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Fired African-American police officer seeks $5M in damages after all-white force let him go, vandals write N-word on his car
A small town in the shadow of a volcano in Washington state is simmering with racial tensions over a fired African-American police officer’s claims of discrimination.

Gerry Pickens, 28, alleges he suffered racist jokes, different treatment from the entirely white rest of the force and an undeserved dismissal at the end of his first-year probationary period with the Orting Police Department last year, The Washington Post reported.

Vandals later wrote “N-----” on his SUV and threatened him “sue cheif [sic] and pay,” and Pickens filed a $5 million damages claim against the city in February, KING-TV reported.

Pickens’ colleagues called him the “black juvenile” after a local resident dialed 9-1-1 to report that a “black juvenile” was driving a police car shortly after he had started his beat and moved his family from Atlanta to the town 30 miles from Mount Rainier, he told the Post.

The three-year police veteran and son of a military man also drove an older squad car than his colleagues and received a one-week suspension for an unsubstantiated allegation that he had worked out a gym where he wasn’t a member, he says, according to the Post.

Police Chief Bill Drake called the 2013 hiring of Pickens — the 11-member police department’s first black police officer — “a crowning achievement for us,” in an interview with the newspaper. But Drake laid him off at the end of the trial first year period, citing “unsatisfactory performance,” according to The News Tribune of nearby Tacoma.

Pickens had hired a lawyer but hadn’t filed any formal claims against the city before the vandals targeted his Ford Explorer one night in January, KIRO-TV reported. He announced the next month while flanked by NAACP officials in Tacoma that he’ll file a wrongful termination lawsuit if city officials elect not to pay the damages during the required 90-day response period to his claim, according to the Post.

Police Chief Bill Drake cited "unsatisfactory performance" as the reason for firing Pickens last year in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission documents obtained by the Post.
“They took my manhood, my income, my security,” Pickens told the newspaper. “They thought I was just some dumb black guy who would take unemployment and kick rocks.”

But city officials don’t appear ready to fork over the sum. The city condemned the unsolved January incident but Orting Mayor Joachim (Joe) Pestinger told the Post that a $5 million payment could bust the city’s budget and isn’t warranted.

“I don’t want to settle for one dollar, if it’s my choice,” Pestinger said. “This is a false accusation, and I don’t want to give it any merit.”
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TOBIAS SALINGER Apr-20-2015 121 0
A small town in the shadow of a volcano in Washington state is simmering with racial tensions over a fired African-American police officer’s claims of discrimination.

Gerry Pickens, 28, alleges he suffered racist jokes, different treatment from the entirely white rest of the force and an undeserved dismissal at the end of his first-year probationary period with the Orting Police Department last year, The Washington Post reported.

Vandals later wrote “N-----” on his SUV and threatened him “sue cheif [sic] and pay,” and Pickens filed a $5 million damages claim against the city in February, KING-TV reported.

Pickens’ colleagues called him the “black juvenile” after a local resident dialed 9-1-1 to report that a “black juvenile” was driving a police car shortly after he had started his beat and moved his family from Atlanta to the town 30 miles from Mount Rainier, he told the Post.

The three-year police veteran and son of a military man also drove an older squad car than his colleagues and received a one-week suspension for an unsubstantiated allegation that he had worked out a gym where he wasn’t a member, he says, according to the Post.

Police Chief Bill Drake called the 2013 hiring of Pickens — the 11-member police department’s first black police officer — “a crowning achievement for us,” in an interview with the newspaper. But Drake laid him off at the end of the trial first year period, citing “unsatisfactory performance,” according to The News Tribune of nearby Tacoma.

Pickens had hired a lawyer but hadn’t filed any formal claims against the city before the vandals targeted his Ford Explorer one night in January, KIRO-TV reported. He announced the next month while flanked by NAACP officials in Tacoma that he’ll file a wrongful termination lawsuit if city officials elect not to pay the damages during the required 90-day response period to his claim, according to the Post.

Police Chief Bill Drake cited "unsatisfactory performance" as the reason for firing Pickens last year in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission documents obtained by the Post.
“They took my manhood, my income, my security,” Pickens told the newspaper. “They thought I was just some dumb black guy who would take unemployment and kick rocks.”

But city officials don’t appear ready to fork over the sum. The city condemned the unsolved January incident but Orting Mayor Joachim (Joe) Pestinger told the Post that a $5 million payment could bust the city’s budget and isn’t warranted.

“I don’t want to settle for one dollar, if it’s my choice,” Pestinger said. “This is a false accusation, and I don’t want to give it any merit.”

AP Apr-20-2015 606 0
Relatives, activists and even Baltimore city officials have more questions than answers about what happened to Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died one week after he was rushed to the hospital with spinal injuries following an encounter with four Baltimore police officers.

Gray, who died Sunday morning at a University of Maryland trauma center, was stopped by Baltimore police officers on bike patrol April 12. Police have said Gray was running away from the officers when he was arrested and placed in a transport van. About 30 minutes later, Gray was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, according to police.

Billy Murphy, an attorney for Gray's family, said Sunday that 80 percent of the man's spinal cord had been severed near his neck.

On Monday morning, about 50 protesters gathered outside City Hall and later marched to police headquarters, about two blocks away. They carried signs reading "Black lives matter" and "Jobs, not police killings." They also unfurled a yellow banner reading "Stop police terror."

"This is just one of the most egregious cases I've ever seen," said Colleen Davidson of the Baltimore People's Power Assembly, which she said organized the rally at the request of Gray's family. "We felt the need to be out here and make it known that we will not stand and watch things like this happen."

"How was Mr. Gray injured? Were the proper protocols and procedures actually followed? What are the next steps to take from here?" Rawlings-Blake said.

She promised a thorough investigation and "real answers" for the community.

"I will ensure we will hold the right people accountable," Rawlings-Blake said.

Gray's family has declined, so far, to interact with police, said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. He said the department would try again this week to share information with them.

"A mother has lost her son," Batts said. "Freddie Gray passed. My greatest hope and wish and desire is that any time we have an interaction as a police department or a contact, that everyone goes home safe."

Batts said he is assembling a "hybrid task force" that will include homicide investigators and the force investigation team.

Officers and other witnesses have been interviewed, according to Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez. However, not everyone has been interviewed, Rodriguez noted, saying the officers who are subjects of the criminal investigation have a right not to potentially incriminate themselves.

But Murphy said he has interviewed 11 witnesses as part of an investigation on behalf of the Gray family, and has asked the department for video footage, which it has declined to release to the public. Murphy said he disputes the department's timeline of events, and believes Gray was in police custody for longer than they say.

"We are tired of the words. We want to see action," Murphy said Sunday. "We want to see fair compensation for victims of police brutality, we want to see a fair response and an impartial investigation not cops investigating themselves.

"We have no confidence that the city or the police department is going to fairly and objectively investigate this case," Murphy added. "We have no confidence the investigation will reveal the truth."

Meanwhile, Baltimore's activist community on Sunday called for increased transparency and accountability of the city's police department, which last year volunteered for a Justice Department review of its policies and procedures.

Outside of the Western District station house, where Gray was brought after his arrest and before officers called for medical assistance, Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon, president of the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, called Baltimore a "police state" where criminalization of African American men is a pervasive problem. Witherspoon called for action, and an independent investigation into Gray's death.

"They want the citizenry to be patient. They want the citizenry to let the investigation play out," Witherspoon said. "We can't do that. There has never been honest and genuine conversation with the police department and the people on the ground. We want an independent investigation. We want the officers fired, we want them stripped of their pension and we want them charged."

John Council Apr-20-2015 109 0
Civil Rights pioneer L. A. Bedford started a firm that would become Bedford Bunkley & Davis and founded the J.L. Turner Legal Society in 1952—Dallas’ first association for black attorneys. Bedford was the first black attorney appointed as a municipal judge in Dallas, in 1966; he was the fourth black lawyer to join the Dallas Bar Association, in 1968, and was elected to the DBA’s board of directors in 1984. In his later years, Bedford continued practicing law as a solo practitioner

A year after his death, Dallas lawyers and historians and family recently gathered on the campus of Prairie View A&M University to discuss the legacy of Dallas civil rights pioneer Louis A. Bedford, who was a 1946 graduate of the historically black college.

And in a fitting tribute after the conclusion of lectures about the man who became Dallas' first African-American judge in 1966, his alma mater's mock courtroom was named in honor of him.

Segregation in Texas forced Bedford to travel to New York, where he got a law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1951.

Bedford returned to Texas later that year and set up a law practice in Dallas. He was one of only a dozen African-American lawyers who served North Texas' segregated black communities in the early 1950s. [See "Remembering Lawyer, Civil Rights Pioneer Louis A. Bedford," Texas Lawyer, April 21, 2014.]

In 1952, when the Dallas Bar Association still excluded African-American attorneys, Bedford founded the J.L. Turner Legal Society for black lawyers. Bedford later became the fourth black attorney to join the DBA in 1968 and was elected to its board of directors in 1984.

In 1970, Bedford served as counsel on Tasby v. Estes, the desegregation case that declared "separate but equal" provisions to be unconstitutional in Dallas public schools.


Read more: http://www.texaslawyer.com/id=1202723845791/Courtroom-Named-in-Honor-of-Dallas-Civil-Rights-Pioneer#ixzz3XrgmT2wq

Nicole Hensley Apr-20-2015 117 0
Baltimore’s mayor has vowed to hold “the right people accountable” after a 25-year-old man died early Sunday while in the custody of Baltimore police, of injuries that partially severed his spine.

In the sliver of time between Freddie Gray’s arrest and his trip to a Baltimore police station, Gray, an otherwise healthy man, severed 80% of his spine at the neck, according to the family’s attorney.

“He’s gone,” Richard Shipley, Gray’s stepfather, told the Baltimore Sun after the death. “What else is there to say?”

The week after Gray’s arrest on April 12 was nothing but a medical disaster as detailed by attorney Billy Murphy in a statement.

“He lapsed into a coma, died, was resuscitated, stayed in a coma and on Monday, underwent extensive surgery at Shock Trauma to save his life,” Murphy explained. “He clung to life for seven days and died today.”

He is adamant that Gary’s arrest should not have happened in the first place, saying that he was just a “black man running."

“When he realized the police were going to catch him, he laid down on the ground and spread his hands and his feet spread eagle in a submission pose,” Murphy said, citing witnesses he and his team of three attorneys have spoken to in the week since the arrest.

The “rough” arrest apparently happened under a city surveillance camera, footage he has requested, but has not seen yet.

Concerns over Gray’s death has prompted Baltimore police to open a criminal investigation into the matter.
“No one who is reasonable believes that any agency is good at investigating itself without bias especially a police department in this environment. We expect a cover up,” Murphy added.

In the wake of Gray’s death, even Mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake is left wondering what happened to the man after he was stopped by four bicycle cops and then allegedly fled, according to a timeline provided by authorities.

“I want to let people know that we will find out exactly what happened,” Rawling-Blake said Sunday afternoon.

The reason for Gray’s arrest last Sunday has yet to be explained, although Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez says Gray, who was a black man, may have been involved in some form of criminal activity. It wasn't immediately clear if Gray had any prior record.

The bicycle cops stopped Gray for questioning at about 8:40 a.m., according to WJZ-TV.

During his arrest, a woman screamed at a team of police officers dragging a restrained Gray to a van and said he appeared to be injured. Gray too screamed in what appears to be agony, a cell phone video obtained by the Baltimore Sun shows.

“His leg look broke,” the woman behind one camera shouted.

An autopsy will explain how Gray died and if he had injured his leg as well, Murphy said.

Rodriguez told the Sun that the reasons for Gray's arrest are "a bit vague" and said cops "have no physical, video or any other evidence of an altercation" that would lead to Gray's injuries. He declined to share additional details with the newspaper, referencing the ongoing investigation.

The van left the scene of the arrest and made one stop along the way to put additional restraints on Gray, though Murphy claims police stopped at least two or three more times during the 10-block ride to the Western District station, also citing witnesses he spoke to.

Authorities have said Gray was conscious and speaking with officers during these stops.

A series of protests rallied for Gray at the site of his arrest on Saturday and at the police station where paramedics were called to take him to the hospital.

“We believe the police are keeping the circumstances of Freddie’s death secret until they develop a version of events that will absolve them of all responsibility,” Murphy added.

Rodriguez said at a press conference that after watching several angles of the arrest, he does not believe an act of excessive force occurred inside the van that could have injured Gray. Regardless, the department has started a criminal investigation into the matter.

Jaime Uribarri Apr-20-2015 128 0
University of Florida football player J.C. Jackson was arrested Saturday night for his role in an armed robbery in Gainesville, FL., where he's being held by local police on $150,000 bond.

Jackson, a 5-11, 195-lb. defensive back who redshirted for the Gators his freshman year in 2014, turned himself over to cops hours after allegedly setting up the robbery that allowed two gunman to steal $382 in cash, marijuana and two video gaming consoles.

According to the police report, Jackson called the victim and set up a visit to his apartment to hang out and smoke weed. When Jackson - who the victim described as an acquaintance - arrived, he opened the door without knocking, looked in to find the the victim and two guests inside the apartment, then closed the door behind him.

Jackson was then let into the apartment, only this time he was joined by two unidentified males. He soon walked out the door again, supposedly to answer a phone call.

That’s when one of the visitors allegedly pulled out a gun, ordering all the victims on the ground while his accomplice emptied their pockets. The crooks also made away with weed and the gaming systems - reportedly Xboxes - before fleeing in “Nissan-type” car, according to News 4 Jacksonville.

Jackson never returned to the apartment, but called his victim later that day once police arrived at the crime scene.

This is the second gun-related incident involving the 19-year-old Jackson, who was grazed by a bullet in his hometown of Immokalee, Fl., on Christmas Eve. Days earlier, he was a passenger in a car driven by Florida QB Treon Harris that cops pulled over and found weed in before charging Harris with driving without a license.

Doyle Murphy Apr-19-2015 231 0
Five of the six cops in a tiny Missouri city quit after voters elected their first black female mayor.

Two full-time and three part-time officers in Parma resigned shortly before Tyus Byrd was sworn in on Tuesday, KFVS reported.

Outgoing Mayor Randall Ramsey told the station the cops gave no notice and were joined by the city attorney, clerk and water treatment supervisor.

They cited “safety concerns” in their resignation letters, according to Ramsey.

Byrd, who had previously worked as the city’s clerk, has declined to comment about the rash of walk outs but said she wasn’t able to find the letters.

Five of the six police officers in Parma, Mo., resigned after voters elected Tyus Byrd (R). She's the city's first black female mayor.

Tyus Byrd was sworn in as mayor of Parma, Mo., on Tuesday, shortly after five of the city’s six cops and other government officials resigned.

Five of the six police officers in Parma, Mo., resigned after voters elected Tyus Byrd (R). She's the city's first black female mayor.

Parma, which sits in southeast Missouri, has a dwindling population of 713, according to the 2010 Census

Byrd defeated Ramsey by 38 votes, 122-84.

Ramsey had served as mayor for 37 years.

lee moran Apr-18-2015 220 0
An adopted Ohio woman who was searching for her biological mom was left stunned after learning that the woman she was looking for was actually a co-worker at the same company.

La-Sonya Mitchell-Clark found out her mother's name was Francine Simmons after the state's Department of Health released birth records for those born between Jan. 1964 and Sept. 1996.

The 38-year-old, from Youngstown, searched for her on Facebook, reports WYTV.

And she was shocked to discover that they both in fact worked for teleservices firm InfoCision in nearby Boardman.

It then clicked — and Mitchell-Clark realized that her birth mom worked in volunteer recruitment on the front desk of her company.

The duo spoke for the first time in almost four decades over the phone, where they learned that they lived just six minutes apart.

And Mitchell-Clark also discovered that she had three sisters, one of which also works at InfoCision.

Company spokeswoman Samantha Wells described the reunion as "wonderful."

She said Mitchell-Clark had worked there for four years, while her mom had been there for 10.

Simmons was forced to give up her daughter after giving birth at age 14, and said she was 'still in shock' over the newfound relationship.

Kamala Cummings cries as she says she feels relief for her mother, Francine Simmons. Cummings als works at the same teleservices company.

"They would come in contact around the building and during events such as our corporate summer cookouts, parties, and using the facilities or in the hallway," she added.

But neither of them knew the other's true identity, reports ABC News.

Simmons, who was forced to give up her daughter after getting pregnant at age 14, said she was "still in shock" about the "amazing" development.

And Mitchell-Clark's new found sister Kamala Cummings, who works at the same business, said she "felt a sense of relief" for her mother.

"It's just amazing that all this time we're thinking about her and trying to find her and she was trying to find us, too," added her other sibling Maisha Cummings.

Mitchell-Clark, who said she'd always wanted to know who her biological mom was, said her adoptive parents were happy for her.

"My mom and dad have always been supportive of me. (They've) always encouraged me to look for them. They're going to be a part of this, too," she told WYTV.

"Now, we've got a bigger extended family where we can just be together," she added.

Timothy M. Phelps Apr-18-2015 211 0
Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO, in 1970 out of a concern over rising mob infiltration of unions and corporations.

It was aimed at jailing gangsters behind killings that were plaguing New York and New Jersey, and at seizing corrupt companies or criminal enterprises.

When eight Atlanta educators were convicted under a state RICO statute of manipulating their pupils' test scores and sentenced to prison Tuesday, many were surprised that the law had been stretched so far. Over the last half-century, the definition of a criminal enterprise has come to include Atlanta public schools. And "racketeers" could be teachers and school administrators.

But it did not surprise veteran observers of RICO laws such as Atlanta law professor Morgan Cloud, who watched the federal statute clobber the mob in the 1980s and then move on to such unexpected targets as the Roman Catholic Church, Major League Baseball, anti-abortion activists, the Los Angeles Police Department and Wall Street financier Michael Milken.

"Almost any form in which humans can carry on human activity can be a criminal enterprise," Cloud said. "It can be a group of guys who meet on the corner."

Prosecutors like RICO laws because they carry tough penalties and make it easier to get at top officials or leaders who previously often escaped conviction. Before the laws existed, prosecutors found it more difficult to convict the person who ordered a slaying than the one who actually pulled the trigger.

Now, a person involved in a criminal enterprise commits at least two of a long list of crimes, is part of a pattern of racketeering activity, and can be sentenced to up to 20 years, and the ill-gotten gains of the enterprise can be seized. Certain individuals can also sue under RICO laws.

The Atlanta case was the first academic misconduct trial in the nation in which elementary school teachers were convicted of violating a RICO act.

A state investigation had found that as early as 2005, educators gave answers to students or erased and changed answers on tests after they were turned in. Evidence of cheating was found in 44 schools, with nearly 180 educators involved.

The case became a signpost for the pressure placed on teachers and administrators by the heavy emphasis on standardized testing. Teachers whose students performed well received bonuses, while those who failed to meet targets were threatened with demotion.

In 2013, 35 educators were indicted on charges that also included making false statements and theft. Some pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

But Tuesday, after a sometimes raucous six-month trial, three school administrators were sentenced to seven years in prison and five other educators to terms of one to two years, in some cases double what prosecutors had recommended.

Veteran Atlanta criminal defense lawyers expressed concern this week that a law intended for gangsters had been used to prosecute educators.

The state RICO statute, modeled after the federal law, was used by prosecutors "as a large club designed to get people's attention and to beat people over the head with it if they didn't succumb to the prosecution's plea offers," said defense attorney Steve Sadow.

Sadow said that state parole guidelines are set very high for RICO, meaning that those sentenced to seven years would probably serve five or more.

Sadow said the severity of the sentences had triggered a legal and moral debate in Atlanta.

"The defense attorney in me says they may be legally justifiable, but morally it's too severe for the criminal conduct," he said. "The citizen in me says the harm from the criminal acts is long-term suffering by the students. One might argue some of these teachers got off light."

"I think it's overkill," said Bruce H. Morris of the Finestone & Morris law firm in Atlanta. "RICO was originally designed for organized crime — folks who band together through a group effort. It was nowhere intended from the outset to go after a legitimate entity through which people violated the law.

"In this particular case you have teachers at different schools on different days at different times not knowing that other teachers were making corrections on these tests."

When one of the defense lawyers in the trial objected to the harsh sentences this week, Judge Jerry W. Baxter reacted strongly, saying that students who needed extra help were the educators' victims.

"I think there were hundreds and thousands of kids who were lost in the schools," Baxter retorted. "That's what gets lost. Everyone's crying, but this is not a victimless crime that occurred in this city."

After the federal RICO law was passed in 1970, prosecutors were at first slow to take advantage of the unproven weapon, even against gangsters. Frank "Funzi" Tieri, who headed the Genovese crime family, was the first Mafia boss convicted under it, in 1981. But in the 1980s, as courts upheld convictions for a wider array of crimes, it became widespread.

In 1989 financier Michael Milken, one of the creators of the junk bond market that fueled some of the financial excesses of the 1980s, was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud. But with lengthy RICO sentences looming, Milken was persuaded to plead guilty to securities fraud and served less than two years in prison.

Asked whether calling the Atlanta Public Schools a criminal enterprise is a stretch of the law, Cloud, who teaches at Emory University School of Law, said: "Anyone who has worked professionally in this (legal) field for very long could not have been surprised. I was not surprised in the least. It's sufficiently egregious, and this clearly fit within the way the RICO statute has been applied since 1970."

Tim Kenneally Apr-17-2015 327 0
Eurydice “Eury” Davis, a talent agent whose clients included “Kill the Messenger” actress Jena Sims, “Ouija” actress Claudia Katz and “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor Christian Martin, died Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office told TheWrap on Monday. She was 38.

According to the coroner, Davis died of a gunshot wound to the head. Her manner of death has been identified as suicide by the coroner.

The coroner said that Davis was pronounced dead at 10:13 a.m. Wednesday at UCLA Medical Center. She suffered the gunshot wound at approximately 5:45 a.m.

Davis’ agency, the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based The Davis Talent Agency, had no comment for TheWrap.

In addition to her work as an agent, Davis had a handful of acting roles. Her IMDB page lists credits including the 2007 film “Norbit,” the television series “Identity” and “The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down.”

Apr-17-2015 263 0
The death of a man sharing a prison cell with former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips was ruled a homicide by strangulation, according to a coroner's report released Thursday.

Damion Soward, 37, was found lifeless early Saturday in a Central California prison cell, and he was later pronounced dead. The cause of death was neck compression asphyxia, the report by the Kern County Sheriff's Office said.

Officials have said they suspect Phillips, 39, an inmate at Kern Valley State Prison serving a sentence of 31 years and four months. It wasn't clear if Phillips has an attorney.

Once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska, Phillips played for the St. Louis Rams, until he was released in 1997 for insubordination. He also played for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

He was convicted of twice choking his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego and later that year of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game in Los Angeles.

Soward was sentenced from San Bernardino County to serve 82 years to life for a first-degree murder conviction.

Jason Molinet / Apr-17-2015 213 0
An irate mom and her teenage niece were arrested after choking, punching and kicking a teacher unconscious inside a middle school in Hempstead, L.I., officials said.

Annika McKenzie, 34, allegedly ambushed a veteran math teacher at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School on Wednesday after claiming the instructor "put her hands on" on McKenzie's 12-year-old daughter that day, Hempstead Village police said.

McKenzie reportedly walked past a security checkpoint and confronted Catherine Engelhardt, a 22-year veteran of the Hempstead School District, outside her classroom at 2 p.m., where she shoved the teacher against a wall, placed her in a headlock and then threw her to the floor in an incident caught on school surveillance.

"She's taught in the middle school for over 20 years. She's very passionate and committed about her job," fellow middle school teacher Elias Mestizo told the Daily News. "I was talking to parents today and all spoke highly of her."

He said McKenzie's daughter called her mom from school and not long after the mom put Engelhardt in a chokehold. The teacher lost consciousness for several minutes, Mestizo said.

Once on the ground, Engelhardt was punched and kicked by several students, including McKenzie's 14-year-old niece, police said.

"A juvenile female, relative of the adult, began to punch the teacher in the head," Hempstead Police Chief Michael McGowan told Newsday.

McKenzie was arraigned at Nassau County's First District Court on Thursday, charged with second-degree assault and strangulation. Bail was set at $5,000.

The niece, who was not named, has been charged as a minor.

And more teens could face discipline, according to reports. The investigation has been handed over to Nassau County police.

McKenzie could not be reached for comment.

"It's not like I thought a parent would do something, but I knew something violent was going to happen," Engelhardt told WABC Thursday night. "I've warned them time and again that the children have no respect for adults. Yes, I fear for my safety. They can't control the kids."

Engelhardt was treated and released at an area hospital.

But the violent assault brought calls for tighter security at Hempstead schools.

"Security did not ask for credentials, did not ask where she was going. She walked right by them," Mestizo, president of the Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association, told the Daily News.

"We have teachers saying for more than a year there's a systemic problem with security of district buildings," Mestizo added. "Teachers don't feel safe. Students don't feel safe."

ap Apr-17-2015 201 0
Damani Terry just wanted to join a group of girls dancing in a park across the street. The 2-year-old stepped into the road — right into the path of an oncoming van.

The van hit the toddler, and the driver jumped out to check on the badly injured boy, setting into motion a chain of events that included an uncle fatally shooting his own nephew and a stranger and then taking his own life. In the end, four people were dead.

It all started Sunday as Archie Brown Jr. drove his van through the northwest side of Milwaukee on an errand to Home Depot.

Brown hit Damani and leaped from the vehicle to attend to the toddler. Damani's 15-year-old brother, who had been celebrating a birthday in a nearby house, ran to his brother after witnessing the accident.

At that point, police said, the boys' uncle, Ricky Chiles (pictured), took the law into his own hands, emerging from a home into the street with a gun. He fired at the 40-year-old Brown, striking him and hitting Chiles' teenage nephew, who witnesses said was attempting to help when he was shot.

Brown died at the scene, alongside Damani. The teenager, Rasheed Chiles, died at a hospital.

"This sad example is what we get when we have folks who decide it's their responsibility to use their guns to redress their grievances," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Thursday at a news conference.

Mayor Tom Barrett earlier in the week called Brown's shooting an "assassination."

"Someone got angry," Barrett said. "Someone took a gun and basically assassinated this gentleman."

On Thursday, Ricky Chiles III shot himself as police and federal marshals closed in on him at a motel in the Chicago suburb of Lyons, where he was staying with his girlfriend.

"I'm glad it's over, but I think he took a ... cheap way or a cowardly way out," Brown's father, Archie Brown Sr. of Milwaukee, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday.

Brown, a 68-year-old minister who goes by the name Prophet Brown, said he forgives Chiles for what he did, "but I'm not saying it's an easy process."

The shootings are part of a spike in violence in Milwaukee in 2015. The city has counted 43 homicide victims so far this year, compared with 14 at the same point last year.

"There just seems to be a sensibility among a segment of the community that committing acts of violence in support of one's reputation, to get revenge for a perceived slight or for a perceived business dispute over illegal drugs or to exact revenge is somehow approved," Flynn said. "And in that set of circumstances there's going to be not only tragedies, there's going to be dreadful mistakes."

Barbara Sprewer, who lives next door, said she saw Damani looking around before crossing the street, apparently intending to join the girls in the park. She saw the van and estimated it was going 25 to 30 mph.

"Nobody was watching the baby," she said.

After the child was hit, she saw the driver get out. She said she heard shots, but did not see who fired.

"I feel helpless. I feel numb," she said. "I saw them alive, and I saw them deceased. I've been reliving this since I woke up."

ap Apr-16-2015 221 0
Marion (Suge) Knight will stand trial on murder and attempted-murder charges after the former rap music mogul struck two men with his pickup truck in January, killing one and seriously injuring the other.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen made the ruling Thursday after concluding a hearing that focused heavily on testimony from Cle (Bone) Sloan, who was hit outside a Compton burger stand.

The judge also reduced bail from $25 million to $10 million.

Sloan told detectives that he attacked Knight but testified Monday that he didn’t remember the fight and did not want to be a “snitch.”

Prosecutors played Sloan’s statement to police, which offered a lucid, detailed account of the events Jan. 29 that led up to the deadly encounter.

Authorities contend Knight intentionally hit the men, killing Terry Carter, 55.

Knight’s attorney, Matt Fletcher, says his client was ambushed and was trying to escape Sloan’s attack when he ran over the men.

Sloan’s testimony demonstrated the difficulty in prosecuting Knight, who has gang ties and a reputation for intimidating witnesses.

“I will not be used to send Suge Knight to prison,” Sloan testified, adding that he was only on the stand because he was subpoenaed.

Prosecutors granted Sloan, a former gang member who’s known Knight for decades, limited immunity after he said he intended to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

Knight, 49, was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, and his label once listed Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg among its artists.

Knight lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy.

Sloan, an adviser on the upcoming film “Straight Outta Compton,” said he was trying to forget details of the crash, in which he suffered two fractured ankles, a serious cut to his head, two torn knee ligaments and a shoulder injury.

“Every day, I try to forget it,” Sloan said. “I just know, I screwed up, and Terry’s dead.”

Sloan’s memory troubles prompted the judge to comment on his testimony: “I find that this witness is being deceptive.”

The judge also heard from the lead detective investigating the case and watched security camera footage of the crash.

The camera caught a limited view of the parking lot but shows Knight struggling with Sloan through the window of his truck before putting the vehicle in reverse, striking Sloan, then hitting him again and running over Carter while fleeing the scene.

Fletcher, Knight’s attorney, pressed Sloan on his feelings toward Knight and whether he was “enraged” at him on the day of the crash.

Sloan said he was mad but disputed that he told detectives he was enraged. Fletcher also painted Sloan as the aggressor, saying Knight “hadn’t attacked you in any form, fashion or manner. You agree?” “Yes,” Sloan said.

Knight faces up to life in prison if convicted in the case. He has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun.

Knight pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years’ probation in an assault on two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

The rap figure was sentenced to prison in February 1997 for violating terms of that probation by taking part in a fight at a Las Vegas hotel hours before Shakur was fatally wounded in a drive-by attack as he rode in Knight’s car near the Strip.

Shakur’s slaying remains unsolved. Prosecutors only had to present a fraction of their evidence against Knight during the preliminary hearing that began Monday.

>>--More Black Legal News

Sep-09-2014 1324 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 1923 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.


















Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 2217 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 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 Oct-19-2013 3888 0
I don't know all of the specifics and I most certainly will not respond to all of the comments, especially some of the racists comments I've read because if it continues I will personally make a National Call for all of the black athletes, especially the ones who attend the large institutions like LSU, Penn State, USC, etc., to stand in unity with the players at Grambling so that a true change can be made in college athletics. If you want to see changes made and need to bring attention to problems, you can learn from the athletes at Grambling. Let's see how many people will comment about this when their teams are not playing because the athletes are tired of not receiving a share of the billion dollars. The funniest thing I've read were the comments from some black people who did not attend a HBCU acting like it was not their problem but ours.

When Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis he was there to help the Black garbage collectors, not the Black Preachers. I'm glad he did not see it as their problems. Do we turn our backs on people just because it does not personally impact us? I personally wish things could have been handled differently but now that the ball is in motion, it's time for SOLUTIONS.

I will not let Grambling State University take all of the blame for this. First, we have to look at the leadership of the State of La. and what he has done. A lot of the problems start with him, although a lot of his supporters will beg to differ. Had he not played the politics and did what was in the best interest of the state of La., things may be different. Second, we have to look at the NCAA. For years the NCAA has turned its back to the cheating in recruiting because it does not want to penalize the large schools that help bring billions of dollars to the bottom line. Demand needs to be made to institute a revenue sharing program similar to what's in the NFL so that the small schools that play by the rules receive a share of the revenue made by the big schools who use an unfair advantage to recruit.

Finally, now that this problem has been brought to light, I hope some of the wealthy people in our country remember that but for Grambling and other HBCU's there would be no RG3, Russell Wilson, Michael Vick, Kap, etc. so start giving to the HBCU's. Let's not turn our backs on the HBCUs because you did not attend. Remember, if our President is not able to nominate one or two individuals to the Supreme Court before his term is up, Affirmative Action will be under attack and if some decisions are reversed, where will our kids go if there are no HBCUs? Will it be only our problems then? It's time to wake up.

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 Jul-17-2013 1399781 0
I've finally had the opportunity to review the complaint filed against Paula Deen. For one, many people have been making this incident about the "N" word only, but it's much more than that. I personally find it to be offensive whenever someone from another race is accused of using the "N" word they are somehow given a pass because of the use of the "N" word by some in the black communities. Let me be the first to say that I find the use of the word by anyone to be wrong. However, when it's used in a racist or insulting manner, it hurts more.

I think individuals who are trying to defend Paula Deen's use of the "N' word should probably familiarize themselves with all of the facts of the case against her. Just so you know, in case you didn't know, the person who initiated the complaint against Paula Deen and her brother is not "Black." She is a "white female" who was subjected to years of abuse and was finally fed up with her black employees being treated poorly, so stop thinking it was a black person complaining about Paula Deen's use of the N word. Furthermore, Paula Deen indicated that she used the N word over 20 years ago. That is not what's being alleged against her. She went as far as telling a guy he was as black as a blackboard. That lady is something else and I'm glad I never supported any of her ventures. I personally find it insulting that so many black people are coming to the defense of Paula Deen after reading what she and her family subjected their employees to. When I learned about the major companies dropping Paula Deen without being demanded to do so, I knew it was deep. The fact that any civil rights activist is supporting Paula Deen is insulting and is a slap in the face.

Here's a summary of some of the things being alleged against Paula Deen, her brother Bubba Hiers and the Deen business entities:

Summary:

Paula Deen, while planning her brother's wedding in 2007, was asked what look the wedding should have. She replied, "I want a true southern plantation-style wedding." When asked what type of uniforms the servers should wear, Paula stated, "well what I would really like is a bunch of little n*ggers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around;

Black staff had to use the back entrance to enter and leave restaurant;

Black staff could only use one bathroom;

Black staff couldn’t work the front of the restaurants;

Brother Bubba stated his wishes: “ I wish I could put all those n*ggers in the kitchen on a boat to Africa”;

Bubba asked a black driver and security guard "don’t you wish you could rub all the black off you and be like me? You just look dirty; I bet you wish you could." The guy told Bubba he was fine as is;

Bubba on President Obama: they should send him to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so he could n*gger-rig it;

He shook an employee (Black again) and said” F your civil rights…you work for me and my sister Paula Deen;

Paula’s son Jaime's best friend managed the Lady & Sons restaurant. He threatened to fire all the 'Monkeys' in the kitchen. When Paula found out…she slapped him on the wrist and suggested that the employee visited Paula's $13,000,000 mansion so he felt special and could be massaged.

I feel Paula Deen, her brother and anyone who treats people poorly should not be given a free pass. I wonder if Paula is truly sorry that she used the "N" word or that she was reported by someone who looks just like her. I appreciate the lady having the courage to report Paula Deen. It's people like her and the videographer who leaked the 47% comments made by Mitt Romney who should be receiving the attention, not Paula Deen.


Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. The opinions expressed in the commentary are those of Daryl K. Washington. You can follow Daryl on twitter at dwashlawfirm or you can email him at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. Go to the Black Legal Issue Home page and check the like button to receive future updates.

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