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Texas finds black women most at risk of pregnancy deaths, and drug overdose is a leading overall cause
Black Texas women are more than twice as likely as white women to die within a year of their pregnancies ending, a new report shows.

Though black women delivered only 11.4 percent of babies in Texas from 2011 to 2012, they accounted for 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

A task force commissioned by state lawmakers in 2013 to study pregnancy-related deaths and complications recently released its first report detailing the leading causes of maternal death and offering recommendations for legislators to consider next year.

The report was released on the heels of a national study that showed that pregnancy-related deaths surged in Texas in 2011, with the rate nearly doubling from 2010 to 2014. The state's report doesn't say what caused the dramatic increase.

Heart disease, high blood pressure, bleeding and infection are all commonly recognized causes of maternal death, but the task force found that 11.6 percent of recently pregnant women died due to drug overdose from 2011 to 2012.

"This finding is alarming and may represent an ongoing shift in maternal causes of death," the report says. "Indeed, prescription drug deaths are rising in the United States and have been identified as a major public health crisis."

The task force recommends increasing access to health care for women in the year after they give birth, including screening for and referrals to mental health and substance abuse treatment options.

"Among the 19 women with Medicaid insurance during pregnancy who later died of drug overdose, 14 (73.7 percent) died after the 60 day post-delivery mark, after Medicaid coverage typically expires," the study says.

The task force used different data sources and methodologies than the national study, set to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which caused differences between the findings.

The task force studied case files of women who died within a year of the end of their pregnancies, while the national study limited its scope to the World Health Organization's definition of maternal death, which is death during a pregnancy or up to 42 days after due to causes related to pregnancy.

While the task force excluded non-pregnancy-related cancers from its maternal death total, the national study counted them. Drug-related deaths were included by the task force, but not in the national study.

"Data problems notwithstanding, the important take-home message is to recognize that both studies found that maternal mortality is a major problem in Texas, and that steps need to be taken to reduce it," said Marian MacDorman, the researcher who led the national study.
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Brittney Martin Aug-23-2016 82 0
Black Texas women are more than twice as likely as white women to die within a year of their pregnancies ending, a new report shows.

Though black women delivered only 11.4 percent of babies in Texas from 2011 to 2012, they accounted for 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

A task force commissioned by state lawmakers in 2013 to study pregnancy-related deaths and complications recently released its first report detailing the leading causes of maternal death and offering recommendations for legislators to consider next year.

The report was released on the heels of a national study that showed that pregnancy-related deaths surged in Texas in 2011, with the rate nearly doubling from 2010 to 2014. The state's report doesn't say what caused the dramatic increase.

Heart disease, high blood pressure, bleeding and infection are all commonly recognized causes of maternal death, but the task force found that 11.6 percent of recently pregnant women died due to drug overdose from 2011 to 2012.

"This finding is alarming and may represent an ongoing shift in maternal causes of death," the report says. "Indeed, prescription drug deaths are rising in the United States and have been identified as a major public health crisis."

The task force recommends increasing access to health care for women in the year after they give birth, including screening for and referrals to mental health and substance abuse treatment options.

"Among the 19 women with Medicaid insurance during pregnancy who later died of drug overdose, 14 (73.7 percent) died after the 60 day post-delivery mark, after Medicaid coverage typically expires," the study says.

The task force used different data sources and methodologies than the national study, set to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which caused differences between the findings.

The task force studied case files of women who died within a year of the end of their pregnancies, while the national study limited its scope to the World Health Organization's definition of maternal death, which is death during a pregnancy or up to 42 days after due to causes related to pregnancy.

While the task force excluded non-pregnancy-related cancers from its maternal death total, the national study counted them. Drug-related deaths were included by the task force, but not in the national study.

"Data problems notwithstanding, the important take-home message is to recognize that both studies found that maternal mortality is a major problem in Texas, and that steps need to be taken to reduce it," said Marian MacDorman, the researcher who led the national study.

CNN Aug-23-2016 66 0
President Barack Obama is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday and is touring the flood-ravaged city that quickly became a political football.

Obama is set to see firsthand the damage in the state's capital that has caused more than 106,000 residents and households to register for assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 60,000 homes were damaged, officials said, and 13 people were killed.

Obama is expected to meet with family members of police officers killed in last month's Baton Rouge attack, a source with knowledge of the President's schedule told CNN. According to the source, the families are expected to meet with him at one location during his trip. Three Baton Rouge area police officers were killed last month when they were ambushed by a gunman. That gunman, Gavin Long, was shot and killed by police.

Given the financial and human cost that has already taken its toll, the President's visit is too late for some Republicans -- and some Louisianans.

The city's newspaper "The Advocate" originally criticized the President for not ending his vacation in Martha's Vineyard immediately to visit the region.

His reluctance to do so made for offensive optics in the eyes of some Republicans: Obama enjoying rounds of golf with comedians like Larry David and basketball stars like Alonzo Mourning, while a state thousands of miles away faced devastation.

But the editorial board praised his decision to arrive Tuesday.

"We welcome news of President Barack Obama's planned visit to Louisiana today to survey flood damage, which should help to advance relief and recovery in the disaster area as a national priority," the editorial board wrote.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said on Air Force One that Obama will be visiting a neighborhood in East Baton Rouge Parish, and defended the timing of the trip, saying the "President is used to people trying to score political points even in situations where they shouldn't."
Earnest said that $120 million in aid has already been approved and is starting to be paid out to flood-impacted residents.

Trump, who visited the state shortly after the floods, called Obama's visit "too late."
"Tuesday's too late," Donald Trump, told Fox News this weekend. "Hop into the plane and go down and go to Louisiana and see what's going on, because it's a mess."

That's exactly what Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, did late last week as part of a visit meant to fill what they saw as a leadership vacuum. The Republican ticket toured the flood damage, met with church groups, and distributed supplies at a nearby high school. The visit was well-received by local officials, and for a moment it gave Trump a chance to reveal a presidential timber that he insists he has.

"Because it helped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here, it was helpful," said John Bel Edwards, the state's Democratic governor.

Edwards, who greeted Obama when he landed Tuesday, had previously said that he hoped the President would wait a few weeks before making his visit to the state, given the entourage and Secret Service personnel that comes with presidential trips that would have strained resources while officials were coping with the floods.

Baton Rouge's city newspaper last week had called on Obama to cut his vacation short.
"A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero," read a editorial in The Advocate on Thursday, a day before the Obama trip was announced. "The President's presence is already late to the crisis, but it's better latter than never."

Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic opponent, said Monday that she too plans a trip to the flood site -- but used similar reasoning to delay her trip. Her campaign said in a statement that she would come to the state at an unspecified time in the future.

"This month's floods in Louisiana are a crisis that demand a national response," she said. "I am committed to visiting communities affected by these floods, at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response, to discuss how we can and will rebuild together."
Obama's vacation ended Sunday, and the White House has maintained that he has been regularly briefed by senior staff on the situation on the ground and top administration officials also were sent to the Louisiana. Yet his response has earned some comparisons to how George W. Bush handled another natural catastrophe in a Louisiana city, New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama has traveled to disaster sites in recent years, touring communities in Oklahoma and Arkansas destroyed by tornadoes along with New Jersey towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.

CNN Aug-23-2016 23 0
President Barack Obama is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday and is touring the flood-ravaged city that quickly became a political football.

Obama is set to see firsthand the damage in the state's capital that has caused more than 106,000 residents and households to register for assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 60,000 homes were damaged, officials said, and 13 people were killed.

Obama is expected to meet with family members of police officers killed in last month's Baton Rouge attack, a source with knowledge of the President's schedule told CNN. According to the source, the families are expected to meet with him at one location during his trip. Three Baton Rouge area police officers were killed last month when they were ambushed by a gunman. That gunman, Gavin Long, was shot and killed by police.

Given the financial and human cost that has already taken its toll, the President's visit is too late for some Republicans -- and some Louisianans.

The city's newspaper "The Advocate" originally criticized the President for not ending his vacation in Martha's Vineyard immediately to visit the region.

His reluctance to do so made for offensive optics in the eyes of some Republicans: Obama enjoying rounds of golf with comedians like Larry David and basketball stars like Alonzo Mourning, while a state thousands of miles away faced devastation.

But the editorial board praised his decision to arrive Tuesday.

"We welcome news of President Barack Obama's planned visit to Louisiana today to survey flood damage, which should help to advance relief and recovery in the disaster area as a national priority," the editorial board wrote.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said on Air Force One that Obama will be visiting a neighborhood in East Baton Rouge Parish, and defended the timing of the trip, saying the "President is used to people trying to score political points even in situations where they shouldn't."
Earnest said that $120 million in aid has already been approved and is starting to be paid out to flood-impacted residents.

Trump, who visited the state shortly after the floods, called Obama's visit "too late."
"Tuesday's too late," Donald Trump, told Fox News this weekend. "Hop into the plane and go down and go to Louisiana and see what's going on, because it's a mess."

That's exactly what Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, did late last week as part of a visit meant to fill what they saw as a leadership vacuum. The Republican ticket toured the flood damage, met with church groups, and distributed supplies at a nearby high school. The visit was well-received by local officials, and for a moment it gave Trump a chance to reveal a presidential timber that he insists he has.

"Because it helped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here, it was helpful," said John Bel Edwards, the state's Democratic governor.

Edwards, who greeted Obama when he landed Tuesday, had previously said that he hoped the President would wait a few weeks before making his visit to the state, given the entourage and Secret Service personnel that comes with presidential trips that would have strained resources while officials were coping with the floods.

Baton Rouge's city newspaper last week had called on Obama to cut his vacation short.
"A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero," read a editorial in The Advocate on Thursday, a day before the Obama trip was announced. "The President's presence is already late to the crisis, but it's better latter than never."

Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic opponent, said Monday that she too plans a trip to the flood site -- but used similar reasoning to delay her trip. Her campaign said in a statement that she would come to the state at an unspecified time in the future.

"This month's floods in Louisiana are a crisis that demand a national response," she said. "I am committed to visiting communities affected by these floods, at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response, to discuss how we can and will rebuild together."
Obama's vacation ended Sunday, and the White House has maintained that he has been regularly briefed by senior staff on the situation on the ground and top administration officials also were sent to the Louisiana. Yet his response has earned some comparisons to how George W. Bush handled another natural catastrophe in a Louisiana city, New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama has traveled to disaster sites in recent years, touring communities in Oklahoma and Arkansas destroyed by tornadoes along with New Jersey towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.

REUVEN BLA Aug-21-2016 96 0
George Curry, a reporter who advocated for black Americans and headed Emerge magazine, died on Saturday. He was 69.

Curry suffered an apparent heart attack Saturday evening in Washington D.C., according to a Facebook post by the Constituency for Africa.

"It was a shock to our family and we are dealing with the news, as best we can. R.I.P. brother George Curry," his sister, Christie Love, told TheRoot.

At Emerge, Curry famously ran a photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima knot on his head and as a lawn jockey for hardcore conservatives. Curry said the provocative covers “were effective because in the minds of many Blacks disgusted with Thomas’ voting record, that’s exactly what he is. And we had the temerity to say it.”

Curry was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. where his mother worked as a domestic and his father was a mechanic, according to a biography posted on TheHistoryMakers.

Curry's father left the family when he was 7 years old, forcing the youngster to help support his mother and three sisters.

He moved to New York in 1966 and teamed up with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for a year.

In 1970, he began to work at Sports Illustrated, where he stayed for two years. He then took a job as a beat reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where he stayed until 1983.

During that period, he also founded the St. Louis Minority Journalism Workshop, an instructional program to help younger aspiring writers.

Curry moved to the Chicago Tribune where he served as Washington correspondent from 1989 until 1993. In that position, he covered Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential run.

Later, he became the editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, a publication which won more than 40 national awards.

Recently, he was trying to move the publication online after the print version stopped publishing in 2003.

That same year he won Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. The group also lists him on its roster of "Most Influential Black Journalists of the 20th Century."

"This is a tragic loss to the movement because George Curry was a journalist who paid special attention to civil rights because he lived it and loved it," Dr. Bernard Lafayette, chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, told TheRoot.

Civil rights leaders mourned his death.

"I am saddened beyond words upon hearing of the death of George Curry, Publisher of Emerge Magazine," tweeted Rev. Al Sharpton. "He was a giant and trailblazer. RIP."

meg wagner Aug-20-2016 327 0
The parents of a Georgia high school football player found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat may have to pay nearly $1 million in legal fees for the people they accused of killing their son and covering up his murder.

Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson dropped a civil lawsuit against their son’s teammate, law enforcement agents and state officials earlier this year. On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Richard Porter granted requests from the defendants to recoup attorney fees from the grief-stricken parents.

The defendants — including a pair of teen brothers whom the Johnsons said killed their son, and 37 others the family accused of covering up the crime — have asked for a whopping $850,000. A judge will decide Monday how much the Johnsons have to pay.

Kendrick Johnson, a 17-year-old student at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, was found dead inside a mat propped against a gym wall in January 2013. Investigators concluded the football player’s death was a freak accident — but the teen’s parents insisted he had been killed.

The Johnsons blamed their son’s death on one of his football teammates, WXIA reported. The player held a grudge against Kendrick after the pair fought on a bus in 2011, the family claimed.

After stewing for two years, the accused teen enlisted his brother to help kill Kendrick, the Johnsons said.

But investigators maintained Kendrick died when he dove head-first into a mat to retrieve a pair of gym shoes inside. His classmates found him a day later when they noticed his feet sticking out from the center of the rolled-up mat, police said.

An autopsy by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner determined Johnson died from "positional asphyxia," meaning he got stuck upside down and was unable to breathe.

Unsatisfied with the ruling, Johnson's parents later had his body exhumed and paid a private medical examiner to conduct a second autopsy, which concluded he died from a blow to the neck.

The Johnsons then filed a $100 million civil suit against 39 people, including the brothers, their dad and a slew of local and state officials.

The family dropped the suit in March.

In June, the Justice Department closed a 2 1/2 year investigation into Johnson's death that provided no answers.

The DOJ issued a statement saying federal investigators "found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges," but it steered clear of saying whether its findings pointed to an accident or homicide as the cause of Johnson's death.

JANET McCONNAUGHEY Aug-18-2016 312 0
Former NFL star Darren Sharper has been sentenced to 18 years and four months in prison in a case where he was accused of drugging and raping as many as 16 women in four states.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo sentenced Sharper on Thursday, telling him she couldn't understand how he did what he did, since he was college educated and obviously had grown up "in one of the most loving households."

"We can never ignore the damage you inflicted on those women and society at large," she said.

Sharper had pleaded guilty in federal court in New Orleans to drugging three women so he could rape them. He also has pleaded guilty or no contest in state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada to charges arising from allegations of drugging and raping women.

"I would like to apologize a thousand times," Sharper said. He looked at the floor as he said, "I'm still trying to figure out why I made some of these choices. ... I lived my life right for 38 years, then I took this path."

His voice thickened and broke as he said his parents hadn't raised him to take such actions.

Defense attorney Billy Gibbens asked leniency because Sharper's testimony helped get "late" guilty pleas from two codefendants who will be sentenced in October.

Sharper will be sentenced next Thursday in Louisiana state court, Gibbens said outside court. He said he believes Sharper will be sentenced next month in Las Vegas, and couldn't recall the Los Angeles sentencing date.

An Arizona judge sentenced him to nine years and what both Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon and Gibbens said amounted to lifetime probation.

McMahon told the judge in court, "I don't think Mr. Sharper has really wrapped his head around the fact that he is a serial rapist."

A woman who woke up next to Sharper after being drugged also spoke before Triche handed down the sentence. The woman's voice was shaky and she frequently brought a handkerchief to her eyes. Her name was not given in court, and The Associated Press does not identify by name victims of sexual abuse.

She told Sharper that because of arrogance and "clear stupidity," he kept drugging and raping women even after he knew she was talking to state and federal investigators.

"Within days ... you gave me ... and the entire judicial system in Louisiana the big middle finger because you thought we weren't capable of stopping you," she said. "You continued to rape other women in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas."

She said she understands that people make mistakes. "But it wasn't a mistake. A mistake happens once and you never make it again." Rather, she said, it was "a way of life for you and your friends."

Prosecutors suggested a 9-year prison term for Sharper under a multi-jurisdictional plea deal, but Milazzo rejected it in June as too lenient. The sentence she imposed, 18 years and four months imprisonment, was 15 months short of the maximum. Sharper also was fined $20,000.

Sharper is getting the same sentence on each of three counts of distributing drugs with rape as the aim, but they will run concurrently with each other and with state sentences, the judge said. She said he will be on three years' supervised release after he gets out of prison, including "sex treatment conditions" and registration as a sex offender.

Sharper's family left the courtroom without speaking to reporters. Gibbens said later that the federal sentence won't affect plea agreements in the four state courts.

Sharper or his friend Brandon Licciardi, a former sheriff's deputy in neighboring St. Bernard Parish, put anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives into women's drinks so they could rape them, according to a 15-page statement signed as part of Sharper's plea agreement.

Milazzo has scheduled sentencing Oct. 13 for Licciardi and a second New Orleans codefendant, Erik Nunez.

Outside the courtroom, McMahon quietly asked the woman, "Are you ready to do this in October?" She nodded.

Charges around the country involve nine victims, but Milazzo has said in court that there may be as many as 16.

She said Thursday that she will, as Gibbens requested, recommend a prison either in Petersburg, Virginia, or Butner, North Carolina, so he can be near his family in Richmond, Virginia.

Like Sharper, Licciardi and Nunez admitted distributing drugs with the intent to commit rape. Their federal plea agreements say Licciardi has accepted a 17-year sentence, with 10 years for Nunez.

Sharper was named All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times during a career that included stints with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie and one with New Orleans Saints when they won in 2010.

He ended a 14-year career in 2011. He was working as an NFL network analyst when women began telling police in several cities similar stories of blacking out while drinking with him and waking up groggy to find they had been sexually abused.



Katie Mettler Aug-17-2016 149 0
Arshell “Trey” Dennis, the third of his name, moved to New York to escape the home he loved.

He grew up in the South Side of Chicago, a city that employs his father as a police officer but has also profiled the 19-year-old because of the color of his skin. It’s a city seemingly constantly in turmoil — bleeding each weekend from dozens of gun-related killings — and an environment Dennis said he felt thankful to leave.

“I do appreciate that I am where I am,” he told his college roommate in a video interview last year. “A lot of people where I’m from don’t make it out.”

The teen had plans: to graduate from St. John’s University in New York City and become a writer, to channel what he’d learned about poetry and struggle into words that might make something shift. He couldn’t change the world — he said for that he’d need two lifetimes — but Dennis felt his path, where he came from and what he knew, might be able to “influence.”

“If you don’t know me,” he said in the video, “you gonna know me.”

Just weeks from entering his junior year at St. John’s, the aspiring journalist and NAACP student chapter vice president flew back home to Chicago for the weekend, WGN TV reported, a surprise for his sick mother’s birthday.

He sat on the porch of his family’s home Saturday night, talking with a hometown friend, when gunfire split the stillness of his ordinarily quiet Wrightwood neighborhood.

Both were shot.

The friend, 20 years old, was hospitalized.

Dennis died.

His mother’s screams echoed down the block.

“You do not want to hear a mother’s cry for her son,” a neighbor, who would only identify herself as Brenda, told the Chicago Tribune.

As of late Monday night, there had been no arrest, and authorities said the investigation was still open and active.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said authorities were treating the shooting as a case of “mistaken identity.”

“Arshell was a good kid, making his parents proud and studying for a promising future,” Johnson said in a statement.

The superintendent, who worked with Dennis’s father, Officer Arshell “Chico” Dennis, in the 1990s, visited the family Sunday and said in the statement he was “at a loss for words for the amount of grief” they are experiencing.

Though it’s well known in the neighborhood that the elder Dennis, a Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer, worked for the Chicago Police Department, the superintendent said there is “absolutely no credibility” to the theory that Arshell was targeted because of his father’s occupation.

The two young men had no criminal records or personal histories of gang involvement, a police spokesman told the Chicago Tribune, but the shooting could still be gang-related. Some gangs have been conducting initiations, a police official told the Chicago Sun-Times, where recruits are instructed to shoot and kill whomever they find.

“That’s a rite of passage for them,” Johnson told CBS News. “Now how bizarre is that?”

On Sunday, the day Dennis was to return to New York, his loved ones scrubbed his blood from their sidewalk instead.

“The loss of our son is stunning and painful,” the Dennis family said in a statement to the Sun-Times. “Tragically, we were going to take him to the airport today at 3 p.m. to return to school. Now because of this senseless violence, we will be grieving and planning his funeral. Trey was smart, funny, and the light of our lives.”

Dennis graduated from Urban Prep Academy in 2014, where he ran cross country, played chess and participated in the Louder Than a Bomb poetry competition, according to his LinkedIn page. He also belonged to a preparatory program called Upward Bound. It was from a student in the program that director Gerald Smith heard the tragic news.

“I got the phone call, and my heart just fell to my stomach,” Smith told the Tribune. “So, so unexpected. … I’m still in disbelief.”

From bringing your own mug to the coffee shop to composting your pet's waste, here's how you can contribute to a more livable planet.
Last summer, Dennis returned to Chicago to work as an Upward Bound ambassador, Smith said.

“He was one of my better students, he really was,” Smith said. “Arshell was a fun time. He was real easygoing, real quiet, laid-back, mild-mannered — he wasn’t a problem at all. It’s a tragic loss.”
Terri Bachstrom, a neighbor and lunchroom attendant in Chicago Public Schools, told the Sun-Times Dennis was a well-mannered, quiet kid.

“He wasn’t in a gang. He wasn’t affiliated with any of the nonsense that’s going on in Chicago,” Bachstrom said. “He wasn’t one of those kids.”

Johnson said at the news conference Monday that to date in 2016, 85 percent of gunshot victims have had prior contact with police. Dennis and his friend were the exception, and yet this weekend, the two became part of the city’s growing violence statistics. In the same weekend Dennis died, nine people were killed and 31 more wounded in shootings across Chicago.

Since Jan. 1, 2,607 people have been shot in the city, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis, on pace to far exceed the number of shootings last year, which totaled 2,988.

Jason Rowan Aug-17-2016 168 0
LeBron James admitted recently that he’s chasing the “ghost” of Michael Jordan. It appears the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar’s dogged pursuit of said so-called apparition goes far beyond what he accomplishes as a player on the hardwood.

In fact, James admitted it’s his “dream to actually own” an NBA team once his career on the court is said and done, much like Jordan, now principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.

James made his dream known during an appearance Wednesday on “Open Run,” a podcast owned by “Uninterrupted,” a social media-driven platform James created for fellow athletes.

“I think so,” James responded to a question whether he envisions himself one day becoming an NBA general manager, as transcribed by cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. “I feel like my brain as far as the game of basketball is unique and I would love to continue to give my knowledge to the game.

“And I would love to be a part of a franchise, if not at the top. My dream is to actually own a team and I don’t need to have full hands on. If I’m fortunate enough to own a team, then I’m going to hire the best GM and president that I can.”

Whether or not James actually achieves his dream obviously involves several moving parts and potential circumstances beyond his control, such as a team actually being available. But there’s no doubt James has the financial wherewithal to afford such a pursuit. After all, between his NBA salary and many endorsements and business endeavors, James hauled in a whopping $77 million in 2016.

James also has a lifetime deal with Nike worth an estimated $1 billion. And he just signed a $100 million extension with the Cavaliers. Suffice to say, it's clear James will be flush with cash once his NBA playing career is finished.

Given that money always talks in the grand scheme of things — including potential ownership of an NBA team — James has put himself in a great spot to one day realize his dream. The fact that he would raise the profile of even a terrible NBA franchise simply by his presence doesn’t hurt matters, either.

To “Be Like Mike,” indeed.

Kevin McCauley Aug-16-2016 167 0
Dalian Atkinson has died from cardiac arrest after being shot with a taser by police in Telford, Shropshire, England. The former Premier League star was 48 years old.

Atkinson was tasered outside of his father's home after police responded to calls from neighbors fearing for a man's safety in the area. He was treated by paramedics, but was pronounced dead at a hospital 90 minutes after being tasered. A witness told the BBC that she felt the way Atkinson approached officers was "non-threatening," while the Independent Police Complaints Commission, a police watchdog group, says they're investigating the incident.

In 1992, while playing for Aston Villa, Atkinson scored the goal he's best remembered for. His 60-yard individual run and chipped finish in an FA Cup match against Wimbledon was voted the goal of the 1992-93 season by Match of the Day viewers.

Atkinson starred for Villa in that season, helping them to a second-place finish, and he scored for them in the UEFA Cup the following season. Over his 15-year professional career, Atkinson played in England, Spain, Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

reuters Aug-16-2016 117 0
The city of Milwaukee imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on Monday in an attempt to quell rioting that erupted the previous two nights in response to the police shooting of an armed black man in one of the most segregated cities in the United States.


Mayor Tom Barrett also renewed his call for state officials to release a video of the Saturday night shooting in hopes it convinces angry protesters that deadly force against Sylville K. Smith, 23, was justified.

"There is a curfew that will be more strictly enforced tonight for teenagers," Barrett told a news conference. "So parents, after 10 o'clock your teenagers better be home or in a place where they're off the streets."

Milwaukee has become the latest American city to be gripped by violence in response to police killings of black men in places such as Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Baltimore last year.

Famed for its breweries, Milwaukee is also one of the most segregated cities in America, with a large concentration of unemployed black men in the inner city separated from the mostly white suburbs.

Such inequality has afflicted many U.S. cities as a result of the loss of manufacturing jobs over the past three decades, sometimes stoking unrest when police use deadly force.

Police say Smith was stopped on Saturday afternoon for behaving suspiciously and that he then fled on foot between two homes. Smith was carrying a stolen handgun which he refused to drop when he was killed, police said.

The shooting led to a first night of protests over his death in which gunshots were fired, six businesses were torched and 17 people were arrested. Police reported four officers were injured and police cars were damaged before calm was restored.

On Sunday night, when police in riot gear faced off with protesters throwing bottles and bricks, four officers were injured and one other person suffered a gunshot wound, police said. Three police squad cars were damaged and 14 people were arrested, authorities said.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had activated the National Guard on Sunday in case more trouble flared, but despite the violence, police said the guardsmen were not called in.

This weekend's shooting in Milwaukee was distinct in that the deceased was armed, according to the police account. The officer who fired the deadly shot was also black.

The mayor would like Wisconsin state officials to release the video to the public in order to corroborate the police account. State law requires all police shootings to be investigated by an independent state agency, giving the state control over such evidence.

"I want the video released. ... I'm going to urge that it be released as quickly as possible," said Barrett, who has yet to see it.

Police Chief Edward Flynn said on Sunday that video from the officer's body camera showed Smith had turned toward the officer with a gun in his hand.

The video appeared to show the officer acting within the law, Flynn said, but because the audio was delayed it was unclear when the officer fired his weapon.

Police had stopped Smith's car, leading to a chase on foot.

Police said Smith's car was stopped because he was acting suspiciously, raising skepticism within largely African-American neighborhoods where people report racial discrimination from police. Smith also had a lengthy arrest record, officials said.

Asked at the news conference why officers had stopped the car on Saturday, Police Chief Edward Flynn said the officers had not been interviewed yet and that they would be interviewed later on Monday. (Additional reporting David Ingram in New York; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by James Dalgleish)

CBS News Aug-14-2016 347 0
Marion "Christopher" Barry Jr., the son of the late Washington, D.C. mayor with the same name, has died at age 36, CBS affiliate WUSA reports.


The only son of the former D.C. mayor was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead early Saturday morning, WUSA reports.

No cause of death has been officially announced.

WUSA's Bruce Johnson reports that like his father, the younger Barry struggled with addiction issues.

Christopher Barry also wanted to follow in his dad's political footsteps, Johnson reports, having attempted to run for a D.C. Ward 8 council seat.

The elderly Marion Barry was often described as many things: Divisive and flamboyant, maddening and beloved, Marion Barry outshone every politician in the 40-year history of District of Columbia self-rule. But for many, his legacy was not defined by the accomplishments and failures of his four terms as mayor and long service on the D.C. Council.

Instead, many will remember Barry for a single night in a downtown Washington hotel room and the grainy video that showed him lighting a crack pipe in the company of a much-younger woman. When FBI agents burst in, he referred to her with an expletive. She "set me up," Barry said.

After his arrest and fall from grace (and prison term,) the elderly Barry eventually crawled his way back into D.C. politics, getting elected again to the mayor's post, as well as the city council later on.

The elderly Barry passed away in 2014 at the age of 78.

HEMAL JHAVER Aug-12-2016 300 0
On a night when everyone started out talking about Michael Phelps, it was another young swimmer who made American history.

20-year-old Simone Manuel became the first black female swimmer to win an Olympic medal for America when she tied for first place in the 100m freestyle.

In the last few meters, Manuel caught up to Australian favorite Cate Campbell and touched the wall at 52.70, dead even with Canadian Penny Oleksiak.

An emotional Manuel was in tears in her post race interview as the historic nature of her win caught up to her.

"All I can say is all glory to God," Manuel said. "It's definitely been a long journey these past four years, and I'm just so blessed to have the gold medal."

ryan sit Aug-11-2016 434 0
The sister of a Bronx woman murdered by her building superintendent condemned the callous killer Thursday as “a menace to society” as he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Nasean Bonie, 30, received the maximum possible time behind bars for the killing of Ramona Moore, a tenant with whom he had a rent dispute.

Moore, 35, disappeared in 2012 — but her body was found three years later in Orange County, near where Bonie has relatives.

“You have left a big hole in her family's heart,” Moore’s sister, Nicole Moore, said in a statement read by prosecutors in Bronx Supreme Court.

60-year-old man charged with stabbing super to death in rent dispute
“You took a mother away from her four kids. Her two older kids knew her mother and loved her dearly but her two younger ones will never know her — especially her baby girl, she was only 3 years old. How do you explain to a child that mommy's not coming back?

“You are a menace to society and you should never be able to see the light of day again.”

Bonie was convicted of manslaughter in July after a month-long trial.

Prosecutors had called more than 20 witnesses during the jury trial, including a neighbor who said she saw Bonie lug a garbage pail into the trunk of his car the night Moore vanished in July 2012.

Brooklyn landlord charged with murder
Neighbors testified that Moore had been fighting with Bonie over rent outside 663 Jefferson Place in Claremont the day she vanished.

Nicole Moore said detectives had told her when Bonie was arrested in Pennsylvania by U.S. Marshals he told them, “You can’t arrest me without a body.”

In fact, prosecutors were prepared to try the case while Moore’s body was still missing — but then her fractured skull turned up in April 2014 in South Blooming Grove.

Prior to being sentenced, Bonie maintained his innocence.

"My life, I believe, has been taken by the NYPD. Yes, that's what I said: My life's been taken away. This is 2016 and black men are now target practice for police,” Bonie said, sitting down with his hands shackled behind his back, wearing a white button-down shirt and khaki pants.

“The Bronx District Attorney's office is no better ... They are out to cover their tracks of lies, deceit and prejudice.”

Prior to making his statement, Bonie’s attorney was overheard expressing his displeasure with the remarks.

“It's not smart. It's going to cost him years of his life," attorney Matthew Galluzo said to Bonie's mother.

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Jul-14-2016 554 0
I had the pleasure to witness four NBA superstars issuing a “Call to Action” to the thousands of athletes who were in attendance at the ESPY Awards. It was the moment I waited on for so long because I personally know the influence professional athletes have on society. They have the platform and the power to demand change. We saw the immediate change that occurred when athletes at Grambling State University, Missouri and the Los Angeles Clippers, to name a few, decided to take a stance. Athletes have the power, the platform and the support to make a difference but should they have to do it alone?

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

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

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

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

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Civil Rights Law, Sports and Entertainment, Litigation (Personal Injury and Commercial) and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl by email at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Jun-24-2016 535 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 13230 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.
Sep-09-2014 3248 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 3891 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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