Black Lives Matter-Ugliness of Racism.

spaminator

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Black cop claims he was fired in sex scandal, white cops skated

Author of the article:Brad Hunter
Published Dec 22, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read
Fired police officer Maegan Hall is suing, claiming she was sexually groomed.
Fired police officer Maegan Hall is suing, claiming she was sexually groomed.
Former Tennessee cop Lewis Powell claims he was fired for his role in a police sex scandal while his white colleagues skated.


Now, the former La Vergne police officer is suing the city for “racial prejudice.”


Lewis and four other cops on the force were fired while three were suspended for partaking in sexual hijinks with rookie officer Maegan Hall.

The veteran officer is now suing the city, the mayor, its HR director and the police chief. He is seeking a $3 million payout along with front and back pay.


“(The city) terminated and defamed all the officers involved — except for those who were white and male — based at least partly on racial prejudice,” the suit claims, adding that Powell has always denied having sex with Hall.

But investigators said Hall, 26, performed oral sex on Lewis while both were on duty. He later allegedly confessed to the hormone-charged hijinks.


The sex scandal exploded in 2022 when a snitch ratted out the copulating cops. Hall, the stool pigeon said, was having numerous sexual relationships with multiple male colleagues. Some of those steamy encounters took place at the station house.


Hall admitted to playing games of “strip Uno,” sent foot fetish photos, engaged in wife-swapping with fellow cops and enjoyed hot tub threesomes on multiple occasions.

“I got stupid, I got desperate, I guess, and guys are guys and they’ll stick their d**k in anything,” the now divorced Hall told investigators. “I just gave him a blow job in the substation.

“Me and my husband were kind of on the verge of a divorce and I just cracked and then it just kind of got out of hand.”

The investigation went right to the top and included the then-chief of police. She also traded raunchy photos with some of her fraternal fan club.



Her defence was that she had been “sexually groomed” by “predator” supervisors. One whom was Powell, she claimed in a lawsuit.

“Sgt. Powell positioned himself as a reliable source of companionship and advice regarding Ms. Hall’s career and her marriage,” her suit stated. “Sgt. Powell persisted in requests for sex despite Ms. Hall’s resistance. Eventually, Ms. Hall gave in to Sgt. Powell’s requests for sexual favours.”

Hall then claimed that when she tried to end things with Powell, he threatened to kill himself. It was her sexual encounters with Powell that led to the flurry of sexual encounters with other cops.

Even the police chief shared sex videos of Hall with other officers after begging another cop for a video of the young officer masturbating.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun
 

spaminator

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Two paramedics found guilty in death of Elijah McClain, who they gave ketamine OD
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Colleen Slevin And Matthew Brown
Published Dec 22, 2023 • 5 minute read

BRIGHTON, Colo. — Two Denver-area paramedics were convicted Friday for giving a fatal overdose of the sedative ketamine in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain — a jury verdict that experts said could have a chilling effect on first responders around the country.


The case over the 23-year-old Black man’s death was the first among several recent criminal prosecutions against medical first responders to reach trial, potentially setting the bar for prosecutors in future cases.


It also was the last of three trials against police and paramedics charged in the death of McClain, whose case received little attention until protests over the 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. An Aurora police officer was convicted of homicide and third degree assault earlier this year while two officers were acquitted.

The jury found Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec guilty of criminally negligent homicide following a weekslong trial in state district court. The jury also found Cichuniec guilty on one of two second-degree assault charges. Cooper was found not guilty on the assault charges. They could face years in prison at sentencing.


McClain’s mother, Sheneen, raised her first in the air and exclaimed, “We did it! We did it! We did it!” while leaving the courthouse with a friend and the president of the Aurora NAACP.

The outcome could set a precedent going forward for how emergency personnel respond to situations with people in police custody, said University of Miami criminologist Alex Piquero.

“Imagine if you’re a paramedic,” Piquero said. “They could be hesitant. They could say, ‘I’m not going to do anything’ or ‘I’m going to do less. I don’t want to be found guilty.”‘

The verdict was announced after two days of deliberations. When jurors told the judge Friday afternoon they were stuck on one of the charges, the judge told them to keep trying to reach a verdict. After the verdict was read, deputies prepared to handcuff Cooper as his wife sobbed in the first row.


Police stopped McClain while he was walking home from a convenience store on Aug. 24, 2019, following a suspicious person complaint. After an officer said McClain reached for an officer’s gun — a claim disputed by prosecutors — another officer put him in a neck hold that rendered him temporarily unconscious. Officers also pinned down McClain before Cooper injected him with an overdose of ketamine. Cichuniec was the senior officer and said it was his decision to use ketamine.

Prosecutors said the paramedics did not conduct basic medical checks of McClain, such as taking his pulse, before giving him the ketamine. The dose was too much for someone of his size — 140 pounds (64 kilograms), experts testified. Prosecutors say they also did not monitor McClain immediately after giving him the sedative but instead left him lying on the ground, making it harder to breathe.


McClain’s pleading words captured on police body camera video, “I’m an introvert and I’m different,” struck a chord with protesters and people around the country.

In a statement released prior to the verdict, McClain’s mother said that everyone present during the police stop of her son displayed a lack of humanity.

“They can not blame their job training for their indifference to evil or their participation in an evil action,” McClain wrote. “That is completely on them. May all of their souls rot in hell when their time comes.”

Defense attorneys argued that the paramedics followed their training in giving ketamine to McClain after diagnosing him with ” excited delirium,” a disputed condition some say is unscientific and has been used to justify excessive force.


The verdicts came after a jury in Washington state cleared three police officers of all criminal charges on Thursday in the 2020 death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who was shocked, beaten and restrained face-down on a Tacoma sidewalk as he pleaded for breath.

In the Colorado case, the prosecution said Cooper lied to investigators to try to cover up his actions, telling detectives that McClain was actively resisting when he decided to inject McClain with ketamine, even though the body camera showed McClain lying on the ground unconscious. It also disputed Cooper’s claim that McClain tried to get away from police holding him down — and that he took McClain’s pulse as he bent down to give him the shot of ketamine, which others testified they did not see.


“He’s trying to cover up the recklessness of his conduct,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Jason Slothouber told jurors in closing statements.

Cichuniec, who testified along with Cooper this week, said paramedics were trained that they had to work quickly to treat excited delirium with ketamine and said they were told numerous times that it was a safe, effective drug and were not warned about the possibility of it killing anyone.

Colorado now tells paramedics not to give ketamine to people suspected of having the controversial condition known as excited delirium, which has symptoms including increased strength and has been associated with racial bias against Black men.

“We were taught that is a safe drug and it will not kill them,” he testified.


Local authorities in 2019 decided against criminal charges because the coroner’s office could not determine exactly how McClain, a massage therapist, died. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered state Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office to take another look at the case in 2020 and a grand jury indicted the officers and paramedics in 2021.

The killings of McClain, Floyd and others triggered a wave of legislation that put limits on the use of neck holds in more than two dozen states.

When the police stopped McClain he was listening to music and wearing a mask that covered most of his face because he had a blood circulation disorder. The police stop quickly became physical after McClain, seemingly caught off guard, asked to be left alone. He had not been accused of committing any crime.


The officers told investigators that they took McClain down after hearing Officer Randy Roedema say, “He grabbed your gun dude.” Roedema later said Officer Jason Rosenblatt’s gun was the target.

Prosecutors refuted that McClain ever tried to grab an officer’s gun and no such action is seen in body camera footage.

Paramedic injected McClain with ketamine as Roedema — and another officer, who was not charged — held him on the ground. McClain went into cardiac arrest en route to the hospital and died three days later.

Roedema was convicted earlier this month of the least serious charge in a series of charges he could’ve faced, which could lead to a sentence of anywhere from probation to prison time.

Rosenblatt and officer Nathan Woodyard were acquitted of all charges.

In the first trials against the police officers, the defense sought to pin the blame for McClain’s death on the paramedics.

The city of Aurora in 2021 agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit brought by McClain’s parents.
 

spaminator

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Woman who was shot in the head during pursuit sues Mississippi’s Capitol Police
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Dec 23, 2023 • 2 minute read
On Wednesday, Dec. 20, a woman who was shot in the head while she was a passenger in a car fleeing from police filed a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Capitol Police, claiming excessive force.
On Wednesday, Dec. 20, a woman who was shot in the head while she was a passenger in a car fleeing from police filed a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Capitol Police, claiming excessive force.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A woman who was shot in the head while she was a passenger in a car fleeing from police has filed a federal lawsuit against a state-run department in Mississippi’s capital city.


Sherita Harris was shot in the head during an August 2022 pursuit that began after a traffic stop in Jackson, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. Southern District of Mississippi. Two officers from the Capitol Police, who patrol an area home to many government buildings, stopped a car driven by Harris’ friend for running a red light.


The lawsuit, which alleges excessive force, says an officer began firing into the car after the traffic stop.

A spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Capitol Police, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment. Police have not confirmed whether Harris was shot by an officer, NBCNews.com reported.

The officers have said the car Harris was in fled after they exited their patrol vehicle and that they heard gunshots coming from the car as they gave chase, court records show. One of the officers fired at the vehicle and it crashed into a curb.


The driver exited and began running on foot, according to the records. Officers said they saw a black object in his hands and shot him. After arresting him, they discovered the black object was a cell phone. The officers never found a gun, but later claimed in a court hearing that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which examines police shootings, recovered a weapon elsewhere.

After arresting the driver, the officers said they found Harris slumped over in the passenger seat of the car. She was transported to a hospital, where she required surgery to remove bullet fragments from her head, the lawsuit says. Harris still suffers with her speech, gait and cognitive abilities, the lawsuit says.

She has not been charged with a crime, but the driver was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, according to NBCNews.com.

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the episode for potential violations that could result in charges for the officers involved. The officers have been cleared to return to work while the office conducts its review.

Carlos Moore, Harris’ attorney, has called for federal prosecutors to investigate the case. The lawsuit seeks $3 million in damages.
 

Dixie Cup

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Black cop claims he was fired in sex scandal, white cops skated

Author of the article:Brad Hunter
Published Dec 22, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read
Fired police officer Maegan Hall is suing, claiming she was sexually groomed.
Fired police officer Maegan Hall is suing, claiming she was sexually groomed.
Former Tennessee cop Lewis Powell claims he was fired for his role in a police sex scandal while his white colleagues skated.


Now, the former La Vergne police officer is suing the city for “racial prejudice.”


Lewis and four other cops on the force were fired while three were suspended for partaking in sexual hijinks with rookie officer Maegan Hall.

The veteran officer is now suing the city, the mayor, its HR director and the police chief. He is seeking a $3 million payout along with front and back pay.


“(The city) terminated and defamed all the officers involved — except for those who were white and male — based at least partly on racial prejudice,” the suit claims, adding that Powell has always denied having sex with Hall.

But investigators said Hall, 26, performed oral sex on Lewis while both were on duty. He later allegedly confessed to the hormone-charged hijinks.


The sex scandal exploded in 2022 when a snitch ratted out the copulating cops. Hall, the stool pigeon said, was having numerous sexual relationships with multiple male colleagues. Some of those steamy encounters took place at the station house.


Hall admitted to playing games of “strip Uno,” sent foot fetish photos, engaged in wife-swapping with fellow cops and enjoyed hot tub threesomes on multiple occasions.

“I got stupid, I got desperate, I guess, and guys are guys and they’ll stick their d**k in anything,” the now divorced Hall told investigators. “I just gave him a blow job in the substation.

“Me and my husband were kind of on the verge of a divorce and I just cracked and then it just kind of got out of hand.”

The investigation went right to the top and included the then-chief of police. She also traded raunchy photos with some of her fraternal fan club.



Her defence was that she had been “sexually groomed” by “predator” supervisors. One whom was Powell, she claimed in a lawsuit.

“Sgt. Powell positioned himself as a reliable source of companionship and advice regarding Ms. Hall’s career and her marriage,” her suit stated. “Sgt. Powell persisted in requests for sex despite Ms. Hall’s resistance. Eventually, Ms. Hall gave in to Sgt. Powell’s requests for sexual favours.”

Hall then claimed that when she tried to end things with Powell, he threatened to kill himself. It was her sexual encounters with Powell that led to the flurry of sexual encounters with other cops.

Even the police chief shared sex videos of Hall with other officers after begging another cop for a video of the young officer masturbating.

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun
Sick!
 

spaminator

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BLM activist Shaun King’s ‘fighting for Palestine’ got him blocked from Instagram
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Dec 26, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read

BLM activist Shaun King claimed Instagram banned his account amid his fight for Palestine.


Sure enough, King’s page, which has six million followers, “isn’t available,” so he used another Instagram account to share a video message on what the social media platform is doing to him.


King first greets his friends and lets them know that he is “safe” before venting.

“Frustrated that Instagram has banned me for fighting for Palestine, and speaking up for the human rights and dignity of Palestinians, but I refuse to betray my values and principles by staying silent about this genocide and the war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank,” he captioned the video post.

“You can NEVER mince words about genocide,” he continued. “You can never mince words about war crimes. You MUST speak truth to power every way you know how.”

King added: “Please promise me that you will now go harder for Palestine than ever before. OK?”



King’s condemnation of the war in Gaza, which was launched in retaliation after Hamas terrorists killed approximately 1,200 Israelis and abducted about 250 others on Oct. 7, comes after his anti-Israel posts including Hamas propaganda videos claiming the hostages were being treated well.

“The account was disabled due to multiple instances of praise for designated entities in violation of our policies,” a Meta spokesperson told the New York Post.

In October, the family of two American hostages freed by Hamas terrorists accused King of lying when he claimed he worked “frantically behind the scenes” to help secure their release.

The activist claimed he assisted in the release of Natalie Raanan, 17, and her mother, Judith Tai Raanan, who were taken hostage and held captive by Hamas for nearly two weeks.


King posted several screenshots of messages between himself and Natalie’s brother Ben that indicate Ben sought his help because he believed he had Palestinian contacts.

However, the Raanan family issued a statement following their loved ones’ release, saying, “First and foremost, we make it clear that he is lying!,” they told TMZ.

“Our family does not and did not have anything to do with him, neither directly nor indirectly. Not to him and not to anything he claims to represent.”
 

spaminator

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Jacksonville removes Confederate monument after years of controversy
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Lori Rozsa
Published Dec 27, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
A memorial to commemorate women of the Confederacy, shown in September, was the centerpiece of a city park in Jacksonville, Fla., for more than a century - until it was dismantled Wednesday morning. MUST CREDIT: Joshua Lott/The Washington Post
A memorial to commemorate women of the Confederacy, shown in September, was the centerpiece of a city park in Jacksonville, Fla., for more than a century - until it was dismantled Wednesday morning. MUST CREDIT: Joshua Lott/The Washington Post PHOTO BY JOSHUA LOTT /The Washington Post
A massive Confederate memorial in a city park in Jacksonville, Fla., came down Wednesday morning after years of controversy over the statue, preempting proposed state legislation that would punish local officials who vote to remove such monuments.


On orders of Mayor Donna Deegan, crews began their work overnight in Springfield Park – formerly Confederate Park – and had the first part of “In Memory of Our Women of the Southland” on the ground shortly after dawn. Though many residents had long demanded such action, it still came as a surprise as the sun rose – with a TV station’s live stream allowing both critics and supporters of the monument to watch its dismantling.


Deegan (D) had promised after her election in May to have the statue taken down but couldn’t get agreement from the City Council’s 19 members. Then last month, a Republican state representative from Duval County proposed legislation that would punish local officials who vote to remove historical monuments.


The mayor said in a statement that she used her own authority – and nearly $200,000 in private funds – to have the work done. Early cost estimates were as high as $1.3 million.

“Symbols matter,” Deegan said in explaining why she thought the statue had to go. “They tell the world what we stand for and what we aspire to be. By removing the confederate monument from Springfield Park, we signal a belief in our shared humanity.”

Her statement noted that the memorial “was erected during the peak of early 20th century Confederate monument-building, part of a widespread campaign to promote and justify Jim Crow laws in the South and intimidate African Americans.”

One Republican council member reacted angrily. “Deegan is our Mayor, not our Monarch,” Nick Howland said on X, formerly Twitter. “Waiting until nightfall before taking a backhoe to the Women of the South monument is blatant overreach.”



Jacksonville continues to grapple with its history. In August, three Black people were fatally shot by a White man with a swastika-decorated AR-15-style rifle. The gunman – who had targeted a Dollar General store in a Black neighborhood near Edward Waters University, a historically Black college – killed himself before police arrived.

The murders shook the city and, for many, brought about a reckoning with Jacksonville’s racist past. “Women of the Southland, 1861-1865” was for many an unwelcome reminder of that past.

The 12-columned, 41-foot-tall memorial features three figures high atop a pedestal: a mother embracing her two children. The plaque included at its dedication made its intent clear. “Let this mute but eloquent structure speak to generations to come of a generation of the past,” it read. “Let it repeat perpetually the imperishable story of our women of the ’60s, those noble women who sacrificed their all upon their country’s altar.”


The monument, erected in 1914 after a fundraising effort by the Florida division of the United Confederate Veterans, was the centerpiece of what for more than another century would be called Confederate Park.

The first changes came in 2020 with the park’s renaming and the removal of a statue of a Confederate soldier across from City Hall. Yet still the monument remained, despite weekly protests from the group Take ‘Em Down Jax and others.

Deegan’s support gave protesters hope but also prompted pushback. State Rep. Dean Black proposed legislation he titled “Protection of Historical Monuments and Memorials,” which calls on Florida’s secretary of state to ensure “that each nonmilitary Florida monument or memorial is not removed, damaged, or destroyed.”


In discussing his bill last month, Black said: “If you want to put up another memorial to tell your side of the story, then you should be free to do that. And that should be protected. Don’t tear down my history. Tell yours.”

On Wednesday morning, crowds gathered outside the fence at Springfield Park, chanting “take ’em down, take ’em down,” and singing as crews wound thick straps around the three bronze figures. A fourth figure, which had stood atop the dome holding a furled Confederate flag, had already been pulled down and placed on its side in the grass.

Tim Gilmore, a lifelong Jacksonville resident and professor at Florida State College, has written extensively about the city’s racist history. He credits Deegan with taking action to have the memorial removed.

“Mayor Deegan has caught us up with where we should have been sometime well back in the 20th century,” Gilmore said before heading to Springfield Park to watch the activity. “Deegan has put an end to the Lost Cause lie in Jacksonville.”
jacksonville-monument[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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Nikki Haley, asked what caused the Civil War, leaves out slavery. It’s not the first time
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Meg Kinnard
Published Dec 28, 2023 • Last updated 2 days ago • 4 minute read

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was asked at a New Hampshire town hall about the reason for the Civil War, and she didn’t mention slavery in her response. She walked back her comments hours later.


Asked during Wednesday night’s town hall in Berlin what she believed had caused the war — the first shots of which were fired in her home state of South Carolina — Haley talked about the role of government, replying that it involved “the freedoms of what people could and couldn’t do.”


She then turned the question back to the man who had asked it. He replied that he was not the one running for president and wished instead to know her answer.

After Haley went into a lengthier explanation about the role of government, individual freedom and capitalism, the questioner seemed to admonish Haley, saying, “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you answer that question without mentioning the word ‘slavery.”’

“What do you want me to say about slavery?” Haley retorted before abruptly moving on to the next question.



Haley, the former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor, has been working to become the leading alternative to Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. It’s unclear whether her comments will have a long-term political impact, particularly among the independent voters who are crucial to her campaign.

She backpedaled on her Civil War comments 12 hours later, with her campaign disseminating a Thursday morning radio interview in which she said, “Of course the Civil War was about slavery,” something she called “a stain on America.” She went on to reiterate that “freedom matters. And individual rights and liberties matter for all people.”

Her GOP rivals quickly jumped on her original comments, even though most of them have been accused of downplaying the effects of slavery themselves.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign recirculated video of the original exchange on social media, adding the comment, “Yikes.” Campaigning in Iowa on Thursday, DeSantis said that Haley “has had some problems with some basic American history” and that it’s “not that difficult to identify and acknowledge the role slavery played in the Civil War.”

DeSantis faced criticism over slavery earlier in the year when Florida enacted new education standards requiring teachers to instruct middle school students that slaves developed skills that “could be applied for their personal benefit.” U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican in the Senate and DeSantis’ then-rival for the GOP presidential nomination, rejected that characterization, saying instead that slavery was about “separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives.”


Make America Great Again Inc., a super PAC supporting Trump’s campaign, sent out a release saying Haley’s response shows she “is clearly not ready for primetime.” The group also included an X post from Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, a Black Republican who supports Trump, reading “1. Psst Nikki… the answer is slavery PERIOD. 2. This really doesn’t matter because Trump is going to be the nominee. Trump 2024!”

Trump did not mention the two centuries of slavery in America at a 2020 event marking the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. He instead focused on America’s founding having “set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism and built the most fair, equal and prosperous nation in human history.”


Issues surrounding the origins of the Civil War and its heritage are still much of the fabric of Haley’s home state, and she has been pressed on the war’s origins before. As she ran for governor in 2010, Haley, in an interview with a now-defunct activist group then known as The Palmetto Patriots, described the war as between two disparate sides fighting for “tradition” and “change” and said the Confederate flag was “not something that is racist.”

During that same campaign, she dismissed the need for the flag to come down from the Statehouse grounds, portraying her Democratic rival’s push for its removal as a desperate political stunt.

Five years later, Haley urged lawmakers to remove the flag from its perch near a Confederate soldier monument following a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in which a white gunman killed nine Black church members who were attending Bible study. At the time, Haley said the flag had been “hijacked” by the shooter from those who saw the flag as symbolizing “sacrifice and heritage.”


South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession — the 1860 proclamation by the state government outlining its reasons for seceding from the Union — mentions slavery in its opening sentence and points to the “increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery” as a reason for the state removing itself from the Union.

On Wednesday night, Christale Spain — elected this year as the first Black woman to chair South Carolina’s Democratic Party — said Haley’s response was “vile, but unsurprising.”

“The same person who refused to take down the Confederate Flag until the tragedy in Charleston, and tried to justify a Confederate History Month,” Spain said in a post on X, of Haley. “She’s just as MAGA as Trump,” Spain added, referring to Trump’s ”Make America Great Again” slogan.

Jaime Harrison, current chairman of the Democratic National Committee and South Carolina’s party chairman during part of Haley’s tenure as governor, said her response was “not stunning if you were a Black resident in SC when she was Governor.”

“Same person who said the confederate flag was about tradition & heritage and as a minority woman she was the right person to defend keeping it on state house grounds,” Harrison posted Wednesday night on X. “Some may have forgotten but I haven’t. Time to take off the rose colored Nikki Haley glasses folks.”
 

spaminator

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Civil rights leader removed from movie theatre for using his own chair
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Ben Finley
Published Dec 29, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read

A civil rights leader was escorted by police out of a North Carolina movie theater after he insisted on using his own chair for medical reasons, prompting an apology from the nation’s largest movie theater chain.


The incident occurred Tuesday in Greenville during a showing of “The Color Purple.” The Rev. William Barber II said he needs the chair because he suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a disabling bone disease.


Barber, 60, leads a nonprofit called Repairers of the Breach, which focuses on issues including voter suppression and poverty. He also co-chairs the national Poor People’s Campaign, which is modeled after an initiative launched in 1968 by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

During an hourlong news conference on Friday, Barber spoke in support of people with disabilities and the need for businesses to provide the accommodations required under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I know that if I cannot sit in my chair in a theater in Greenville, North Carolina …. that there are thousands of other people who will be excluded from public spaces in this nation,” Barber said.


Barber said managers at the AMC theater asked an armed security guard and local police officers to remove him after he stood firm on using the chair. Barber said he agreed to be escorted out after officers said they’d have to close down the theater and arrest him.

Barber said he left his 90-year-old mother behind with an assistant to watch the film. Video of the incident shows Barber talking to an officer before walking out of the theater.

“This is not about me personally,” he said. “Though it happened to me personally, this is about what systemic changes, policy changes (and) training needs to be done to ensure this happens to no one.”

Greenville police said in a statement that a caller from the theater said a customer was arguing with employees and the theater wanted him removed. After a brief conversation with a responding police officer, “Barber agreed to leave the theater voluntarily,” police said. No charges were filed.


AMC apologized in a written statement, saying it welcomes and works hard to accommodate guests with disabilities, WRAL reported.

“We are also reviewing our policies with our theater teams to help ensure situations like this do not occur again,” the statement said.

Barber said he’ll meet next week with the chairman of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Adam Aron, after Aron reached out to him. Barber said he is “hopeful it will lead to just and good things for those with disabilities.”

Barber previously served as president of the North Carolina NAACP, leading protests over voter access at the Statehouse that got him and more than 1,000 people arrested for civil disobedience. He stepped down from that role in 2017.

Barber is now a professor at Yale Divinity School. He said Friday that he tells his students they must care about people.

“There’s no way to follow Jesus without learning to pay attention to whoever is broken and vulnerable in society,” Barber said. “Because that’s where God shows up.”
 

Serryah

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So, a teenager, hired to work fields in Florida, is charged because the cop who died had a heart attack that is a medical condition of the cop...

Set aside he was a foreign worker - had the cop arrested anyone else and he died of a heart attack then, would they be charging that person with murder?

Absolutely not.

Goddamn the US is just itching to arrest anyone for any reason...

Nevermind that the kid didn't even speak English but Man so there was no way for him to get what the cop was saying in full. So instead of being SMART and asking for someone who might be able to talk to him, he escalates things?

Fucking idiot cop.
 

spaminator

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Ex-Colorado officer who killed Elijah McClain gets 14 months in jail
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Colleen Slevin
Published Jan 05, 2024 • 6 minute read

DENVER (AP) — A former Colorado officer was sentenced Friday to 14 months in jail in the death of Elijah McClain, a young Black man who was stopped by police while walking home in 2019. McClain’s death helped galvanize racial justice protests the following year.


Colorado District Judge Mark Warner sentenced ex-Aurora police officer Randy Roedema to the jail time for a third-degree assault conviction, ordering that some of that time may be served as work release toward 200 hours — or five weeks — of community service.


The judge also sentenced Roedema to four years of probation on a conviction for negligent homicide.

Among the three officers charged in McClain’s 2019 death, Roedema was the only one found guilty. The judge had discretion to sentence Roedema to either probation or time in jail or prison.

McClain’s death became a rallying cry and received new attention amid the national reckoning on race and police brutality after George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police.


THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

DENVER (AP) — The mother of a young Black man who died after being stopped by police has called the former Colorado officer who killed him a “bully with a badge,” after he expressed remorse Friday for the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain but stopped short of apologizing.

“Randy Roedema stole my son’s life. All the belated apologies in the world can’t remove my son’s blood from Randy Roedema’s hands,” Sheneen McClain said at a sentencing hearing for the former Aurora police officer.

Protecting the community was “the furthest thing from his mind” the night of her son’s death in 2019, McClain told the courtroom.

Among the three police officers charged in McClain’s death, Roedema was the only one found guilty and was the most senior officer who initially responded to the scene. A jury convicted him in October of criminally negligent homicide, which is a felony, and third-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor.


McClain’s killing received little attention at the time of his death, but gained renewed interest the following year as mass protests swept the nation over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. McClain’s death became a rallying cry for critics of racial injustice in policing.

Roedema spoke at the hearing, as well as his sister and former military colleagues — he was a U.S. Marine who was wounded in Iraq.

“I want the McClain family to know the sadness I feel about Elijah being gone. He was young,” Roedema said.

In a separate trial, two paramedics were recently convicted for injecting McClain with an overdose of the sedative ketamine after police put him in a neck hold. Sentencing will come later this year for the paramedics, who had been trained to use ketamine to treat ” excited delirium ” — a disputed condition some say is unscientific, rooted in racism, and used to justify excessive force.


Roedema suggested Friday that first responders get more training in how to deal with such situations that led to McClain being given an overdose.

“Ultimately the situation has caused a lot of pain and we are faced with the choice of how to deal with it,” Roedema said.

McClain was stopped by police after a 911 caller reported that he looked suspicious. Another officer put his hands on McClain within seconds, beginning a struggle and restraint that lasted about 20 minutes before paramedics injected him with the ketamine. Experts say the sedative ultimately killed McClain, who was already weakened from struggling to breath while being pinned down after inhaling vomit into this lungs.

For Roedema, criminally negligent homicide, defined as killing someone by failing to recognize a substantial risk to their life, carries a punishment of probation up to three years in prison. The assault conviction is punishable by probation up to two years in jail.


Judge Mark Warner, a former prosecutor who has been a judge for nearly 20 years, will have to determine a fair sentence by weighing how this homicide case compares to others he has seen in his career, said former district attorney George Brauchler. A first conviction can lead to a sentence of probation, but the judge must also consider that Roedema was a uniformed police officer, given special authority and respect by society, and a jury convicted him of taking a life, Brauchler said.

“I don’t know how that person gets to go home that night” on probation, said Brauchler, who prosecuted the 2012 Aurora theater shooting case. “I think that would be very tough.”

Even if Warner decided to put Roedema on probation, he could require him to spend up to 90 days in jail first as part of that sentence, Brauchler said.


Roedema’s sentences for the assault and homicide are likely to be served at the same time, and not back-to-back for a longer sentence, since they involve the same actions. If Roedema is sent to prison, he would be eligible for parole in a year and likely sent to a halfway house before then, under prison regulations, Brauchler said.

Roedema helped hold McClain down while paramedics administered the ketamine. He was often visible in the body camera footage shown over and over to jurors, and could be heard directing others how to restrain him.

The same jury that convicted Roedema acquitted former officer Jason Rosenblatt, whose lawyers stressed that he wasn’t close to McClain when the ketamine was injected.

A different jury acquitted officer Nathan Woodyard a few weeks later, after he testified that he put McClain in a neck hold, briefly rendering him unconscious. Woodyard testified that he feared for his life after Roedema said McClain had grabbed for one of their guns. Prosecutors say the gun grab never happened.


Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec were convicted last month. Cichuniec, the senior officer, was found guilty of the most serious charge faced by any of the first responders: felony second-degree assault. It carries a mandatory prison sentence of between five and 16 years in prison.

In a statement after those final verdicts, McClain’s mother said having three out of the five defendants convicted was not justice, merely “a very small acknowledgment of accountability in the justice system.”

“There were at least 20 individuals there the night my son was alive and talking before he was brutally murdered. Aurora Colorado Police Department and Fire Department kept everyone else on their payroll because both of those departments lack humanity, refusing to admit their inhumane protocols,” she said.


The paramedics’ verdicts came a day after after a jury in Washington state cleared three police officers of all criminal charges in the 2020 death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who was shocked with a stun gun, beaten and restrained face-down as he pleaded for breath.

Candace McCoy, professor emerita at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, doesn’t see the recent acquittals there or in Colorado as a sign that the push for police reform is waning. Instead, she said it’s a reflection of how hard it is convict police officers of crimes because jurors tend to give them the benefit of the doubt for how they act in emergencies.

While it was rare to prosecute cases against law enforcement in the past, the fact that more of them are being pursued now is not enough to create police reform, she said.

“The way to change and reform the police is to change the culture and the departments, and individual prosecutions will not do that,” McCoy said.
 
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Black Montreal theatre performer files defamation suit after puppet called racist
Anti-racism activist Alain Babineau made unreasonable claims about a puppet, damaging Franck Sylvestre's career, suit claims

Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Jacob Serebrin
Published Jan 11, 2024 • 3 minute read
Artist Franck Sylvestre poses with puppet Max at his home in Montreal, Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Artist Franck Sylvestre poses with puppet Max at his home in Montreal, Saturday, March 18, 2023. PHOTO BY GRAHAM HUGHES /The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A Black Montreal theatre performer has filed a lawsuit against an anti-racism activist who he says falsely associated him with racism against Black people.


Franck Sylvestre agues in the suit filed at the Montreal courthouse on Wednesday that Alain Babineau made unreasonable claims about a puppet in a theatre piece Sylvestre created for children, damaging his career.


Babineau “unreasonably associated the plaintiff and his puppet with racism, with the submission of Black people to white people and even white supremacism and the dehumanization of Black people,” the lawsuit reads. The criticism was an attack on Sylvestre’s reputation, it adds, and an attempt “to expose him to the hatred and contempt of the public in general and the Black community in particular.”

At a news conference last February, Babineau, the racial profiling and public safety director at civil rights group The Red Coalition, called for performances of the theatre piece to be cancelled, arguing that the puppet was an example of anti-Black racism and reminiscent of blackface minstrel shows — performances intended to mock Black people.


In a series of posts later that day on the X platform, then known as Twitter, Babineau suggested the play was a “drop of systemic racism” and made comments that the lawsuit alleges suggested Sylvestre was a “sellout” in the service of white people.

Sylvestre’s lawyer, Guillaume Rousseau said the puppet is based on his client’s own appearance and that there’s nothing racist about the show.

He said it is not defamatory to describe actual racist comments as racist, but associating “someone who is clearly not racist, with a show that is clearly not racist” with racism is defamatory.

“It’s an issue of freedom of artistic expression,” Rousseau said in an interview Wednesday. “If every representation of a Black person that doesn’t please Mr. Babineau and others becomes blackface, becomes the subject of calls for censorship, that limits my client’s freedom of artistic expression and, potentially, that of other artists.”


Rousseau said performances of the show, “L’incroyable secret de barbe noire” — French for The Incredible Secret of Blackbeard _ were cancelled because of the racism allegations, and while one performance in a Montreal suburb last year was allowed to go ahead, it was removed from the municipality’s official programming for Black History Month.

“That affected him a lot,” Rousseau said. “He’s proud of being a Black artist, he’s proud to talk about Martinique, about his origins and the puppet in question is a bit of a hero, so for him it’s very positive, it’s for living together, and to see it interpreted in an unreasonable manner, as if it was racist, that affected him in particular.”

The lawsuit, which seeks $26,600 in damages, also alleges that Sylvestre’s career as a children’s performer has been threatened because he is now unfairly seen as “controversial” and presenters won’t book him.


In a statement Wednesday, The Red Coalition maintained that the puppet’s appearance is racist and could offend people.

“Anti-Black imageries have historically stereotyped Black people as grotesque, dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, cowardly, superstitious, and overly cheerful,” the group wrote in the statement attributed to its board of directors. “The Red Coalition’s legal team is prepared to vigorously defend against the lawsuit, which they deem frivolous.”

Babineau declined to comment on the suit earlier on Wednesday.

In response to a September cease and desist letter from Sylvestre’s lawyer — which made similar allegations to the lawsuit _ Babineau said he stood by his comments and wrote that if Sylvestre took legal action against him, he would contest it.

“I will continue to fight with determination for all causes that I think are just, including the fight against anti-Black racism in Canada,” he wrote at the time.
puppet-racism-20240110[1].jpg
 

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More searching at Florida Air Force base where potential Black grave sites were found
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Jan 20, 2024 • 1 minute read

TAMPA, Fla. — The U.S. Air Force plans to expand its search for grave sites in a former Black cemetery at a base in Florida after discovering 121 potential sites already, a base official said.


Lt. Laura Anderson told news stations this week that a nonintrusive archaeological survey performed over the past two years at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa identified 58 probable graves and 63 possible graves. The base also deployed search teams to go over the area with ground penetrating radar and cadaver dogs.


It plans to look at an area to the north of the main cemetery area this year for any additional evidence of graves, Anderson said.

“That’s essentially so we can make sure that we’re not forgetting anybody,” she told WFTS-TV.

The Tampa Bay History Center notified MacDill officials about the possible Black cemetery in 2019, and the base hosted a memorial service in 2021, dedicating a memorial on site to those buried there.


The headstones at the Port Tampa Cemetery were removed during construction of the base in the late 1930s, but the bodies remained there, the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2021. The area must stay free of vertical structures for aircraft safety, so it has not been developed.

Officials said they will continue to work with the community to determine how to best document the site and to pay respect to the people buried there.

“We know obviously there was wrong done in the past, but we’re working together with our community members,” Anderson said. “We want to make what was wrong right.”

Yvette Lewis, president of the NAACP Hillsborough County branch, told WFTS-TV base officials have gone “above and beyond” in resolving the concerns of community members. But she would like to see additional efforts to memorialize the site and make sure its story is told correctly.
 

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Judge orders release of ’Newburgh Four’ defendant, blasts FBI’s role in terror sting
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Michael Hill
Published Jan 20, 2024 • 2 minute read

A man convicted in a post-9/11 terrorism sting was ordered freed from prison by a judge who criticized the FBI for relying on an “unsavory” confidential informant for an agency-invented conspiracy to blow up New York synagogues and shoot down National Guard planes.


U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon on Friday granted James Cromitie, 58, compassionate release from prison six months after she ordered the release of his three co-defendants, known as the Newburgh Four, for similar reasons. The four men from the small river city 97 kilometres north of New York City were convicted of terrorism charges in 2010.


Cromitie has served 15 years of his 25-year minimum sentence. The New York-based judge ordered Cromitie’s sentence to be reduced to time served plus 90 days.

Prosecutors in the high-profile case said the Newburgh defendants spent months scouting targets and securing what they thought were explosives and a surface-to-air missile, aiming to shoot down planes at the Air National Guard base in Newburgh and blow up synagogues in the Bronx. They were arrested after allegedly planting “bombs” that were packed with inert explosives supplied by the FBI.


Critics have accused federal agents of entrapping a group men who were down on their luck after doing prison time.

In a scathing ruling, McMahon wrote that the FBI invented the conspiracy and identified the targets. Cromitie and his codefendants, she wrote, “would not have, and could not have, devised on their own” a criminal plot involving missiles.

“The notion that Cromitie was selected as a ‘leader’ by the co-defendants is inconceivable, given his well-documented buffoonery and ineptitude,” she wrote.

Cromitie was bought into the phony plot by the federal informant Shaheed Hussain, whose work has been criticized for years by civil liberties groups.

McMahon called him “most unsavory” and a “villain” sent by the government to “troll among the poorest and weakest of men for ‘terrorists’ who might prove susceptible to an offer of much-needed cash in exchange for committing a faux crime.”


Hussain also worked with the FBI on a sting that targeted an Albany, New York pizza shop owner and an imam that involved a loan using money from a fictitious missile sale. Both men, who said they were tricked, were convicted of money laundering and conspiring to aid a terrorist group.

Hussain re-entered the public eye again in 2018 when a stretch limo crashed in rural Schoharie, New York, killing 20 people. Hussain owned the limo company, operated by his son, Nauman Hussain.

Nauman Hussain was convicted of manslaughter last year and is serving five to 15 years in prison.

Cromitie’s attorney, Kerry Lawrence, said Saturday he had not yet been able to reach his client, but that Cromitie’s family was very happy.

“I’m obviously thrilled that Mr. Cromitie will be released from prison, but still believe that his conviction was entirely the product of government entrapment,” Lawrence wrote in an email. “Seeing as he was hounded and manipulated by the government informant way more than any of … the other defendants who were previously ordered released, it would have been shocking if Judge McMahon didn’t grant our motion.”

Calls seeking comment were made Saturday to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York City.
 

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What role should race play in sentencing of offenders?

Author of the article:Michele Mandel
Published Jan 24, 2024 • 3 minute read

A Toronto judge who made headlines for giving a light sentence to a Black offender due to systemic racism has just done it again.


In 2018, Superior Court Justice Shaun Nakatsuru sentenced first-time offender Kevin Morris to 15 months in jail — less three months for charter violations — for carrying a loaded .38 calibre handgun in Scarborough. The Crown wanted four years, but the judge cited Morris’s social history to impose a more lenient sentence.


“The young man who makes the choice to pick up a loaded illegal handgun will not likely be a product of a private school upbringing who has the security of falling back upon upper-middle-class family resources,” he wrote. “Rather, he is likely to be a product of oppression, despair and disadvantage.“

The judge knew it wasn’t going to be a popular decision.

“I will be frank. I know that some may accuse me of being soft on crime. On gun crime,” he wrote. “I do not believe that is so.“



The Crown appealed the one-year sentence as “manifestly unfit.” The Court of Appeal doubled the term — but then stayed the sentence — and found Nakatsuru had put too much emphasis on racism and not the seriousness of the offence. But the appeal court also acknowledged the impact of systemic anti-Black racism can be considered by judges to come up with a fit sentence.

Five years later, in a very similarly impassioned judgment, Nakatsuru has cited a first-time offender’s tough background as a young Black male to impose a conditional sentence for serious gun and drug crimes.

Peter Stewart pleaded guilty to possession of 9.9 grams of fentanyl and a loaded gun following his arrest as a 19-year-old in 2019. “Both are serious crimes. Both drugs and guns have caused a lot of harm in our communities. Pain. Suffering. Everyone agrees that the most important principles of sentencing at play here are deterrence and denunciation,” the judge said in a ruling released last week.


“Yet, I am sentencing you, Mr. Stewart. A young Black man whose route in life so far has been littered with obstacles. My task is a balancing act. Take all relevant factors into account. Weigh them. Give a just punishment.”

Prosecutors asked for a prison term of between three and four years and the judge agreed the typical range could be up to five years. He also conceded the plague of guns and fentanyl in Toronto are “toxic to our collective safety.”

He then itemized Stewart’s impoverished background and treatment as a young Black man that led to his life of crime: Born into poverty, he immigrated from Jamaica with his mom when he was seven, food was sometimes scarce, their poor neighbourhood was plagued with violence, drug use and frequent police presence, but they couldn’t afford to leave. He witnessed a shooting as a teen and was 14 when a close young relative was convicted of manslaughter.


“The limited opportunities caused by your poverty and failed education, coupled with the negative influences in your neighbourhood, deflected you as you entered into young adulthood away from a productive and law-abiding path,” Nakatsuru said.

“The ‘hood’ you grew up in, the lifestyle you chose and your emotional vulnerability made you feel so unsafe that you armed yourself with a gun.”

The good news for both him and society, the judge said, was that Stewart has used his 4 1/2 years on strict bail to become smarter, more mature and truly remorseful. He’s now gainfully employed and focused on moving out of his dangerous neighbourhood. “You have not just talked the talk. You have walked the necessary walk.”

Nakatsuru reminded Stewart that his background doesn’t change the fact that his crimes were serious and no one forced him to make the bad choices he did.

“All that recognized, in summing up, the degree of your responsibility and moral blameworthiness is lessened a lot for the reasons I have just explained.”

After credit for pre-trial custody, he sentenced Stewart to 22 months of strict house arrest, 100 hours of community service and counselling as recommended by his probation officer.

The judge is betting on Stewart. We hope he’s right.

mmandel@postmedia.com