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Rob Parker on RGIII’s blackness
Dec-13-2012 1120 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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Jul-28-2014 142 0
The night before 8-year-old M.L. Lloyd III was taken to River Parishes Hospital, his stepfather, Errol Victor Jr., along with three other children, whipped and punched the child for stealing ice cream, according to a recorded statement that one of M.L.'s brothers gave to investigators. That recording is expected to be shown in court Monday as the second-degree murder trial of Victor and his wife resumes in Edgard.

The brother, who is scheduled to testify later in the trial, told an interviewer in 2008 that Errol Victor made him and another child hold down M.L. by the arms while the beating was administered. The jurors in St. John the Baptist Parish's 40th Judicial District Court were shown several video recordings on Saturday, and later they requested transcripts and asked that the volume be adjusted because it was difficult to hear.

Errol and Tonya Victor are charged with killing M.L., Tonya Victor's biological son, on April 1, 2008. The couple had a total of 13 sons living at their house in Reserve, where authorities say the beating took place. When they met, Tonya Victor had five sons from previous relationships, and Errol Victor had six sons. The couple later had two sons together.

The recordings were played in court during a 2009 bond hearing. At the time, Tonya and Errol Victor disputed the child's testimony, calling him troubled and a "perverted liar."

Now, however, the use of those recordings comes on the heels of several days of testimony from doctors, one of whom is a considered an expert in child abuse pediatrics. They say M.L.'s death resulted from a beating -- not asthma, as the defendants have suggested. Jurors also have heard from an emergency room nurse, who said Errol Victor told him that the child had been whipped from stealing.

Prosecutors maintain that M.L. was severely whipped and beaten before his parents took him to the LaPlace hospital, where he was pronounced dead. They are focusing their case on second-degree murder as it relates to cruelty to a juvenile, in which there doesn't have to be an intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.

The Victors are representing themselves in court, although neither has any formal legal training. They have vigorously denied the prosecution's account and say that the boy died as the result of a severe asthma attack. If convicted they face life in prison.

The Victors have produced medical records that show M.L. was diagnosed with asthma as an infant and was treated at the emergency room several times for respiratory problems while he lived in Hammond with Tonya Victor and his biological father, M.L. Lloyd, Jr.

Judge Mary Hotard Becnel, who is presiding over the trial, has said she expects the proceedings to last seven to 12 days. The jury of nine women and three men, with four alternates, began hearing testimony Thursday.

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Jul-28-2014 169 0
It has the fewest people of any borough in the city, but it has big problems between police and the citizens they’re sworn to protect.

Staten Island, where Eric Garner died after a cop apparently placed him in a prohibited chokehold maneuver, tops the city as home to the highest number of officers on the most-sued list, a Daily News review has found.

Seven of the city’s top 10 most-sued officers — and 14 of the city’s top 50 most-sued officers — are assigned to a Staten Island narcotics unit working in the territory of the 120th Precinct, records show.

The precinct covers neighborhoods on the North Shore of the island, including the area near Tompkinsville Park where Garner, 43, died after a confrontation with Officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17.

The News’ review is based on a list of cases filed against officers who have been sued 10 or more times between 2003 and 2013, obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request, and an exhaustive review of court databases. The News found 606 active and closed cases. At least 129 of those cases — or 21% — name one or more officers assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, totaling $6 million in payouts.

The unit has racked up the staggering amount of lawsuits despite being the smallest narcotics bureau in the city. With just 40 officers and supervisors, it’s roughly one-fifth the size of Brooklyn North Narcotics.

Nearly all of the cases cite false arrest for charges that ended up getting tossed or sealed — ranging from people collared for their own prescription drugs, to haphazard raids that allegedly swept up innocents and ruined lives.

“There’s a culture in Staten Island, and particularly this precinct, where you break the rules and serve your own interest and don’t have to worry about getting into any kind of trouble,” said lawyer Brett Klein, who’s filed dozens of lawsuits against officers in the borough. “A lot of officers live there, and they’re more isolated from the other boroughs and more off the radar.”

The 120th Precinct also has the highest crime rate in the borough, the most use of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics in the borough, and is a leader in the number of substantiated police misconduct allegations to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The precinct is tied for 11th place in substantiated complaints that occurred between 2009 and 2013, even though it ranks 33rd in population citywide, city records show. And of the 137 cases substantiated citywide this year, at least eight were against officers assigned to Staten Island, and three were against officers assigned to the 120th Precinct.

All of the most-sued officers from the borough were assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, which, like the anti-crime unit Pantaleo was assigned to, is involved in aggressive, proactive policing.

Amelia Moore and her teenage son are among those who scored a financial settlement against Staten Island narcotics cops.

Moore, 32, said she lost her nursing home job, then had to pull her sons out of the St. Sylvester Catholic school because she couldn’t afford the tuition, after a band of narcotics officers burst into her home at 5 a.m. and arrested them for a few prescription pills the cops claimed were in her purse.

“They knocked the door down, guns drawn,” said Moore. “They handcuffed him,” she said of her son, who was 13 at the time. “I kept quiet because I was so angry.”

The drug charge against her son was dropped, and he later got a $15,000 settlement from the city. The charges against Moore were sealed after she pleaded to disorderly conduct, a noncriminal violation.

The supervising officer on her arrest was Andrew Hillery , 43, who has 19 lawsuits against him, resulting in more than $700,000 in payouts.

A series of News articles over the past year showed how the city had been turning a blind eye to potential problem officers by ignoring the evidence of police misconduct contained in the suits, leading the NYPD to create two programs to track and analyze lawsuits, and a new tracking system by city Controller Scott Stringer’s office called “ClaimStat.”

The first ClaimStat report identified Staten Island’s North Shore as a “hot spot” for personal injury complaints against police. Last year, there were 98 lawsuits filed over incidents that happened in the 120th and 121st precincts — a rate of four personal injury claims per 100 crimes.

“Commanding officers should use this data to identify problems within their units and take concrete steps to reduce claims,” said Stringer’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, two programs the NYPD created — the Civil Lawsuit Monitoring Program and Risk Assessment Unit — have reviewed claims against 37 officers, most of whom were signed to narcotics duty.

As a result of the analysis, a committee “has directed that retraining be provided to these members, ranging from the use of force (and) employing tactical communication skills,” said NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster. She did not say how many of those officers are assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit.

One Staten Island narcotics sergeant, David Courtien, was sued 16 times before he was promoted to lieutenant in 2012.

Asked at his home earlier this year about the cases, Detective Vincent Orsini, the second-most-sued NYPD officer, named in 21 lawsuits, responded, “I’m not gonna go into it, but you can sue anybody.”

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said the amount of times an officer has been sued doesn’t necessarily mean the officer has been accused of any wrongdoing.

He pointed out lawsuits will often name every officer involved in the encounter, regardless of their level of involvement. He said Orsini was often the one wielding the battering ram in narcotics raids, and that in a dozen cases, his role was limited to that.

“Only in nine cases was he actively involved in the investigation,” said Davis.



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Ron Howell Jul-27-2014 125 0
For millions of black Americans, Barack Obama's legacy is not going to be Obamacare, nor his decision to move troops out of Iraq, nor what he does about immigration.

No, it will be the image of him as a black father - of him, for example, standing at the White House and declaring, after the 2012 racially charged killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin, "this could have been my son."

For all the accusations that Obama waffles and wavers when it comes to controversial issues affecting African Americans, there is a widespread perception of him as the model of black fatherhood. It is a view of him that I share, and it means a lot to me, because I know in personal ways the difference that the presence, or absence, of a dad can make in a young black man's life.

So much of my writing over the years has been about the disrespect and even viciousness with which police officers treat black and Latino men. The brutality against Eric Garner, who died 10 days ago after a white officer placed him in what seems to have been a chokehold, is just the latest case.

But I have to say - and this isn't easy, because tough love never is - that our collective shortcomings as African-American fathers also cause me great distress. Unlike the beatings, chokings and shootings our black youngsters are too frequently victims of - from the police, yes, but often from other black males - the pain of paternal abandonment is a dull ache in the heart that, in the end, can do as much damage as a bullet.

Just this past Monday, Obama met with dozens of young males at a public school in Washington, D.C. - black ones but also others of color - and spoke with them about the value of fatherhood and its responsibilities.

"If you're African American, there's about a one-in-two chance you grow up without a father in your house - one in two," the President said with somber plaintiveness.

As for me, I don't need data to convince me of the importance of black fatherhood. I have my own family story.

In 1997, I wrote an article for Essence Magazine titled "A Father's Longing," reflecting on the death of my father, a gifted and educated man who fell victim to alcohol and left me and my mother when I was a child, and mom was crippled with polio.

Later in his life, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous, dad gave up the bottle and, though I never lived with him, we developed a late-in-life father-son relationship, and I shared its joys and pains with readers of Essence.

The reaction was extraordinary, with many black people recognizing me from the photo accompanying the article, and engaging me about the topic.

But the truly stunning result was a phone call I received a year later from a woman in Detroit who identified herself as Linda, the wife of my father's brother, my Uncle Charles, who in the early 1960s had abandoned New York City and his 11 children. We had thought he was dead.

Linda told me that Uncle Charles had died the night before, and that she had known of my relationship to him because she had read the article and had made astute deductions about the familial relationship. But, deferring to Uncle Charles's desires, she had put off calling me until his death.

Now here are the details that rush to the core the story: Of the 11 children (from two households) that Uncle Charles left behind, two were boys - my only male first cousins on my father's side.

The older one, Charles III, nicknamed Tibby, was beaten to death 30 years ago on the streets of Brownsville by a person or persons never identified. His sisters and mother were of course devastated by the unsolved crime, which only intensified the excruciating hurt caused by their father's disappearance decades previously.

Uncle Charles's younger son, Henri, became addicted to heroin, and his whereabouts, if indeed he is alive, are not known to me or any other family members with whom I was able to speak. I had long conversations about ten years ago with Henri's mother, who told me in painful detail how the absconding of the father had devastated Henri in ways that were as emotionally crushing as they were immediate, although the girls were largely able to put themselves on track to productive, professional lives.

Tibby's oldest sister, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Howell Greggs, 70, said she has come to understand profoundly the importance of fatherhood to young men in Brownsville, a community in which she was raised and in which she still lives.

Boys need fathers as role models, said Lizzie, who until her retirement earlier this month had spent 40 years teaching kids in the Brownsville Police Athletic League's Head Start program. "There's so much anger," Lizzie said of young men living around her. She added that the pitiful delinquency of her own dad made her more committed to helping young men understand the importance of being involved in the lives of their offspring. As for her home life, she speaks fondly of her deceased husband, a career military man, and is proud of their four adult children. One of them, a son, I've had conversations with and he is a hard-working and disciplined young man, a role model.

Let's not mince words. The crisis of New York City, and to a large extent of America, is the crisis of the black male. You see it in our schools, on our streets, in our economy, in our prisons.

Obama seems determined to strengthen his male-focused My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and on Monday he announced further investments of millions of dollars. My Brother's Keeper is patterned on New York City's Young Men's Initiative, which was organized three years ago by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Yes, the same Michael Bloomberg who allowed police to stop and frisk hundreds of thousands of innocent black and Latino males annually.)

We should all be grateful for these efforts. Taken together, they suggest a philosophy once articulated by Hillary Clinton - that "it takes a village to raise a child," that if young men of color are to be able to (quite literally) survive, various sectors of society (educators, social service administrators and even entrepreneurs) will have to play respective roles.

As an educator myself, I should be in a special position to help. But consider this: In my five years of teaching journalism at Brooklyn College, I don't believe I've had more than 10 black males among the several hundred students in my classes.

I noted this paucity even at predominantly black Medgar Evers College, where 15 years ago I taught a writing workshop. There were about a dozen students in the class. All were black. But only one was a male. According to U.S. News & World Report's latest college report, the gender breakdown at Medgar Evers College is 73% female and 27% male.

For black males, there is a stark tie-in between the education and criminal justice systems, both of which have been failing them miserably. Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who grew up in Queens, said that having a father saved him from the horrid fates that befall so many young men of color.

"I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and I think of all the advantages I had by having a dad there," Holder said. He noted the vast difference in outcomes between him and other young men who did not have it so good. Other "guys who grew up with me on the block" ended up "in fundamentally different places . . . Drug problems. Time in jail," Holder added.

As for me, I survived and accomplished all that I have - Ivy League degrees, comfort in three languages, prize-winning news articles - not because of talents far beyond those of others.

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Jul-26-2014 182 0
A Brooklyn cop was put on modified assignment Friday after allegedly stomping on a shackled suspect’s head, authorities said.

NYPD Officer Joel Edouard, 36, had subdued Jahmiel Cuffee on suspicion of marijuana possession on Malcolm X Blvd. in Bedford-Stuyvesant at 8 p.m. Wednesday — and then he booted the man as he lay on the ground, officials said.

The move stunned onlookers videotaping it.

“What is wrong with this officer?” one man screamed. “Look at your officer! You see that?”

Cops saw Cuffee, 32, roll a joint on the street and stopped him, police sources said.

Officer Joel Edouard had subdued Jahmiel Cuffee on suspicion of marijuana possession on Malcolm X Blvd. in Bedford-Stuyvesant at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and the cop then allegedly stomped on the suspect's head as he lay on the ground.

He was taken to a hospital with neck and head injuries and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and pot possession, cops said.

Edouard is the second NYPD cop in July to get modified assignment. He was placed on desk duty and ordered to surrender his gun and shield.

Daniel Pantaleo was similarly reassigned after putting Eric Garner, 43, of Staten Island in a chokehold on July 17.


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Reuter Jul-25-2014 159 0
The widow and other relatives of Eric Garner, who died last week soon after a New York police officer put him in a choke hold, met with federal prosecutors on Friday to ask for a civil-rights investigation.


Thousands of people have watched two bystanders' videos that record Garner's dying cries that he could not breathe as police wrestled him to the ground while arresting him outside a Staten Island beauty parlor last Thursday for peddling untaxed cigarettes.

Nearly seven months after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office promising to reform the police, many New Yorkers have been alarmed to discover that some officers still use choke holds, although they have been banned from doing so for more than 20 years.

The city has promised to investigate a backlog of choke hold complaints and the police have promised to overhaul their training program in response, but Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist who joined Garner's family at the meeting with prosecutors, said this was not enough.

"We cannot just depend - and this is important - on police policy to stop the choke hold," Sharpton told reporters outside the U.S. Attorney's Office when he emerged with Eric Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, after about 30 minutes. "We need a federal precedent."

Standing nearby was Erica, the eldest of the Garners' six children, and Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother, along with their lawyers. The family declined to speak.

Garner's death is already being investigated by at least four authorities: the Staten Island district attorney, the police department's internal affairs bureau, the city's inspector general of police and the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Bob Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said his colleagues were closely watching the other investigations.

Police said this week they were also investigating a second apparent use of a choke hold by an officer within the span of a week.

A crop of bystanders' videos, recorded just three days before Garner's death and circulated widely this week, showed an officer punching a suspected fare-dodger at a subway station and gripping him around his neck.

Ronald Johns, the suspected fare-dodger, is black, as was Garner, and the two incidents have tested de Blasio's pledge to mend frayed relations between the police and black and Latino residents. Police said Johns refused to show his identification and resisted arrest.

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Jul-25-2014 279 0
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was arrested Friday morning by the FBI.

A sealed indictment filed Wednesday lists the following charges against Price:


Conspiracy to Commit Bribery Concerning a Local Government Receiving Federal Benefits

Deprivation of Honest Services by Mail Fraud and Aiding and Abetting

Conspiracy to Defraud the Internal Revenue Service

Subscribing to a False and Fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

Our sources confirmed Price's arrest, but other reports also said Dapheny Fain, Price’s longtime executive assistant, and political consultant Kathy Nealy also were arrested. Nancy Kennedy, Fain's attorney, told The Dallas Morning News that Fain has been charged but does not know yet what the charges are and has not been arrested.

"We're going to turn Dapheny in," Kennedy said.

Attorney Billy Ravkind, who said he learned of the arrest from media reports, said a pretrial bond hearing is scheduled for this afternoon.

"Next time we want to know something, we'll call the press," he said. "I guess I haven't been around long enough. I've never had this happen before. You win or lose cases in the courtroom. What the government does is irrelevant."

Ravkind said he has spoken to the prosecutor but not Price, who he said may be released pending an afternoon bond hearing.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has scheduled a press conference at 11 a.m. at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas. The indictment will be revealed at that time, and federal officials will issue a statement at that time.

Price was arrested about 8 a.m.

We will update this story as more details become available.

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Carol Kuruvilla Jul-24-2014 222 0
The trigger-happy Chicago teen whose gunfight reportedly ended an 11-year-old girl’s life is now in police custody.

Chicago cops have charged 18-year-old Tevin Lee for the death of Shamiya Adams, who was killed after a stray bullet crashed through a bedroom window during a sleepover.

Adams was sitting by an imaginary campfire with six other friends inside her friend’s West Garfield Park home July 18 when a bullet struck her in the head.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy claims Lee was seeking revenge for a fight that happened earlier in the day, between two 14-year-old boys on bikes. One of the boys was beaten up by a group of other young teens. That boy told his older brother about the fight and eventually Lee heard about it as well.

Lee allegedly started tracking down a rival gang member who he believed was involved. He spotted the man standing near the home where Adams was playing with her friends. Cops say Lee took aim and fired four to five shots.

He missed his mark, sending one bullet through a two-inch window opening and killing Adams.

The bullet entered a bedroom window and struck Shamiya Adams in the head.

The shooting took place in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood.

"We have two 14-year-olds fighting and someone introduces a gun into a fistfight and we have now have another child murder," McCarthy told ABC 7 Chicago.

Using information gleaned from neighbors and nine witnesses, cops tracked down Lee by Tuesday. On Thursday, he was formally charged with one count of murder, one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm.

"These guys are out here and they're shooting, and they can't guide the bullet, they can't recall it. And they're always hitting someone innocent. Pure innocence is what's leaving our world, and that's what Shamiya was," Marian Stevenson, the little girl’s aunt, told ABC.

Friends are throwing a fund-raiser Thursday to help the Adams family cover their little girl’s funeral costs. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended the event and met with Adams’ family.

Meanwhile, cops are continuing the investigation, searching for more culprits. They have yet to find the gun used in the shooting.

Lee’s mother said she couldn’t believe that her son could have caused such a tragic death.

“I know my baby didn’t do that,” Lagenna Boyd said. “He’s a good child. Not my baby. He don’t do stuff like that.”

But the Chicago police say they’re confident Lee is the killer.

“We know the root causes of crime,” McCarthy told the Chicago Tribune. “We know about poverty, education, breakup of the family unit. But at the end of the day, you introduce a gun into a fistfight, this is what happens."

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Jul-24-2014 275 0
A black teen has become a web star after he filmed shop workers following him around convenience stores because they thought he was stealing.

Rashid Polo has racked up hundreds of thousands of hits after uploading two clips to Vine last week.

In each, he claims to catch staffers keeping a close eye on his movements - checking the shelves that he's just looked at.

But they soon scuttle away after he calls them out by pointing his cellphone at them and saying: "She thinks I'm stealing."

Polo said he decided to record his experience of going shopping after he realized he was repeatedly being trailed by workers.

"It happened again ... this time I'm not even mad ... I'm used to it now," he said in the caption of his second video.

It's unclear where in the U.S. the clips were filmed.

But, following his sudden rise to online fame, the teen said he was glad he could expose what's widely regarded as a recurring issue.

"Discrimination is never cool. I'm glad I could shed some light on such a sensitive topic in a positive way," he tweeted.

He then added: "People keep asking me if I'm going to make more of those videos. As long as I keep getting followed then I will keep making them. (Hope not)."

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Barry Paddock Jul-24-2014 257 0
A 42-year-old Brooklyn woman accused of killing and dismembering a mom of four who was a tenant in her uncle’s building — and scattering her remains across Long Island — was ordered held without bail Thursday morning, authorities said.

“Yes!” family members of Chinelle Latoya Thompson Browne whispered to themselves in court as a judge ordered Leah Cuevas back to a holding cell following the brief court appearance in Islip.

Browne’s aunt, who flew to the U.S. with the victim’s distraught husband, Dale Browne, held up her arms in a victory gesture.

“(Cuevas) is charged with the worst conduct that humans can be capable of,” Judge G. Ann Spelman said as she ordered the alleged killer held without bail. “The District Attorney’s evidence is more than compelling. It’s very strong.”

Prosecutors say Cuevas stabbed Chinelle Browne in the neck and torso repeatedly during a heated argument inside her Sumpter St. apartment in Brownsville on July 5.

“No Leah! What she doing?” Browne was allegedly heard screaming during the fatal blow up. “Oh no! Oh no! I’m sorry!”

“That was the last time the victim was heard alive,” Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said Wednesday.

Cuevas killed Browne because the young mom refused to pay her $200, neighbors told the Daily News.

Cuevas allegedly said Browne owed her the money for electricity, but the Guyanese native refused to pay, claiming she wasn’t getting enough power and needed the money to move out, according to Donald Watson, 49.

“She was tired of paying for lighting and having it go out, or the refrigerator going out and spoiling the food," Watson said. "(Browne) said she wanted to take her money and move out but the landlord said ‘no.’ She wanted the $200 ... but (Browne) said I need the $200 to move out.”

Cuevas is the niece of the building’s owner, who died last year, neighbors said. Browne lived with a family on the floor above Cuevas.

Since Cuevas’ uncle died, it’s been unclear who owns the building, neighbors said.

“(Cuevas) is a lady claiming to be a landlord,” said neighbor Lerron Straker.

The fights between Cuevas and Browne were loud — and often public, Watson explained.

“(Cuevas) was an evil lady ... she would come out screaming, 'This is my building!'" he said. "You'd hear them arguing. You'd see the police out here. They'd tell them to go to small claims court. It's been going on for a long time," Watson said.

Browne, who emigrated to the U.S. a year ago, was reported missing July 5 after her fight with Cuevas. The two also allegedly argued on Independence Day.

On July 8, Browne's remains were found in Long Island.

Her legs and torso, which bore a tattoo that helped police identify her, was found in a municipal parking lot in Bay Shore less than a mile from Cuevas’ sister’s home, prosecutors said.

The next day, an arm was discovered on the front lawn of a home in Hempstead. A second arm was found within the week.

Browne's severed head was discovered on Boylston St. near Chamberlain St. in Hempstead on July 17, officials said.

Suffolk County Homicide detectives nabbed Cuevas with the help of the U.S. Marshals' New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Police said the investigation was still active, meaning an accomplice who helped her dispose of the body may still be at large.

Dale Browne said his wife moved to the U.S. first to secure a job and find an apartment. He was going to move to the city with their kids after he got his paperwork in order, he said.

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