Home |   About Us  Submit a Legal Question to Unequal Justice News Find a Black Attorney | Submit a News Story |   Contact Us  
    Make BlackLegalIssues.com your Homepage!  New Feature  BlackLegalIssues RSS Feed RSS Feed

When can police body cam footage be withheld from the public? A TX senator wants to know.
A Democratic state senator on Tuesday asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to determine under what circumstances footage captured on police body cameras can be withheld from the public.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, said his panel has received questions from “interested parties” on the issue, prompting him to ask about a law enforcement agency’s ability to withhold or release footage.

"I respectfully request a formal opinion from your office to clarify the circumstances under which a law enforcement agency is authorized or required to release, or is prohibited from releasing, certain audio or video recordings from a body worn camera made by a member of a municipal law enforcement agencies,” Lucio, a Democrat, wrote in his request for an attorney general’s opinion.

He asked Paxton to determine whether law enforcement leaders have the ability to withhold footage if they believe that releasing the video could interfere with “the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime."

Opinions from the attorney general are not rulings on law and are not binding. Instead, they serve as interpretations of existing laws or practices.

Lucio said responses from Paxton’s office on these questions could help determine “the need for future legislation in this area.”

Law enforcement agencies in El Paso County, Nueces County, Dallas, Houston, Austin and other Texas cities have rolled out body camera programs for officers.

The cameras have been touted as a way to increase officer accountability in light of concerns about race and officer-involved shootings. Law enforcement agencies in Texas can require their officers to wear cameras and can outline usage requirements for the cameras.



Black Headline News
 
 
New Feature Search BlackLegalIssues
Log In or Register Here
 
 
        

            Latest News            Legal Commentary              Did You Know?...
Madlin Mekelburg Sep-20-2017 54 0
A Democratic state senator on Tuesday asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to determine under what circumstances footage captured on police body cameras can be withheld from the public.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, said his panel has received questions from “interested parties” on the issue, prompting him to ask about a law enforcement agency’s ability to withhold or release footage.

"I respectfully request a formal opinion from your office to clarify the circumstances under which a law enforcement agency is authorized or required to release, or is prohibited from releasing, certain audio or video recordings from a body worn camera made by a member of a municipal law enforcement agencies,” Lucio, a Democrat, wrote in his request for an attorney general’s opinion.

He asked Paxton to determine whether law enforcement leaders have the ability to withhold footage if they believe that releasing the video could interfere with “the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime."

Opinions from the attorney general are not rulings on law and are not binding. Instead, they serve as interpretations of existing laws or practices.

Lucio said responses from Paxton’s office on these questions could help determine “the need for future legislation in this area.”

Law enforcement agencies in El Paso County, Nueces County, Dallas, Houston, Austin and other Texas cities have rolled out body camera programs for officers.

The cameras have been touted as a way to increase officer accountability in light of concerns about race and officer-involved shootings. Law enforcement agencies in Texas can require their officers to wear cameras and can outline usage requirements for the cameras.




MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Sep-18-2017 126 0
A 23-year-old white man whom police call a "person of interest" in the fatal shootings of two black men in Baton Rouge has been released from jail after his arrest on drug charges over the weekend.

Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola, a department spokesman, said Monday that Kenneth Gleason "has not been cleared" and remains a "person of interest" in the shootings.

A homicide detective's report described Gleason as a "suspect" in the case. Sgt. L'Jean McKneely, another department spokesman, has said there was a "strong possibility" that the shootings were racially motivated. On Monday, interim police chief Jonny Dunnam said in a text message that investigators "still don't know for sure what the possible motive is." Gleason was released on $3,500 bond late Sunday.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said he doesn't know if Gleason had an attorney. Detectives searched Gleason's home on Saturday and found 9 grams of marijuana and vials of human growth hormone at his house, according to the detective's report. After Gleason was read his Miranda rights, he claimed ownership of the drugs, the document said.

McKneely said on Sunday that shell casings from the shootings linked the two slayings and a car belonging to Gleason fit the description of the vehicle police were looking for.

Kenneth Gleason is shown in an undated booking photo provided by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. Police believe the slayings of two black men in Baton Rouge were likely racially motivated and said Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, that they have a person of interest — Gleason— in custody. Gleason, was being held on drug charges. Authorities do not yet have enough evidence to charge him with murder, Baton Rouge Sgt. L'Jean McKneely told The Associated Press. (East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office via AP)© The Associated Press Kenneth Gleason is shown in an undated booking photo provided by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. Police believe the slayings of two black men in Baton Rouge were likely racially motivated and said Sunday, Sept… He said authorities had collected other circumstantial evidence but he wouldn't say what it was. In both shootings, the gunman fired from his car then walked up to the victims as they were lying on the ground and fired again multiple times, according to McKneely, who said neither victim had any prior relationship with Gleason. The shootings happened about five miles from each other.

The first occurred Tuesday night when 59-year-old Bruce Cofield, who was homeless, was shot to death.

The second happened Thursday night when 49-year-old Donald Smart was gunned down while walking to his job as a dishwasher at a cafe popular with Louisiana State University students, McKneely said. Smart's aunt, Mary Smart, said she was still dealing with the shock of her nephew's death. Smart had a son and two daughters, she said. She declined to comment on police allegations that her nephew might have been shot because of the color of his skin. "I cannot say," she said.

"Only God knows." Terrell Griffin, 49, has a food stand in a parking lot less than a block from where Cofield was shot.

Griffin said he was friends with Cofield and heard the gunshots that killed him. Griffin waited for the gunfire to quiet before he ran over to find his friend lying face-down on the ground. He described Cofield as a smart man and said he thought he was an engineer, but had been homeless for at least a year. "He didn't bother nobody," Griffin said. "It's not right."

Jessica Schladebeck Sep-15-2017 164 0
The brother of a black motorist who was killed following a high-speed chase with law enforcement slammed the judge’s decision to acquit the former St. Louis officer who fatally shot his loved one.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Timothy Wilson on Friday found former police officer Jason Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith.

His brother, Antwan Johnson, told Fox 2 he felt the judge shirked his obligations because his time on the bench is almost up. Wilson will have to retire when he turns 70 in December.

“The whole time the trial was going on, the man was falling asleep on the stand,” he told the new station, adding that he believes Wilson’s mind was made up before the trial started last month.

Johnson, who said Stockley jailed him just eight days before the fatal altercation with his brother in December 2011, joined demonstrators Friday afternoon to protest the verdict.

“We’re coming together to shut it down. We all need to come together as people,” he told Fox. “The justice system doesn’t care about us. These laws are not made for us.”

Stockley, who resigned as an officer in 2013, shot Smith following a police chase that reached speeds of nearly 90 mph. The former officer said he and his partner followed him after spotting what they believed was a drug deal in the parking lot of a restaurant.

Stockley pleaded “not guilty” to a first-degree murder charge last year and waived his right to a jury trial — ultimately handing Wilson the power to decide his fate.

“This Court, in conscience, cannot say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the State has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense,” Wilson wrote in his ruling.

The acquittal sparked protests in St. Louis, with several people attempting to block intersections and disrupt traffic on Interstate 64. Activists promised peaceful demonstrations would unfold should the ex-cop be acquitted.

“We’re not done yet,” Johnson vowed. “Stockley committed a murder and he has to be held accountable for his actions.”

The Score Sep-15-2017 130 0
Floyd Mayweather came to the defense of President Donald Trump, arguing that the crude comments he made about women during a conversation with Billy Bush is a candid reflection of how men speak privately.

Trump's remarks were revealed on a tape obtained by Access Hollywood in October 2016 during the presidential election, where the then-Republican nominee tacitly described acts of sexual assault. Trump apologized and some withdrew their endorsement of him as a candidate, but he emerged victorious in the election.

Mayweather, who has faced battery and harassment charges for acts of violence against women, including his former girlfriend, seemed to revel in Trump's apparent candor.

"People don’t like the truth," Mayweather said in an interview to be released this week with Hollywood Unlocked. "He speak like a real man spoke. Real men speak like, 'Man, she had a fat a--. You see her a--? I had to squeeze her a--. I had to grab that fat a--.' Right? So he talking locker room talk. Locker room talk. 'I’m the man, you know what I’m saying? You know who I am. Yeah, I grabbed her by the p----. And?'"

"I feel people shy away from realness. This man didn’t do nothing. Listen, if y’all didn’t want the man in the White House, y’all should have voted the other way. It ain’t like he went and robbed - he done his homework. He did what he had to do and he got there."

Mayweather previously called Trump a friend after the businessman won the presidential election. Trump attended Mayweather's fight against Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.

Larry Brown Sep-11-2017 357 0
Kevin Sumlin and his family intend to take legal action against the sender of the threatening letter they received last week, his wife said on Twitter Sunday.

Last week, Sumlin’s Texas A&M Aggies blew a 44-10 lead at UCLA in their season opener and lost 45-44. Days later, Sumlin’s wife Charlene posted on Twitter a photo of a letter she says their family received at their home. The letter contained a racist word and threat.

Three days after posting the photo of the letter, Charlene shared a follow-up on Twitter. In her note, which Charlene appears to have originally posted on Facebook, Mrs. Sumlin says part of her mission to posting the letter online was to receive help in trying to track down the sender. She said they contacted local police, but they hit a “dead end,” leading her to post on Twitter. The result was people providing help in how they could track down the sender. She says they want to press charges against the sender to make an example of them.

On the field, Sumlin’s Aggies faced a tougher than expected game and beat Nicholls State 24-14 on Saturday. After the game, the coach commented on the letter, saying the open-ended threat crossed the line.

“The racial (aspect) is one part of it, but the open-ended threat at the end, (sent) to my house … I’ve got to draw the line there,” Sumlin said, via the Houston Chronicle. “(Charlene) didn’t like it, she didn’t feel safe about it, my kids didn’t feel safe about it. Beyond that, I want to thank the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office for what they’re doing right now, and I want to thank all the people who sent me notes and text messages and calls and things like that. That’s important, too.

“When you cross a line like that with people who have nothing to do with decisions that are made when it comes to my job, that’s not OK.”

The Sumlins have received the support of many since publicizing the letter, including from Texas A&M’s president.

John Bowden Sep-10-2017 153 0
President Trump's Chief of Staff Gen. The New York Times reported on Friday that Kelly has created a "no-fly list" of aides who previously wandered into meetings unannounced and uninvited, who no longer have that power. Manigault, the Times reported, is chief among them.

In charge of this list is Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly's longtime aide, who was recently appointed as an assistant to the president and his principal deputy. Nielsen is described in the article as "brusque" and "no-nonsense," and in charge of wrangling aides on Trump's outer circle.

Manigault has served as Trump's chief advisor on African-American issues in the White House, and earlier this month attacked the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for "showboating" and refusing to meet with Trump.

"Coming to the table over and over again to work through these issues is the only effective way to get where they wanted to go," Manigault told Fox Business Network's Charles Payne.

"And instead, they're showboating and they're actually shorting out their constituents that they committed to represent by not coming to meet with the president," she said in August.

Andy Mai Sep-10-2017 96 0
A man fired one shot at Tytianna Sparks, 19, at about 12:40 p.m. on Dean St. near Howard Ave. in Brownsville before running off.

Medics rushed her in critical condition to Brookdale University Hospital, police said.

"When I came downstairs I heard a lady screaming," said Louis Leak, 64, who knows Sparks from the neighborhood. "She was laying between two cars and she didn't look like she was alive to me. She was already bleeding out."

Yvonne Stevenson, 47, said the woman was seven months pregnant and her mother was planning a baby shower at the end of the month.

Sparks' niece ran over to her after the shot rang out, Stevenson recalled.

"She was kneeling over her trying to help her and hold her. She was in shock as well," she said.

"When they turned her around, you seen blood coming out her face and head."

Man dies after being shot in the head outside Bronx deli

Detrea Issacs, a family friend, also ran outside after hearing two shots.

"This is heavy on the heart. It happened in broad daylight," she lamented. "I just pray she's OK. This is sad.”


AP Sep-06-2017 228 0
Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett accused Las Vegas police on Wednesday of racially motivated excessive force, saying he was threatened at gunpoint and handcuffed following a report of gunshots at an after-hours club at a casino-hotel.

Bennett said on a Twitter message titled "Dear World," that police "singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Police later attributed a report of gunfire at Drai's at the Cromwell resort to the sharp sound of velvet rope stands being knocked to a tile floor. It happened a few hours after the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.

Bennett, a 6-foot-4 (193 centimeters) defensive end who has been a leader of the national anthem protests started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick , said he was among several hundred people running away.

He said he was handcuffed face-down on the ground after an officer held a gun to his head saying he would blow his head off if he moved.

"All I could think of was 'I'm going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat,'" he wrote. He said he thought of his wife and children.

Bennett said he was taken to the back of a police car "until they apparently realized I was not a thug, common criminal or ordinary black man but Michael Bennett a famous professional football player." He was released without charges.

Las Vegas police Officer Jacinto Rivera said police were checking for casino and police body camera video and written reports. He said the department couldn't immediately verify Bennett's account or identify the officers involved.

"Without looking at video footage or reading any reports we can't say yet what happened," Rivera said.

A video posted by celebrity news site TMZ shows a view from a balcony as a police officer kneels on the back of a man who looks like Bennett. Protests are heard, including, "I wasn't doing nothing," and, "I was here with my friends. They told us to get out and everybody ran."

Bennett's attorney, John Burris in Oakland, California, confirmed the words were Bennett's. The attorney said he believed the 30-second video clip showed some of how his client was treated.

"We think there was an unlawful detention and the use of excessive force, with a gun put to his head," Burris told The Associated Press. "He was just in the crowd. He doesn't drink or do drugs. He wasn't in a fight. He wasn't resisting. He did nothing more or less than anyone in the crowd."

Burris said Bennett waited to make public his account of the incident until after Burris contacted Las Vegas police last week by letter and email, seeking police records of Bennett's detention.

Bennett's brother, Martellus Bennett, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, posted an Instagram account of a telephone call he said he got from Michael Bennett. He said he heard fear in his brother's voice.

"The emotion and the thought of almost losing you because of the way you look left me in one of the saddest places ever," Martellus Bennett said.

Michael Bennett has been one of the most outspoken pro athletes on numerous social issues. Last month, he held a benefit for the family of a pregnant black woman who was fatally shot by two white Seattle police officers in June. Police said the woman threatened the officers with at least one knife after calling 911 to report that someone had broken into her apartment and stolen video-game consoles.

"For me it's always finding a way to impact the community on every single level; locally, nationally, and globally," Bennett said following the benefit. "To be able to have something happen in your city and to be able to build a bridge between people regardless of color, regardless of gender, and regardless of economic hardships, you want to be able to bring people together and be able to do something for kids."

Advocates on Wednesday cited Bennett's treatment by police as an illustration of troubled race relations in America.

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter advocacy group, called it "a testament to the police violence targeting black people in the United States."

Cullors endorsed an online petition calling for Las Vegas police to release information about what she called an assault on Bennett.

Jocelyn Benson, chief executive of the nonprofit Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, released a statement crediting Bennett with "courage and leadership in addressing issues of racial injustice in our country."

"The revelation of Michael Bennett's terrifying experience with Las Vegas police officers last month underscores the need to continue fighting against racial profiling and inequality," Benson said.

Tom O'Connor Sep-03-2017 372 0
The White House announced Friday it's switching up the format of an upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and representatives of historically black colleges. The move comes as his administration continues to face deep criticism over its polarizing views on race relations in the U.S.

While the White House statement did not detail what modifications were being made, it did hint that the administration was looking to downsize Trump's meeting with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs). Trump found early success in reaching out to these schools, which were at times critical of his predecessor, but the Republican leader's attacks on their funding, controversial comments following last month's deadly white nationalist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia and his poor approval rating among black communities in general have strained this relationship.

"Responding to suggestions and feedback from many key stakeholders, the White House initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will modify its planned conference to best meet the current needs of HBCUs, their students and the broader HBCU community, " the administration said.

"This more intimate HBCU week will feature a series of strategic meetings for students and leaders to share their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing the HBCU community. The events will also focus on how the Administration can best work and support HBCU schools and students," it added.

Just over a month after coming to office earlier this year, Trump signed an executive order designed to boost federal funds for HCBUs. The move was seen as an opportunity for the Trump administration to win support of an influential black organization that often criticized his predecessor, President Barack Obama, for not sufficiently addressing the community's needs, despite him being the first black U.S. president. Trump's support, however, was short-lived.

The administration did not increase funds and actually cut Pel grant reserves and other crucial investment HBCUs had asked for, according to The Washington Post. In May, Trump signed a federal budget that controversially included language at the end suggesting he questioned the constitutionality of funding black colleges in the first place.

Recent national events have also highlighted the president's troubled relationship with a community he once famously tried to court on the campaign trail a year ago by asking "What the hell do you have to lose?"

On August 12, a man with white supremacist sympathies ran over a crowd of counter-protesters who were demonstrating against a massive far-right rally that swept the city of Charlottesville, Virginia. One woman was killed and over a dozen more injured. Trump condemned violence "on both sides" of the rally, remarks that garnered him considerable scorn even from within his own party.

These troubles have followed him to Washington. The Congressional Black Caucus may soon become one of the leading voices on the Hill calling for Trump's removal from office. Democratic Representative and Black Caucus leader Cedric Richmond of Louisiana said last month he was considering joining existing efforts to remove the president due to issues with Trump's "competency and fitness to serve."

He also vowed that the caucus would "keep its foot on the Trump administration’s neck by calling their racist and discriminatory policies what they are."

A poll released earlier this week by The Economist and market research company YouGov revealed that 57 percent of people in the U.S. think Trump doesn't care about the needs of black people. Among black respondents, three out of four said he either didn't care much or "not at all."



MARY ALICE ROBBINS Sep-01-2017 258 0
Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback and Pro Hall of Famer Deoin Sanders isn't likely to be performing one of his famous touchdown dances in the wake of a Fifth Court of Appeals decision on Aug. 29.

A three-judge panel of the Dallas court of appeals ruled in Sanders v. Sanders that the 366th District Court in Collin County erred when it granted Deoin Sanders' motion for partial summary judgment on Pilar Sanders' liability for defamation.

In a defamation suit, Deoin Sanders had alleged that, after their divorce in 2013, Pilar Sanders had made statements on social media, in an online video and on a national television news program that he had physically abused her and their children and had attempted to murder her, according to the Fifth Court's opinion. As noted in the opinion, Deoin Sanders had alleged that the statements damaged his reputation and caused him economic damages.

The trial court had awarded the former NFL star and sports broadcaster $2.2 million in damages and ruled that he could offset the $1 million that the divorce decree required him to pay his ex-wife against the defamation damages award.

The Fifth Court panel reversed the judgment and remanded the case to the trial court, holding that Deoin Sanders failed to establish conclusively his ex-wife's negligence or malice regarding the truthfulness of her statements.

Craig A. Jackson, Pilar Sanders' appellate attorney, said his client argued on appeal that Deoin Sanders is a public figure. If a plaintiff in a defamation suit is a public figure, he must prove actual malice, showing that the defendant made the statement in question with knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless disregard of its truth. But the court did not have to address that issue, said Jackson, a partner in Brewer Jackson & Lang in Grapevine.

"They basically said there was no evidence of negligence or malice," he said.

One of the interesting legal issues in the case, Jackson said, is the fact that Pilar Sanders could not offer an affirmative defense of truth.

"She still maintains the truthfulness of her statements," Jackson said.

Deoin Sanders contended in his brief to the Fifth Court that the trial court resolved the allegations of abuse after a three-day hearing in the couple's divorce case with a finding that neither party committed family violence. That finding was confirmed in the subsequent jury trial on custody in which the jury, after being instructed it could not award custody to a parent who had committed abuse or family violence, recommended that Deoin Sanders should be the sole managing conservator of his two sons and joint managing conservator of his daughter.

David Keltner, a partner in Kelly Hart & Hallman in Fort Worth, is Deoin Sanders' appellate attorney, and Larry R. Boyd, a director and shareholder in Abernathy, Roeder, Boyd & Hullett in McKinney, represented the former football player at trial and on appeal. Neither Keltner nor Boyd returned phone calls seeking comment.

David Boroff Aug-31-2017 141 0
A pregnant mother killed by Seattle police officers earlier this year was shot seven times, according to an autopsy report.

It was also revealed that Charleena Lyles was 14 to 15 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.
Three of the shots fired by officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew hit Lyles in the front of the torso and chest, three struck her in the back of her arm and one struck the side of her ribs.

"Not one shot should have been fired, let alone seven," lawyer Karen Koehler told the Post-Intelligencer.

At least one of the shots struck her uterus, taking the life of the unborn boy. It was to be her fifth child.

"I know the baby is not considered a baby until it is viable under our rules of law, but as a human and a mother, it's so upsetting,” Koehler told the Seattle Times.

"Did they shoot her as she fell to the ground? Was she running away?” cousin Katrina Johnson told the Guardian on Wednesday. "How did she get shot in the back? I still don’t know that and understand that, but any which way, it was excessive force. Seven times for her little pregnant 100-pound self was out of control."

The autopsy report also notes that Lyles did not have drugs or alcohol in her system during the confrontation at her Seattle apartment. The officers fired when Lyles lunged at one of them with one or two knives, according to police.

No one else entered Charleena Lyles' home: Seattle police

"If you have been reading the dialogue you might have assumed she was a poor, single black woman with multiple children who must have been on drugs, and that is a false assumption and a false narrative," Koehler told the Seattle Times.

Some family members, though, were not pleased that the autopsy report was released by Koehler without their consent. Koehler is representing Charles Lyles, Charleena's father.

"In so doing, she placed Charleena's children in a position of possibly having to hear about details of their mother’s killing on the news or at school without any preparation," relatives said in a statement.
The 30-year-old Lyles battled mental health issues and had many interactions with local police, according to the Seattle Times. Just two weeks before she was fatally shot, she threatened cops with shears after they were called on a domestic violence complaint, according to the newspaper.
Seattle cops who fatally shot pregnant mother of four identified

An officer wrote that Lyles "stated that she should have just stabbed me when she had the chance, but then said she could tell I had a good heart, and that it’s unfortunate they 'always send the good ones,'" according to the newspaper. That incident took place on June 5.

On the day she was killed, authorities say Lyles ignored orders by the two officers. "Do it! Do it ... Are you ready? mother f------” she said, according to court documents obtained by the Seattle Times. Lyles had called cops to report a break-in.

"The police narrative is that she had a knife and they were justified in shooting her dead,” Koehler told the newspaper. "They don't want to talk about the fact that they knew she had recent mental-health issues but chose to go in without any game plan."

Earlier this month, Lyles' family filed a claim against the city, a first step toward filing a lawsuit.

KATE BRUMBACK Aug-31-2017 193 0
A police lieutenant in Georgia who was recorded on video during a traffic stop saying "we only shoot black people" is being fired, the police chief said Thursday.

Dashcam video from July 2016 shows a car stopped on the side of a road and a woman can be heard telling Cobb County police Lt. Greg Abbott she was scared to move her hands in order to get her cellphone. Abbott, who is white, interrupts her and says, "But you're not black. Remember, we only shoot black people. Yeah. We only shoot black people, right?"

Announcing his decision to fire Abbott, Police Chief Mike Register remarked that "there's really no place for these types of comments in law enforcement." Speaking at a news conference, Register added, "I feel that no matter what context you try to take those comments in, the statements were inexcusable and inappropriate. They're not indicative of the values that I'm trying to instill within the Cobb County police department and that I believe the county holds."

Register said he learned of the comments after television station WSB-TV obtained the video through an open-records request and made the department aware of it. Abbott, who had been an officer for 28 years, was placed on administrative leave while the department investigated the video.
Abbott's attorney, Lance LoRusso, did not immediately respond to an email Thursday seeking comment on the firing. He had earlier said in a statement that Abbott was cooperating with the investigation, and his comments were meant to "de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger."

Register said he's worked hard since becoming chief in June to strengthen the relationship between the department and the community.

"It's sad to think that several seconds of video has the potential of tearing that apart, and I hope that is not the case," he said, later adding, "This badge and this uniform should mean that there's justice and fairness for all."

Register said he's known Abbott for many years and has known him to be an honorable man. The report from the internal review indicates that Abbott was trying to be sarcastic and to address the situation as he perceived it, Register said.

"He made a mistake," Register said. "I don't know what's in his heart but I certainly know what came out of his mouth. It's inexcusable."

Black community leaders applauded Register's quick action.

"Although we applaud them for their transparency in this regard, the officer's interjection of race into the stop was particularly troubling and may be systematic, a deeper issue in the department," said Deane Bonner of the Cobb County chapter of the NAACP.

"Police misconduct is not news," said Ben Williams, chairman of the Cobb County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "The real story here, in my opinion, is the behavior of this police chief in Cobb County, Georgia."

"To be here today and to stand with Chief Register as he pulls the shades up and exposes the sunrise here in Cobb County as that pertains to the conduct of the Cobb County Police Department, that's the news," he added.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.





Debra Cassens Weiss Aug-31-2017 109 0
The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an emergency order allowing out-of-state lawyers to practice in the state temporarily to provide pro bono assistance to Hurricane Harvey victims.

The order allows out-of-state lawyers in good standing to practice in Texas for six months in two situations, the Texas Bar Blog reports.

First, practice is allowed if the out-of-state lawyer is retained by a legal-aid or pro bono program or a bar association that provides services to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Second, lawyers licensed in other jurisdictions are allowed to practice in Texas if they are displaced from their home jurisdiction due to Hurricane Harvey and they practice in Texas remotely as if located in their home jurisdiction.

The Texas Supreme Court has also issued two other orders in response to Hurricane Harvey. One allows for changes in deadlines and procedures in courts affected by the disaster. The other suspends statutes of limitation in civil cases if claimants can show disastrous conditions from Harvey prevented timely filing.

Saundra Brown, the manager of the disaster response unit at Lone Star Legal Aid, says the need for legal assistance “is going to be huge,” Law.com (sub. req.) reports. Brown spoke with the ABA Journal about her group’s work.

Many lawyers with Lone Star Legal Aid are working remotely, while many senior managers are working in Texarkana. The group’s headquarters in Houston was damaged on Monday in an apparent explosion and fire.

Lawyers will be needed for disaster appeals with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help people secure temporary housing, to get money for home repairs, and to deal with insurance claims, Brown told the ABA Journal.

Out-of-state lawyers can help with the FEMA appeals, which are administrative in nature, Brown said. The group’s website is here. Additional help for legal aid and volunteer lawyers responding to disaster is at the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center.

The ABA Young Lawyers Division is running disaster legal aid hotlines for both Texas and Louisiana. The Texas 800 number is (800) 504-7030, and the Louisiana number is (800) 310-7029. The division’s Harvey relief web page has information on volunteer recruitment.

Andrew VanSingel is director of the YLD’s Disaster Legal Services Program, which has operated in some form since the early 1970s. He tells the ABA Journal in the podcast that he has been bombarded with emails from lawyers across the country who want to help Harvey victims.

Texas lawyers who want to volunteer will be referred to the State Bar of Texas, which has links to lawyer information here. Out-of-state lawyers without practice-area expertise or the time to handle cases may want to consider donating money to groups such as Lone Star Legal Aid, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, VanSingel said.

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Jan-15-2017 1586 0
In such a very short time, many are clearing their memories of how Donald Trump mocked a handicap individual, disrespected candidates, women, the media and anyone else who does not agree with him. Donald Trump has insulted women, called them by names other than their own, has disrespected President Obama and most recently insulted Civil Rights Icon, John Lewis. Despite his despicable behavior, many are of the mindset that we must meet with Donald Trump or risk being left out. Until Donald Trump proves this country wrong, I stand with the Honorable John Lewis.

Has Trump announced that he is cutting back major programs President Obama put in place specifically for black people? Some people are behaving as if Trump is now our savior and if we do not bow down to him he will not help us. If the problems in our communities were so bad and needed so much attention, why weren't people lined up the last 8 years to discuss these problems with President Obama?

Trump has succeeded in making people afraid and now some are living in fear. Trump said in his campaign speech that nothing had been done for the black communities in the last 8 years so what do we have to lose. Trump said he would change things and now people are saying we need to meet with Mr.Trump so that he can keep his promise. That alone really makes it appear as if President Obama did nothing for the black communities and Trump was right. Listen, we have to stop depending on the Government and do for ourselves. When you depend on a large machine like the Government it controls you. When something controls you it can destroy you.

Many of the colleges in Louisiana and throughout the U.S. are now dealing with financial issues because of the budget cuts. Most of the colleges are dependent on the Government to survive because of the little support from the communities and believe me that is a recipe for disaster. Have you ever wondered why Asians and other races are not lined up to meet with Trump? It's because they support their own businesses and circulate the dollars within their own communities so they are not as dependent on the Government. We don't need Trump. We need each other. You guys running behind Trump will make him look like the savior he say he is and as a result he will most certainly be in office for the next 8 years. This country is in the best shape it's ever been in for a very long time and will only get better because of the things President Obama put into place. The thing is, Donald Trump will get credit for it all. We will survive, especially if we begin to support each other.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Civil Rights Law, Sports and Entertainment, Litigation (Personal Injury and Commercial) and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl by email at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Sep-20-2016 878 0
One must applaud the efforts and courage of Colin Kaepernick despite all of the negative criticism he’s received from the media, from fans, from athletes, current and former, and from certain owners of professional teams. Some have questioned his sincerity and others have questioned his methods but what many have failed to do is take notice of his message. Kaepernick has voiced on a number of occasions the reason for his peaceful protest yet many have failed to comprehend it.

What Kaepernick has done for the Movement is sparked conversation but many do not want to listen. He used his platform to bring attention to the injustices that are occurring on a daily basis yet an unarmed black man was shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma while he held both hands in the air for the world to see.

One has to wonder if this would have occurred if there was more unity on the issues that Kaepernick brought to the forefront. One has to wonder if this would have happened if every professional athlete would have stood in solidarity. One has to wonder if this would have happened if Jerry Jones allowed his athletes to exercise their Constitutional rights. One has to wonder if this would have happened if all of the National Organizations would have issued press releases making their support of Kaepernick known to all. One has to wonder if this would have happened if the media was not so fast to label all police officers as heroes. One has to wonder if this would have happened if the officers who murdered Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile were in jail today.

Colin Kaepernick, did what many have accused athletes of not doing; he took a stance. He pledged One Million dollars to the cause but how many more came in support of his efforts? I would like to believe if more people would have come out in support of Colin Kaepernick, Mr. Crutcher would still be alive today. Colin Kaepernick took a knee and challenged everyone else to do so but instead of focusing on the message, people focused on the National Anthem. When the message is ignored the problems will persist. There is a National Stage. The time is now to bring a plan forward. Stop questioning his method and give him the support he needs. Two weeks ago, two young ladies were wrongfully arrested while eating at a Whataburger in San Antonio, Texas. A few days later, a 13 year old boy was shot multiple times by a police officer. On last week, the officer who killed Eric Garner received a bonus to bring his pay to $120,000. Now, we witnessed the shooting of an unarmed black man but there are those who still don’t get the message. Why? Colin Kaepernick has not received the full support he needs.

Colin Kaepernick took a knee but many have not been there to lift him up. This is not Colin’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem. If you can demand that people stand in solidarity during the playing of the National Anthem, you most certainly should demand that everyone stand in solidarity when there are injustices. Don’t leave it up to one person to do it all alone. We must up take a knee and move forward with a plan.

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


Daryl K. Washington Jul-14-2016 1173 0
I had the pleasure to witness four NBA superstars issuing a “Call to Action” to the thousands of athletes who were in attendance at the ESPY Awards. It was the moment I waited on for so long because I personally know the influence professional athletes have on society. They have the platform and the power to demand change. We saw the immediate change that occurred when athletes at Grambling State University, Missouri and the Los Angeles Clippers, to name a few, decided to take a stance. Athletes have the power, the platform and the support to make a difference but should they have to do it alone?

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

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

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

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

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Civil Rights Law, Sports and Entertainment, Litigation (Personal Injury and Commercial) and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl by email at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Jun-24-2016 1194 0
On yesterday the officer responsible for the incident in McKinney, Texas was not indicted for the assault on the young teenager that was seen all over the U.S. Also, on yesterday one of the officers in the Freddie Gray case was acquitted. As expected, my timeline on Facebook was flooded with posts from individuals talking about the injustices that take place throughout the U.S. One of my good friends, who is like a brother to me, even blamed attorneys for the injustices throughout the U.S. Generally, I do not comment on these type of issues but because it's Friday I would like to give everyone who this may apply to something to think about.

When is the last time you attended a judicial debate or even contacted an attorney to inquire about a judicial candidate or a DA to see if they had the proper temperament to serve? When is the last time you attended a rally or demanded that a DA present all of the evidence to the grand jury? When is the last time you took a day off from work to support the families who sons or daughters were wrongfully gunned down by a police officer? When is the last time you packed a courthouse to support a family you did not know? When is the last time you sent a letter to the family of a deceased offering your support, financially or emotionally? When is the last time you contacted your local city council member and asked them what they are doing to address the issue of police brutality and police misconduct?

I could go on and on with this but just know, the system will continue as is unless we become proactive and stop being so reactive. This system knows that people will get excited about an incident but once the media is gone, so is the support. As a Civil Rights attorney, I know who is putting it all on the line to bring about change. I know the people who are talking to the DA's, to the Chiefs of Police of various cities, to the city attorneys and others trying to save lives and/or bring about change. I know my friends who attend meetings when I'm in their cities trying to bring about change. It seems like an easy and at times, prestigious job but to be honest, it can be a lonely job. Many nights when most people are sleeping, I find myself in deep thoughts wondering if I could get the thousands of people I know to stand behind us in this fight, a major difference could be made.

Creating the wonderful posts on Facebook help bring attention to issues of injustice but we have to be consistent with our support. One million people strong can take a day off from work with very short notice to attend the CAVS victory parade but let a demonstration for the wrongful death of an unarmed black man or woman be planned and the hardest thing to do is get people to agree on a date or better yet, take off a day to show their support. I know many may not understand how deep this problem truly is but until you step out in the heat and show your support, you may want to stop some of the blaming. Just remember, there will not be change until we all change. Real support is needed to stop the injustices that are occurring throughout the U.S. Let's all come together to bring about a change in this country.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Civil Rights Law, Sports and Entertainment, Litigation (Personal Injury and Commercial) and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl by email at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Nov-11-2015 14175 0
For years the question whether college athletes should be paid has been debated over and over only to be kicked down by legal rulings. The NCAA, the television networks, the media and large colleges have all profited off of the backs of primarily Black athletes, while the only colleges that would accept them are being forced to shut down because of a lack of resources. College coaches are earning millions of dollars per season, have large endorsement deals and live in upscale neighborhoods while college athletes, many who come from low income families, are penalize for accepting a meal from a booster, can’t afford to take a date out to dinner or a movie and can only wish that their families could afford to sit in the stands occupied by many who will not speak to them or support them after their college careers are over.

I’ve said on numerous occasions that in order for there to be a change within the system, the ones with the power would have to do something drastic. Two years ago the Grambling State University football team decided to stage a protest because of the lack of equipment and the conditions of Grambling’s facilities. Although I hated to see it come down to that, I understood their frustrations and realized that we were witnessing the beginning of a new movement. The day had come for college athletes to realize that they have as much power as professional athletes, to demand change.

Two years later, the football players at the University of Missouri made a bold statement that will have an everlasting impact on college sports. They walked away from a game they love to support their fellow students. They have now shown athletes at other schools the power they have when they join together in solidarity. As a result, the NCAA’s biggest fear just came to reality. There was not going to be any change or progress at the University of Missouri until the individuals responsible for generating a large share of the revenue said “Enough is Enough.” Within a few days of their walk-out, President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, the top administrator of the Columbia campus, announced their resignation. That's power.

The NCAA has long made the issues with college athletes, a legal one. The NCAA created rules that prevent athletes from earning a living until after they’ve made everyone else rich. College athletes are required to sign over all of their rights in exchange for a scholarship and cannot earn one single dime to support a parent who is sometimes forced to work two jobs and in some cases still don't have the resources to attend a game. LSU’s superstar Leonard Fournette is being questioned about a business venture his family started before his college career really took off. Now that he’s signed away his rights, it’s being frowned upon by the individuals who were earn millions off of him. In other words, we the NCAA and LSU own his rights. The system is old, is broken and it’s unfair. Schools like LSU and Alabama earn over $70 million per year off of football but the players receive $0. The coaches earn over $3 million per season but the players earn $0.

I'm predicting that we are a season or two away from college athletes staging one of the largest boycotts in college sports because they have come to realize that the power is in their hands. The Missouri football players did not have to miss one single game to get what they demanded but the fight is far from over. Today, the students in Missouri are being faced with the harsh reality of the racist society we still live in. They should be preparing for exams but instead they are fearing for their lives. One hundred thousand fans will cheer on black athletes on Saturdays but many will criticize their efforts and make fun of them on Monday morning. I applaud the efforts of our college athletes. It makes me feel good to see that Our future generation will not stop fighting the fight that many started years ago. We can only pray that one day we will be able to take off the gloves. Until that time, the fight must go on so that the future generation can experience what Dr. King died for many years ago; True equality for everyone.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Civil Rights Law, Sports and Entertainment, Litigation (Personal Injury and Commercial) and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl by email at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
         User Submitted News
12
            Events Calendar 
 



Do you think enough is being done to combat the crime in Chicago?


Total Votes : 1457144

  0 %
No  100 %
Not sure  0 %
Yes  0 %
Attorney Signup
 

All Content ?2008-2013 Black Legal Issues  unless otherwise stated.