Category Archives: Cases

Updates on Trials and More

John Hernandez

Hello good people.  I’ve been unable to follow trials and news daily to write blog posts about them.  As it stands now, I’m unsure if and when I’ll return to writing blog posts on a regular basis.  My last chemo treatment is scheduled for February, and then I’ll be on targeted immunotherapy for a year, so we’ll see how I’ll feel come March of next year.

There is much happeningand I wanted to bullet point some things. As and if time allows, I’ll post updates in the comment section below.   Feel free to do the same.

Terry Thompson and his wife Chauna were charged with murder for the May 28, 2017, choke-hold death of John Hernandez in Crosby, Texas.  Terry was put on trial in July 2018 and the jury hung.  His retrial began in October 2018.  The jury found Terry guilty and sentenced him to 25 years.  Chauna’s trial is scheduled to begin on March 26, 2019.  For background on this case, see this link.

 

Brennan Walker

Jeffrey Zeigler, who fired a shotgun at 14-year old Brennan Walker, has been sentenced to 4 to 10 years in prison.  A jury found Zeigler guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.  For background info on this case, click here.

 

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Amber Guyer Indicted On Murder Charges For Killing Botham Jean

Thanks for the update.
Guyer was originally charged with manslaughter. A grand jury has indicted her on murder.

THE LEON KWASI CHRONICLES

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George Zimmerman Pleads No Contest And Gets Probation On Stalking Charge

According to WFTV

George Zimmerman entered a no contest plea to resolve a misdemeanor charge of stalking a private investigator in the latest run-in with the law for the neighborhood watch leader who killed Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman will be placed on 12-month probation, during which time he is not allowed to possess a firearm.

Zimmerman entered the no contest plea in absentia, meaning he did not have to be present at the courthouse. Under such a plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt, and a conviction is withheld if the conditions of the plea are met.

 

When Political/Religious Violence Isn’t Called Terrorism.

Hello.  chuquestaquenumber1 here, sharing some thoughts about how authorities pick and choose who should be charged with committing acts of terrorism.

When people witness acts of violence like the Manchester concert attack, Pulse night club shooting, Charlie Hebdo attacks, etc, or attempted acts of violence such as the would be Times Square bomber, would be JFK fuel container bombers, etc., it’s called and classified terrorism. The perpetrators of these crimes received terrorist charges.

There is unfortunately, as all things in a system motivated by racism/white supremacy, not to call acts of political violence committed and said to be committed by white males, “terrorism”. Here are some recent and not so recent examples of what I speak of: Read the rest of this entry

72 hours in America: 3 hate-filled crimes. 3 hate-filled suspects. — WTVR.com

Three incidents in 72 hours shared one thing: hate.

Consider the past week in America.

Wednesday, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two African-Americans, seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a black church.

After mail bombs were being sent to people who’d been criticized by the President, a suspect was arrested Friday — a man who had railed against Democrats and minorities with hate-filled messages online.

And Saturday morning, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.

via 72 hours in America: 3 hate-filled crimes. 3 hate-filled suspects. — WTVR.com

Squirrel Hill, PA

ron stotyn's northof49blog

It is nearly a year since I have felt I could write again about terrorist attacks. The Squirrel Hill Massacre is an event that I cannot ignore in this blog. For any who for some reason do not know about this terror attack on US soil, know this: An American terrorist stormed a Jewish synagogue and executed 11 worshiping Jews in the midst of a naming ceremony. Police arrested the perpetrator who shouted words to the effect that all Jews must die. His crime has been termed Hate Crime by authorities. That is appropriate designation but I believe there is much more than hate crime in this event. More of my opinion about that comes below.

Before I continue with my comments about the Squirrel Hill murders, let me put some of my cards face up on the table. I am a former journalist and retired Associate Professor of Broadcasting…

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A 97-year-old, an elderly wife and husband: These are the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

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Thousands of people jammed an intersection amid light rain for a vigil Saturday evening for the victims of a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue earlier in the day. The gathering included prayers and singing in memory of those killed and wounded.(Oct. 27)
AP

The Jewish congregants were there to celebrate life, but were met by death. Most never had a chance.

Just before 10 a.m. Saturday, suspected gunman Robert Bowers, 46, burst into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and, yelling ?All Jews must die,? killed 11 before himself being wounded and taken into custody.

The list of those killed Saturday included middle-aged brothers, an elderly husband and wife and a grandmother nearing 100.

Many of them were there for a naming…

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Jeffrey Ziegler Who Shot At 14-Year Old Brennan Walker Found Guilty of Two Charges

In April 2018, in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, Brennan Walker missed his school bus.  His mom had taken his cell phone from him the night before, so he could not call or get a map to school.  He attempted to follow the path of the school bus but became lost.  He went to a house, rung the bell, and Jeffrey Ziegler grabbed a loaded shotgun.  Brennan ran, and Jeffrey took a shot at Brennan’s back.  Fortunately, he missed.

For more background on the case, see the post at this link.

Ziegler was charged with assault with intent to murder and felony firearms. The jury was given instructions on a lesser charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.  It took the jury three hours of deliberation to find Ziegler guilty of the lesser charge.  It carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.  Ziegler was also found guilty of possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony. which has a mandatory sentence of two years in prison. Read the rest of this entry

More Trials and Disciplinary Actions Pending For The Murder of Laquan McDonald

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery using a firearm in the 2014 death of Laquan McDonald.  However, Van Dyke still faces Administrative Disciplinary actions and other officers on the night that Laquan was murdered also face criminal charges or disciplinary actions.

When it is said that the verdict in the murder trial of Jason Van Dyke was a victory, it not only pertains to that verdict, but the pending criminal cases and disciplinary allegations against others who were present that night, or in charge of investigating.

Three others are facing criminal charges.

Five are facing disciplinary actions pending the completion of Van Dyke’s trial.

Three with pending administrative actions have retired.

Here is the list of what remains; Read the rest of this entry

Fred Hopkins Accused Shooter Of Six LEOs And Killer Of One, Arrested After 2 Hour Standoff

Fred Hopkins, killed one officer and wounded 6 others

On October 3, 2018 in South Carolina around 5pm, several police officers attempting to serve a search warrant showed up to the home of 74 yr old white male Frederick Hopkins. At this point Hopkins began to fire upon the officers and barricaded himself inside the house, using his children as hostages. During the chaotic shootout, 7 police officers were shot. One police officer, Terrence Carraway, an African American man who just celebrated 30 years as a Florence County police officer, was killed during the shootout.

After 2 hours which armored vehicles were called and ESU/SWAT officers were called, Fred Hopkins surrendered . Fred Hopkins is facing several charges.

AOL reports;

“Officers went there unknowing the firepower the suspect had,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said. “Fire was being shot all over. The way this suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards. So he had an advantage. The officers couldn’t get to the ones who were down.

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Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder of Laquan McDonald

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of Black, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.  You can click here to read more background on this case.

Van Dyke was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery; one for each bullet he sent into the 17-year old’s body. He was found not guilty of official misconduct.  Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years.  In Illinois, aggravated battery with a firearm carries a minimum sentence of 6 years, and a maximum penalty of 30 to 60 years.

While probation is allowed for second-degree murder, it is not allowed for the Class X felony of aggravated battery using a firearm.

Van Dyke took the witness stand on Tuesday, and on cross-examination was asked about a statement he made to his partner as they approached the shooting scene: “Oh my God, we’re going to have to shoot the guy.”

“I thought the officers were under attack,” Van Dyke said.

After the verdict, a woman juror said a changing point for many of the jurors was when it was revealed that Van Dyke said to his partner that they might have to shoot McDonald, even before they got out of their police vehicle. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago Police Jason Van Dyke On Trial For Killing Laquan McDonald

17-year old Laquan McDonald was killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014.  Van Dyke was not arrested until a judge set a date for the release of dash cam video.  That was in November 2015.

Van Dyke’s murder trial began the first week of September 2018 with jury selection.  Twelve jurors and 5 alternatives have been selected.  The jury consists of one Black woman, and two Blacks as alternatives.

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, the prosecution rested its case.  Van Dyke’s defense will now be presented to the jury.

Following the trial has been difficult for me due to personal matters, but I do plan on blogging the verdict.   Meanwhile, I have copied the post originally published in November 2015 because it contains background on what happened, including that without the intervention of Brandon Smith, an independent journalist,  Van Dyke might not have been charged.


Originally published in November 2015.

It’s not what Laquan did or did not do. Rather, it is what the Chicago Police Department did after officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan.

Brandon Smith’s introduction on The Guardian, says that he  is a Chicago-based independent journalist who, with the help of whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information Act, has reported on civil rights abuses, privatization of public assets, digital privacy concerns and pollution of land and water.”

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway talk to reporters Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, after a Cook County judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release a video of an officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Nov. 25, in Chicago. The video is said to show the officer shooting McDonald 16 times in October 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

“Independent journalist.” I like that title because it reflects a form of journalism that has almost gone the way of the dinosaur. It would be correct to replace “independent” with “investigative” in this matter, because what Brandon Smith did goes beyond reporting. Without the backing of a publication to finance his endeavors, Brandon Smith did not have to proceed at his own costs. Brandon worked along with another independent journalist, Jamie Kalven, and University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman. Because they are independent journalists, they aren’t often issued press credentials to attend press conferences and such.  In fact, he was not allowed to attend the press conference that discussed the release of video that came about due to his persistence and good work.

Had they not been independent and determined, we would not have the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Without the release of the video, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke would still be on paid desk duty; and his fictionalized report of what happened would be business as usual in cover-ups. Read the rest of this entry

The Dallas Police Officer who shot and Killed Botham Jean, Officially fired By Dallas PD

Thanks for this updated information.  I wonder if they received her toxicology report and that helped them make the decision?

THE LEON KWASI CHRONICLES

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Amber Guyger, the white woman Dallas, police officer who shot and killed 26-year Botham Jean, a seemingly law abiding citizen in his own apartment was officially fired by former police department.

After the shooting, Guyger, originally claimed that she some how confused, Mr.Jean’s apartment for her own, and claimed she shot him when he didn’t respond to her verbal commands.

According to some news outlets, some neighbors gave conflicting accounts to what they heard.

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, reportedly fired Amber Guyger after an internal investigation was concluded and determined the former Dallas police officer “engaged in adverse conduct’.

She has reportedly been charged with manslaughter in the death of, Jean.

For more information use the link below:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/amber-guyger-dallas-officer-fired-today-botham-jean-shooting-fired-2018-09-24/

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Ralph Elrod Who Threatened To Kill Black Neighbors, Killed Two Sheriff Deputies And Has Been Sentenced To Life

This case brought back memories of Kyle Dinkheller, whose murder also happened in the State of Georgia.  It also reminds me of discussions of how law enforcement treats suspects differently and gives reasonable inference that it is due to the color of their skin.  How often have we seen videos where law enforcement commands suspects to put their hands on the hood of the car, or lock their hands behind their heads, handcuff and search them before telling them they are under arrest?  Has America’s gun culture, stereotypes and bigotry, established that guns are only dangerous if and when on a Black suspect, as opposed to a White suspect?

Two Peach County, Georgia sheriff’s deputies might be alive today had they not given Ralph Stanley Elrod Jr. the benefit of the doubt that he would be arrested peacefully.  This is not to blame the sheriff deputies.  I can’t honestly say if Peach County Sheriffs treat all suspects in the same manner or not.  What I can say is that if law enforcement in other jurisdictions behaved in the same manner, then innocent lives would not have been taken.  Tamir Rice, Philando Castille, and Justine Damond, among others, come to mind.

There are too many cases of law enforcement officers being killed by Whites where major media barely makes a whisper and Blue Lives Matter reports a story that omits details about White cop-killers.

I did manage to dig up an article on Blue Lives Matter that mentions the cop-killer in this case. It is dated November 7, 2016.  It incorrectly reports that the deputies were “… immediately upon their arrival they were both shot without warning by Elrod.”   As the video in this post shows, the deputies were not “immediately” shot upon their arrival.  A deputy had a conversation with Elrod and was shot after telling Elrod that he was under arrest.  The  article also omits what the cop killer did that justified a 911 call.

In another article, Blue Lives Matter says in the headlines that one of the deputies was “ambushed.”   While the shooting was unexpected, the cop-killer was standing right in the deputy’s face, arguing with him.   Blue Lives Matter could not report what actually happened because in this case, a White man argued with a deputy sheriff, which goes against the stereotype that only Blacks argue with law enforcement.

The following is what happened that led to Ralph Elrod, Jr.  killing Peach County, Georgia sheriff’s deputies Patrick Sondron and Daryl Smallwood. Read the rest of this entry

Botham Jean

That this was treated as an officer involved shooting shows favoritism and double-standard. She was off-duty and should have been immediately charged the same as any other private citizen who killed a person.

Abagond

Botham Shem Jean (1991-2018) was an unarmed Black man killed in Dallas, Texas by an off-duty White police officer on September 6th 2018. The officer, Amber Guyger, entered his apartment and shot him dead. She says she thought it was her flat, that he was a burglar.

She says: She came home after working 15 hours and was still in uniform. When she tried to unlock the door it was partly open. She came in, saw a looming figure in the dark and gave “verbal commands”. When the figure did not obey, she shot two times. Only when she turned on the lights did she see that it was not her apartment. (The next-door neighbour did not hear any “verbal commands”.)

He says: …

Jean had a red welcome mat in front of his door – one the few doors with any kind of welcome mat. People who knew him…

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Police Officer Roy Oliver Found Guilty For the Murder of Jordan Edwards

Jordan Edwards

On the second day of deliberations, a Dallas jury found police officer Roy Oliver guilty of murder.  Oliver was found not guilty on two aggravated assault charges.

This was one heck of a trial.

Roy Oliver is the former Balch Springs, Texas officer charged with murder and two counts of aggravated battery by a public servant.  I first blogged about this case in May 2017 when Roy Oliver was charged for the April 29, 2017 incident.   His trial began on Thursday, August 16, 2018.

To summarize, Oliver and his partner were called about an under-aged drinking party.  However, no alcohol or drugs were found.  While in the house where the party was taking place, gunshots were heard outside.  (It was subsequently determined that the shots were unrelated to the party.)

Jordan Edwards, 15 years old, was at the party with friends and relatives.  When the police showed up, they decided to leave and went to the car.  They were trying to drive away when Oliver and his partner ran outside after hearing the gunshots.  Oliver used his service rifle and fired at least 5 shots into the car where Jordan was a passenger.  Jordan was shot in the head. Read the rest of this entry

Two Men Sentenced To Prison For Beating Of DeAndre Harris

On August 12, 2017, DeAndre Harris took part in a counter-protest against the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  He was physically assaulted by six White Supremacists in a parking garage and suffered extensive injuries, including broken ribs.   Photojournalist Zach D. Roberts witnessed the assault.

This is the same rally where James Alex Fields Jr. has been accused of driving a car into counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring others.  Fields has been charged by the State of Virginia and with federal charges and is awaiting trial.

Out of the four men arrested for malicious wounding of DeAndre, two have now been convicted and on August 23, 2018, sentenced to prison.  A third defendant, Daniel Patrick Borden, has plead guilty and awaits sentencing.   Tyler Watkins Davis awaits trial.  Read the rest of this entry

Michael Drejka Charged With Manslaughter For Killing Markeis McGlockton – Stand Your Ground Law

Markeis McGlockton

I saw the video for this case when it first happened, and also read that the Sheriff refused to arrest Michael Drejka because of Florida’s stand your ground law.  When I saw the video, it was my impression that the shooter was an elderly man.  Maybe it was his posture or the fact that he fell to the ground so easily.  It turns out that Drejka was 47-years old on July 19, 2018 when he shot and killed 28-year old Markeis McGlockton.

Here is the video.

 

 

Comments were quickly posted on Twitter protesting that Drejka was not arrested.  Thinking that an elderly man might be afraid of a younger man pushing him to the ground, I sighed at the thought that he could avoid arrest using stand your ground in his defense.  Then, I watched the video again and saw where Markeis’ girlfriend Britany Jacobs, was getting out of the car and Drejka was standing at the car’s door invading her space.  I wondered what he said to Britany that provoked Markeis to push him.   I sighed again, because Markeis is not alive to tell anyone what he heard and believed that provoked him to push Drejka out of Britany’s face.

Other thoughts came to mind, such as Drejka thinking he was entitled to approach and engage Britany for parking in a handicapped parking space.  How is it possible to provoke a  confrontation, verbal or physical, then claim self-defense when someone takes action to stop the confrontation?

On August 13, 2018, Michael Drejka was charged with manslaughter.  He is currently in jail on a $100k bond and is going to be appointed a public defender. Read the rest of this entry

Officer Who Choked Eric Garner Has Been Administratively Charged

(CNN)The New York police officer who choked Eric Garner in 2014 has been formally served with departmental charges, an NYPD spokesman said Saturday.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who wrapped his arm around Garner’s neck before the man complained he couldn’t breathe, was served with the charges Friday night, according to city officials.

Pantaleo is seen in video from the scene tackling Garner from behind using a department-banned chokehold. He now faces two separate charges — for use of a chokehold and for restricting the man’s breathing, said an NYPD official with knowledge of the investigation.

Pantaleo, who has remained on the NYPD payroll, faces punishment ranging from loss of vacation days to termination, officials said.

Pantaleo’s case will be prosecuted by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the city agency tasked with oversight of the police department, officials said. The CCRB substantiated allegations of misconduct against Pantaleo, police officials said.
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Jury Hangs In Trial For Man Who Killed John Hernandez With Choke Hold

John Hernandez

On July 24, 2017, I blogged about the strangling death of John Hernandez.  Two persons were charged; Terry Thompson and his wife, Harris County Deputy Sheriff Chauna Thompson.

To recap;

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.   Terry Thompson engaged John outside of the restaurant, who Thompson accused of urinating in public.  Thompson’s daughter called her mom, Chauna Thompson, who was off-duty.

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 arrived and 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?”

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.  Read the rest of this entry

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