus in 2014, referring to his work with the Feed the Streets. “That’s a human being. That’s a pulse. We’re feeding everyone, we’re sending the message — today I got you; tomorrow, I could be right there.”

Jon Herskovitz Feb-09-2016 86 0
A police officer in Texas fatally shot a naked man on Monday who charged at officers and had been reported acting aggressively toward people in a neighborhood of Austin, police said.

The officer who shot the black male of about 18 years of age is a veteran of more than 10 years on the Austin force.

The race of the officer was not given but the killing comes as protesters in San Antonio are questioning if race was at play in the fatal shooting by police in the city to the southwest of Austin last week of an unarmed black man.

Austin police said they received multiple phone calls of the man acting suspiciously and aggressively. Officers arrived on the scene and confronted the man, a police official said.

"This subject did not comply with the commands that the officer was giving and instead charged at the officer," Brian Manley, chief of staff for the Austin Police Department, told reporters.

"The subject was struck by the gunfire," he said adding he died later at an area hospital.

Part of the incident was recorded on police video camera. The shooting was not on camera but there is audio available, he said.

Manley did not say if the man had a weapon. He added officers did not deploy Tasers on the suspect.

Several incidents nationwide in the past several months where unarmed minorities have been fatally shot by police have raised questions about the role of race in U.S. policing and spawned numerous protests.

MITCH SMITH Feb-08-2016 75 0
The Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old and an unarmed bystander in December has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $10 million in damages from the teenager’s estate, an unusual legal approach based on a claim that the young man’s actions leading up to the gunfire were “atrocious” and have caused the officer “extreme emotional trauma.”

The lawsuit provides the first public explanation by the officer, Robert Rialmo, of what happened on Dec. 26 when he confronted Quintonio LeGrier, a college student who Officer Rialmo said was wielding a baseball bat. Mr. LeGrier and his neighbor Bettie Jones, 55, who the police said was an innocent bystander, both died after Officer Rialmo fired several shots.

The shooting, which is under investigation, further strained relations between the Chicago Police Department and African-American residents just weeks after another Chicago officer was charged with murder and as the Justice Department was beginning a broad review of Chicago police practices.

Basileios J. Foutris, a lawyer for Mr. LeGrier’s estate, called the lawsuit “nonsense” and said Officer Rialmo’s account of what had happened was “pure fantasy.”

“It’s a new low for the Chicago Police Department,” Mr. Foutris said. “First you shoot them, then you sue them. It’s outrageous. I can’t believe that this police officer has the temerity to turn around and sue the estate of the person who he killed.”

Officer Rialmo’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, was a counterclaim to a wrongful death case brought weeks ago by Mr. LeGrier’s estate. The estate’s lawsuit claimed that Officer Rialmo acted improperly and that Mr. LeGrier “never posed a danger or threat of harm to any Chicago police officer.”

Joel A. Brodsky, a lawyer for Officer Rialmo, said that his client had responded appropriately after Mr. LeGrier confronted him with a baseball bat, but that the officer felt terrible that Ms. Jones had also been killed.

“He just wants to stress he did not see her. He did not know she was there,” Mr. Brodsky said. “When I say he feels extremely horrible about her death, that’s an understatement. But the bottom line is that it was Quintonio LeGrier who forced him to shoot.”

Mr. Brodsky acknowledged that it was rare for a police officer to sue the estate of a person he killed, but said Officer Rialmo was entitled to do so. “There is no question that he suffered very extreme emotional trauma and stress as a result of what Quintonio LeGrier did,” Mr. Brodsky said.

Officer Rialmo’s account of the shooting provides far more detail than the city’s official statements, which acknowledged that Ms. Jones was accidentally struck but provided few details about what happened before the gunfire. According to the officer’s counterclaim, Mr. LeGrier charged down a staircase and swung a baseball bat twice at Officer Rialmo. Though the officer was not struck, the lawsuit said, one swing came “close enough for Officer Rialmo to feel the movement of air as the bat passed in front of his face.”

The lawsuit said Mr. LeGrier, who before officers were dispatched had called 911 and been hung up on, continued advancing toward Officer Rialmo with the bat after those two swings. At that point, the counterclaim said, Officer Rialmo feared for his life and fired his gun from a few feet away.

Mr. Foutris said the officer’s account was contrary to the evidence he had seen so far, and he questioned the contention that Mr. LeGrier threatened the officer with a bat.

“Why would a kid that called three times asking for police help ever swing a bat at a cop?” Mr. Foutris said.

Mr. Brodsky said Officer Rialmo is a white Chicago native in his 20s from a family with several police officers and firefighters. He said Officer Rialmo, who remains on desk duty, joined the department about three years ago after serving in the military.

Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said Sunday that the counterclaim was “not a department lawsuit” and declined to comment further.

Mr. LeGrier and Ms. Jones were killed about a month after Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged in the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald, who was 17 and black. Video footage of that shooting showed Officer Van Dyke continuing to fire his gun after Mr. McDonald, who was carrying a knife but veering away from police officers, fell to the ground, seeming to contradict statements by the police.

Jason Silverstein Feb-07-2016 82 0
A tenured professor at an Illinois Christian college will be stepping down after administration censured her defense of wearing a hijab, the school said.

Wheaton College announced Saturday night that political science professor Larycia Hawkins will “part ways” under a mutual, confidential agreement, two months after their conflict exploded into a national story.

“Wheaton College sincerely appreciates Dr. Hawkins’ contributions to this institution over the last nine years,” Wheaton College President Dr. Philip Graham Rykne said in a statement.

Ryken added in an email to faculty the decision came with “a mutual desire for God’s blessing,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Hawkins, in a statement, said she has “great respect” for the evangelic school, which put her on leave and considered firing her over the controversy.

The school said it would give no further information about Hawkins’ exit until a Wednesday press conference.

Hawkins came under fire from her bosses in December, after she said on Facebook she planned to wear a hijab in public. The professor, who is Christian, said she wanted to show solidarity with Muslims amidst rising resentments after the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks.

The school did not take explicit issue with her hijab, but rather a Facebook comment Hawkins wrote in defense of it, saying Muslims and Christians “worship the same god.” Wheaton said Hawkins violated the school’s Statement of Faith, which imposes a belief of “one sovereign God” according to Christian scripture.

Wheaton initially put Hawkins on paid leave. She said the school then pressured her to resign, then considered revoking her tenure, and in January made moves to have her fired.

The pressure up top came despite the school’s Faculty Council calling for Wheaton to let Hawkins stay at the school. Students also staged several campus protests against administration and formed a Facebook group, “Support Doc Hawk,” which drew more than 800 members.

Feb-05-2016 141 0
U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley was nominated Thursday by President Barack Obama to serve as a federal judge in the U.S. Western District of Louisiana, which includes Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria and Shreveport.

Finley, a career federal prosecutor, has been U.S. attorney for the Western District since 2010.

She was the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney in the state.

The White House on Thursday also announced the nomination of Claude Kelly III to an open federal judgeship in the New Orleans-based U.S. Eastern District. Kelly has served as the chief federal public defender for the Eastern District since last year.

“Throughout their careers, these nominees have displayed unwavering commitment to justice and integrity,” Obama said in a written statement. “Their records of public service are distinguished and impressive, and I am confident that they will serve the American people well from the United States District Court bench. I am honored to nominate them today.”

Finley served as an assistant U.S. attorney for 15 years, from 1995 to 2010 and as an assistant staff judge advocate in the Air Force from 1991 to 1995.

She received her law degree from Southern University in 1991 and her undergraduate degree from Grambling State University in 1988. Her nomination comes after the retirement last month of U.S. District Judge Richard Haik, whose position was up to be filled after he took senior status last year.

AP Feb-03-2016 186 0
A federal jury awarded $23.1 million on Wednesday to a 22-year-old black man who was unarmed when he was shot and paralyzed by a sheriff's deputy, but Florida lawmakers will have to approve any award above $200,000.

The six-woman, two-man jury ruled after 3½ hours of deliberation that Palm Beach County Sheriff's Sgt. Adams Lin violated Dontrell Stephens' civil rights when he shot him in September 2013.

Lin, who had stopped Stephens for riding his bicycle into traffic, testified that he shot him four times because he reached for his waistband with his left hand and then flashed a dark object that he thought was a small handgun. Stephens testified that he was raising his hands when Lin opened fire for no reason. Video from the dashboard camera in Lin's patrol car showed Stephens' left hand was empty and a cellphone was in his right hand.

An appeal is expected.

Stephens had been seeking more than $5 million to cover medical treatment and future care, but his attorney Darryl Lewis told a federal jury in his closing arguments Wednesday that the man should get at least $24 million. Lewis said Stephens will have more than $6 million in medical expenses during his lifetime, and that he deserves at least $18 million for his pain and suffering.

The jury apparently rejected Lin's claim that he had made an "objectively reasonable mistake" when he shot Stephens.

The case is among several nationwide that have sparked debate about the deaths of unarmed black males following encounters with law enforcement officers. Federal Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer had instructed jurors that they could consider only the specific circumstances of Stephens' shooting and no other. Lin, an Asian-American, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by sheriff's investigators and local prosecutors and was later promoted to sergeant.

Lin, 38 and a 12-year veteran of the sheriff's office, testified that he stopped Stephens for riding his bicycle into traffic and because he didn't recognize him from the neighborhood. Stephens had been riding back to a friend's house where he had been staying after a trip to a convenience store.

In the dashcam video, Lin speeds up his patrol car to catch Stephens as he pedals down a West Palm Beach residential street. Stephens sees Lin and turns into the parking lot of a duplex, hops off his bike and puts it down, his right hand holding his cellphone. Stephens moves behind a car and both men are now outside the camera's view.

Attorneys for both men say Lin told Stephens to put up his hands, but a radio station is playing in Lin's car and no verbal exchange can be heard. The shots are fired in rapid succession after Lin exits the car. Stephens comes back into the frame, makes two quick steps, turns and falls to the ground.

REUTERS Feb-03-2016 143 0
A lawyer for Bill Cosby said on Wednesday that he never would have allowed the comedian to give a deposition in a civil lawsuit brought by a woman accusing him of rape if he knew his client's words could be used for a criminal prosecution.

Cosby, 78, was in court for a second day in suburban Philadelphia, where he faces charges of sexually assaulting a woman more than a decade ago.

His attorneys are asking the judge to toss out the charges, contending that a deal reached with a former Montgomery County District Attorney spared their client from prosecution in exchange for a 2005 civil deposition in which he admitted giving what he said was an anti-allergy drug to his alleged victim before a sexual encounter that he described as consensual.

Andrea Constand, now 44, has said Cosby plied her with alcohol and drugs before raping her.

More than 50 women have accused the once-celebrated entertainer, whose long career was based on family-friendly comedy, of sexually assaulting them in attacks dating back to the 1960s. Many of the incidents are too old to prosecute. The Pennsylvania case is the only incident for which Cosby has been criminally charged.

The former district attorney, Bruce Castor, testified on Tuesday that he had declined to bring charges in 2005 that Cosby had assaulted Constand, a former employee at Cosby's alma mater Temple University in Philadelphia, because he did not consider her case "viable."

Defense attorneys on Tuesday presented a 2005 press release from Castor's office that they said amounted to an agreement not to prosecute Cosby.

The defense called Cosby's chief attorney, John Schmitt, as a witness on Wednesday. Schmitt testified that would not have allowed Cosby to give the deposition if he had not been sure it could not be used against his client.

On cross examination, District Attorney Kevin Steele attacked the idea that Cosby's lawyers would allow a deal that was never spelled out in a formal non-prosecution agreement.

Prosecutors on Wednesday are expected to begin making their case that there was no binding agreement not to bring charges and that the case against Cosby, who faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty, should ultimately proceed to a trial.

Castor said he believed Constand's charges but thought a jury would view her as less than credible because she had waited a year to bring charges and had hired a lawyer to look into a civil suit.

He said declining to prosecute Cosby set the stage for a civil deposition in which the entertainer admitted to giving Constand the anti-allergy drug Benadryl before the sexual encounter.

Laurie Hanna Feb-03-2016 181 0
A furious father was arrested after allegedly threatening his daughter with a knife after she came out.

Ike Wright, from Nashville, is accused of chasing family members with a knife after his daughter told him she was gay.

Wright was reportedly drunk when he waved the knife at his daughter, her girlfriend and his son, according to the police affidavit.

He is accused of pointing the knife at each in "separate threatening actions," reported Fox 17 News.

Police described Wright as "angry and agitated" after the Jan. 30 incident, and said that he "ranted about his daughter being a lesbian."

Investigators later found the weapon in the kitchen of his house, and Wright was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Nov-11-2015 12278 0
For years the question whether college athletes should be paid has been debated over and over only to be kicked down by legal rulings. The NCAA, the television networks, the media and large colleges have all profited off of the backs of primarily Black athletes, while the only colleges that would accept them are being forced to shut down because of a lack of resources. College coaches are earning millions of dollars per season, have large endorsement deals and live in upscale neighborhoods while college athletes, many who come from low income families, are penalize for accepting a meal from a booster, can’t afford to take a date out to dinner or a movie and can only wish that their families could afford to sit in the stands occupied by many who will not speak to them or support them after their college careers are over.

I’ve said on numerous occasions that in order for there to be a change within the system, the ones with the power would have to do something drastic. Two years ago the Grambling State University football team decided to stage a protest because of the lack of equipment and the conditions of Grambling’s facilities. Although I hated to see it come down to that, I understood their frustrations and realized that we were witnessing the beginning of a new movement. The day had come for college athletes to realize that they have as much power as professional athletes, to demand change.

Two years later, the football players at the University of Missouri made a bold statement that will have an everlasting impact on college sports. They walked away from a game they love to support their fellow students. They have now shown athletes at other schools the power they have when they join together in solidarity. As a result, the NCAA’s biggest fear just came to reality. There was not going to be any change or progress at the University of Missouri until the individuals responsible for generating a large share of the revenue said “Enough is Enough.” Within a few days of their walk-out, President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, the top administrator of the Columbia campus, announced their resignation. That's power.

The NCAA has long made the issues with college athletes, a legal one. The NCAA created rules that prevent athletes from earning a living until after they’ve made everyone else rich. College athletes are required to sign over all of their rights in exchange for a scholarship and cannot earn one single dime to support a parent who is sometimes forced to work two jobs and in some cases still don't have the resources to attend a game. LSU’s superstar Leonard Fournette is being questioned about a business venture his family started before his college career really took off. Now that he’s signed away his rights, it’s being frowned upon by the individuals who were earn millions off of him. In other words, we the NCAA and LSU own his rights. The system is old, is broken and it’s unfair. Schools like LSU and Alabama earn over $70 million per year off of football but the players receive $0. The coaches earn over $3 million per season but the players earn $0.

I'm predicting that we are a season or two away from college athletes staging one of the largest boycotts in college sports because they have come to realize that the power is in their hands. The Missouri football players did not have to miss one single game to get what they demanded but the fight is far from over. Today, the students in Missouri are being faced with the harsh reality of the racist society we still live in. They should be preparing for exams but instead they are fearing for their lives. One hundred thousand fans will cheer on black athletes on Saturdays but many will criticize their efforts and make fun of them on Monday morning. I applaud the efforts of our college athletes. It makes me feel good to see that Our future generation will not stop fighting the fight that many started years ago. We can only pray that one day we will be able to take off the gloves. Until that time, the fight must go on so that the future generation can experience what Dr. King died for many years ago; True equality for everyone.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Civil Rights Law, Sports and Entertainment, Litigation (Personal Injury and Commercial) and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl by email at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Danny Woodson Oct-22-2015 641 0
Highly-recruited since the sixth grade, Christian Jackson, has received countless visits from high school and college personnel. They’ve fawned over him and his abilities in an attempt to coax him to attend their institutions to bolster their pedigree of outstanding enrollees! Interested “third parties” will make countless monetary resources available to them, if they can secure top recruits such as he.

If they could only get Christian’s commitment to attend, surely others will follow his lead and attend there as well. It’s like a domino effect: like lemmings following the leader over a cliff, sheep cajoled by their shepherd and ducklings behind their mother. It’s the natural tendency to fall in line with what seems safe, comfortable and beneficial. Other top talents will get on the “bandwagon” with Christian because they know “he’s a winner and leader”. Unspeakable wealth and long-life prosperity await him and all who are on board with him. Everyone knows that this is just a stepping-stone for Christian because he’ll likely enter the professional ranks much more quickly than most. With his acumen and ability, he’ll surely leave school in three years or less.

The boosters, alumni and current student body are abuzz with the possibilities of Christian attending their illustrious institutions. They tweet him, post to his Facebook Page and his other social media accounts in hopes of winning him over to their side! They’ve seen his promising stats and know of his many attributes. “If we can get C. Jack, we’ll definitely win it all this year!!!”

Christian’s scouting report reads like a proverbial cornucopia of attributes; Christian Jackson, 5’11”, 210 lbs., Cumulative GPA, 4.3 on a 4.0 scale, 2 summer internships in his future major with two top, nationwide firms, 250 hours of community service, explosive grasp of all curriculums, able to improvise and adjust on a dime, great vision, high IQ, intuitive and possesses an innate ability to make those around him better.

This is different than the prevailing theme in today’s world, isn’t it? Why isn’t this the norm? Something’s missing. What, no mention of his playing a sport? Well, why in the heck would a university make such a big deal about someone like Christian? Sadly, there’s a stark difference between Christian and those they poach from our destitute and downtrodden neighborhoods with promises of future wealth in professional sports. Because of their athletic prowess, universities will sacrifice their own ethical and moral standards to attract those who can run fast or who can catch or shoot a ball well. They’ll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make repeat recruiting trips, countless phone calls, send thousands of texts and make empty promises in hopes of landing top talents to play sports for them. What if they did that for students like Christian, who can make a much greater impact on the world and who can truly be a beacon for others to attend their institutions? Well, those “third parties” aren’t paying the big bucks for the student who’ll change the world, only the student whose performance on the court or field, will keep the world from changing the channel!

What if the major networks paid these large institutions millions of dollars to broadcast that young men like Christian are scoring big in the classroom or in the community? I can see the rewards to the world that exist “outside of the white lines”, increase astronomically, as we observe those benefits being reaped nation and worldwide. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen because we’d rather be entertained than have our lives and our children’s lives improved. We just want to gloat that our team beat your team, yet again, and to have bragging rights for another year. That “entertainment” brings in and provides the suppliers of that entertainment MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, so it won’t ever stop.

What if it did? What if society grew and developed a higher level of consciousness and truly valued the promise of those who can change their world for lifetimes, not just for the temporary consequence of a win in four quarters or two halves of a sporting contest? Then, the recruiters would be parked outside of “C. Jack’s” house like the paparazzi. What if multiple websites posted footage of young, talented people at science fairs and other scholastic events and ranked them nationally according to their ACADEMIC, instead of their ATHLETIC potential? How awesome would that be? Christian would be ranked #3 or 250,000 scholars nationwide and colleges near and far would come calling!

You see, Christian’s goals are to graduate with a triple major in Economics, Sociology and Systematic Demographic Realignment so that he can strengthen his community and make it a viable, resilient and prosperous juggernaut in the local economy. He hopes to duplicate that throughout the country and to be a key player in the NFL. That stands for National Fortification League, which fortifies communities and whose teams consist of players with the same goals as he and his many cohorts. His team is fighting for a long-denied championship whereby all people, regardless of color and economic background, win control of their own communities; a place where people understand how to use their capital and assets to leverage building better schools, neighborhoods and establish a firm socioeconomic foothold in this country.

Christian no longer wants young African-American men and others to be pawns in a chess game that is played by a chess master whose interests lie only in capturing the king by using the pawns’ athletic prowess; a sacrificial lamb, if you will. When they’ve served their purpose, they’re thrown away. For years, their families have been brainwashed into believing that “sports” is the only way out of poverty as opposed to implanting the belief that an education and its application to the betterment of their present circumstances, is the most tangible and most realistic way to self-sufficiency.

It’s time to reassess where our own strengths lie and to demand to be recruited for our mental attributes instead of just our physical capabilities. The sad truth is that society and the media continue to thwart that constructive mantra with the “get rich with a big professional contract, shortsighted, self-centered gain” approach. Christian is not swayed. He wants to insure that all who look like him or who share his circumstances, are empowered and given the opportunity to earn an advanced degree, bring that newfound intellect back to the neighborhood and build a brain trust to revitalize, restore and reinvigorate a dying community and a marginalized people. Recruit him for that reason and for that reason alone, if you dare!

So, universities, how about offering scholarships en masse to burgeoning and brilliant young people with budding minds to make a name for themselves as well as your institutions? Offer scholarships and recruit those who may not be the brightest, but who show promise and desire, much like a “special teams player” or a “walk-on”. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the bragging rights that hundreds of your alumni have changed the circumstances of those locally, state-wide, nationally and globally or are you too caught in winning a network contract to have all of your team’s games broadcasted for the next 10 years for $100 million? Christian doesn’t care about television contracts. He only cares that those in power live up to their moral contracts with the people. To him that’s the only score and winning percentage that really matters. That’s when we’d all win a real NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Sep-09-2014 2525 0
On yesterday social media went crazy after the video of Ray Rice was released. Within hours Rice was released from the Ravens. Don't think for one second that it was not as a result of the public outcry on social media. The Ravens and the NFL did not have a choice but to release Rice because they had been exposed. However, the saddening part about of all of this is that the powers to be proclaimed they had not seen the video until yesterday.

Why do we live in a society where there's always a cover-up? If we are going to be angry at the police chief in Ferguson, MO for trying to cover up for one of his officers who killed Michael Brown we should also be upset with Commissioner Roger Goodell and Coach John Harbaugh because it appears that they took part in a scheme to deceive the public and by tuning in to the games as usual we are saying it's okay to cover-up a crime. Sean Payton, head coach of the Saints, was forced to sit out a year because an alleged wrongdoing took place under his watch. In my opinion, the same needs to happen to the Roger Goodell and Coach Harbaugh because somehow I think they knew and if they did not know it's even worse because they allowed a poor investigation to support a two game suspension.

Let's look at the severity of what they did. Their actions in trying to protect the NFL brand send the wrong message to ladies who are victims of domestic abuse. What the message says is that you should protect the abuser if there's something to lose. In this case, it was football games and plenty of revenue for a major brand. Their actions could help persuade a victim of domestic abuse to participate in a press conference in order to save a star and risk her life. This was not the right thing to do because someone following that same example could end up dead.

Releasing and/or suspending Rice for the year was the proper thing to do months ago but there are additional suspensions that need to be handed down before we stop talking about this. Take a year off Mr. Commissioner and Coach Harbaugh because you dropped the ball on this one. Better yet, if you won't suspend yourselves, donate your salaries for the year to a charity that supports domestic violence victims if you are really serious about the mistake that was made.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 3157 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

As a country, we came together after 9/11 but soon thereafter the unity went away. There's so much happening in our communities. I thought the Zimmerman verdict would be our wake up call to do more but our young black men continue to be gunned down at a high rate by Men who don't look anything close to their fathers and most of them get away with it. Just in case you mention the black on black crime, remember that the killer normally ends up in prison.

Just recently, the grand jury failed to indict a North Carolina police officer for the killing of Jonathan Ferrell, a young black male, but after there was a public outcry about the injustice that took place he was eventually indicted. Right here in Dallas, Texas we have black men being killed by white police officers and in a great majority of the cases, the police officers are not indicted and judged by a jury of their peers. Instead, the victim is placed on trial and society has become conditioned to believe that it's okay to kill someone if they have a prior criminal record or considered a menace to society. Well, it's not and it's time that it stops.

We need to be proactive and make sure laws that don't benefit us are changed. I will continue to say this until I can't say this anymore; we have to get out and VOTE during the mid-term elections. We need to make sure the right people are elected and the wrong people are removed from office, irrespective of their race. If the same people are in office (local officials) yet we are having some of the same problems, it's time for change. Vote for someone who wants to make a change. Don't just vote based on race or political affiliation; that's what has gotten us to this point where we are today. We have to be proactive or the next Jordan Davis might be our brother, our son, our nephew, our father or our friend. Let's do it. Get involved or get out of the way!!!!!

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.

Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 3527 0
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITIES?: I just finished talking to a mother who lost her son as a result of a police shooting. Hearing this mother talk about her son and how much he loved the holidays was simply heart wrenching. She went on to tell me that she's pleaded for help from our local politicians, pastors, leaders, etc. but no one wants to take her call, especially if the cameras are not rolling. To worsen matters, many of the leaders have put her son on trial and he's dead.

On last week they staged a protest in Dallas and sadly, 95% of the protestors were white. That made me wonder why do people make it in life and fail to reach back to help others? Why do people hear about injustices yet fail to say anything about it other than to say "that's sad!" During the 60's the leaders were individuals (black and white) who had college degrees, had bright futures ahead of them but they risk it all for us to be in the positions we are in today. The sad thing is that many of us believe it's all about us.

We must do more. We have to do more. We have to demand that our politicians and pastors step up to help us fight this battle. It truly takes a team effort. We must hold all of our community leaders accountable. When they ask for your vote, ask them to list ten things they did for the community in the last four years. Ask them how many times have they've attended a rally to show support to a grieving mother or father. We have serious issues and it takes all of us to stop this mess. I'm tired of seeing people who have never fought against a single injustice accept the Martin Luther King drum major for justice award. It's time for change.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
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