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Second Officer Gets Off in Freddy Gray Death

On the surface, at least – it seems to be the same old story. I thought the “unlawful arrest” part would have won a conviction, at least for that. Which would have led to an administrative penalty. Don’t see the evidence that this guy was any more than the arresting officer.

Officer in Freddie Gray case found not guilty on all counts

Officer Edward Nero of the Baltimore police department was found not guilty Monday on all counts over the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man.

Nero had faced assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges. Prosecutors said the 30-year-old unlawfully arrested Gray without probable cause and was negligent when he didn’t buckle the prisoner into a seat belt.

Nero opted for a bench trial rather than a jury trial.

After the verdict was read, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a statement saying that Nero is still expected to face an administrative review by the city’s police department. The mayor seemed to once again refer back to and warn against the violent unrest the gripped the city immediately following Gray’s death.

“We once again ask the citizens to be patient and to allow the entire process to come to a conclusion,” Rawlings-Blake said. “In the case of any disturbance in the city, we are prepared to respond. We will protect our neighborhoods, our businesses and the people of our city.”

Gray died April 19, 2015, a week after his neck was broken in the back of a police transport van while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained by a seat belt.

His death set off more than a week of protests followed by looting, rioting and arson that prompted a citywide curfew. His name became a rallying cry in the growing national conversation about the treatment of black men by police officers.

Shortly after Gray’s death, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six officers. Three of them are black; Nero and two others are white.

Nero’s attorney argued that his client didn’t arrest Gray and that it is the police van driver’s responsibility to buckle in detainees. The defense argued that the officers who responded that day acted responsibly, and called witnesses to bolster their argument that any reasonable officer in Nero’s position would have made the same decisions.

The defense also sought to convince the judge that the department’s order requiring that all inmates be strapped in is more suggestion than rule because officers are expected to act with discretion based on the circumstances of each situation.

Nero is the second officer to stand trial. Officer William Porter’s manslaughter trial ended with a hung jury.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Republicans and Kiddies

Think the States with the “Bathroom Bills” would be better off banning Republicans from being around small children. For real cases of molesation, it takes the right wing fanatics.

Former Georgia GOP county chairman arrested for molesting children as young as 4-years-old

Joseph Russell Dendy via Cobb County Sheriff's Dept.

The former chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party was taken into custody on Friday after being accused of molesting a several children, including one boy who was only 4-years-old at the time.

Joseph Russell Dendy, 71, was arrested at his home and charged with aggravated child molestation and child molestation, both felonies, for incidents dating back to 2007, reports AJC.com.

According to police, Dendy is also wanted by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan, as well as the Laurens Police Department in South Carolina based upon sexual abuse accusations in those states.

Police documents state that Dendy allegedly molested two boys, ages 4 and 12, in  separate incidents at his home. One of Dendy’s accusers, now 20, went to the authorities and stated that  he was molested in 2007 or 2008, when he was 12 or 13 years old. The second victim said Dendy molested him in December 2011.

Dendy served two, two-year terms as leader of the Cobb GOP before stepping down last year.

The former Republican leader is currently being held in the

Two Tennessee ministers caught seeking underage girls for sex in sting operation

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that two of the men caught in a sting operation to catch people seeking underage prostitutes were ministers of local churches.

Knoxville’s Jason Kennedy, 46, was a minister at Grace Baptist Church in Karns, but he wasn’t fired until after the charges were revealed by the TBI, according to WBIR.

“Jason was a guy that talked so much about his wife and how much he loved her, and she talked about how she loved him and their three children. I mean, they were a great family,” Senior Pastor Ron Stewart said about the alleged child pedophile.

“The actions of the children’s pastor for which he has been arrested were part of his life outside the church,” the church said in a statement. “We have received no questions or concerns related to his conduct within the church or its ministries.”

Kennedy was one of 32 people arrested in a Knoxville human trafficking operation. He responded to ads soliciting sex for an hour with two prostitutes under the age of 18. One of the girls was 15-years-old.

“We are praying for his family and will continue to provide the services of our ministry to them,” the church said.

Zubin Parakh, 32, is the pastor at LifeHouse Church, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. The church lists him as the “creative pastor.” He was arrested along with Kennedy at the Best Western in Knoxville.

 

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Travelling While Black

Had a funny situation happen some years ago on a flight from LAX to DC.  Used a few miles to upgrade into First, as I was a bit wiped out from a fast turnaround and long set of meetings as I had flown in on the late flight the previous night. Got stuck in the Window seat, which is rarely my preference. An attractive white, apparently housewife age woman who also looked a bit tired sat next to me in the aisle seat. Said hello, and laid back to read my book. Wound up snoozing off about an hour into the flight. I was awakened by the feeling of weight upon my shoulder and arm. She had fallen asleep, and not only had her head on my shoulder, but arms wrapped around my left arm on the seat rest. Couldn’t see waking her up to tell her to move, so I laid my head back and continued to read. Just before landing she woke up to find herself in that position, at which point she apologized. Told her, it was OK, and not to worry about it. A couple of tired business travelers.

To be honest, I have never really experienced the following. Or, more likely if I did, I just ignored it. I have frequently swapped seats on a crowded flight so that families could sit together. I have run into people who wanted to have a conversation, and those who prefer their solitude. Respect both types.

Photos via Etan Thomas Facebook

Ex-NBA star Etan Thomas busts racist woman for only letting whites sit next to her on train

A popular ex-NBA player and celebrated poet/activist took to Facebook to describe one of the indignities that black men face everyday, as a white woman refused to let him sit next to her on a crowded train — only to give the seat to a white man moments later.

According to Etan Thomas — who played most of his 9-year career with the Washington Wizards before going on to become an accomplished poet and speaker on the responsibilities of fatherhood  — got on a local train recently.  Seeing few seats available, he asked a young white woman if he could take the empty seat next to her.

“I ask this lady if I could sit next to her (very politely and I soften my voice as to not frighten her) and she says someone is sitting here,” he wrote. “So I go to the next seat. Now, less than 2 mins later a man (who happens to be white) asks if he can sit there and she says why sure let me move my stuff.”

That was when he confronted her.

“I ask ummmmm did you just not want ME to sit next to you ? Were you scared ? Not comfortable with a Black Man sitting next to you?” he explained. “And she says lol smh don’t pull the race card stuff with me I dated a Black guy in college.”

The man who had taken the seat grew uncomfortable listening to conversation and offered to move, leading Thomas to say it was okay, but then Thomas told the woman that he was going to take a picture to share with the world — and things took a turn, but in an unexpected way.

“So then she says did you just take a pic of me? Well I’m going to tell the conductor that you’re over here illegally taking pics of ppl without their consent,” he recounted. “So the conductor came up and said hey Etan Thomas love what you’re doing in the community loved you with the Wizards big Cuse fan man the Knicks sure could use you …. And I said was there something you wanted to tell my man?”

According to Thomas, “And she rolled her eyes smh some ppl I tell ya.”

Below is the picture Thomas took of the woman –and the man who took the seat, but obviously wanted no part in what happened afterward.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Big Money Republican Donors Desert Trump

A Presidential race i today’s terms costs about $1 billion. Much of that money comes from the uber-rich. When that group bails on a candidate, life in terms of television ads and door-to-door campaigning gets tough. It seems that some of the big money players – the guys whop drop $10 or more million have headed out the door on the Drumph…

The bad news for the Drumph (and good news for the country) is that the presumptive nominee, Hillary already has a strong organization in place. Further – Drumph is worth only a small fraction of the $10 billion he claims, and by evidence released recently has avoided paying any taxes.

Several Big Republican Donors Refuse to Contribute to Trump’s Candidacy

Donald Trump may have sealed the peace with the Republican Party and a few of those who once criticized him. Yet his ability to raise $1 billion before November is in doubt, as several powerful donors who have given tens of millions to the GOP over the years refuse to get behind Trump’s presidential candidacy. The New York Timesgot in touch with 50 of the GOP’s largest donors or their representatives and found “a measure of contempt and distrust toward their own party’s nominee that is unheard of in modern presidential politics.” More than a dozen of them flat out refuse to back Trump.

Some of those who are refusing to back Trump will surely come around. Others, however, speak in terms that make it clear they want nothing to do with the real estate mogul and reality television star. “If it is Trump vs. Clinton,” hedge fund manager William Oberndorf said, “I will be voting for Hillary.” He’s hardly alone. “He’s an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard,” investor Michael K. Vlock said.

The resistance from the megarich may be a sign that Trump could very well become the first Republican presidential candidate to be outspent by a Democrat in decades. Some, however, are vowing to stand by Trump. One of them is Foster Friess, who sent an email to the Hill on Saturday explaining his reasoning for supporting the presumptive nominee. “I believe that as Republicans continue to unite behind Donald Trump, he’ll become an even better candidate,” he said.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

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Democrat Senator Lays Out Republican Racism

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia too to the floor of the Senate a few days ago and exposed the reason Republicans are holding up the appointment of Merrick Garland by President Obama to the Supreme Court.

Kaine: Race an Issue in Opposition to Obama Supreme Court Nominee

Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) said Wednesday that race may be a factor as to why President Obama is facing opposition in the Senate regarding his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow asked Kaine, a potential running mate for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, if the Senate is delaying the nomination process due to a fundamental disrespect for Obama.

“I think that’s a very serious concern. The rationale that the Republicans use, ‘We want to wait until the next president and let the people decide,’ is what we call in civil rights, and I used to try civil rights cases, a complete pretext. That’s not the way it’s been done in the past,” Kaine said.

“There’s a lot of concern that this president’s nominee has been given second-class treatment, not because of the nominee but because of the character of the president himself and that is very painful for people to contemplate about the nation’s first African-American president, that they wouldn’t pay him the respect of having a hearing and having a vote on a nominee in the way they’ve done with other presidents.”

Maddow re-raised the issue of race, asking whether or not it is linked to the resistance Obama is facing from Republicans and the conservative movement over picking Garland.

“Raising the issue of this being the first African-American president, that issue of legitimacy, do you think that is the through line that explains the way Republicans and the conservative movement have treated President Obama? Do you think fundamentally it is about race, that there’s a racial element to the resistance to him that people should be more explicit in discussing?” Maddow asked.

“There is an attack on his legitimacy that I think is just fundamentally different than what’s come before,” Kaine said.

 

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Cops Tase, Sic Police Dog on Restrained Man – Man Wins Lawsuit

At some point the City Mayors, councils and elected figures have to be held into account for this.

WATCH: Cops hold man down and sic K-9 on him after beating him — for dancing in a parking lot

A Washington man has settled a lawsuit with the city of Tukwila after police officers assaulted him following a complaint that he was dancing in an industrial parking lot, reports the Seattle Times.

The city will pay Linson Tara $100,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed after the officers used Tasers, their fists and then a police dog on him while he was being restrained.

Tara was facing three counts of fourth-degree assault on police officers, but those charges were dropped when dash cam video showed one of the officers holding Tara on the hood of the police cruiser while his partner used a Taser on him.

Tara can then be seen being thrown to the ground with the two cops piled on him as one punched him repeatedly while the other held him down.

During the entire altercation a police dog is heard frantically barking and appears on screen after being released from the cruiser where it proceeds to attack Tara as he is restrained.

One officer can be heard telling Tara, “Put your hands behind your back and I’ll take the dog off.”

Tara was later transported to a local hospital treated for injuries that included dog bites.

In  the police report, officers Brent Frank and Mike Boehmer stated that they had been called to the parking lot after receiving a report that Tara was “walking around, yelling and dancing.”

According to the lawsuit, the officers used excessive force, noting that by the time Tara was rolled over he appeared to be unconscious.

The lawsuit also challenged the the city’s policy of allowing police dogs to bite suspects as a “pain compliance” technique.

The department previously found the officers’ use of force, including the deployment of the K-9, to be within their guidelines.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Reparations for “War on Drugs”?

The so called “War on Drugs” has devastated certain black communities i America. It has resulted in the highest incarceration rate in the world, and ruined the lives of millions of young people. When every statistical analysis in the last 30 years has shown that whites are 6 times more likely to use, carry, and smuggle drugs – the only way where you can get to a situation here black kids are 6-8 times more likely to be arrested and charged is intentional. And that isn’t even getting into the issue of different sentences for chemically identical “crack” cocaine and powder cocaine leading to significantly longer prison terms for crack, which happens to be predominately the form of cocaine used by the poor and black folks.

Reparations for the Drug War. Seriously.

While the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana are big steps in ending a serious racial injustice, what about those already punished by the inequitable system?

As marijuana legalization expands across the U.S., the war on drugs inches closer to its long-awaited end. Hanging in the balance: those arrested or incarcerated for the drug, casualties of a war that’s been overwhelmingly waged in communities of color.

It’s one that, despite marijuana being legal in more than half the nation, is far from over. According to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety and Health, there was a 58 percent increase in marijuana arrests among black adolescents from 2012-2014. Among white adolescents, during the same time frame, arrests dropped eight percent.

While the federal government works to stop lawmakers from impeding on the freedoms of citizens in states where pot is legal, Oakland, California is looking to fix the damage that’s already done.

This week the city—known for uprooting the status quo—introduced a groundbreaking measure that’s been deemed “drug war reparations.”

Known officially as the “Equity Permit Program” it’s an ordinance that allocates half of its dispensary permits to people who’ve served time for marijuana violations in the last ten years, or lived in one of several zones with the highest number of arrests for the drug.

Written by councilwoman Desley Brooks, the equity program—at its core—is shattering the notion that marijuana violators are criminals. Instead, it offers them a front row ticket to a billion dollar industry fueled by the drug that once put them behind bars.

Social justice activists, while enthused by the idea, say the ordinance has problems—some of which, like a lack of financial assistance, may hinder the applicant’s ability to succeed. But its issues aside, the ordinance is nothing short of revolutionary, a piece of legislation which suggests that those struck down by pot should be the first its legalization lifts up. Oakland’s unanimous vote of approval is, if nothing else, a sign that those who’ve suffered from prohibition may soon be getting a green payback…Read The Rest Here

 

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