Published with Press This
Feb 4, 2016, 5:54 PM
Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums and made hits like “September,” ”Shining Star” and “Boogie Wonderland,” died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, his brother Verdine said.
White, who was 74, suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and had retreated from the public even as the band he founded kept performing.”My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” Verdine White, also a member of the band, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
“While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. Read the rest of this entry
By Yahtzeebutterfly, Guest Blogger
Desegregation of West End High School in Birmingham, AL was initiated in September of 1963. Patricia Marcus, shown in the following AP wire photo, was one of the two Black students enrolled there that September. The photograph is captioned with these words:
“Birmingham, ALA., Sept. 11—CAR WINDOW SMASHED—One of two Negro girl students who desegregated West End High School in Birmingham sits in car and is partially framed by broken auto window. A rock was hurled through the window as the Negro girls were leaving the school area after class this afternoon. (APWirephoto) 1963”
As I look at this September 11, 1963, photo of Patricia Marcus, I see a student who just wants to make it home safely after a thrown rock has shattered the window where she sits. Yet, at the same time, I see her in her eyes her strength and determination amidst what must have been hurt, anger, and shock. Associated with the hateful deed just committed against her is the Confederate flag in the left foreground. Historically that symbol has appeared, all too often, at the scenes where racial violence has been committed. All too often it announces the presence of hearts starved of compassion, open-mindedness, and understanding because of white supremacist indoctrination. Read the rest of this entry
February is Black History Month, and this year we are honored to have Yahtzeebutterfly as a guest blogger for the occasion. Yahtzeebutterfly loves history and collects historical documents and other items of black history interests.
By Yahtzeebutterfly, Guest Blogger
She had a great campaign slogan: UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED!
A presidential campaign leaflet tells of her beginnings as an articulate advocate for the rights of ALL with her direct experience of helping Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, Native Americans, and women, to name a few:
“As a student, schoolteacher, and child-care supervisor, Shirley Chisholm lived, and worked with the shunned, the ignored, the forgotten people of New York’s largest ghetto (Bedford-Stuyvesant).”
Barbara Mattio, of Idealisticrebel, has nominated We Hold These Truths/Blackbutterfly7 for the Dedicated Blogger Award 2016. In creating and nominating the award, she wrote:
“Blogging, some say, is losing ground on the Internet. Many people are now using Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram to convey their thoughts, leaving the more ‘old-fashioned’ blog behind.
But there are those who understand that, sometimes, a long form is best. Who know that it takes time, and craft, and WORDS as well as images to convey a thought, and to start a conversation.
This Award is dedicated to those bloggers who consistently provide wisdom, inspiration, kindness, gentleness and truth to the world through their blogs.
This is a my “thank you” to you. Please, pass it on!”
There are videos showing shootings that cause my mouth to fall open. They make me sad. Some have brought me to tears. Some have caused me to feel helpless. (Oh God! If I only had the power to resurrect the dead.)
There are no words to describe what I felt when watching the video of the killing of Noel Aguilar. The closest I can come to describing my feelings is when seeing photos of Nazi Germany officers nonchalantly shooting Jewish men, point blank. That was before my time. It was in another country. It was during war.
Noel was 23-years old. What happened to Noel is during my life-time. It happened in my country. There is a war between truth and lies. Certainly, if the truth is told, then just maybe citizens could sigh in relief that justice will be served. But, when there are lies to cover up murder, what can citizens do?
The ACLU of Southern California calls the video “chilling.”
It’s hard to watch, but we must watch. Noel deserves it. As chilling as it is, we must watch.
The backdrop of the story makes the video all the more chilling. It is usual to hear stories of officer involved shootings that allege that the suspect was armed with a gun. In some of those cases, it turns out that the suspect did have a gun. In some cases, it was a toy gun that the officer claimed not being distinguishable from a real gun. In some cases, the officer was at risk. In other cases, no gun was found. In some cases, a cell phone or keys were mistaken for guns. There are cases where officers or rent-a-cops mistook their guns for tazers. And then, there are cases where officers were simply angry, and used their weapon. Read the rest of this entry
Caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and all creatures great and small,
Have I told you lately that I love you? Here’s a hearty “THANK YOU” to all subscribers and a “howdy” added to new subscribers. Thanks for your support. This heartfelt thanks extends to those on Twitter and Facebook who post links to articles on this blog.
Rather than write separate posts for each story, here are some updates, and we can use this post for open discussion as well.
On November 20, 2014, 28-year-old Akai Gurley was coming down a stairway in a housing project in Brooklyn, when rookie cop Peter Liang fired a shot. It is said that the bullet ricocheted off a wall and hit Akai in his chest. Liang, neither his partner, provided Akai with medical assistance, and Akai died at the scene.
In February 2015, Liang was indicted by a grand jury. His trial began on Monday with opening statements. The trial is not livestreamed, but Wild About Trial is writing on the daily proceedings.
The 911 call reporting the shooting has been released. Read the rest of this entry
Now, if only the states would do the same.
Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama has announced a ban on solitary confinement in federal prisons for juveniles and as a punishment for low-level infractions. The practice leads to “heartbreaking results” and diminishes the chance of rehabilitation, Obama wrote on Monday in the Washington Post.
“The United States is a nation of second chances,” he said, “but the experience of solitary confinement too often undercuts that second chance.”
The President also called for an expansion in treatment for mentally ill prisoners and an extension of the time inmates in solitary can spend outside their cells, currently limited to about an hour a day.
These reforms are expected to affect some 10,000 federal inmates, about a 10th of the total number of U.S. prisoners held in solitary. They are part of more than 50 “guiding principles” recommended for all correctional facilities by the Department of Justice in a
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Caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and all creatures great and small;
Parts of the nation on the east coast are covered with snow. I heard that North Carolina is covered with ice. Here’s sending positive thoughts to the people that they are safe.
Other things are happening. Some are dealing with personal problems, health problems, financial problems. The video below is intended to encourage and lift-up. Even if it hurts now, smile. Worried? Smile. Overwhelmed with the cares of this world? Smile. Caterpillars do not change to butterflies without transformation.
No matter what path you walk, being positive and not allowing situations and others to take your joy is within your control.
I was just thinking yesterday that it’s been over 2 years since Shellie Zimmerman filed for divorce. Her infamous husband, George Zimmerman, killed unarmed, 17-year old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. He was acquitted in July 2013. Shellie filed for divorce in September 2013. A default judgment was entered in the case, but George obtained an attorney and asked that the case be reopened to divide assets and debts. The only possible asset was pending, and it was George’s suit against NBC.
Judge Debra Nelson, who also presided over George’s murder trial, dismissed his case against NBC. It went up on appeal and several months ago, the Appellate Court affirmed Judge Nelson’s ruling.
On December 10, 2015, after a month-long trial, Daniel Holtzclaw was found guilty on 18 on 36 counts, including 4 counts of first-degree rape while on duty. For further background, we reported it here.
Holtzclaw was a police officer in Oklahoma City. His sentencing was held today. Holtzclaw’s attorneys delayed sentencing for several hours by filing a motion for a new trial. The jury, who deliberated 45 hours, recommended 263 years for sentencing. Today, the judge denied Holtzclaw’s motion for a new trial, and entered the jury’s sentencing recommendation. Holtzclaw’s sentence will be served consecutively. Read the rest of this entry
This is a fantastic video showing how unconditional love makes nothing impossible
In Palm Beach County Florida, in October 2010, 17 –year old Jeremy Hutton took the keys to his parent’s van and took off in it. Jeremy has severe Down Syndrome. Jeremy’s mom called 911 and reported it. Deputies located and followed the van. Deputy Jason Franqui got out of his car and fired 6 times, hitting Jeremy with three bullets. Jeremy’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office for unjustified shooting. They are represented by attorney Stuart Kaplan, who stated;
“The deputy says, ‘I looked at him, he looked at me and made a sharp right turn and turned the vehicle towards me. That’s a lie.”
The Palm Beach County’s internal investigation and the state’s attorney found the deputy’s decision to use force was justified. Kaplan also stated that Jeremy, who has the mental capacity of a 6-year old, wasn’t a threat. Read the rest of this entry
Heard about this, and happy that you blogged it. Thanks.
attribution: Screenshot of MPR News Video
A St. Paul, Minnesota, police officer has been placed on leave after allegedly writing a Facebook post encouraging people to run over Black Lives Matter protestors. A “JM Roth” posted on the Facebook page of the Pioneer Press over the weekend with instructions on how to run over protesters planning a demonstration at the Lake Street-Marshall Avenue Bridge on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and get away with it. Minneapolis cop watcher Andrew Henderson brought the post to the attention of the St. Paul Police Department’s internal affairs division. A screenshot of the offensive post, along with what purports to be Henderson’s phone conversation with internal affairs, can be seen in the video below the fold.
City Pages, a local paper, first brought the story of the incident. According to the report, Henderson identified the Facebook user “JM Roth” as Jeff Rothecker based on previous…
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Juries, not judges, must decide whether ultimate penalty is justified. I am opposed to the killing of humans, and that includes the government sanctioned death penalty. Yesterday, Richard Wolf of USA Today reported that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that judges deciding on the death penalty rather than juries, is unconstitutional.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Florida’s system of letting judges, not juries, decide whether convicted criminals deserve the death penalty.
The 8-1 ruling is significant because Florida has about 400 prisoners on death row, second only to California — and unlike California, it conducts executions regularly. However, most of the state’s prisoners are not likely to be affected because their appeals have run out or their convictions were based on indisputable aggravating circumstances.
In Florida, judges can impose the death penalty even if the jury has not ruled unanimously or agreed on any aggravating circumstance. If the jury has issued a recommendation, the judge doesn’t have to follow it. No other state gives judges such discretion.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the decision for the nearly unanimous court, with Justice Samuel Alito dissenting.
“We hold this sentencing scheme unconstitutional,” Sotomayor said. “The 6th Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death. A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough.”
Alito disagreed, contending that past Supreme Court rulings allow judges to establish the facts leading to a death sentence. Even so, he said, “under the Florida system, the jury plays a critically important role.”
The case was brought before SCOTUS by Timothy Hurst, a death row prisoner in Florida. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that juries, not judges, must determine whether the necessary facts exist to justify a death sentence. In Hurst’s case, the jury voted 7 – 5, and it was not clear what the majority voted.
Robert McGee, former Mamou Police Chief, has been sentenced to one year and a day in prison, and one year of supervised release, for tasing a non-combatant inmate. The case is the result of a federal investigation that extended from the 2015 civil rights conviction of former Mamou Police Chief Gregory Dupuis for use of excessive force on inmates at the Mamou jail. McGee, who was elected Mamou police chief after the incident involving Dupuis, resigned his position as chief on Oct. 8, 2015, as a result of the federal investigation.
The incident that McGee was sentenced for occurred in 2010.
U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik Sr. sentenced McGee.
The federal bureau of investigation reports:
“According to evidence presented at McGee’s October 13, 2015 plea hearing, McGee went to the jail on Aug. 6, 2010, to deal with an inmate who had been verbally, but not physically, disruptive. McGee engaged the inmate in conversation as a second officer unlocked the cell. After the cell door was opened, McGee pointed his taser at the inmate and discharged his taser into the inmate’s chest and abdomen area, even though the inmate was compliant and made no aggressive moves toward the officers or any other person. The five-second electric shock caused the inmate to fall against the wall of the cell and experience physical pain. At his plea hearing, McGee admitted that he knew at the time that his actions were unlawful. “
If you or someone you know is a resident of the State of California as of October 27, 2015, and had a Twitter account on or before November 2009, you might want to know the following.
Twitter has been sued, and agreed to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that it violated user’s privacy rights by disclosing the full names provided by users without warning. The lawsuit also alleges that Twitter shared users’ public tweets and public profile information with third parties without providing adequate disclosure, and by failing to adequately inform its users that their tweets would be public by default.
The class action lawsuit was filed by a former Twitter user who opened an account in September 2009. The plaintiff, known as Jane Doe, alleges breach of contract, invasion of privacy, wrongful publication of private facts, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, misappropriate, and violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the Online Privacy Protection Act, and the Unfair Competition Law. The lawsuit is captioned Jane Doe v. Twitter Inc., et al., Case No. CGC-10-503630, and is filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco. Read the rest of this entry
William G. Porter was the first of the Baltimore 6 to be tried in the death of Freddie Gray. Judge Barry G. Williams declared a mistrial because the jury hung on all four charges.
The Baltimore Sun reports that legal experts say the information on how the jury voted is critical to understanding the process now playing out as prosecutors and Porter’s defense attorneys prepare for his scheduled retrial in June. The information also could help shape legal strategies in the pending cases against the other five police officers charged in Gray’s April arrest and death.
A gag order prevents prosecutors and defense attorneys from discussing the case,but one juror agreed to be interviewed. That one juror said that some were driven to tears during deliberations.
The anonymous juror said that the jury changed their votes multiple times during deliberations. For instance, a few more jurors wanted to convict Porter of manslaughter at the start of deliberations but changed their minds.
The jury consisted of 4 black women, 3 black men, 3 white women, and 2 white men. The only juror identified is Susan Elgin, an attorney.
The six police officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death have all pleaded not guilty. Four have been suspended without pay; the other two who only face misdemeanors are suspended with pay.
Dom, your words not only express your talent, but the power in which you use them.
Round and round the story goes
One that’s as old as time
Where it stops nobody knows
Causing tensions to climb
These 50 odd years since civil rights
Have made so little change
Hatred between black and white
Festers like the mange
Fear of lynching may have passed
But fear exists no less
While walking the street they’re still harassed
No matter how finely dressed
Ask Sandra Bland or Michael Brown
Oh wait they cannot speak
Too many names buried in the ground
The future seems so bleak
Justify and deny all you wish
Your blindness it won’t erase
200 years by chains and switch
Like animals kept in place
Nothing has changed in modern day
Ask Eric, Tamir or Trayvon
It matters not what any of us say
Because either way they’re gone
~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~
The city had resisted releasing the police shooting video of Cedrick Chatman for months.
Using Press This;
CHICAGO — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the public release of video footage that shows the 2013 fatal shooting by Chicago police of an unarmed 17-year-old African-American man.
The move by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman comes the day after attorneys for the city, who had vigorously fought for months to keep the footage private, dropped their objection to the video’s release.
The decision on the video, which is evidence in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city and two police officers for the 2013 death of Cedrick Chatman, comes as the Chicago Police Department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are facing mounting criticism over the use of force by the city’s police.
The city has been embroiled in weeks of protests following the court-ordered release of police video in November that showed the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder on the same day of the video’s release, 400 days after the incident.
After the McDonald video’s release, Emanuel said the city would strive for greater transparency as it tried to balance the public’s interest in disclosure with the importance of protecting the integrity of investigations. Read the rest of this entry