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Senate panel approves AG nominee Lynch
Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance Loretta Lynch to be the nation's next attorney general, overcoming Republican objections to her support of President Obama's executive action on immigration.

Lynch's committee approval, by a vote of 12-8, sets up final consideration by the full Senate.

The panel's vote comes nearly a month after a confirmation hearing in which the 55-year-old career federal prosecutor promised to repair the Justice Department's strained relationship with Congress and confront simmering racial tensions over law enforcement's dealings in minority communities across the country.
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AP Feb-26-2015 70 0
Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance Loretta Lynch to be the nation's next attorney general, overcoming Republican objections to her support of President Obama's executive action on immigration.

Lynch's committee approval, by a vote of 12-8, sets up final consideration by the full Senate.

The panel's vote comes nearly a month after a confirmation hearing in which the 55-year-old career federal prosecutor promised to repair the Justice Department's strained relationship with Congress and confront simmering racial tensions over law enforcement's dealings in minority communities across the country.

Feb-26-2015 94 0
Adrian Peterson's return to the NFL cleared another hurdle Thursday as U.S. District Court Judge David Doty ruled that the former league MVP must be reinstated.

Peterson, 29, is currently a member of the Minnesota Vikings and was placed on the commissioner's exempt list following the season opener due to child abuse allegations that Peterson faced in Texas. He pleaded no contest to reckless assault on his four-year-old son, and was subsequently suspended until at least April 15 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in November.

The NFL Players Association argued in court on behalf of Peterson, insisting that Goodell was acting outside his authority with the ban.

Peterson is scheduled to earn a base salary of $12.75 million in 2015 and count $15.4 million against the Vikings' salary cap. A CBS Sports report earlier in the week maintained that Peterson's agent Ben Dogra and Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski needed to be separated while at the NFL's scouting combine in Indianapolis. It is unclear whether Peterson will be back in Minnesota as a member of the Vikings.

Nina Golgowski Feb-25-2015 156 0
Bobbi Kristina Brown is reportedly being taken out of her medically induced coma after more than three weeks in an Atlanta hospital.

The comatose daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, who was found unresponsive in a bathtub on Jan. 31, is being weaned off her coma-inducing medications, but remains on life support, People magazine reported.

Despite the hopeful step toward the 21-year-old's recovery, one source close to the family told the magazine that her condition remains "severe."

"There will be a sign of hope, and then nothing," said a family source. "Every day, we wonder if this will be the day that we get good news."

The source said they hope the decision to wake her will "give us some answers."

The news came as Brown's boyfriend, Nick Gordon, filed a temporary restraining order against the Roswell Police Department investigating reports of drug use in the couple's Georgia home, The Wrap reported.

Gordon’s attorneys reportedly hope to block authorities' access to home video surveillance footage, arguing that it's a breach of privacy and has an "insufficient link between the crime alleged."

The daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobbi Brown is reportedly being weaned off her coma-inducing medication at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Earlier this week a report accused the 21-year-old of regularly taking heroin, cocaine and Xanax in the months before she was hospitalized.

Eerily like her late mother, who was also found in a bathtub three years ago this month, Xanax was one of the drugs found her Houston's system at her time of death.

Jessica Huseman Feb-25-2015 109 0
Marvell Robinson was in kindergarten when a classmate reportedly poured an anthill on him at the playground. After that, the gibes reportedly became sharper: "Why are you that color?" one boy taunted at the swing set, leaving Marvell scared and speechless. The slow build of racial bullying would push his mother, Vanessa Robinson, to pull him from his public school and homeschool him instead.

Marvell is one of an estimated 220,000 African American children currently being homeschooled, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. Black families have become one of the fastest-growing demographics in homeschooling, with black students making up an estimated 10 percent of the homeschooling population. (For comparison’s sake, they make up 16 percent of all public-school students nationwide, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.)

And while white homeschooling families traditionally cite religious or moral disagreements with public schools in their decision to pull them out of traditional classroom settings, studies indicate black families are more likely to cite the culture of low expectations for African American students or dissatisfaction with how their children—especially boys—are treated in schools.

Marvell, now 7 and in the second grade, was the only black student in both his kindergarten and first-grade classes, and one of only a few black students in his San Diego elementary school, according to his mother. And Marvell’s Asperger syndrome—a high-functioning form of autism that makes social interaction difficult—only added to the curiosity and cruelty with which his fellow classmates approached him, Robinson added. She was concerned the school wasn’t doing enough about it. "I just thought maybe I could do a better job myself," she said.

"They said, ‘kids will be kids,’ and the only solution was for Marvell to be monitored—like he had done something wrong," Robinson said. "In the end, I don’t think that anyone should have to monitor my kid" because of other kids’ behavior.

Robinson allowed Marvell to finish first grade there and began homeschooling him when he started second grade in September. Robinson adjusted her nursing schedule to include 12-hour shifts on the weekends so she could take on educating Marvell during the week. Her husband, a sous chef at a restaurant in downtown San Diego, continues to work full-time and participates in lessons when he can.

And while her primary motivation was giving Marvell individualized attention, Robinson was unable to separate her worries about racial bullying from the decision. "If he hadn’t been bullied I would have really looked into transferring schools, or going back to where I grew up in Kansas," she said. "At least in Kansas it was more racially diverse. I assumed that’s how the schools would be in San Diego, but I was wrong."

Robinson likely joins hundreds of other African American parents who've decided to homeschool their children because of dissatisfaction with the traditional campuses. Indeed, Joyce Burges at National Black Home Educators has watched her membership grow "exponentially" in the 15 years since the organization was founded, a trend also reflected in Marvell’s home state of California. While Burges’s national conferences in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, used to attract only around 50 people, they now attract upwards of 400, she said—a noteworthy number for the first organization for black homeschoolers in a sea of predominantly white organizations.

Research conducted by Marie-Josée Cérol—known professionally as Ama Mazama—also offers insight into the growing trend. A faculty member in the African American Studies department at Temple University in Philadelphia, Mazama began homeschooling her three children 12 years ago and realized quickly that there was little research on black homeschoolers.

"Whenever there are mentions of African American homeschoolers, it’s assumed that we homeschool for the same reasons as European-American homeschoolers, but this isn’t really the case," she said. "Because of the unique circumstances of black people in this country, there is really a new story to be told."

In a 2012 report published in the Journal of Black Studies , Mazama surveyed black homeschooling families from around the country and found that most chose to educate their children at home at least in part to avoid school-related racism. Mazama calls this rationale "racial protectionism" and said it is a response to the inability of schools to meet the needs of black students. "We have all heard that the American education system is not the best and is falling behind in terms of international standards," she said. "But this is compounded for black children, who are treated as though they are not as intelligent and cannot perform as well, and therefore the standards for them should be lower."

Kevin Krause Feb-24-2015 207 0
A Cedar Hill husband and wife who ran a tax preparation business will each spend 15 years in federal prison for a series of frauds they concocted, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Jacqueline and Gladstone Morrison were sentenced Friday in Fort Worth by U.S. District Judge John McBryde.

The sentence of 187 months, although steep for a tax preparation fraud case, was below the sentencing guidelines in the case that ranged from 262 months to 327 months.

McBryde also ordered them to pay nearly $18 million in restitution.

The couple operated Jacqueline Morrison & Associates on North Collins in Arlington and on James Street in Fort Worth. The business was opened in 2005 and continued until a federal search warrant shut it down in 2010.

The Morrisons were charged with 17 counts alleging tax evasion and fraud. They were convicted at trial in October 2014.

Gladstone Morrison, 43, has been in custody since the conviction. He’s a former standout in the high jump at the University of Texas at Arlington.

McBryde found him to be a flight risk because he was born and raised in Jamaica and still has a lot of family there, court records show. He became a U.S. citizen in 2010. He has said his UTA track scholarship was what brought him to the U.S.

Court evidence also showed he has traveled extensively in the past seven years, to Jamaica as well as: Frankfurt, Germany; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Panama; Marseille, France; Tel Aviv, Israel; San Domenico, Dominican Republic; Beijing, China; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Los Cabos, Mexico.

McBryde ordered Jacqueline Morrison, 37, to begin serving her sentence on March 13.

Neither of them had a prior criminal record, records show.

The couple married in 2004. Jacqueline Morrison is a certified public accountant and internal auditor who is the only one of her family to attend college.

Her attorney, Peter Fleury, called the proposed punishment “draconian” and asked for leniency. He said money stolen from the government in the scheme went to the taxpayers, most of whom weren’t required to return any of it.

“That is a tremendously disproportionate disparity in sentencing,” he said.

Acting U.S. Attorney John Parker, of the Northern District of Texas, defended the way the case was handled.

“The aggressive prosecution of these individuals is vital to maintaining public confidence in our tax system,” Parker said in a statement.

R. Damon Rowe, the agent in charge of the IRS’ criminal investigation office in Dallas, said most CPAs try to achieve the highest ethical standards while Jacqueline Morrison did not.

“She and her husband, Gladstone, abused the trust their clients placed in them and their company,” he said in a statement. “The Morrisons are now being held accountable for their corrupt actions.”

The Morrisons increased their clients’ tax refunds by claiming fictitious business losses on their income tax returns, prosecutors said. In return, they charged higher fees for the additional paperwork. They earned more than $2 million in fees during the scheme, prosecutors said.

The Morrisons had their clients sign forms that tried to place all responsibility for any false information on the clients, according to prosecutors.

The larger refunds allowed the couple to increase their business through positive word of mouth, prosecutors said.

They used their large client list to win a $750,000 franchise agreement with Express Tax Services, a subsidiary of H&R Block.

But after signing that agreement, the IRS stripped the couple of their electronic tax preparation authority due to the fraud investigation.

To hide that fact, the Morrisons gave Express Tax Services the electronic filing identification number of a business associate, according to prosecutors.

The Morrisons then secretly entered into a separate agreement to sell JMA to an individual. Gladstone Morrison tried to hide that from Express Tax by telling the company that the person was their office manager.

The Morrisons received separate payments from both Express Tax and the individual, who was not named in court documents, due to their parallel agreements, prosecutors said.

When those agreements fell apart, the couple tried to sell JMA to RealTex Ventures LLC for $425,000. The Morrisons lied again when they told the company they were not under investigation.

PIERRE THOMAS Feb-24-2015 155 0
While the public waits for a Justice Department announcement over two separate investigations spurred by the summer shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, the department is going to first announce its findings in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

ABC News has learned Martin’s family will soon be notified that the Justice Department will not be filing charges against George Zimmerman, who shot the 17-year-old after a confrontation in 2012. Thursday marks three years to the day since Martin was killed.

Federal prosecutors concluded there is not sufficient evidence to prove Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla., intentionally violated Martin’s civil rights, sources told ABC News.

The case sparked intense discussions over race in America because Martin was walking to his home with only Skittles and an iced tea in his hands.

Florida prosecutors tried to convict Zimmerman of state-level murder and manslaughter charges, but in July 2013 a jury acquitted him, saying prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to prove their case.

One juror -– the only minority on the all-female jury –- later told ABC News that “as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can't say he's guilty."

"You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," she said. "But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."

In Sanford, race-related tensions had been simmering for nearly a century, but Martin’s death “was the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back,’” bringing “those issues to the surface,” the new Sanford police chief, Cecil Smith, recently told federal officials.

After Martin was killed, Holder sat down his own teenage son to explain that -– as unfair as it may be -– young black men must often interact with police in a different way than others, he told an NAACP convention in July 2013. It was “a conversation I hoped I'd never have to have,” Holder added.

As media attention mounted over Martin’s death, protests grew across the country calling for justice. The city of Sanford now says a police department had not been scrutinized like that by the press, religious organizations, social activists and the broader public since Los Angeles police beat Rodney King in 1991.

Zimmerman was not a police officer and the neighborhood watch program he was a part of was independent from local police.

Many accused Zimmerman of discriminating against Martin –- essentially taking action against the teenager and ultimately killing him because Martin was black. Zimmerman is Hispanic.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and FBI opened an investigation into the case, noting “experienced federal prosecutors” would determine “whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation” of federal law. In a statement, the department noted there are “limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction.”

Privately and publicly, Justice Department officials have been telegraphing all along that they were unlikely to file charges against Zimmerman. And in November 2013, Holder said the case against Zimmerman “in substantial part was resolved” with his acquittal months earlier.

Nevertheless, federal officials have insisted their civil-rights probe would be thorough and complete. Several months ago –- nearly two years into the Justice Department’s investigation –- Holder said federal investigators were still seeking to interview certain witnesses “as a result of some recent developments.”

More recently, Holder has said he hoped to announce the findings of the Zimmerman and Ferguson-related probes before he leaves office, which could happen in a matter of weeks, depending on when the U.S. Senate confirms his successor.

Holder has said then when a decision is announced in the Zimmerman case, it will be accompanied by “as much information” as possible detailing the Justice Department’s findings.

In the Ferguson case, the department is currently conducting two probes into the matter.

A criminal investigation will try to determine whether then-officer Darren Wilson used unreasonable force and intentionally violated Michael Brown’s civil rights when he shot the unarmed teenager in August. The second probe - though not criminal in nature –- will look more broadly into whether the Ferguson police department has routinely engaged in a "pattern or practice" of unlawful and discriminatory policing.

A state grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, declined to indict Wilson in Novembe4 2014. Many expect the Justice Department will not be able to bring federal charges against Wilson, but will take action against the local police department.

Kevin Sheehan Feb-24-2015 189 0
Al Sharpton is all about the Benjamins, a daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner claims in a bombshell videotape.

Erica Snipes tees off on the reverend as interested primarily in money during a conversation secretly recorded by controversial conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas.

One of O’Keefe’s investigators with a hidden camera posed as a Garner supporter during a protest last month at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

“You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?” the investigator is heard asking Garner’s oldest daughter.

“He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together.
“He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks.

“Yeah,” Snipes responds.

Snipes, 24, also complained that the Staten Island director of Sharpton’s National Action Network, Cynthia Davis, scolded her for handing out street fliers about her father’s case that did not include NAN’s logo.

“She started attacking me. ‘Oh, I see that you got this flier out, how come you didn’t add the logo?’?’’ Snipes said.

The undercover then asks, “They want their logo on your fliers?”

“Instead of me, he wants his face in front,” Snipes says, referring to Sharpton
“But it’s not about them, it’s about your dad,” the undercover says.
“Exactly,” Snipes responds.

“Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. She’s trying to make me feel like I owe them,” she adds.
In an interview with The Post on Monday night, Snipes denied that she had accused Sharpton of being a money-grubber.

“No, I didn’t say that I think Al Sharpton is all about the money,” she said.

But she stood by her criticism of Davis, the NAN director, who she claimed tried to block her from attending a protest at the Staten Island Museum against mass incarceration.
Sharpton on Monday night accused Project Veritas of “exploiting” Snipes and a dispute within the Garner family.

“They’re splicing and dicing stuff together. It was a distortion. Erica is a sincere victim. She was not trying to infer anything with me,” Sharpton said of the secret recording.

Sharpton said the premise of the criticism is flat wrong. He said NAN helps families, including paying for funerals, and does not take money from them. He said Snipes’ sister, Emerald, now works for NAN.

Moreover, he said, NAN organizes rallies after receiving legal permits from the city and therefore requests that its logo be put on fliers for events it sponsors.

In the video, Sharpton is also criticized by leaders and supporters involved in the Michael Brown police shooting case in Ferguson, Mo., and the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, according to the Project Veritas videotapes.

Jean Petrus, a Brooklyn businessman who attended a recent Trayvon Martin Foundation fundraiser in Florida, is also seen criticizing Sharpton in the secretly taped video.

“He knows how to make money and get money. They’re shakedown guys to me. You know, let’s call it what it is, they’re shakedown,” he says in the video.

Petrus told The Post on Monday night that he never consented to an interview and considers himself a “friend of Sharpton.”
“It was an entrapment situation,” Petrus said. “It’s really underhanded.”
Bishop Calvin Scott of Believers Temple in Ferguson also raps Sharpton in the video.
“To some degree, sort of incites people for the wrong reason,” the bishop says. “I’m in the gathering. He got them all fired up. But I just sense this is not the way you want to go.”
Sharpton dismissed the criticism, saying he went to Ferguson at the request of Brown’s family.
“I condemned the violence in Ferguson,” he said.

The Post attempted to contact all the subjects in the Veritas video documentary. Two responded.
Lawyer Darryl Parks, who is involved with the Trayvon Martin Foundation, said “there may be a little truth in that” when asked in a secret recording whether Sharpton is “all about his money.”
Parks on Monday night told The Post that he was “totally misconstrued” by a woman who misrepresented herself as a donor willing to give $50,000 to the foundation. He said it was a lengthy interview taken out of context.

“This is operating under false disguise. It’s nothing but hogwash,” said Parks, who stressed that he supports Sharpton.

Feb-24-2015 363 0
Zendaya Coleman looked stunning on the red carpet at the Oscars Sunday in an off-the-shoulder silk gown, but not everyone liked her style.

E! red carpet host Giuliana Rancic criticized the 18-year-old actress for having her long hair in dreadlocks, saying on "Fashion Police" Monday that: "I feel like she smells like patchouli oil and weed."

While her co-hosts found the comment funny, Zendaya was far from amused and wrote a long Instagram message saying she was "hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect."

"To say that an 18 year old young woman with locs must smell like patchouli oil and weed is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive," she wrote, adding that "certain remarks cannot go unchecked."

Zendaya went on to point out that "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, notable African-American authors and professors, and "men, women and children of all races" have locs, "none of which smell of marijuana."

Rancic later apologized for offending the young star, writing on Twitter Monday night. "Dear @Zendaya, I'm sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!" she wrote.

-- Giuliana Rancic (@GiulianaRancic) February 24, 2015

"The Equalizer" actress Chloe Moretz was one of the first stars to stand up for Zendaya, tweeting, "People need to grow up, realize it's 2015, and act like it. Beautifully written." Read Zendaya's full Instagram post below, along with outraged Twitter reactions to Rancic's comment.

when Kylie Jenner got dreads they were "edgy" and "urban". Yet when Zendaya got them, they smell like "weed & oil". THIS IS WHY WE GET MAD.

-- aquatic mistress (@momodamermaid) February 24, 2015

When we start picking apart young women at an early age we are destroying their self esteem. #Zendaya -- Karen Ci?il (@KarenCivil) February 24, 2015

Zendaya looked great. This was a petty racist slap at someone Giuliana thought would accept it. #BlackGirlsAlwaysClapBack

-- Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) February 24, 2015

Zendaya looked absolutely stunning tonight, by the way........per usual. -- Skylar Diggins (@SkyDigg4) February 24, 2015

Reuven Blau Feb-23-2015 162 0
A minority group against a mega-merger of cable companies filed a $20 billion suit charging the television powerhouses Comcast and Time Warner Cable racially discriminate against blacks and that Al Sharpton looks the other way because he's paid off by the network.

The National Association of African American Owned Media made the shocking allegations in a 71-page federal lawsuit filed in California on Friday.

The suit contends Comcast and TWC "collectively spend approximately $25 billion" each year for pay-television channels and marketing, "yet 100% African-American-owned media receives less than $3 million per year."

The lawsuit also argues that Comcast paid $3.8 million to Sharpton and his National Action Network to support the controversial merger. The network continues to run Sharpton's rating-challenged show for more than three years "in exchange for (his) continued support for Comcast on issues of diversity."

Rev. Sharpton called the allegations — first reported by The Hollywood Reporter — "frivolous" and "ridiculous on its face."

"We've been on the air for 3 ½ years," he said. "How could they have given me a show to support a merger now? It doesn't even make sense."

The National Association of African American Owned Media suit alleges that Rev. Al Sharpton has been paid off by Comcast, which it says discriminates against blacks.

His show, he added, has the highest ratings of any 6 p.m. program in the history of the network.

Comcast also denied the claims in the suit.

"We are proud of our outstanding record supporting and fostering diverse programming, including programming from African-American owned and controlled cable channels," the network spokesperson said in a statement. "We currently carry more than 100 networks geared toward diverse audiences, including multiple networks owned or controlled by minorities."

The suit, which also lists several African-American advocacy groups, faces an uphill battle.

Comcast has a chief diversity officer and is considered one of the most diverse television companies, according to African-American advocacy groups.

The group suing is founded by Byron Allen, a comedian and television producer.

The suit says the only "fully owned black-channel" Comcast has is the Africa Channel, which is owned by former NBCU/Comcast honcho Paula Madison.

Any other black-owned channels are treated as "window dressing" that uses African-Americans as "fronts" for "white-owned business," the suit says. The television titan uses "Jim Crow" type laws in licensing black-owned channels, the suit charges.

"We're not trying to create any more Bob Johnsons," the suit claims one Comcast exec said, referring to the founder of the successful Black Entertainment Television (BET).

Earlier this month a California judge recommended state regulators approve the proposed monster merger between Comcast and TWC. But the sign-off came with a list of conditions that included expanding its discounted broadband service for low-income families.

Larry Mcshane Feb-21-2015 278 0
Bobbi Kristina Brown, like her doomed mom Whitney Houston, was using drugs before she was found unconscious in a bathtub, according to People magazine.

The 21-year-old daughter of Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown was regularly taking heroin, cocaine and Xanax in the months before she was rushed to a Georgia hospital on Jan. 31, the magazine reported.

Xanax was one of the drugs found in Houston’s system after she drowned in a bathtub at a Beverly Hills hotel on Feb. 11, 2012.

A source told People that Bobbi Kristina, in the weeks before the tragedy at her home in Roswell, Ga., was “distraught” about the coming third anniversary of her mother’s death.

The aspiring singer/actress was also in and out of rehab for her demons — including heavy drinking — since her mother’s death, the source indicated.

Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized for depression almost immediately after Houston passed away.

“This girl was trying hard, but she didn’t have any support system,” the source told People. “She was still dealing with a lot of grief over her mother.”

Toxicology reports on Whitney Houston showed the singer had marijuana, Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the over-the-counter medication Benadryl in her system at the time of her death.

Bobbi Kristina remains in a medically-induced coma at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta three weeks after she was discovered by her boyfriend Nick Gordon.

Family members, including Bobby Brown and Bobbi’s grandmother Cissy Houston, kept a grim bedside vigil as they prayed for a medical miracle.

But medical experts warned that the long-term coma was likely to cause other issues, including blood clots, bladder infections

Feb-20-2015 237 0
MSNBC canceled Ronan Farrow's daytime show after its ratings tumbled to new lows last month.

The cable network also yanked Joy-Ann Reid’s 2 p.m. “the Reid Report” along with the 1 p.m. “Ronan Farrow Daily."

The two anchors will stay with the network despite the cancellations, an MSNBC spokesperson told the Daily News.

Farrow — the son of Mia Farrow and either Frank Sinatra or Woody Allen — will work with NBC’s investigative unit and launch a series of primetime specials focusing on in-depth interviews. Reid will become an MSNBC national correspondent and contribute to the network's primetime shows.

A two-hour block of news anchored by Thomas Roberts, who currently runs the network’s 5:30 a.m. program, will replace the cut shows, MSNBC said.

Farrow and Reid’s shows clocked all-time ratings lows last month as MSNBC’s overall numbers dropped. January daytime ratings dipped 20 percent from its 2014 figures, while its total viewership declined 23 percent, Politico reported.

The shakeup is designed to help the network’s daytime hours focus more on news and original reporting, an MSNBC spokesperson said in a statement.

"Ronan Farrow Daily" premiered last February. Just a month after it took to the air, cancellation rumors citing less-than-stellar ratings began.

Feb-20-2015 218 0
Police dash cam video released as a result of a lawsuit claiming excessive force appears to show St. Louis police officers allegedly beating up a driver before one of the cops tells another officer to "hold up" so they can turn the video off.

The incident happened in April 2014, when Cortez Bufford was pulled over, accused of speeding and making an illegal U-turn, Bufford's attorney Joel Schwartz told ABC News.

The officer "pulls Cortez to the side," Schwartz said. "He pulls over, the officer tells him to get out. You can hear him refusing, asking the officer what he did. The officer ... gets angry, at some point he says he smells marijuana, and drags [Cortez] out of the vehicle ... the officer took him to the ground."
Brian Millikan, a police union lawyer who represents one of the officers in the video, told St. Louis-based Fox station KTVI and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the officers' use of force was justified.

"The use of force that was necessary in this case was a direct result of the defendant`s actions or the suspect`s actions," Millikan said. "If you`ll notice, there was a passenger in that vehicle. He voluntarily removed himself. He complied with the officer`s requests and commands. There was no physical force necessary."

The video was first obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Schwartz said Bufford was kicked in the head and tazed.

In the video, one officer allegedly says, "Everybody hold up. We're red right now," before allegedly turning off the dash cam.

The term "red" is used by police to describe a running camera, Schwartz said.

Bufford was taken to the hospital and then jail, according to his lawyer. The charges against him –- a felony weapon offense and a misdemeanor for resisting arrest –- were later dropped.

"People can draw their own conclusions" after watching the video, Schwartz said. "If we felt [the cops' alleged action] was justified, we certainly wouldn't have filed suit."

Schwartz said it took almost a year for the video to be released because initially there was a protective order.

"Ultimately the case was dismissed and the order was lifted. Authorities then contacted us and asked if we would hold off on the video," Schwartz said.

Bufford's lawsuit is seeking $500,000 in damages for abrasions suffered during the alleged altercation, Schwartz said.

A spokeswoman for St. Louis mayor Francis Slay said the officer who turned off the dash-cam has already been "disciplined" because it is against department police for officers to turn off the dash-cams. "That camera should not have been turned off," communication director Maggie Crane said. However, she said that issue should not be "conflated" with the separate issue of whether officers used excessive force against Bufford.

She said the suspect was armed with a gun, was "disobeying" officers, was "punching and kicking" them, and "repeatedly reaching for his gun."

She says that dash-cams from two police cars were rolling, and only one was shut off. The video shows everything she described, she says. She emphasized that Bufford was driving a car that matched the description of a vehicle tied to reports of shots fired, that they saw him make an allegedly illegal U-turn, and that after the officers pulled Bufford over they allegedly smelled and saw marijuana. He was "combative with officers," she said.

As for the lawsuit, she said it "will work itself" through the court system.

Feb-19-2015 233 0
A former DeKalb County official pleaded guilty today to taking a $3,500 bribe in exchange for his vote approving a nightclub.

Jerry Clark, who served on the DeKalb Zoning Board of Appeals until 2013, accepted a plea deal with federal prosecutors that requires his ongoing cooperation. Clark will be sentenced April 30.

Clark admitted to meeting with the unnamed owner of a Tucker nightclub before a zoning vote. The club was seeking to continue providing late-night dancing without having to obtain a special permit as required by DeKalb zoning rules, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Davis in court.

“If the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the business owner’s request, Clark would be rewarded,” Davis said.

After the zoning vote, Clark was paid $2,000 in cash and received a $1,500 donation to a charity. Clark must repay the $3,500 as a federal fine, according to the terms of his plea agreement.

A Channel 2 Action News investigation in 2012 first raised questions about zoning decisions involving several nightclubs.

Clark’s attorney, Gary Spencer, said he has no other criminal record and has run a charity, the Jerry Clark Foundation, that mentors children and helps them avoid dropping out of school.

“This is a sad chapter of his life,” Spencer said. “He’s done a lot of fine work with the community. … We look forward to rehabbing his reputation.”

Clark was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2009 by Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May, who was a commissioner at the time. May has said he was “disturbed and saddened” about the allegations.

The federal bribery charge Clark faces comes with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but Spencer said he’s hoping for a sentence significantly less than that.

>>--More Black Legal News

Sep-09-2014 1097 0
On yesterday social media went crazy after the video of Ray Rice was released. Within hours Rice was released from the Ravens. Don't think for one second that it was not as a result of the public outcry on social media. The Ravens and the NFL did not have a choice but to release Rice because they had been exposed. However, the saddening part about of all of this is that the powers to be proclaimed they had not seen the video until yesterday.

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

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

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

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Apr-28-2014 1483 0
Sadly but real, it appears as though society feels you can treat a black person poorly by simply offering to give them something of value and everything is forgotten. This mindset has to go away otherwise racism and injustices will remain. Whenever I file a civil rights lawsuit the first question the media asks is how much money the family is asking for? My response is always very clear; the family wants JUSTICE and expects for the individual responsible for the act to be held responsible for his/her criminal acts.

On yesterday, 5-10 multimillionaires played a game of basketball despite being made aware that the owner they are earning millions for hates black people, especially black males. By not playing on yesterday they could have sent a major message out and forced the NBA to react immediately but they gave Donald Sterling and the NBA a way out. Let's face it, the Clippers are no candidate to win the NBA Championship this year so this was/is their opportunity to make a change but instead they are showing America that money and a championship is much more important than fighting blatant racism.

I have to admit that I'm truly disappointed in the Los Angeles Clippers. Professional athletes will stage a sit out when they feel they are not being paid enough money but they will continue to play for a racist owner who admitted to not want black people at the game and use the excuse that we are playing for a championship. Will we continue to turn our heads for money?

Many people criticized the football players at Grambling when they staged a protest last year. If those kids lost their scholarships they could probably not afford to attend college but they took the chance because they wanted to take a stand against what they consider poor playing conditions. They had the courage to do something that the Los Angeles Clippers, a group of multimillionaires, are not willing to do. What message are we sending to the World? You can tell millionaires you hate them but they will still work for you as long as they are being paid. Truly a lost opportunity. All money is not good money.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button
Daryl K. Washington Apr-27-2014 1480 0
Donald Sterling made comments about Black people that have started a lot of conversation. Many people, including myself, have said that it will place Coach Doc Rivers and the players in an awkward situation but after thinking about it, it will also place White people in an awkward position and here's my opinion why. During the Civil Rights movement there were White people on the front lines and there were many who did not agree with the poor treatment of Black people. They were instrumental in helping with the fight for equal treatment.

Fast forward to today. 95% of the fans at the Clippers games are not Black and the majority are White people. It would be a great show of support if the White fans were as insulted by Donald Sterling's comments as Black people are. The games will go on but wouldn't it be great if the White fans proved to the country that they don't support a racist owner. We know it will not happen but only until everyone voice their dislike of what was said will a true change ever be made.

Donald Sterling's views are shared by so many individuals who will allow our talented Black athletes to attend the large colleges because they earn millions of dollars for the schools but will fight tooth and nails to prevent a young Black kid who may have not scored well on a standardized test from attending.

College athletes are fighting to be paid but I think what should be added to their agenda is the equal treatment of their brothers and sisters who are being denied admission to the same universities they are earning millions of dollars for. The fight should not be for money but for equality. Let’s never allow someone to pay us to keep our views to ourselves. We still have a long way to go. We will never get there unless we ALL come together.

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

Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 1711 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

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

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

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

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

Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 2084 0
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITIES?: I just finished talking to a mother who lost her son as a result of a police shooting. Hearing this mother talk about her son and how much he loved the holidays was simply heart wrenching. She went on to tell me that she's pleaded for help from our local politicians, pastors, leaders, etc. but no one wants to take her call, especially if the cameras are not rolling. To worsen matters, many of the leaders have put her son on trial and he's dead.

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

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

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