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Grand jury clears McKinney cop in pool party incident
A grand jury has cleared the McKinney Police officer seen on video forcing a teenage girl to the ground outside a pool party last year.

Seven minutes of video posted to YouTube put Eric Casebolt and the city of McKinney in the national spotlight in June 2015.

In that video, Cpl. Eric Casebolt is seen using profanity and aggressively throwing a 15-year-old girl in a bathing suit to the ground, face down, outside a pool party in Craig Ranch. He then appeared to pin her down with his knees.

A Collin County grand jury on Thursday determined there was not enough evidence to warrant criminal charges against Casebolt, who was a 10-year veteran of McKinney PD.

The Texas Rangers completed an investigation into the incident in January. The results of that investigation were given to the district attorney's office and then presented to the grand jury.

The full results have not been made public.

McKinney Police will hold a public forum next week regarding the grand jury's decision, according to a statement from the city:

Several community leaders involved with the Police Chief’s Advisory Council will be on hand to speak at the meeting focusing on the theme: Moving Forward, Strengthening Police and Community Relationships. All McKinney residents are invited to attend this meeting.
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wfaa Jun-23-2016 91 0
A grand jury has cleared the McKinney Police officer seen on video forcing a teenage girl to the ground outside a pool party last year.

Seven minutes of video posted to YouTube put Eric Casebolt and the city of McKinney in the national spotlight in June 2015.

In that video, Cpl. Eric Casebolt is seen using profanity and aggressively throwing a 15-year-old girl in a bathing suit to the ground, face down, outside a pool party in Craig Ranch. He then appeared to pin her down with his knees.

A Collin County grand jury on Thursday determined there was not enough evidence to warrant criminal charges against Casebolt, who was a 10-year veteran of McKinney PD.

The Texas Rangers completed an investigation into the incident in January. The results of that investigation were given to the district attorney's office and then presented to the grand jury.

The full results have not been made public.

McKinney Police will hold a public forum next week regarding the grand jury's decision, according to a statement from the city:

Several community leaders involved with the Police Chief’s Advisory Council will be on hand to speak at the meeting focusing on the theme: Moving Forward, Strengthening Police and Community Relationships. All McKinney residents are invited to attend this meeting.

CHEVEL JOHNSON Jun-23-2016 102 0
About 200 people showed up Friday to help celebrate a Louisiana honors student and standout athlete who was blocked from participating in his graduation ceremony last month because of facial hair.

Democratic state Rep. Katrina Jackson of Monroe and the Rev. Roosevelt Wright III of New Orleans sponsored a ceremony for Andrew Jones after news spread that he was prevented from attending his graduation ceremony because of a Tangipahoa Parish Schools System policy about facial hair.

The dress code policy, found in the Student Handbook for grades 4-12, states the following:

"Hairstyles and mustaches shall be clean, neatly groomed and shall not distract from the learning environment nor be a safety factor for any of the school's curricular offerings. Beards will not be allowed. Any hairstyle that distract from the unique environment of a school shall be dealt with by the principal or his/her designee of that school."

The new celebration was held at the African-American Heritage Museum in Hammond. Some students from Jones' class and other graduates from the area are expected to participate.

Superintendent Mark Kolwe defended the decision to prohibit Jones, a 4.0 student and summa cum laude graduate, from walking with his class at Amite High School, saying rules have to be enforced and Jones received enough warning before the ceremony to shave.

A telephone message from The Associated Press left for Kolwe was not immediately returned.

Kolwe in an earlier statement noted that Jones was one of four graduates who arrived at the ceremony unshaven. Three of them shaved in a restroom at the site where the ceremony was held with a razor provided by the school. Jones, who had a professional shave off the sides of his beard and neatly trim his goatee, refused.

"This policy was explained to the student in question on multiple occasions prior to graduation day, and the consequences for failing to comply with that policy were explained to him and his parents on multiple occasions on graduation day. The student's parents tried to convince him to shave, but he ignored their request ... Andrew made that decision for himself by failing to comply with the reasonable requests made by his parents and school officials that he comply with the rules applicable to all other students," Kolwe's statement said.

Amite High School Principal Renee Carpenter declined to discuss the situation when contacted by The Associated Press.

Jones and his family have told other media outlets that the rule was not enforced throughout the school year and they know of students with facial hair at other schools in the district who were able to participate in their graduation ceremonies.

They refused comment when contacted by The Associated Press, citing a pending lawsuit.

"He was unfairly excluded from the most important day of his life," Jackson and Wright said in a statement. "A beard should NEVER upstage academic excellence."

Jackson said when she initially heard about Jones' situation, she believed he should have submitted and shaved because he didn't follow the rules. But after hearing that he was allowed to participate in other school activities with facial hair, she believes the prohibition was unfairly enforced on what is generally considered a student's biggest day.

"It's wrong to enforce that policy on a young man who had worked so hard to achieve his goals," Jackson said. "Students are responsible for following rules, but we as adults are responsible for enforcing them. As adults, we can't arbitrarily enforce the rules. This was a rule that was never enforced until graduation."

"Anytime a young man such as Andrew has shown academic excellence, it's unfair to not reward him," Wright said. "His academic achievements are incredible."

Lawrence Hurley Jun-23-2016 179 0
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the practice of considering race in college admissions, rejecting a white woman's challenge to a University of Texas affirmative action program designed to boost the enrollment of minority students.

The court, in a 4-3 ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, decided in favor of the university in turning aside the conservative challenge to the policy, meaning a 2014 appeals court ruling that backed the admissions program was left intact.

The Supreme Court was weighing for the second time a challenge to the admissions system used by the University of Texas at Austin brought by Abigail Fisher, who was denied entry to the school for the autumn of 2008.

Affirmative action is a policy under which racial minorities historically subject to discrimination are given certain preferences in education and employment.

Fisher said the university denied her admission in favor of lesser-qualified black and Hispanic applicants. She maintained that the program violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Kennedy said that "considerable deference" is owed to universities when they are seeking to determine student diversity. He said that "it remains an enduring challenge to our nation's education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity."

But in the Texas case, the challengers had failed to show that the university could have met its needs via another process, he said. Kennedy noted that the university "tried and failed to increase diversity" through other race-neutral means.

The university has disputed whether Fisher would have gained admission under any circumstances. University officials contend that having a sizable number of minorities enrolled exposes students to varied perspectives and enhances the educational experience for all students.

The high court upheld a July 2014 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the university. That court endorsed the school's "limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity."

The university admits most freshmen through a program that guarantees admission to students in the top 10 percent of their Texas high school graduating classes. It uses other factors including race to admit the remainder. Fisher was not in the top 10 percent of her high school class.

The high court had considered Fisher's case once before. In June 2013, it did not directly rule on the program's constitutionality but ordered the appeals court to scrutinize it more closely.

Writing in dissent, Justice Samuel Alito contended that the court's majority had turned its back on principles from the first Fisher ruling, which he said required judges to give more scrutiny to racial admissions and defer less to university officials, and he opened his dissent remarking, "Something strange has happened since our prior decision in this case."

"Here, UT (the University of Texas) has failed to define its interest in using racial preferences with clarity. As a result, the narrow tailoring inquiry is impossible, and UT cannot satisfy strict scrutiny," Alito added.

Alito added that while the university's stated goals are laudable, "they are not concrete or precise, and they offer no limiting principle for the use of racial preferences. For instance, how will a court ever be able to determine whether stereotypes have adequately been destroyed? Or whether cross-racial understanding has been adequately achieved?"

While the university's program has resulted in a measure of racial and ethnic diversity, the percentage of black and Hispanic students on campus still remains lower than in the state's overall population.

Fisher, now 26, graduated from her second choice college, Louisiana State University, and now works as a financial analyst in Austin. Fisher said she has stayed in the case to help others in similar positions.

"I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled that students applying to the University of Texas can be treated differently because of their race or ethnicity. I hope that the nation will one day move beyond affirmative action," Fisher said in a statement.


Edward Blum, a conservative activist who engineered Fisher's challenge, said that racial classifications and preferences are among the most polarizing policies in America today.

"As long as universities like the University of Texas continue to treat applicants differently by race and ethnicity, the social fabric that holds us together as a nation will be weakened. Today's decision is a sad step backward for the original, colorblind principles to our civil rights laws," added Blum, the president of the conservative Project on Fair Representation.

Reuters Jun-23-2016 130 0
Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr was found not guilty on Thursday of second-degree depraved heart murder in the death of black detainee Freddie Gray, the most serious criminal charge he faced.

Judge Barry Williams handed down the verdict in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Goodson, 46, was the driver of a police transport van in which Gray broke his neck in April 2015. His death triggered rioting and protests in the majority black city. (Reporting by Donna Owens; Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe)

A Maryland judge will issue his verdict on Thursday in the closely watched murder trial of a Baltimore police officer for the death of black detainee Freddie Gray, an incident that triggered rioting and protests.

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr, 46, was the driver of a police wagon in which Gray broke his neck in April 2015. Prosecutors said he gave Gray a "rough ride," failed to ensure his safety and should have called for a medic.

Goodson's defense team argued in Baltimore City Circuit Court that Gray caused his own injuries by falling inside the transport van. Goodson also lacked the training to recognize that Gray was hurt, they said.

Goodson faces the most serious charges among the six officers charged in Gray's death, making his the marquee case for prosecutors. They failed to secure a conviction in two earlier trials of officers.

Judge Barry Williams will hand down his verdict on Thursday morning. Goodson waived a jury trial, and Williams is hearing the case in a bench trial.

Gray's death spawned protests, rioting and arson in the majority African-American city of 620,000 people and stoked a debate on U.S. police treatment of people of color.
Gray, 25, was arrested for fleeing police officers unprovoked in a high-crime area. He was bundled into Goodson's van shackled and was not seatbelted inside the van, a violation of police procedure.

Goodson, who is also African-American, is charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, three counts of manslaughter, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

If convicted on all charges, he faces more than 68 years in prison.

During closing arguments on Monday, Williams peppered prosecutors with questions about what evidence they had that Goodson had bounced Gray around in the van with intent to harm him.

Prosecutor Michael Schatzow told Williams that Goodson's failure to secure Gray and his injuries were enough to show that Gray had gotten a "rough ride."

In the two previous cases, the manslaughter trial of Officer William Porter ended in a hung jury in December, and he faces retrial in September. Williams acquitted Officer Edward Nero of misdemeanor charges last month. (Writing by Ian Simpson in Washington, editing by G Crosse)



Jun-22-2016 111 0
Florida is one of 26 states to receive a failing grade for its gender and racial diversity, according to the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, progressive legal organization. Florida ranked 29 out of 51 state court jurisdictions in the country because it's judiciaries are 45% less diverse than the state population.

The findings echo some of the research done by the Herald/Times in 2014, which found that Gov. Rick Scott appointed only nine black attorneys to judgeships in his first four years.

The report, authored by law professors Tracey E. George and Albert H. Yoon, compiled the race, ethnicity, and gender of 10,000 sitting judges on state courts. It is titled The Gavel Gap: Who Sits in Judgement at State Courts?

“The vast majority of Americans’ interactions with the judicial system, ranging from traffic violations to criminal proceedings, happen in state courts,” said George of Vanderbilt University. “When people do not see themselves represented in their community leadership, when the vast majority of judges cannot relate to the lived experience of those they serve—this is a problem. It creates a mistrust of judges, and propagates the mystery surrounding the court system. For the first time, we have the data we need to identify and address this serious problem.”

Photo: Tampa Bay Times

Matthew Dolan Jun-22-2016 100 0
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will announce he is filing a civil lawsuit Wednesday arising from his Flint drinking water investigation, Schuette's office said late Tuesday.
Schuette's office gave no details about the civil suit.

Schuette is to be joined at a 10 a.m. ET news conference by Special Assistant Attorney General Noah Hall and members of his investigative team, which is led by Royal Oak attorney Todd Flood and Andrew Arena, the former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI office in Detroit.

In April, Schuette announced felony criminal charges against two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials and one city of Flint official in connection with the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water. The city employee, Mike Glasgow, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and is cooperating with the investigation as other charges were dropped. The two DEQ employees, Stephen Busch and Mike Prysby, are awaiting preliminary examinations.

Flint's water became contaminated with lead when the city, under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, switched its drinking water source from Lake Huron water treated by the Detroit water system to Flint River water treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials have acknowledged a disastrous mistake in failing to require the city to add corrosion-control chemicals as part of the treatment process.

The corrosive water caused lead to leach from pipes, joints and fixtures. Although Flint reconnected to Detroit water in October, after state officials acknowledged the lead-poisoning problem following months of denials, the risk remains because of damage to the water infrastructure system.

Officials also are exploring possible links between the river water and outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease tied to 12 deaths.



Jun-22-2016 208 0
Multiple sources within and around the University of Louisiana System Board of Regents have confirmed that Grambling State University President Willie Larkin will either resign or be fired this week.

Dr. Larkin, who was appointed as GSU president last July, drew controversy last week after details about a trip to Cuba were confirmed by staff members to be a vacation for the first-time president, and not an academic outreach trip as he initially promoted to the campus and local media outlets. The trip coincided with the release of the university’s strategic plan.

In February, Grambling’s Faculty Senate voted ‘no confidence’ in Dr. Larkin, citing a vague administrative response to pressing issues such as falling enrollment, fundraising, and the loss of the school’s nursing program. Shortly after the faculty vote, Dr. Larkin penned a letter to the campus community, in which he referred to himself as the university’s ‘healer.’

In that same letter, Larkin announced the reinstatement of the school’s national search for a new athletic director, just days after discontinuing the search in light of budgetary concerns.

Dr. Larkin previously served as chief of staff for Morgan State University President David Wilson, and was on staff when university regents voted to fire Wilson in 2012 three years after his appointment for a string of controversies and general mismanagement at the school.

Regents reversed the decision a few weeks later, and voted to retain Wilson on an ‘indefinite appointment’ agreement instead of a multi-year contract.

Officials at Grambling and the University of Louisiana System did not return calls. No formal announcement about the transition, or a potential interim appointee, have been announced.

Grambling is the system’s sole historically black university.

david boroff Jun-18-2016 242 0
A Baton Rouge assistant principal is accused of killing a pregnant co-worker by shooting her in the head after she allegedly threatened to tell his wife about their affair.

The body of 40-year-old Lyntell Washington was found in a roadside ditch in nearby Iberville Parish on Tuesday, eight days after she disappeared. Robert Marks, in custody since she vanished, was hit with first-degree murder and first-degree feticide charges on Friday after initially being held for kidnapping.

Marks, 39, is an assistant principal at Brookstown Magnet Honors Academy, where Washington, a former Teacher of the Year, according to WAFB, served as an instructional specialist. Marks has been placed on administrative leave.

A colleague told Baton Rouge police that Washington was pregnant with Marks' child and had threatened to expose the relationship. Marks knew Washington was five months pregnant, according to a police report.

Washington asked Marks in one text message if he is "attempting to avoid his responsibilities with our unborn daughter," according to screen shots recovered by the police.

Marks was arrested on June 9 after Washington's 3-year-old daughter was found alone near her mother's car.

The little girl told detectives that "Mr. Robbie" had hurt her mother. The child also said she heard a bang and saw her mom "shaking."

"She further stated that Mr. Robbie was trying to clean the blood and that her mother was 'in the lake,'" according to the police report.

Marks told authorities he last saw Washington at a Walmart at about 8 p.m. on June 8. However, cellphone records showed that their phones traveled to Iberville Parish later that night before returning to the area where Washington's car was found.

Marks admitted to his relationship with Washington, but refused to answer other questions from detectives.

“We continue to press him for information and still no answer and still no emotion," Baton Rouge Police Cpl. L'Jean Mckneely Jr. told the Advocate. "This is a heinous and senseless crime."

Lindsay Kimble Jun-18-2016 146 0
Attrell Cordes, known to fans of the critically acclaimed R&B group PM Dawn as "Prince Be," has died. He was 46.

Cordes died Friday of renal kidney disease at a hospital in his home state of New Jersey, his rep confirms to PEOPLE. He is survived by his wife Mary and three children: Christian, Mia and Brandon.

One of the most influential voices of the '90s, Prince Be started PM Dawn with his brother Jarett in 1988. Their chart topping hit "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and their single "I'd Die Without You" was featured in the 1992 Eddie Murphy comedy Boomerang.

The Jersey City, New Jersey, natives drew their name from "the idea that in the darkest hour comes the light," according to their website.

Going on to release three more albums together, Cordes and his brother eventually parted ways as a musical act.

"Prince Be Rest In Peace forever more, Pain from Diabetes can't harm you anymore, My Heart is at Peace B-Cuz U suffered so long, Tell Grandma I said Hi & Stay Blisstatic & Strong," a post read on the group's Facebook page.

Scott Eslinger Jun-17-2016 182 0
A Beaumont woman, accused of killing her live-in boyfriend over a Mother's Day gift, was found not guilty by a jury Friday.

Paige Parkerson, 20, was found not guilty in the stabbing death of her live-in boyfriend Clifton Barkin,Jr., 21, in 2012.

Prosecutors alleged that Parkerson killed Babin during an argument over a Mother's Day gift he gave her

The defense said Barkin was the aggressor and that Parkerson stabbed him in self-defense.

AP Jun-15-2016 181 0
NBA great Magic Johnson will work with South Carolina State University to raise $2.5 million for scholarships that bear his name.

The university announced in a release Monday that the Earvin "Magic" Johnson Endowed Scholarship Fund will help students seeking business degrees at the state-supported, historically black university in Orangeburg.

Johnson spoke at the school last year and said he would work to strengthen the university. More details about the scholarship are expected to be released Saturday during a fundraising event in Washington.

The announcement comes amid a sharp increase in giving to the university. Private donations are up more than 360 percent over last year to $4.2 million, and donations from alumni are up more than 80 percent to almost $975,000.

Johnson, 56, attended Michigan State University before spending 12½ seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Scott Ridge Jun-14-2016 430 0
Former NFL defensive lineman Bryan Robinson, who played 14 seasons in the league, was found dead over the weekend in a Milwaukee motel room, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was 41.

There was no immediate word on a cause of death. Robinson last played in 2010 with the Cardinals but is best known for his six seasons with the Bears.

The report said Robinson was pronounced dead late Saturday evening.

Robinson also played for the Rams, Dolphins and Bengals after being signed by St. Louis as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State in 1997. He played in Super Bowl XLIII for the Cardinals.

The 6-4, 305-pound lineman, who played both end and tackle, finished his career with 307 tackles and 24 sacks.

david boroff Jun-12-2016 253 0
The family of an unarmed college football player fatally shot by a Texas police officer are "saddened and dismayed" by a grand jury's decision not to indict the cop, and have asked prosecutors to refile charges.

Christian Taylor, 19, was shot by Arlington police trainee Brad Miller in August of last year in a car dealership after police responded to a burglary call. Miller was fired within days of the shooting.

Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson said Wednesday that the former officer would not face criminal charges as the grand jury decided to take no action.

Michael Heiskell, who represents Taylor's family, sent a letter to Wilson asking her to file voluntary manslaughter or criminal negligent homicide charges, according to the Star-Telegram.

Before he was shot Taylor was asked by officers to lie down on the ground, but he refused.

An autopsy found that Taylor, who attended Angelo State University in West Texas, likely used a synthetic psychedelic drug and marijuana prior to the shooting.

Heiskell said in the letter to Wilson that the teen "was exhibiting psychosis as a result of the synthetically laced marijuana he had previously smoked," the Star-Telegram reported.

"Indeed, even after Miller acted unilaterally to break protocol and break away from his fellow officers, he disregarded substantial risks ... and chose to fire four times his 9 mm Glock into Christian’s body while [his training officer], standing adjacent to him, acted reasonably and fired his Taser," Heiskell wrote, according to the paper.

Heiskell also said the DA's office had refiled charges against Ed McIver Jr., who is accused in the shooting of a Fort Worth police officer. A grand jury had decided not to indict McIver for attempted capital murder, according to the paper.

Wilson's spokeswoman Samantha Jordan had said McIver should be prosecuted because "it is not acceptable to fire upon police officers acting in the line of duty," according to Heiskell's letter.

"We hope and pray that you feel similarly that Miller should be prosecuted [because it is] 'unacceptable' that an unarmed teen exhibiting signs of psychosis should be fired upon by a rogue officer acting recklessly in a controlled perimeter environment," Heiskell wrote, according to the Star-Telegram.

In addition, the Arlington NAACP called the decision not to file charges against former officer Miller "perplexing."

“We feel strongly this case should be prosecuted," Alisa Simmons of the Arlington NAACP told the paper. "It is important to remember that Miller, who is trained, is the one who intensified the scenario that led to his taking of Christian’s life when he violated a number of departmental policies."

Approximately 50 protesters walked from the Arlington police department to a local music venue on Friday to express their displeasure with the decision, according to the newspaper.

Autopsy shows football player shot by police was on drugs
An armed man who was with the protesters, LaShadion Anthony, was busted for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to the paper.

“We ended up taking a loaded [semiautomatic weapon] off the arrested person,” Lt. Christopher Cook of the Arlington Police Department told the Star-Telegram.

Two men with rifles walked with the protesters to protect them, according to the paper.

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Jun-24-2016 181 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 12917 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.
Danny Woodson Oct-22-2015 1270 0
Highly-recruited since the sixth grade, Christian Jackson, has received countless visits from high school and college personnel. They’ve fawned over him and his abilities in an attempt to coax him to attend their institutions to bolster their pedigree of outstanding enrollees! Interested “third parties” will make countless monetary resources available to them, if they can secure top recruits such as he.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, universities, how about offering scholarships en masse to burgeoning and brilliant young people with budding minds to make a name for themselves as well as your institutions? Offer scholarships and recruit those who may not be the brightest, but who show promise and desire, much like a “special teams player” or a “walk-on”. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the bragging rights that hundreds of your alumni have changed the circumstances of those locally, state-wide, nationally and globally or are you too caught in winning a network contract to have all of your team’s games broadcasted for the next 10 years for $100 million? Christian doesn’t care about television contracts. He only cares that those in power live up to their moral contracts with the people. To him that’s the only score and winning percentage that really matters. That’s when we’d all win a real NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Sep-09-2014 3021 0
On yesterday social media went crazy after the video of Ray Rice was released. Within hours Rice was released from the Ravens. Don't think for one second that it was not as a result of the public outcry on social media. The Ravens and the NFL did not have a choice but to release Rice because they had been exposed. However, the saddening part about of all of this is that the powers to be proclaimed they had not seen the video until yesterday.

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

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

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

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at 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 Feb-16-2014 3710 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

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

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

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



Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at 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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