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Rob Parker on RGIII’s blackness
Dec-13-2012 1293 0


Robert Griffin III has been asked about his race repeatedly this season. He has not, to my knowledge, ever brought the subject up himself. Every time he’s been asked about it, he has managed to appear thoughtful and considerate without possibly offending anyone.

I’m not sure he’s ever handled the race question better than on last week’s Comcast SportsNet special, when Chick Hernandez talked about being a black quarterback in D.C.

“Whenever you can relate to the population of the team that you play for, I think it makes it that much more special,” Griffin said. “I don’t play too much into the color game, because I don’t want to be the best African American quarterback, I want to be the best quarterback.

“But to the fans, and to the fans who think that way and look at me as an African American, it’s important that I succeed, not only for this team, but for them,” he continued. “Because it gives them that motivation, that hey, you know, an African American went out and played quarterback for my Washington Redskins. So I appreciate that; I don’t ever downplay anything like that. Whoever I can go out every week and motivate to do better and to try to go after their dreams, I’m up for that.”

Again, I don’t know how he could possibly have handled that issue — which he did not raise himself — any better.

But people keep asking. The rookie was asked about race yet again on Wednesday, this time by an ESPN reporter. He delivered a similar answer. It was an answer that showed he’s actually thought about the issue, but it was steadfastly non-controversial.

“I am [aware] of how race is relevant to [some fans]. I don’t ignore it,” Griffin said Wednesday. “I try not to be defined by it, but I understand different perspectives and how people view different things. So I understand they’re excited their quarterback is an African American. I play with a lot of pride, a lot of character, a lot of heart. So I understand that, and I appreciate them for being fans.”

Well. This led to a Thursday discussion on First Take, ESPN’s abysmal debate program. Panelist Rob Parker was asked, ‘What does this say about RGIII?”

“This is an interesting topic,” Parker said. “For me, personally, just me, this throws up a red flag, what I keep hearing. And I don’t know who’s asking the questions, but we’ve heard a couple of times now of a black guy kind of distancing himself away from black people.

“I understand the whole story of I just want to be the best,” Parker continued. “Nobody’s out on the field saying to themselves, I want to be the best black quarterback. You’re just playing football, right? You want to be the best, you want to throw the most touchdowns and have the most yards and win the most games. Nobody is [thinking] that.

“But time and time we keep hearing this, so it just makes me wonder deeper about him,” Parker went on. “And I’ve talked to some people down in Washington D.C., friends of mine, who are around and at some of the press conferences, people I’ve known for a long time. But my question, which is just a straight honest question. Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

What does that mean, Parker was asked.

“Well, [that] he’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us,” Parker explained. “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with, because he’s off to do something else.”

Why is that your question, Parker was asked.

“Well, because I want to find out about him,” Parker said. “I don’t know, because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods was like I’ve got black skin but don’t call me black. So people got to wondering about Tiger Woods early on.”

Then Skip Bayless asked Parker about RGIII’s braids.

“Now that’s different,” Parker said. “To me, that’s very urban and makes you feel like…wearing braids, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids on.”

Then Stephen A. Smith was asked for his take. He exhaled deeply.

“Well first of all let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said. “RGIII, the ethnicity, the color of his fiancée is none of our business. It’s irrelevant. He can live his life any way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kind of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.

“What I would say to you is that the comments he made are fairly predictable,” Smith went on. “I think it’s something that he may feel, but it’s also a concerted effort to appease the masses to some degree, which I’m finding relatively irritating, because I don’t believe that the black athlete has any responsibility whatsoever to have to do such things.

“Let me say this clearly. I don’t know of anybody who goes into something trying to be the best black anything. We understand that. That’s a given,” Smith said. “But I do think it’s important to acknowledge a level of pride and a feeling of a level of accomplishment for being somebody who happens to be of African American descent, who competes and achieves and accomplishes things on the highest level while also bringing attention – to some degree anyhow – to the pride that they feel being black. Because they’re allowing themselves to be a reminder to those who preceded them, who worked so hard, accomplished and achieved so much, but were denied the accolades that that individual is receiving.”

Later, Parker was given an opportunity to clarify whether he was judging Griffin’s blackness.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “We could sit here and be honest, or we can be dishonest. And you can’t tell me that people in the barbershops or people that talk, they look at who your spouse is. They do. And they look at how you present yourself. People will say all the time, you’re not gonna get a job in corporate America wearing those braids. It happens all the time. Let’s not act like it doesn’t, because it does.”

The only conclusion I’m willing to make about all of this is that the show would have been much more thoughtful had Griffin been on the panel. Or had he replaced the panel.


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The hotheaded Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland days before her jail cell death had a previous complaint of “unprofessional conduct” after only a year on the job, records revealed Friday.

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The “unprofessional” incident happened at a school in Austin, and led to Encinia receiving written counseling and occasional supervision, according to HR records obtained by the station.

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The funeral for the only daughter of Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston was held at the Saint James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Saturday.

But the somber occasion was disrupted by feuding betwen the Houston and Brown clans – resulting in Bobby Brown's sister Leolah getting kicked out of the church.

A day prior, Leolah had accused Pat Houston of scheming to make money off the 22-year-old's death.

Leolah double-downed on her accusations in a statement to the media outside the church, after she was booted from the service for an outburst directed at Pat, according to TMZ.

"We will hunt Pat Houston from the grave," she said, wearing a white fedora, a white blazer over a black shirt and white sneakers. "It's not over. It has just begun."

She also noted that the funeral was "wonderful" until "Pat started speaking and I didn’t like that. I walked out.”

She said she yelled to Pat while she was at the dais that “Whitney is going to haunt you from the grave.”

The tension between the two families had also led them to separately attend the Atlanta wake Friday evening.

Six hundred invitations were sent out for the funeral, according to a city official. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, singer Monica Brown and actor Michael Jai White were among those in attendance.

Despite his email begging to be allowed to come to the service, Bobbi Kristina's boyfriend Nick Gordon did not attend, according to People.
The hearse arrived from Murray Brothers Funeral Home in Atlanta about an hour and a half before the service.

There was a heavy police presence at the church, with the main roads to the church blocked as cars were screened to ensure attendees were on the invitation list.

Two stretch limos and a longer procession of about 30 cars arrived about a half-hour before the service, led by nine police motorcyclists with flashing lights.

Many fans also gathered outside the church to pay their respects, with some even hoping to attend.

A pair of women who claimed to be friends of Bobbi Kristina said they were turned away by the police.

"I was one of her best friends. I met the uncle, family. Half the people there don't even know her. We hung out. We got our nails done. We did girly things," said the woman, who would only give her name as L.O.

St. James Church, located about an hour north of Atlanta, has close ties to the Houston family.

Whitney Houston was a regular at the church, and sister-in-law Pat is a member, according a family source. Bobbi Kristina also lived close by in the neighboring city of Roswell.

She is expected to be laid to rest beside her mother in New Jersey on Monday.

Bobbi Kristina passed away Sunday in hospice care after nearly six months in a coma. She was found unresponsive in her bathtub at her home on Jan. 31.

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Court papers were filed Thursday in Hinds County Chancery Court on behalf of more than half of the members of the Jackson State University Prancing J-Settes dancing team suspended from the squad for the remainder of their academic careers at the university.

The Prancing J-Settes are a widely popular part of the Sonic Boom of the South marching band’s halftime show at JSU football games.

Jackson State University wouldn’t confirm nor deny the suspensions. “The Prancing J-Settes are and will continue to be an important student organization and an integral part of student life at Jackson State University. The university does not comment on internal disciplinary actions,” said Charles N. Smith, associate provost for Student Affairs.

Edna Jones Stringer, an attorney and mother of one of the suspended J-Settes, said the nine J-Settes were booted from the 16-member squad in June after a hazing allegation was made last year. They cannot have any role with the J-Settes during the remainder of their time at the school. The school also assessed a $300 fine against each student, Stringer said.

A campus security investigation found no evidence of the students engaging in hazing. However, they had to go before an Office of Student Affairs disciplinary committee hearing June 15, leading to a finding that the students violated an aiding and abetting statute by conducting an off-campus J-Settes practice.

Stringer said university officials haven’t been able to articulate a real policy that the young women violated that could lead to such a severe sanction.

“These girls were cleared of hazing twice,” Stringer said.

Parents and the students have tried unsuccessfully to get JSU officials to reconsider the decision.

An injunction petition was filed in Chancery Court on behalf of the students to try to put the sanctions on hold and allow the students to return to the squad.

Stringer said school officials have indicated the decision has been made and there is no appeal for the students left. She said school officials didn’t follow proper procedure and the students have been denied their due process rights.

“These girls haven’t done anything wrong,” Stringer said.

Stringer said she told the students to tell the truth at all times and they admitted they had gotten together outside of the normal school day and had practice once off campus. But Stringer said there isn’t anything in the student handbook bylaws to prevent the students from coming together outside of school.

Jewell Smith, one of the suspended J-Settes, said she always wanted to be a J-Settes from the time she was a young girl. “It was my dream come true,” she said.

“When I received the sanction letter, I couldn’t stop crying,” Jewell Smith said.

Jewell’s father, Wardell Smith, said they have sent letters to JSU officials and met with some officials.

“They keep saying it’s a done deal,” Wardell Smith said.He said he is a member of the Blue Bengals Club, alumni who support the university, said he said he can no longer support JSU after the ordeal.

Stringer’s daughter, Cameron, became emotional and cried as she waited for court papers to be filed.

Morgan Hightower, one of the nine ex-J-Settes, said being a member of the J-Settes was one of the reasons she chose JSU for her education.

“It hurts,” Hightower said, wiping away a tear. “It has been snatched away from us.”

Tryouts for new 2015-2016 Prancing J-Settes are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

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Police officers in Cincinnati appear to have corroborated a false account of the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose in the immediate aftermath of the incident, a detailed analysis of body-camera video released on Wednesday shows.

DuBose, an unarmed 43-year-old black man, was shot dead by white University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing on 19 July. The officer claimed he was “dragged” by DuBose’s vehicle following an altercation during a routine traffic stop, and was therefore forced to open fire, shooting DuBose once in the head.

On Wednesday, Tensing was indicted for murder after Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters said body-camera footage, which he released at a press conference announcing the charge, showed the officer was not dragged during the encounter.

“It is our belief that he was not dragged. If you slow down this tape you see what happens, it is a very short period of time from when the car starts rolling to when a gun is out and he’s shot in the head,” Deters told reporters on Wednesday.

Related: 'Senseless' and 'asinine': prosecutor's words on Samuel DuBose killing a win for reformers

The footage shows that Tensing falls back, after DuBose is killed instantly by a single shot to the head and immediately chases after the vehicle. Deters said that DuBose’s limp body likely caused the car to accelerate.

A Guardian analysis of the nearly 28 minutes worth of Tensing’s body-camera footage released by the prosecutor’s office also shows the aftermath of the shooting and reveals that on three occasions, two other police officers repeat Tensing’s account that he was dragged by DuBose, and one of these officers claims to have witnessed it occurring.

To which a second officer, who stands out of the frame, replies: “Yeah, I saw that.”

Tensing continues: “I thought I was going to get run over. I was trying to stop him.”

Then, at six minutes and 54 seconds into the footage, while Tensing is seemingly conversing with the same officer, he states: “He was dragging me, man.”

The officer replies, “Yeah.” To which Tensing continues: “I got my hand and my arm caught inside.” The officer then replies, “Yeah, I saw that.”

The identity of this officer is not immediately clear. A copy of the University of Cincinnati Police Division’s information report on the shooting names university police officer Phillip Kidd as a witness to the entire event.

The information report, written by UC police officer Eric Weibel, states: “Officer Kidd told me that he witnessed the Honda Accord [DuBose’s vehicle] drag Officer Tensing, and that he witnessed Officer Tensing fire a single shot.”

Weibel’s report continues: “Looking at Officer Tensing’s uniform, I could see that the back of his pants and shirt looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface.”

About 14 minutes into the video, while Tensing is still at the site of the shooting, but has now moved further away from DuBose’s crashed car, he is instructed by a third officer to indicate where the altercation had started.

This officer appears to be a member of the Cincinnati police department and wears a Sgt’s lapel on his arm. He states: “You can talk about anything you want except for what happened [sic]. The only thing that I ask of you is where did it start?”

Tensing replies: “I initiated the traffic stop at Vine and Thill.”

The two officers then clarify the direction Tensing was driving. The Sgt then states: “And, it looks like you got dragged if I’m understanding, looking ...”

To which Tensing replies: “Yes.”

The Hamilton County prosecutor’s office did not reply to a question from the Guardian after Deter’s press conference over whether any other officers were being investigated in relation the incident.

A representative for the UC police referred all questions to the prosecutor’s office. The Cincinnati police department did not respond to a request for comment.

At a rally in Cincinnati on Wednesday night organized by Black Lives Matter, protester James Yaacov Delaney said he thought the responding officers should be held accountable.

“They knew and they had plenty of opportunities to change their story about what occurred and they didn’t,” Delaney told the Guardian, as rain and night fell on Cincinnati.

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Lolly Bowean Jul-30-2015 181 0
On the day he was finally released from prison after murder charges were dropped, Alprentiss Nash vowed he would use his freedom studying to become a chef, learning about antique cars and traveling.

And in the nearly three years since, he kept true to his word, visiting New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta and learning to ski at a resort in Wisconsin. He also bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a 1960 Buick Electra 225 and completed a culinary program.

"He was really happy to be free, and he never talked about his time in prison," said Nash's mother, Yvette Martin. "He wanted to just get past it and be happy. He was overjoyed and excited about building a new life."

But on Tuesday afternoon, Nash's second chance at life came to a tragic end as he was gunned down while leaving a currency exchange in Chicago, according to Chicago police and his family. A person of interest is being questioned, authorities said.

Nash's family believes he was the target of an armed robbery.

After he was released from prison in August 2012, Nash obtained a certificate of innocence and a $200,000 payout from the state, his attorney said. And he was seeking millions of dollars in a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago and a number of police officers.

As a result of the $200,000 payout and loans against the expected settlement of his lawsuit, Nash lived the good life, dressing extravagantly and driving a nice car. It could have attracted negative attention, his attorney and family said.

"He had been robbed last year," said Nash's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, who helped him win his exoneration and was representing him in his lawsuit. "He was stressed out, and he felt pressured and that people were after him. People thought he had money."

Close Nash relatives agreed.

"I think the money attracted the wrong people, and they were watching him," said his cousin, Coby Adolph. "He worked hard to get back into society. Being locked up for so long ... he was trying to get into the swing of things."

Nash, 40, who grew up in the Roseland neighborhood, was convicted in the 1995 murder of Leon Stroud during a home invasion and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

During his 17 years in prison, Nash missed countless family celebrations, gatherings and milestones, including the funeral of his maternal grandmother and his son's entire childhood.

But he also earned his GED diploma and wrote the legal brief that eventually helped him win his freedom. DNA testing linked another man to a ski mask found near the crime scene, clearing Nash of the crime. Cook County prosecutors refused to say he was innocent but dismissed the murder charges.

On his release, Nash said he was determined not to be bitter.

"I'm on a new journey," he said that day. "As far as my life, it begins now, and I'm thankful."

Back in Chicago, Nash took on life with an urgency, his family said. He re-established bonds with his younger sister and took an interest in the nephews and nieces he met for the first time. He visited his mother weekly, driving her to errands and walking her to the lakefront to relax. He spent time with his maternal grandfather on the West Side.

"He wanted to be a good uncle, so he'd check up on the kids," said Nash's sister, Robin Martin. "We'd talk on the phone for hours about our childhood, the time before he was taken away."

He enrolled in a 13-week culinary arts program and took on an apprenticeship, said officials with Inspiration Corp.

"We had discussions about the stress of things he was experiencing, but he was always enthusiastic and faithful and determined to finish," said Sharon Ako, who was the head chef trainer who instructed him. "He was hard working. He got along with the other students and he was genuinely liked. It took tenacity and diligence to stick with it and take orders and learn the skills he needed to learn."

His family said Nash planned to move to New Orleans and open a restaurant but was taking life day by day in the meantime.

On Tuesday morning, his mother said Nash called her as he usually did. Hours later she learned he had been killed.

"I just screamed from my innermost belly because I wanted God to know I hurt," Martin said.

As she moved about her modest apartment Wednesday talking about her first-born son, Martin paused and wept out loud. The tears rolled down her face.

"Nothing has ever felt so heavy on my heart," she said. "All those years he was taken from us and to lose him again in a short amount of time.

"He got a second shot at life and then someone took it away. For nothing."

On the day he was killed, Nash sent a text message to his attorney just 30 minutes before the shooting, telling her he was out looking for a job. Despite his certificate of innocence, he had difficulty finding work.

"He was trying to have a normal life," Zellner said. "The streets are so vicious and so cruel."

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MEG WAGNER Jul-29-2015 242 0
A University of Cincinnati cop was charged with murder on Wednesday for the quick-trigger shooting of an unarmed driver as prosecutors released disturbing body camera footage of the fatal traffic stop.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters ripped into Officer Ray Tensing during a news conference to announce the Grand Jury indictment in a killing that has set the city on edge.

“This is the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make — totally unwarranted,” Deters said of the July 19 shooting of 43-year-old Samuel DuBose. “This does not happen in the United States.”

The 25-year-old cop, who is white, surrendered at the county courthouse shortly after the indictment was handed up in the death of DuBose, who is black. The officer could face life in prison if convicted.

"We wanted the right thing to be done, the just thing to be done, the fair thing to be done," Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley told reporters. "We wanted the truth to come out."

Tensing pulled over DuBose near the university campus for a missing front license plate and fatally shot him after grilling the father of 10 about whether he had his driver’s license.

But Deters said video from the stop showed no such thing. Instead DuBose began to slowly pull away from the officer, and Tensing "fell backward after he shot (DuBose) in the head," the prosecutor said.

Tensing "purposely killed" DuBose, Deters said, adding that the cop "should have never been a police officer."

“He wasn't dealing with someone who was wanted for murder. He was dealing with someone who didn't have a front license plate,” Deters said, calling the traffic stop "chicken crap."

DuBose’s mother, Audrey DuBose, said she could forgive Tensing “if he asks,” and praised God for the indictment.

“I want everybody to just lift up their heads in prayer and thank God, because this one did not go unsolved,” the mother told reporters.
DuBose’s mother, Audrey DuBose, said she could forgive Tensing “if he asks,” and praised God for the indictment.
“I want everybody to just lift up their heads in prayer and thank God, because this one did not go unsolved,” the mother told reporters.

Earlier on Wednesday, Tensing's attorney Stewart Mathews said the Grand Jury indictment was likely “given the political climate.” But Mathews said given the evidence he'd seen, he didn't believe there should be an indictment.

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, who leads the separate city-run force, brushed off concerns the murder charge would make policing tougher for other officers faced with difficult situations.

"This officer was wrong," Blackwell said. "And when we're wrong, we have to be accountable."

DuBose's family had been pressing for the release of footage from Tensing's body-mounted camera following the deadly confrontation. The video showed the officer try to pull open the car door after DuBose failed to hand over a driver's license. DuBose shifted the car into gear, and Tensing immediately pulled his weapon and fired.
The car rolled down the street and came to a rest on the sidewalk. DuBose, shot in the head, was dead behind the wheel.

Tensions have run high following the killing. University President Santa Ono said he decided after speaking to police leaders to close the main campus on Wednesday as they waited for the news from the Grand Jury.

DuBose has a stepdaughter who is student at the university and recently returned from China, said Ono, who has met with the dead man's family.

The traffic stop shooting came amid months of national scrutiny of police dealings with African-Americans.

Mayor Cranley said prosecutor's decisive handling of the case should be a "model for the whole country" and called for peace. Bishop Bobby Hilton said there was "absolutely no reason" for any violence given the response by Deters and the Grand Jury to hold Tensing responsible.

"That brought a lot of solace," Hilton said. "That brought as much comfort as could be be expected to an enormous amount of pain."

Mourners packed Cincinnati’s Church of the Living God on Tuesday for DuBose’s funeral.

"I feel so sorry for this family and what they lost," Deters said Wednesday. "And I feel sorry for the community, too."

Tensing joined the university police force since April 2014 after working as both a part-time and full-time officer in Cincinnati suburb Greenhills for three years.

He received an overall satisfactory rating on his annual performance evaluation this April. It noted he was extremely strong in the traffic area and maintained control of his

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