Wordless Wednesday – August 23, 2017

Former S.C. State Trooper Sean Groubert Sentenced For The Shooting Of Levar Jones

Levar Jones

In the comment section of this blog on the post written by towerflower titled We Want His Badge, we discussed the shooting of Levar Jones in Columbia, South Carolina on September 4, 2014.

On September 4, 2014, State Trooper Sean Groubert pulled into a gas station behind Levar Jones for a seat-belt violation.  He asked Levar for his license. Levar reached into his vehicle to get his license and Groubert shot him 4 times.

Sean Groubert was terminated from his job, and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.  The judge issued a $75,000 cash bond. Groubert remained in jail and in March 2016, he plead guilty.

The State reports that Groubert’s defense attorneys said that Groubert developed PTSD after an August 2012 car chase and shootout with a suspect. The disorder, which they say went undiagnosed, contributed to Groubert overreacting and shooting Levar Jones during the traffic stop in September 2014.

At his sentencing, prosecutors argued that while in jail, Groubert complained that black people in South Carolina “had a chip on their shoulder.” Read the rest of this entry

Dick Gregory Dead At Age 84

Born Richard Claxton Gregory on October 12, 1932 in St. Louis, he transitioned today at the age of 84.  There is no list that can pay due honor to his accomplishments and inspirations.

As a teenager, Dick Gregory earned a track scholarship to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale but his education was cut short when he was drafted in the U.S. Army in 1954.  His commanding officer noticed that Dick had a knack for joking, and Dick entered and won several military talent shows.  In 1956 after his discharge, Dick returned to the University but then dropped out saying that the university “didn’t want me to study, they wanted me to run.”

As a young man, Dick moved to Chicago and became part of a new generation of Black comedians along with Nipsey Russel.  They broke with stereotypical Black entertainers by drawing on current events, including racial issues.  As Dick Gregory said once, “Segregation is not all bad. Have you ever heard of a collision where the people in the back of the bus got hurt?”

Even with his talent, Dick Gregory did not give up his day job.  He worked for the U.S. Postal Service.  He attributed the launch of his career to Hugh Hefner.  Hefner saw Dick perform where he told the following;

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I understand there are a good many Southerners in the room tonight. I know the South very well. I spent twenty years there one night.

Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, “We don’t serve colored people here.” I said, “That’s all right. I don’t eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.”

Then these three white boys came up to me and said, “Boy, we’re giving you fair warning. Anything you do to that chicken, we’re gonna do to you.” So I put down my knife and fork, I picked up that chicken and I kissed it. Then I said, “Line up, boys!”

Hefner hired Dick Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club to replace “Professor” Irwin Corey. Read the rest of this entry

YOU’RE FIRED !!! Steve Bannon Gone From White House

America For America

your fired

Today Steven Bannon, The Chief Strategist for the President, was fired by the White House.

According to sources the departure of Steve Bannon was in the works for a few days but the thing that kicked it into high gear was after Bannon was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting President Trump on North Korea and asserting that he was able to make personnel changes at the State Department.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, Confirmed that Bannon was out but that it was a mutual decision between White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly and Bannon and issued the following statement.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,”

So now we sit back and wait to see if Bannon goes back…

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White Nationalist Organizers and James Alex Fields Sued for $3 Million

Tadrint and Micah Washington, the owners of the car struck in the protests held in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend, have filed a lawsuit in the Charlottesville, VA circuit court.

James Alex Fields He drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer

James Alex Fields has been arrested and charged with one count of second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death.  Fields was a participant in the “United the Right” demonstration organized by White Nationalists in Charlottesville, VA.

Fields allegedly drove his car into a group of counter-protesters.  At his appearance on Monday in court, Fields told Chief Judge Robert H. Downer Jr.  that he cannot afford a lawyer.   The 20-year old Fields has been assigned court appointed attorney Charles Weber.  Fields’ next court appearance is on August 25, 2017.  He is currently held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and was denied bond.

The Washington’s allege in court documents that they were driving home when Fields drove through a group of people, ramming their vehicle from the back injuring them.

The lawsuit names Fields, “Unite the Right” rally organizer Jason Kessler and about two dozen alt-right leaders and organizations as defendants. Read the rest of this entry

Wordless Wednesday – August 16, 2017

 

 

In Loving Memory of Heather Heyer, Killed by Self-Proclaimed White Supremacist

SUPABUTTERFLY

Heather Heyer, was killed when a Dodge Charger, allegedly driven by James Alex Fields, a self-identified white supremacist, plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters.  Heyer was attending an Alt-White Rally, protesting the removal of a confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.  She was a counter-protester when she was murdered. 20 others were severely injured. Heyer, was a paralegal at the The Miller Law Group, also in Charlottesville.  According to their website,

Heather Heyer is one of our Paralegals here at Miller Law Group and continues to be an irreplaceable asset to our firm. Heather was born and raised in the beautiful state of Virginia. Originally from Ruckersville, VA, Heather now resides here in Charlottesville.

After being struck, Heyer was transported to UVA Hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.

Virginia Governor Terry McAulife tweeted that Heyer:

“died standing up against hate & bigotry.”

The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old…

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Violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville

I hear David Duke say that the protests were to take “our” country back. Back from what? That question has not been answered.

The Secular Jurist

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Hours before a noon rally was set to begin Saturday, violent skirmishes broke out between bands of white supremacists and counterprotesters who have converged on this college town around the issue of a Confederate statue.

Men in combat gear, some wearing bicycle and motorcycle helmets and carrying clubs and sticks and makeshift shields fought each other in the downtown streets, with little apparent police interference. Both sides sprayed each other with chemical irritants and plastic bottles were hurled through the air.

A large contingent of Charlottesville and Virginia state police in riot gear were stationed on side streets and at nearby barricades but did nothing to break up the melee.

Continue reading:  Violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville

Further reading:  Who Are the Alt-Right Leaders Behind Virginia Rally?

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Good People Doing Good Things — Small Acts of Kindness And The Homeless Mayor!

These are heroes. Thanks so much for sharing these stories.

Filosofa's Word

This week I am shining the light, once again, on ordinary people who are giving of themselves and their time to help others.  Sometimes the smallest act of kindness, just something as simple as picking up a dropped object for an elderly person, or helping someone across the street, can make someone’s day a little brighter.

wed-help.png


Never Too Old For A Bike Ride …

Elderly people sometimes don’t get out and about as much as they might like.  Visual and mobility limitations may keep them from enjoying a walk in the park, or even just a trip to the grocery store.  Imagine the feelings of loneliness, or isolation that these people experience. And young people are often busy with their own lives, wrapped up in the drama of school, relationships, sports, etc.  But in Scotland, there is one young man who is helping bridge the gap between young and old…

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Family of Jeremy McDole Who Was Killed By Wilmington, Delaware Police Settles for $1.5 Million.

Hat tip to Black Freedom @Freedom4Blks on Twitter for reminding me about this case.  It inspired me to write this follow-up.

On September 26, 2015, I blogged on the shooting of Jeremy McDole in Wilmington, Delaware.  Jeremy was partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

Jeremy McDole

A call to 911 reported that Jeremy had wounded himself with a gun. Further investigation found that there was gunshot residue on Jeremy’s hands.  While wounded and confined to his wheelchair, Jeremy was shot by officers 16 times.

The arrival and subsequent actions by four police officers were caught on cell phone video. The video was considered in the investigation into the officers’ use of deadly force.

The video showed Jeremy McDole rubbing his knees as Senior Cpl. Joseph Dellose and three other officers – identified in the report as Senior Cpl. Danny Silva, Cpl. Thomas Lynch and Cpl. James MacColl, moved into the open, without cover.

The investigative report found that Dellose fired at Jeremy  approximately two seconds after initially ordering him to show his hands, creating uncertainty among other officers who, not knowing where the gunfire came from, also turned their weapons on McDole. Read the rest of this entry

A Huge Thank You, Changes, Embedding Videos From Youtube, and Open Discussion

Thanks to all followers new and old, and to visitors.

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident is approaching its fifth anniversary.  I’m working on changing the top menu to make it more convenient to find posts based on topic.  Since we’ve reported on so many trials, I might change themes so the top menu will have a pull-down section to see the names of defendants and/or victims.  The same is true for the border, particularly for documents.   I do hesitate changing the theme because we’ve had the same theme since this blog opened in 2012.  Let me know what you think.

We are following the bench trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley who killed Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Stockley was charged last year.  The judge has ordered no electronic communication devices, nor cameras in the courtroom. Read the rest of this entry

Trial Starts For Former St. Louis Officer Jason Stockley

Anthony Lamar Smith with his daughter

On December 20, 2011, 24-year old Anthony Lamar Smith was pulled over by St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on suspicion of making a drug deal. Anthony took off in a rented Buick.   Against policy, Stockley shot at the fleeing car.  Dash cam video shows that Anthony slowed down.  Stockley called for another officer to “hit” the car driven by Anthony, and that officer, Brian Bianchi, did just that.

Footage from three recordings obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows Stockley walking to Anthony’s rented Buick.  One recording was from a cell phone, and at least one other was from a store’s surveillance camera.

The impact of being hit by the police SUV resulted in the Buick’s side curtain air bags engaging, blocking part of the view from the dashboard’s camera.  Bianchi is seen reaching into the Buick with his gun still in its holster.  Stockley is seen with an AK=47, and his head is bobbing up and down as if he was lifting the curtain as well.

Stockley shot 5 times.  Officer Bianchi suddenly backed away as if he was not expecting the gunshots.

Backseat of police SUV where Jason Stockley’s personally owned AK-47 is seen on the right.

Stockley is seen taking his personal AK-47 back to his SUV and putting it into the backseat. Stockley then returned to the Buick that was driven by Anthony.  St. Louis Today reports that according to officials, Stockley was not authorized to carry the rifle, which he personally owned.

Inside dashcam recorded Stockley going into a duffle bag in the back seat, and subsequently leave the SUV with nothing in his hands. Read the rest of this entry

A Gigantic Step Backwards: Trump Bans Transsexuals from the Military on the Anniversary of Truman’s Desegregation of the Armed Forces

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Russian dissident Gary Kasparov said this on Twitter yesterday shortly after President Trump announced on the same platform that Transsexuals, even those currently serving honorably would not be allowed to serve in the military. Kasparov noted:

“The autocrat always requires enemies to protect his base from. If real enemies don’t exist, they will be created. Minorities preferred.”

Yesterday I was debating whether to write about President Harry Truman’s courageous decision sixty-nine years ago yesterday to desegregate the U.S. Military. I didn’t because first I have written about it before and I couldn’t come to a decision on how I wanted to approach it. So I wrote an article combining baseball that the principle of interiorizing public rules, norms, traditions, and behaviors that are necessary for our Republic to survive.

But this morning when I saw the series of three Trump tweets about excluding transsexuals from…

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Encouraging Music To Get You Through The Week

The song, Keep on Pushing, was written by Curtis Mayfield and originally recorded by the R&B group The Impressions.  It was released in 1964.   It is a song about perseverance and finding strength to get through tough times.

This song took on a new meaning for Mayfield after he was paralyzed in 1990 when a light tower fell on him during an outdoor performance in Brooklyn. In a 1997 interview, Mayfield said,   “I think my spirits are maybe even higher,” It’s like I died and woke up to see this wave of love from so many people I knew and people I didn’t know.”

Kirk Whalum brings a jazz version of the song. I hope it encourages those who need a lift-up.

 

 

No Third Re-trial for Ray Tensing. Feds To Decide Whether Civil Rights Investigation Is Warranted

The New York Times Reports:

After two mistrials, Prosecutor, Joseph T. Deters, said his decision to drop the charges against Ray Tensing is because he spoke to the jurors. Those jurors told him that a unanimous conviction was not possible.  Federal prosecutors will now review the evidence to consider whether a civil rights investigation is warranted.

For other posts on this case, please see;

Tensing’s first trial;

Tensing’s Re-trial

 

Harris County Deputy Sheriff Chauna Thompson Charged With Murder And Fired

Have you heard of 24-year-old John Hernandez?  What about Harris County Deputy Sheriff Chauna Thompson?

John Hernandez was at a Denny’s restaurant on May 28, 2017 in a town not far from Houston. Wait staff said he was celebrating his soccer team winning and was drunk, but he was not behaving belligerently.   Chauna Thompson was off-duty and had just left Denny’s with her husband, Terry Thompson, when John Hernandez came outside the restaurant and urinated while standing close to the Thompson’s vehicle.

Terry beat John who landed on the ground and then Terry proceeded to place John in a choke hold and got on John’s back.  Chauna, pinned down one of John’s arms.  His other armed was underneath him. On her knees, Chauna yelled at Hernandez to “stay the f— down.” Her husband said to Hernandez: “Do you want me to hit you again?”

John’s wife and daughter were inside of the restaurant as the confrontation was happening.  Hearing the commotion, they rushed outside.

John Hernandez

Melissa Trammell, a Denny’s employee, said she was standing next to John’s daughter and begged Terry Thompson to let go of John Hernandez. Hernandez “was kicking for his life, struggling. At first I thought it was legitimate,” Trammell told reporters after testifying before the grand jury. “He was just going to hold him down, whatever. When I seen the man turning purple, there was no letup. And [Thompson] looked me in my face and told me he’s not getting off him.”

After paramedics arrived, John Hernandez was rushed to the hospital.  Some witnesses say that it took paramedics 40 minutes to arrive.  John was brain dead, went into a coma and died three days later.

A by-stander filmed the incident.  He retained an attorney before turning the video over to the Sheriff’s office. Read the rest of this entry

Baltimore Detectives Caught Planting Drugs.

SUPABUTTERFLY

Original Article

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore officer has been suspended after defense attorneys released a body camera video they said shows the officer planting drugs.

The 90 seconds of footage has police investigating their own officers, but officials say there is more to this story than a short video clip showing officers planting drugs, CBS Baltimore reports.

Officials have since released more video to back up their claims as they continue to investigate these serious allegations.

The footage in a Baltimore alley is clear, as it was recorded on police body cameras, but the reason why the Baltimore police officer appears to be planting drugs is not.

What we think we see, and if you slow down the video especially in the first five seconds, the officer appearing to place a red can underneath some trash, push the fence up, and hide it,” said public defender Debbie Katz Levi.

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Senator Mccain Needs Our Prayers As He Has Brain Cancer

So sorry to hear this. I’m sending him positive thoughts and prayers.

Gronda Morin

Image result for pHOTOS OF JOHN MCCAIN

This is sad news. On a personal note, the type of brain cancer that Senator John MCain (R-AZ) has been diagnosed with, is very aggressive. The treatment usually includes both chemotherapy and radiation which can extend his life for about up to 2 more years. I know this because I had a very dear friend who passed away with this very same diagnosis.

He is a tough gentleman with a fighting spirit but there is no way to sugar coat his situation. This is going to be a rough road for him.

I personally have appreciated his strong stance against Russia.

Image result for pHOTOS OF JOHN MCCAINHere’s the rest of the story…

On July 19, 2017, the staff of the Washington Post posted the following sad report, “Sen. John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer.”

“The office for the 80-year-old McCain, the Republican nominee for president in 2008 and a U.S. senator representing Arizona since 1987…

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“We Fight for Men and Women Whose Poetry has Not Yet Been Written…” Remembering Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts 

I learned of the 54th Regiment by watching the movie “Glory.” It was so interesting that I then purchased a book about it. Thanks for this post.

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

When it learned that the Federal Government was recruiting African Americans, both free men and former slaves as soldiers the Confederate Congress issued this proclamation:

“Any negro taken in arms against the Confederacy will immediately be returned to a state of slavery. Any negro taken in Federal uniform will be summarily put to death. Any white officer taken in command of negro troops shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection and shall likewise be put to death.”

Those who doubt that the leaders of the Confederacy fought the war for any “state right” other than the maintenance and expansion of slavery needs to look at the actions and words of that racist republic.


One hundred and fifty-four years ago today one of those African American regiments went into action against the Confederate works at Battery Wagner, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The 54th was raised…

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Stories, Social Studies, and Another Film I Love

When my sister and I were in high school in the 60’s, we were required to read the book “Lord of the Flies” for social studies. Because she was 2 grades ahead of me, I always had the chance of helping her study and reading assigned books. I’m happy that I read Lord of the Flies before I had to read it.  That is because when a character in book named Piggy died, it saddened me.  I knew what to expect two years later when it was required reading for my social studies class.

Lord of the Flies is a novel written in 1954 by Nobel Prize winning English author William Golding.  In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British plane carrying school boys crashes on an uninhabited island. Only the boys survive.  They make a disastrous attempt to govern themselves.  Of the boys who tried to organize and form a democratic society and responsibility to help rescuers find them, only one survived to the end of the book.  He is alone as the other boys descend into savagery.

The book has an allegorical level, such as the human conflict with having rules as opposed to becoming savages to survive and how each person has the potential of both within them.

By the 1980’s and with the creation of VHS, some high schools began showing the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy” in their social studies class. Read the rest of this entry

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