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NYC student wins National High School Musical Theatre Awards on Broadway
One of New York’s own, a teen who attended school on the Upper West Side, was one of the two big winners Monday night at the seventh annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards on Broadway .

Marla Louissaint, 17, who just graduated from the Beacon School, was named best actress after performing a rousing solo of “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple.”

Marla told the Daily News she will study engineering at Fordham University in the fall.

Anthony Skillman, 18, who just graduated from Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif., was named best actor.

The two top awards, nicknamed the Jimmys after theater owner James M. Nederlander, include $10,000 scholarships.
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Jun-30-2015 87 0
One of New York’s own, a teen who attended school on the Upper West Side, was one of the two big winners Monday night at the seventh annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards on Broadway .

Marla Louissaint, 17, who just graduated from the Beacon School, was named best actress after performing a rousing solo of “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple.”

Marla told the Daily News she will study engineering at Fordham University in the fall.

Anthony Skillman, 18, who just graduated from Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif., was named best actor.

The two top awards, nicknamed the Jimmys after theater owner James M. Nederlander, include $10,000 scholarships.

TOBIAS SALINGER Jun-29-2015 112 0
A kitchen employee at a North Carolina jail is accused of having sex with an inmate who worked with her in the mess hall and helping the convicted murderer escape for a day, police said.

Kendra Lynette Miller, 33, allegedly assisted in the Saturday breakout of Kristopher McNeil, 29, from a minimum-security facility at Brown Creek Correctional Institution, roughly 45 miles east of Charlotte, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

McNeil was found Sunday night, NBC News reported.

Polkton police charged Miller with harboring a fugitive and aiding and abetting a fugitive, along with having sex with an inmate and supplying a cell phone, Anson County Jail records show.

McNeil, a Winston-Salem man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2009, apparently climbed over the prison’s fence on Saturday, prison officials said. Authorities found him around 11 p.m. Sunday after getting spotted near the border of Davidson and Forsyth counties, according to NBC.

McNeil, who was scheduled to be released in less than three years, was initially charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 death of an accused cocaine trafficker, the Winston-Salem Journal reported at the time. He admitted to the second-degree murder rap and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in a plea deal.

The prisoner and Miller apparently worked together in the cafeteria, where she had been an employee since December, state prisons spokeswoman Pamela Walker said. Miller is incarcerated in Anson County Jail on a $500,000 bond, and she hasn’t hired a lawyer, a jail official said.

The search for the missing North Carolina inmate crystallized on Sunday just as authorities located and shot New York fugitive David Sweat in the upstate town of Constable. Sweat, 35, and Richard Matt, 49, allegedly escaped from the nearby Clinton Correctional Facility with the help of two prison workers earlier this month.

Kristopher McNeil, 29, allegedly climbed the fence at his North Carolina minimum-security prison on Saturday with the help of a woman he's believed to have worked with in the prison kitchen.
Law enforcement officers fatally shot Matt on Friday and critically wounded Sweat on Sunday afternoon.

Cameron Joseph Jun-29-2015 158 0
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take another look at a major affirmative action case that could further constrict public universities' use of race in admissions.

The court announced that it would consider whether the University of Texas' admissions process is constitutional, in a case brought by a white Texan woman who was rejected from the system's flagship school in Austin.

The Supreme Court heard the case in 2012 but sent it back to lower courts unchanged. It has now resurfaced.

The University of Texas at Austin gives automatic admission to any Texan students in the top 10% of their high school classes, and uses race as one factor for all other applicants as a way to increase diversity on campus.

Abigail Fisher, who is white and wasn't a top high school student, sued to strike down what her lawyers called the school's "unjustified use of race."

The Supreme Court has previously limited how much public universities can factor in race in school applications, ruling years ago that they couldn't use hard quotas.

The court will take up the case in its next session.

Larry Mcshane Jun-28-2015 106 0
Mourners packed the Emanuel AME Church twice Saturday to celebrate the lives of three parishioners killed in the historic house of worship just 10 wrenching days before.

The sad services began with an overflow crowd first turning out for revered parishioner and librarian Cynthia Hurd, 54, followed a few hours later by a single service for Susie Jackson and her nephew Tywanza Sanders.

The trio, along with six other members of a Bible study group, died at the hands of a racist white gunman during Bible study at the church known as “Mother Emanuel.”

Hurd, a local librarian for 31 years, was fondly recalled for her constant kindness and generosity. All 16 of the county’s library branches remained closed Saturday so their staffs could attend her service.

Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, attending funerals for a third straight day, expressed his hope that the mass killing would lead to something positive.

The June 17 attack “shook an America that didn’t want to believe this kind of hate could still exist,” Riley told the full house of mourners.

“And the manner of her tragic death, leading to our country’s revulsion, her death will lead to change — and Cynthia Hurd will be helping millions.”

For Hurd, the jam-packed funeral service was a return to her roots: She and her siblings attended “Mother Emanuel” while growing up in Charleston.

The church was filled to capacity for both funerals, with the services shown via live streaming at the nearby Second Presbyterian Church for the scores who were turned away.

Many of those who turned out to remember Hurd stuck around for the next service, which was delayed for an hour by the volume of people trying to squeeze inside.

Mourners filed past the open caskets holding the oldest and youngest victims of the attack — the 87-year-old Jackson and 26-year-old Sanders.

Tywanza’s mother Felicia survived the carnage by playing dead, but was left to watch as her son and his great aunt were executed.

The church was filled to capacity for both funerals, with the services shown via live streaming at the nearby Second Presbyterian Church for the scores who were turned away.

The large number of attendees “is important to the family,” said relative Sonian Meggett. “We do appreciate it.”

By the afternoon, mourners arrived beneath black skies and rain.

The attendees included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott. Funerals for the three remaining victims were set for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Tobias Salinger Jun-28-2015 106 0
A Texas man who suffered a miscarriage of justice just got the power to prevent future ones.

Anthony Graves — who was set free in 2010 after spending 12 years on death row and six more behind bars for the murders of a woman, her daughter and her four grandchildren — is going to help manage a crime lab for Houston-area law enforcement agencies, the Houston Chronicle reported.

City officials appointed Graves, 49, to the board of the Houston Forensic Science Center on Wednesday, according to the newspaper. Graves’ shocking case displayed prosecutorial misconduct by a district attorney who has since been disbarred, and the father of three told NBC News he was ready to take on the new challenge.

“I became a criminal justice expert through my own experiences,” he said. “My university is D.R.U. — that’s 'death row university.' I’m well-qualified.”

Graves told NBC he sweated through two execution dates while in jail for the crime he didn’t commit. The vicious 1992 murder of Bobbie Davis and her family rocked the town of Somerville in Burleson County, about 90 miles north of Houston, according to a documentary on Graves’ saga years later on CBS’ “48 Hours.”

The father of a 4-year-old boy murdered in the incident, Robert Carter, testified in the 1994 trial that Graves had helped him carry out the murders — even though he had already told Burleson County District Attorney Charles Sebesta that he had acted alone, the documentary notes.

“I watched the system just fail me from top to bottom,” Graves told NBC.

Carter repeated that Graves had nothing to do with the murders in a taped statement three years later. Even while strapped to the gurney awaiting his own execution in 2000, Carter said he had lied during the trial in which Graves was convicted, "48 Hours" reported.

A federal court threw out Graves’ conviction in 2006, but he wouldn’t walk out of jail a free man until four years later. That's when a special prosecutor appointed to retry him found that the case didn’t stand up to facts uncovered through several years’ investigative work led by local journalism professor Nicole Casarez and her students. That prosecutor chose to free Graves.

“They were trying to kill me,” he said on "48 Hours."

“I still can't wrap my mind around how the hell did I go from my home to death row for a crime that happened in another town to people I don't even know. It's crazy ... and I gave 18 years of my life."

But Sebesta continued to insist publicly that Graves had been guilty, Texas Monthly reported. That is, until the State Bar of Texas revoked his law license and formally disbarred him earlier this month for, among four other violations, not telling defense lawyers that the main witness in the case had recanted his testimony the day before he appeared in court.

And now Graves will have the opportunity to influence the lab that Houston Mayor Anise Parker and the City Council set up in 2013, according to NBC News. He’ll be serving alongside a familiar face — Casarez.

“Anthony was convicted because the truth was not achieved,” Casarez, an attorney and a professor at Houston’s University of St. Thomas, told NBC. “So he understands the importance of always looking for truth and being mindful of our mission.”

David Boroff Jun-27-2015 158 0
A woman was arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse Saturday -- only to have the banner raised again less than an hour later.

Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot pole using a harness in Columbia just after dawn as officers yelled for her to come down, organizer Tamika Lewis told the Daily News.

"You cannot get to me with hatred and oppression and violence," Newsome shouted from the top of the pole, according to video. "I come to do this in the name of God. This flag comes down today."

Newsome took her time climbing down, citing prayers as she did so. When she reached the bottom, State Police took the flag out of her hands and arrested her.

Another activist, James Tyson, spotted Newsome at the bottom of the pole to make sure she didn't fall, Lewis said. He was arrested alongside Newsome as a group of onlookers cheered off camera.

Newsome, who is black, and Tyson, who is white, are part of a group of about 10 activists who orchestrated the flag's removal after a white supremacist allegedly slaughtered nine people at "Mother" Emanuel Church in Charleston on June 17.

"We didn't see it fit to have the flag stand erect while the people who were massacred were laid to rest under it," Lewis said.

The group planned to keep the flag in a box without defacing it as the funerals for the victims are held this week, the youth educator from Charlotte, N.C., said.

But State Police confiscated the flag immediately, and workers put it back up before 8 a.m. -- plenty of time before a planned rally by Confederate flag supporters, including members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Activists knew the stunt was "high risk" and could lead to arrests and feel that re-erecting the flag is a "blatant slap in the face" and shows "disregard for human lives" as the flag is a symbol of white supremacy, Lewis said.

"It's really hurtful and a bit disgraceful," Lewis said of re-raising the "incredibly offensive" flag.

State Police did not immediately respond to the Daily News' request for comment, and it was not immediately clear on what charges Newsome and Tyson were arrested.

The church massacre has become yet another rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked debates over the use of the controversial flag.

The flag is protected under state law, and numerous activists and politicans have called for it to be taken down, including state Gov. Nikki Haley.

On Thursday, the Jefferson Davis memorial in Richmond, Va., was spray-painted with "Black Lives Matter" before a rally by heat-packing Confederate flag supporters was held at the Confederate leader's monument.

Nick Wing Jun-26-2015 186 0
In a sharply divided 5-4 ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the use of disparate impact claims under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, finding that policies and practices with discriminatory effects can be challenged under the law, even when there was no intent to discriminate. Fair housing advocates said the decision will enable them to continue rooting out racial discrimination at a time when overt bias has largely been replaced by more unconscious or implicit forms of prejudice. But Justice Clarence Thomas argued that racial disparities often appear without the help of discrimination -- and sometimes to the benefit of the minority group -- citing the racial makeup of the NBA as proof.

"Racial imbalances do not always disfavor minorities," Thomas wrote, joining Justice Samuel Alito in his dissent. "[I]n our own country, for roughly a quarter-century now, over 70 percent of National Basketball Association players have been black. To presume that these and all other measurable disparities are products of racial discrimination is to ignore the complexities of human existence."

Thomas went on to express his concern that using the presence of racial disparities as evidence of discrimination would lead to unconstitutional "racial balancing" that might be "limited to only some groups."

Racial imbalances in the NBA may indeed work out in favor of the small number of black people who count themselves as professional basketball players. But systemic racial imbalances in the housing and lending markets certainly do not work out for the rest of the population. Decades of segregation have helped concentrate poverty in minority neighborhoods. And in communities with large percentages of black and Hispanic residents, you see fewer economic and employment opportunities, lower-quality education, lower levels of public safety, and less access to medical care, healthy food and public transportation.

In other words, racial imbalance in housing is regularly accompanied by substantial socioeconomic imbalance, which, according to the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday, can be challenged as discriminatory regardless of intent.

Sure, we've made some progress in chipping away at that legacy of segregation. But there's still a long way to go, and a handful of wealthy black basketball players does nothing to change that fact.

Doyle Murphy Jun-26-2015 156 0
Four Florida teens gang raped a mentally disabled teen in a janitor’s closet at their high school, authorities said.

The boys, ages 15-18, forced the girl “to perform oral, anal and vaginal sex acts” during the brutal encounter, according to court documents reviewed by the Miami Herald.

They were busted when a security guard caught them leaving the closet and asked the girl what happened, authorities said.

She claimed the teens told her not to tell, but she did anyway.

They were all students at North Miami Senior High where the girl was enrolled in a job training program at the time of the January incident.

Police filed charges of sexual battery on a mentally disabled person against the four teens — David Lombard, 17; Derek Bynum, 18; Steven Joseph, 15, and Kenoldo Alexis, 17.

News of their arrest remained quiet for months until the Herald broke the story on Thursday.

School district officials lauded Miami-Dade school police for their work on the case.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the victim,” the district said in a statement to the Herald.

Investigators are reviewing security video of the teens going in and out of the closet, court records revealed.

One of the teens, Bynum, pleaded with a judge to take pity on him in a handwritten note included in court papers.

“I feel like I’m being tried and accused of something I did not do,” he wrote. “All I want to do is graduate from high school, make my family proud and be somebody. But, this case, I feel like it will ruin my chances and dreams.”

“I’m sorry,” he added. “I’m really a good kid.”

Police reports told a different story.

Bynum previously told investigators he compelled the girl to perform oral sex, and then quit “telling the victim to stop because she was doing a terrible job,” the Herald reported.

The cases are ongoing. Bynum and Lombard, the only two to enter pleas so far, have pleaded not guilty.

CAITLIN NOLAN Jun-25-2015 166 0
The heartbroken mother of a murdered Bronx man dipped her fingers in his blood and wrote his name on a relative’s shirt in a bizarre ritual to honor her son’s memory Thursday.

Hours after Daquan Cooper, 23, was shot and killed in Parkchester, his mom, who wished not to be identified, wrote “Day Day” — the young man’s nickname — on at least two relative’s shirts with his blood.

Relatives also smeared it on a nearby memorial that read “Rest In Peace DoLo” — another nickname for the murdered man. One of the women in the blood-stained shirts, Cooper’s cousin, also sucked up some of the blood in an eye dropper as a keepsake.

“I wanted to have something of his for the rest of my life,” she said.

A gunman blasted the father of two and a 35-year-old man during a 2:30 a.m. dice game on Unionport Rd. near E. Tremont Ave., officials said.

Cooper was shot in the head and died at the scene, officials said.

The man he was playing dice with was shot in both legs and was treated at Jacobi Hospital, officials said.

Cooper was a father of a boy, 6, and girl, 7, according to Nicole Harris, who described herself as a second mom to Cooper.

Harris began sobbing as she watched police search for evidence at the crime scene.

“I just saw him three or four days ago in the barber shop,” she said. “He was getting his son's hair cut. He was telling my son to stay in school, keep playing basketball, stay out of trouble and off the street.”

Tears streamed down her face as she mourned.

“Out here you either end up six-feet under or behind bars. And now we got another one six-feet under. It's unbelievable! I can't take this no more,” she wailed.

Jason Silverstein Jun-25-2015 255 0
A black church in North Carolina was intentionally set on fire Wednesday morning in a possible hate crime, investigators announced hours after the blaze.

The arson at the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church was reported around 1 a.m., and it took 75 firefighters about an hour to get it under control, the Charlotte Observer reported.

“When I got here I was even amazed to see that the flames were so high,” Pastor Mannix Kinsey told WBTV. “I am thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, this church is going to be destroyed.’”

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Officials do not believe anyone was in the church during the inferno. Still, the blaze led to two firefighters getting treated for heat-related injuries and it destroyed most of the building, causing more than $250,000 in estimated damages, officials said.

The church, which dates back to 1951 and was a mostly white church decades ago, hosts a weekday summer camp for children, which is now canceled and will soon be relocated.

Police have not named any suspects, but said they are working to determine if the arson was a hate crime.

Even if it is a hate crime, though, the pastor said he’s already willing to forgive whoever did it.

“Honestly I can speak for this church that we’ve already forgiven them and we want to move forward,” Kinsey told WBTV.

The fire caused more than $250,000 in estimated damages to the church, which hosts a weekday summer camp for children.

The fire was reported around 1 a.m. Wednesday and investigators announced hours later they believe the fire was set intentionally.

The arson comes one week after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, S.C. The admitted shooter was caught the next day in North Carolina.

“And we are hoping this is an opportunity for Christ to show himself in their hearts.”

The fire comes one week after white gunman Dylann Roof, a raving racist who posted a hateful manifesto online, shot and killed nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. The 21-year-old got arrested in Shelby, N.C., about 40 miles west of Charlotte, the day after the massacre. He is likely to face federal hate crime charges.

Joseph Stepansky Jun-25-2015 187 0
A man jumped to his death from a Bronx building Wednesday morning, two days after he was hospitalized for threatening to jump from another ledge, his grieving family said.

Kareem Cooley, 25, plunged 21 stories from a building in the Adam Houses in Mott Haven at 9:34 a.m., police said. He died at Lincoln Hospital.

Cooley was taken to the same city-run hospital Monday, after cops stopped him from leaping from a neighboring building, family said.

He was released Tuesday, despite a hospital psychologist red-flagging his behavior, his relatives said.

“We don’t understand how they let him go,” one family member said.

The 25-year-old jumped to his death from a building in the Adam Houses in Mott Haven early Wednesday.

Mihir Zaveri Jun-24-2015 525 0
The Pearland woman who police said shot and killed former Major League Baseball player and MLB Network analyst Darryl Hamilton before killing herself had burned down a Brazoria County house in a case in which she believed her then-husband was cheating on her, officials said.

Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said Monica Jordan burned the Pearland-area house to the ground in 2006 after accusing her then-husband of infidelity. The two lived at the home at the time. The arson caused about $150,000 worth of damage, Yenne said.

"The circumstances were severe; the circumstances were very severe," Yenne said. "I have spoken to my staff every now and then, when we're talking about an arson, I would talk about this case."

Jordan pleaded guilty to the felony charge and was sentenced to deferred adjudication, a type of probation.

Now, police are investigating a case in which they said Jordan shot and killed 13-year MLB veteran Hamilton in an incident that shocked neighbors living on a quiet street with beige, brick-exterior homes and sent reverberations across the greater baseball community.

About 4:45 p.m. Sunday, Pearland police found Jordan, 44, dead in the 11500 block of Island Breeze from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hamilton, 50, was found dead near the entry of Jordan's home, with several gunshot wounds.

Police arrived at the house after receiving an emergency call about a disturbance. Child Protective Services took custody of Jordan and Hamilton's 13-month old child, who was found at the home.

Much of Sunday's incident remains shrouded in mystery. Pearland police did not say what they believe sparked the apparent confrontation between Jordan and Hamilton, and they did not say whether they had been called to the home before.

Next-door neighbor Christopher Yarde, 40, was surprised to see flashing police lights outside his home Sunday. He said he was home that day but had not seen or heard anything unusual before the police arrived.

"Really it's just shock," Yarde said.

Yarde did not know Jordan well, only occasionally exchanging short, friendly interactions with her outside their houses. He said he rarely saw Hamilton and had not spoken to him.

Sometimes he saw children playing outside on Jordan's lawn.

According to Gwen Carter, a CPS spokeswoman, Jordan had two other children, ages 11 and 13, who were in their father's custody.

"Our prayers go out to them," she said. "This is a tragic loss for any child."

The bodies of Hamilton and Jordan were transported to the Galveston County medical examiner, and the investigation into the incident is ongoing, Pearland police said.

Hamilton was active on social media in the days and hours leading up to his death. In his last Facebook post, dated June 19, the Baton Rouge, La., native paid tribute to the nine victims of the shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

"With everything being said about the shootings at the South Carolina AME Church, lets not forget to recognize the victims and pray for the families. Being brought up in Greene Chapel AME Church in Baton Rouge LA, this has really hit home. ?#IamAME," he said in the post.

Hours before his death on Father's Day, Hamilton updated his profile picture on Facebook with a portrait in which he sat with two of his boys. In the picture, their backs are to the camera, which captures all three of them wearing jerseys with "Hamilton" across their backs.

Ex-husband chased

A profile with the Texas State Bar for Monica Jordan indicates she graduated from University of Houston's law school in 1995. She changed her listing name from Monica Richards to Monica Jordan in 2008, according to a Texas State Bar spokesman.

The spokesman said that Monica Jordan's profile showed she had reported working for Enron in Houston around 2001 and for Merrill Lynch in Houston around 2005 to 2007.

In the arson case, initial reports indicated that Jordan had chased her husband around the house, trying to throw a liquid on him. He was not injured, Yenne said.

Jordan's ex-husband, Rohaven Richards III, had asked that Jordan not be sent to jail for the arson, fearing the impact jail time would have on their children, Yenne said.

Yenne said after Jordan's arson case, she had received a punishment of probation for 10 years, but her probation was terminated early by a judge in 2010. Her probation had prohibited Jordan from having a firearm.

In that case, Jordan paid $80,000 in restitution, Yenne said.

A lawyer who had represented Jordan during the case could not be immediately reached for comment late Monday.

reuters Jun-24-2015 151 0
A New York City man imprisoned for nearly 25 years for a murder committed while he was vacationing at Disney World has agreed to settle a lawsuit against the city for $6.25 million, officials said on Tuesday.

Jonathan Fleming, 53, spent about half of his life in prison for the 1989 killing of his friend Darryl Rush, which prosecutors maintained stemmed from an argument over money.

After years of appeals and an internal review by the Brooklyn district attorney's office, Fleming was exonerated last year by a judge who cited telephone records, photos and witness accounts placing him in Florida at the time of the murder.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement the city would pay $6.25 million to settle a $162 million lawsuit filed last year.

"We cannot give back the time that he served, but the City of New York can offer Jonathan Fleming this compensation for the injustice that was committed against him," Stringer said.

Lawyers for Fleming said they were pleased the settlement had come relatively quickly.

"The swift settlement will enable Jonathan and his family to build a new life without the painful and costly prospect of further litigation," the lawyers, Paul Callan and Martin Edelman, said in a statement.

Fleming had always maintained his innocence in the 1989 shooting, and claimed that prosecutors, in a rush to close the case, ignored troves of evidence that would have cleared him.

He was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder even after a key witness in the case recanted her testimony.

>>--More Black Legal News

Sep-09-2014 1636 0
On yesterday social media went crazy after the video of Ray Rice was released. Within hours Rice was released from the Ravens. Don't think for one second that it was not as a result of the public outcry on social media. The Ravens and the NFL did not have a choice but to release Rice because they had been exposed. However, the saddening part about of all of this is that the powers to be proclaimed they had not seen the video until yesterday.

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

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

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

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 2240 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

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

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

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

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

Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 2595 0
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITIES?: I just finished talking to a mother who lost her son as a result of a police shooting. Hearing this mother talk about her son and how much he loved the holidays was simply heart wrenching. She went on to tell me that she's pleaded for help from our local politicians, pastors, leaders, etc. but no one wants to take her call, especially if the cameras are not rolling. To worsen matters, many of the leaders have put her son on trial and he's dead.

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

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

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Oct-19-2013 4202 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 or you can visit his website at To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Jul-17-2013 1401758 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:


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 or visit his website at Go to the Black Legal Issue Home page and check the like button to receive future updates.

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