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Toddler who family said wandered off found dead in home
The search for a missing Illinois toddler came to a tragic end overnight, when her body was found inside a Joliet Township home, reports CBS Chicago.

According to the station, 16-month-old Semaj Crosby was reported missing on Tuesday evening, about three hours after staff from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services visited her home on an allegation of neglect.

Semaj's family reportedly said they were working on a car outside their home and Semaj was playing with other children in the yard, but wandered off. Police and volunteers launched an extensive search for the girl, but suspended the search late Wednesday due to the rain.

According to the Will County Sheriff's Office, around 11 p.m. on Wednesday the sheriff's office and FBI obtained permission to enter the family's home, with the help of an attorney the family obtained, and found Semaj's body inside.

The little girl was pronounced dead, and an autopsy was scheduled for later Thursday to determine how she died. Officials say they're investigating the case as a suspicious death.

In an email to CBS Chicago, a DCFS spokesperson said they had seen Semaj and her mother's two other children the day she was reported missing and "there were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time."

 "We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation for neglect opened in March 2017," DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in the email. "DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016."



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CBS News Apr-28-2017 146 0
The search for a missing Illinois toddler came to a tragic end overnight, when her body was found inside a Joliet Township home, reports CBS Chicago.

According to the station, 16-month-old Semaj Crosby was reported missing on Tuesday evening, about three hours after staff from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services visited her home on an allegation of neglect.

Semaj's family reportedly said they were working on a car outside their home and Semaj was playing with other children in the yard, but wandered off. Police and volunteers launched an extensive search for the girl, but suspended the search late Wednesday due to the rain.

According to the Will County Sheriff's Office, around 11 p.m. on Wednesday the sheriff's office and FBI obtained permission to enter the family's home, with the help of an attorney the family obtained, and found Semaj's body inside.

The little girl was pronounced dead, and an autopsy was scheduled for later Thursday to determine how she died. Officials say they're investigating the case as a suspicious death.

In an email to CBS Chicago, a DCFS spokesperson said they had seen Semaj and her mother's two other children the day she was reported missing and "there were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time."

 "We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation for neglect opened in March 2017," DCFS spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in the email. "DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016."




Christina Carrega Apr-28-2017 161 0
A Brooklyn teen captured on video leading the brutal assault of a classmate was sentenced to four years in prison Friday after she ruined a second chance given by a judge to avoid time behind bars.

Aniah Ferguson sat back in her seat in Brooklyn Supreme Court and refused to get up after Justice Dineen Riviezzo sentenced her to upstate time for her role as the ringleader in a gang assault inside a Flatbush Ave. McDonalds in March 2015.

"Don't fight, just get up and walk," said one of the seven male and female court officers who surrounded Ferguson.

Before the judge determined Ferguson's sentencing, her attorney Nancy Ginsburg, with a shaky voice, pleaded her client's case.

Ginsburg noted that Ferguson was a misguided youth who needs proper mental health care and was mischaracterized by the media and prosecutors.

Ferguson, 18, who wore an orange jumpsuit with a cast on her left arm and hand, briefly gazed at Ginsburg with tears in her eyes.

Meghan Holohan Apr-28-2017 265 0
In early April, Eric and Lee Broadway were enjoying coffee and each other's company on their porch. They had some rare alone time because their four children were out of town. But, that calm was disrupted for Eric when he needed to work for a few hours; Lee remained home and relaxed. When Broadway was on his way back, he called and his wife shared some worrisome news.

"She said 'I have the worst headache of my life," Broadway, 43, told TODAY. "She lost feeling in her left leg and she fell."

Broadway had high blood pressure, but she took medication to treat it. Her family felt shocked when she died of a ruptured aneurysm.

Broadway encouraged Lee, 41, to stay on the phone while he drove home. When he arrived, they headed to the emergency room at the local hospital. After a CT scan, the doctors knew she needed specialized neurological care and they flew her to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In the chaos, Broadway never learned what caused Lee's symptoms until he asked a passing nurse who informed him that Lee had a broken blood vessel in her brain.

Still feeling uncertain, Broadway Googled "broken blood vessel" and learned that Lee likely suffered from an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weakening of the blood vessels in the brain, which balloon out and sometimes look like berries. They sound scary, but doctors agree that with monitoring and lifestyle changes they can be managed.

While the transfer to the hospital went well, Lee's condition didn't improve.
"Lee is in serious pain. All she is doing is begging for them to take away her pain. It is hard to hear her screaming for help," Broadway said.

But a nurse practitioner reassured Broadway. Lee's aneurysm only ranked two out of five, which was good news. He felt confident enough about his wife's health that he went home to sleep while his in-laws stayed at the hospital.

The next day, April 2, doctors used a catheter to examine Lee's brain. After the procedure, a doctor gave Broadway and his in-laws a thumbs-up and explained they inserted a coil into Lee's brain. Neurosurgeons often use coils to treat aneurysms said Dr. Vineeta Singh, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, who did not treat Lee.

But hours passed and Lee had not come out of recovery. The family started worrying when the doctors invited them to the conference room. The doctors told them that there were complications and "there is nothing we can do for Lee."

"I lost it. I ran out of the room," said Broadway.

The coil popped out of place and Lee experienced complications. She was brain dead and died on April 3.

"It was a huge surprise," said Broadway. "For some reason for her to bleed out, it is unexplainable."
While experiencing crippling headaches can be a sign of an aneurysm, doctors say ruptured aneurysms are exceedingly rare.

"There is a less than one percent chance of an aneurysm rupturing," said Dr. Mark Bain, a neurosurgeon at Cleveland Clinic, who did not treat Lee.

But when they rupture, people certainly can tell.

"If your aneurysm is rupturing you will know. It is usually the worst headache and a sudden pop. Most people fall to the ground and vomit," he said. "It is different than any other headache that you have had."

People who smoke, use cocaine or have high blood pressure are at higher risk of aneurysms, but doctors remain uncertain why they occur. Lee had high blood pressure, said Broadway, but she took medication for it and was healthy enough that her family doctor felt shocked by her passing.
He's not the only one. Broadway still grapples with Lee's loss, but he's trying to be strong.
"I don't have time to be down, I have to be there for my kids," he said.

Broadway had known Lee since middle school. They were best friends and he fixed her up with his friends. But when she was a senior in high school, he realized that his feelings for Lee were more than friendship.

"I remember writing her this letter and just spilling my guts to her," Broadway said. "I thought 'How is she going to respond to this?'"

Lee responded by sharing his feelings and they started dating. A year later, she had their first child, Adair, when Lee was 18, and Broadway, 19. Six years later, she had their second daughter Averi, and Broadway felt content.

"I thought we were done. Lee wanted a son because the first two were girls," Broadway said.

Then they had Alex, now 10, and finally a boy Adrien, now 8 years old.
Lee devoted her life to her children.

"She just appreciated everything about being a mom from doing homework to field trips with them and (being) in the classroom," Broadway said. "She based her life around it."

The family has received support from people around the world and that helps Broadway and his children feel comforted.

"It's just mind-blowing to see," he said.

Broadway said he'll miss having adventures, and even down times, with Lee, and hopes that others who hear her story remember to love their friends and family.

"I hope people just learn to love your love(d) ones every minute of every day and not to take it for granted. Lee and I both took things for granted and it is me just wishing I could say one last thing to her and do one last thing for her," he said.

Fox News Apr-28-2017 102 0
A stunning verdict was returned in the corruption trial for Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. He and his co-defendant were found not guilty on most counts and a mistrial was declared on the remaining counts.

Jurors returned to the courtroom around 11 a.m. Friday after more than a week of deliberation. 
  
Price was found not guilty on the biggest charge of bribery and six other conspiracy and mail fraud charges. But the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the tax fraud and tax underpayment charges.

Judge Barbara Lynn declared a mistrial on those four counts. It will be up to the government to decide whether or not to retry him.

“I’m on my way to work. I’m trying to get to work. Can I get to work?” Price said as he walked out of the courtroom. When asked how he feels about the verdict he said, “We’re okay.”
Price was accused of accepting nearly $1 million in bribes over the course of a decade in the form of money, cars, and land. In exchange, the government argued he got deals for companies doing business for Dallas County.

The defense argued the payments Price received were loan repayments.

“The jury’s verdict is entirely consistent with the evidence. Thank you all so much and I’m very sorry at this time I can’t comment further,” said Shirley Baccus-Lobel, Price's lead attorney.
This is a tremendous defeat for the federal government, which spent several years investigating the longest-serving Dallas County commissioner and collecting millions of documents as evidence.

“First, I want to thank the dedicated women and men of the jury for their extraordinary service during this long and difficult process,” John Parker, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement. “I will be convening with the prosecution team over the next several days regarding where we go from here, consistent with the court's timeline.”

Co-defendant Daphney Fain’s was also found not guilty on all counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and lying to the government.

Harold Gater Apr-26-2017 375 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.

SYDNEY EMBER Apr-26-2017 97 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.”




Sam Hananel, Associated Press Apr-25-2017 97 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.

Esha Ray Apr-24-2017 208 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.

Laura Dimon Apr-24-2017 223 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.

Paula Rogo Apr-24-2017 90 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?

AP Apr-19-2017 146 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

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.

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. 

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Jan-15-2017 1259 0
In such a very short time, many are clearing their memories of how Donald Trump mocked a handicap individual, disrespected candidates, women, the media and anyone else who does not agree with him. Donald Trump has insulted women, called them by names other than their own, has disrespected President Obama and most recently insulted Civil Rights Icon, John Lewis. Despite his despicable behavior, many are of the mindset that we must meet with Donald Trump or risk being left out. Until Donald Trump proves this country wrong, I stand with the Honorable John Lewis.

Has Trump announced that he is cutting back major programs President Obama put in place specifically for black people? Some people are behaving as if Trump is now our savior and if we do not bow down to him he will not help us. If the problems in our communities were so bad and needed so much attention, why weren't people lined up the last 8 years to discuss these problems with President Obama?

Trump has succeeded in making people afraid and now some are living in fear. Trump said in his campaign speech that nothing had been done for the black communities in the last 8 years so what do we have to lose. Trump said he would change things and now people are saying we need to meet with Mr.Trump so that he can keep his promise. That alone really makes it appear as if President Obama did nothing for the black communities and Trump was right. Listen, we have to stop depending on the Government and do for ourselves. When you depend on a large machine like the Government it controls you. When something controls you it can destroy you.

Many of the colleges in Louisiana and throughout the U.S. are now dealing with financial issues because of the budget cuts. Most of the colleges are dependent on the Government to survive because of the little support from the communities and believe me that is a recipe for disaster. Have you ever wondered why Asians and other races are not lined up to meet with Trump? It's because they support their own businesses and circulate the dollars within their own communities so they are not as dependent on the Government. We don't need Trump. We need each other. You guys running behind Trump will make him look like the savior he say he is and as a result he will most certainly be in office for the next 8 years. This country is in the best shape it's ever been in for a very long time and will only get better because of the things President Obama put into place. The thing is, Donald Trump will get credit for it all. We will survive, especially if we begin to support each other.

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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Sep-20-2016 626 0
One must applaud the efforts and courage of Colin Kaepernick despite all of the negative criticism he’s received from the media, from fans, from athletes, current and former, and from certain owners of professional teams. Some have questioned his sincerity and others have questioned his methods but what many have failed to do is take notice of his message. Kaepernick has voiced on a number of occasions the reason for his peaceful protest yet many have failed to comprehend it.

What Kaepernick has done for the Movement is sparked conversation but many do not want to listen. He used his platform to bring attention to the injustices that are occurring on a daily basis yet an unarmed black man was shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma while he held both hands in the air for the world to see.

One has to wonder if this would have occurred if there was more unity on the issues that Kaepernick brought to the forefront. One has to wonder if this would have happened if every professional athlete would have stood in solidarity. One has to wonder if this would have happened if Jerry Jones allowed his athletes to exercise their Constitutional rights. One has to wonder if this would have happened if all of the National Organizations would have issued press releases making their support of Kaepernick known to all. One has to wonder if this would have happened if the media was not so fast to label all police officers as heroes. One has to wonder if this would have happened if the officers who murdered Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile were in jail today.

Colin Kaepernick, did what many have accused athletes of not doing; he took a stance. He pledged One Million dollars to the cause but how many more came in support of his efforts? I would like to believe if more people would have come out in support of Colin Kaepernick, Mr. Crutcher would still be alive today. Colin Kaepernick took a knee and challenged everyone else to do so but instead of focusing on the message, people focused on the National Anthem. When the message is ignored the problems will persist. There is a National Stage. The time is now to bring a plan forward. Stop questioning his method and give him the support he needs. Two weeks ago, two young ladies were wrongfully arrested while eating at a Whataburger in San Antonio, Texas. A few days later, a 13 year old boy was shot multiple times by a police officer. On last week, the officer who killed Eric Garner received a bonus to bring his pay to $120,000. Now, we witnessed the shooting of an unarmed black man but there are those who still don’t get the message. Why? Colin Kaepernick has not received the full support he needs.

Colin Kaepernick took a knee but many have not been there to lift him up. This is not Colin’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem. If you can demand that people stand in solidarity during the playing of the National Anthem, you most certainly should demand that everyone stand in solidarity when there are injustices. Don’t leave it up to one person to do it all alone. We must up take a knee and move forward with a plan.

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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.


Daryl K. Washington Jul-14-2016 947 0
I had the pleasure to witness four NBA superstars issuing a “Call to Action” to the thousands of athletes who were in attendance at the ESPY Awards. It was the moment I waited on for so long because I personally know the influence professional athletes have on society. They have the platform and the power to demand change. We saw the immediate change that occurred when athletes at Grambling State University, Missouri and the Los Angeles Clippers, to name a few, decided to take a stance. Athletes have the power, the platform and the support to make a difference but should they have to do it alone?

As a civil rights attorney I’ve had the opportunity to attend a number of protests throughout the U.S. I’ve attended rallies and marches where some of my closest friends lived but as I thought about it, I generally did not get to see any of them until after the events were over. I recently received confirmation that there is a perception that the only individuals out marching are the victims’ families, individuals from the communities we moved away from or individuals who are wrongfully labeled as troublemakers. What really confirmed it for me was when it was stated that “men should get off the protest lines and instead fill out job applications.” I know that comment can be taken many ways but the way I took it was that men who are out protesting do not have jobs. The sad reality of it all is the reason statements like that can be made is because many who have been blessed to obtain multiple degrees, fortunate to be employed by major organizations, live in the nice neighborhoods, drive the fancy cars, have the IRA’s and are living what is considered the American Dream will not get involved with the movement out of the fear of losing it all yet those same people have the audacity to call out athletes.

Here is the bottom line. This movement cannot be placed on the backs of a few. Until organizations see their star players out in the communities voicing their concerns, they will think the injustices are acceptable. I know it shocked the conscious of America to see Trauma surgeon Brian Williams publicly share his fear of police officers. There were many who probably thought “how dare a doctor make such comments” and I’m sure Dr. Williams understood that there was some risks involved in making his comments but I'm sure he realized that many would listen if he spoke. His comments needed to be made because America now sees that this problem does not only exist in what many call the hood. Many now understand that for black and brown people the hood is America and we are not safe anywhere.

Just recently I was traveling to conduct depositions. I guess because I had on a suit and was sitting in First Class (I had an upgrade because of mileage) the white gentleman sitting next to me perhaps was of the opinion that I was not concerned about what was going on in the black communities. Little did he know why I was traveling and what I fight for on a daily basis. He had the audacity to say he could not understand why people were so upset about the incident in Baton Rouge given the background of Alvin Sterling. My response to him was when an officer decides to use excessive force against a black or brown person, in most cases they do not know the name of the person or whether they have a criminal background. Only one thing is seen; the color of the person’s skin. They know in most cases that the law and media have been on their side so there is no fear of killing because there will be plenty of support for them. By the time our flight landed he admitted that his own personal biases had not allowed him to look beyond a certain point but because we discussed it, he now had a clearer picture.

I say all of the above to emphasize that athletes are not the only individuals with the power and platform to demand change. There are Black Presidents, CEO’s, Coaches, CPA's, CFO’s, Managers, Politicians, Directors and future stars of large corporations who also have the platforms. There are Black doctors, nurses, dentists, lawyers, pilots, flight attendants, scientists, engineers, sales professionals, educators, business owners, entertainers, etc. who also have the platforms and power to make a change. It’s time that we gave our brothers and sisters, who are out fighting for justice on a daily basis, the help and support they truly need. I can assure you that should you become the victim of police brutality in your nice neighborhoods or fired from you nice jobs, you will then understand the value of being a part of groups that fight for change. We all need to be out protesting so that the victims’ families can properly grieve. We are in this current state of chaos because so many believe it’s not their problem. Just remember, we are in our positions because someone fought for us.

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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Jun-24-2016 979 0
On yesterday the officer responsible for the incident in McKinney, Texas was not indicted for the assault on the young teenager that was seen all over the U.S. Also, on yesterday one of the officers in the Freddie Gray case was acquitted. As expected, my timeline on Facebook was flooded with posts from individuals talking about the injustices that take place throughout the U.S. One of my good friends, who is like a brother to me, even blamed attorneys for the injustices throughout the U.S. Generally, I do not comment on these type of issues but because it's Friday I would like to give everyone who this may apply to something to think about.

When is the last time you attended a judicial debate or even contacted an attorney to inquire about a judicial candidate or a DA to see if they had the proper temperament to serve? When is the last time you attended a rally or demanded that a DA present all of the evidence to the grand jury? When is the last time you took a day off from work to support the families who sons or daughters were wrongfully gunned down by a police officer? When is the last time you packed a courthouse to support a family you did not know? When is the last time you sent a letter to the family of a deceased offering your support, financially or emotionally? When is the last time you contacted your local city council member and asked them what they are doing to address the issue of police brutality and police misconduct?

I could go on and on with this but just know, the system will continue as is unless we become proactive and stop being so reactive. This system knows that people will get excited about an incident but once the media is gone, so is the support. As a Civil Rights attorney, I know who is putting it all on the line to bring about change. I know the people who are talking to the DA's, to the Chiefs of Police of various cities, to the city attorneys and others trying to save lives and/or bring about change. I know my friends who attend meetings when I'm in their cities trying to bring about change. It seems like an easy and at times, prestigious job but to be honest, it can be a lonely job. Many nights when most people are sleeping, I find myself in deep thoughts wondering if I could get the thousands of people I know to stand behind us in this fight, a major difference could be made.

Creating the wonderful posts on Facebook help bring attention to issues of injustice but we have to be consistent with our support. One million people strong can take a day off from work with very short notice to attend the CAVS victory parade but let a demonstration for the wrongful death of an unarmed black man or woman be planned and the hardest thing to do is get people to agree on a date or better yet, take off a day to show their support. I know many may not understand how deep this problem truly is but until you step out in the heat and show your support, you may want to stop some of the blaming. Just remember, there will not be change until we all change. Real support is needed to stop the injustices that are occurring throughout the U.S. Let's all come together to bring about a change in this country.

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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Nov-11-2015 13900 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 dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
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