Monthly Archives: January 2016

NAACP Spearheads Plan To Help Water Crisis

By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Chief among the priorities national and local NAACP leaders listed Tuesday for the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint is the repeal of Michigan’s emergency manager law, which they view as a contributor to the public health emergency.

The “15-point priority plan,” which the NAACP drew up with Flint residents, was the focus of a community meeting and was discussed at a closed-door, evening meeting with Gov. Rick Snyder, National NAACP President and Chief Executive Cornell Brooks and other officials.

The plan also calls for the distribution of bottled water to households to be steered from National Guard members to Flint youth who would be paid minimum wage, as well as free home inspections to determine the extent of damage to the plumbing caused by lead that leached from aging city pipes.

Brooks, head of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, told reporters after the meeting that it was a “frank” and “forthright conversation.” He said the Republican governor discussed state efforts and listened to the proposals, which include creating a victims’ fund. Brooks added that Snyder’s regret for what has happened in Flint appears “genuine.”

“We had a very robust conversation about specific reforms: a need for economic development, a …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Cleveland Police Fire Six Officers Involved In Shooting Unarmed Couple In Car

By KANTELE FRANKO, Associated Press

Cleveland officials said Tuesday they’re firing six police officers involved in a 137-shot barrage that killed two unarmed black people after a high-speed chase.

Those officers included Michael Brelo, a patrolman acquitted of manslaughter charges in May for having fired the last 15 shots of the barrage in East Cleveland on Nov. 29, 2012. The chase began when officers standing outside police headquarters mistook the sound of a beat-up Chevrolet Malibu backfiring as a gunshot.

Six more officers who fired during the barrage face suspensions ranging from 21 to 30 days, said Public Safety Director Michael McGrath, the former police chief. A total of 13 officers had been notified they faced administrative discipline, and one of them has retired, McGrath said.

The president of Cleveland’s largest police union, Steve Loomis, vowed to fight the discipline and said grievances appealing the firings were filed with the city Tuesday. He described the firings as unbelievable, unprecedented and politically motivated.

“It’s tragic that it went down this way, but at the end of the day, two people high on crack cocaine, high on marijuana, one of them intoxicated, made the decisions that they made and we responded to them,” Loomis said. “And we responded within our training.”

The …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Stay Informed: 6 Things You Need To Know About The Zika Virus

By Desire Thompson

Explaining the Zika Virus

The Zika virus has the potential to become the biggest mosquito-borne disease to hit the global community since the West Nile virus. On Monday, the World Health Organization announced the virus, which causes serious birth defects, has officially spread to over 20 countries in North and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

The seemingly mild flu-like virus was discovered in monkeys in Uganda back in 1947, according to the BBC. The name ‘Zika’ stems from the African forest in which it was discovered. From there, Zika spread to Pakistan and Indonesia, eventually making its way to Brazil in 2014, where it has since affected the most people. Zika’s biggest threat is to unborn children and causes the birth defect microcephaly: abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development. A total of 3,893 suspected cases of microcephaly have been documented in Brazil since October.

The virus travels through Aedes mosquitos, which are common in all nations in the Western Hemisphere with the exception of Canada and Chile.

There is no known cure, but many countries, including the United States, are taking drastic measures to ensure the safety of its citizens. Here are six things you need …read more

Source:: News One

Deputy Shot 5 Times in Drug Raid, New Orleans Police Say

By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press BILL FULLER, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy working with federal drug agents to serve a warrant at a Lower 9th Ward home was shot five times by someone inside and was in critical condition Tuesday, New Orleans police said.

Deputy Stephen Arnold was the only person injured, and he underwent surgery for two hours, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said.

A suspect was taken into custody and two other men who were inside were being questioned, police spokesman Garry Flot said. The suspect’s name hasn’t been released.

One of Arnold’s wounds was in the neck, and it will be 48 hours before it’s clear whether he has neurological damage, Norman said. “We’re praying, praying, praying,” he said.

Arnold was working with the Drug Enforcement Administration, officials said. When law enforcement entered the house to serve the warrant, one person inside opened fire shortly after 6 a.m., Deputy Chief Paul M. Noel told reporters at the scene — in an area that abuts the levee protecting the neighborhood from the Mississippi River. The Lower 9th Ward saw some of the city’s worst devastation from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Eight drug task force teams had gone out to conduct raids Tuesday morning, said Special Agent Debbie Webber, …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Officer Indicted For Using Taser on City Official in Texas

By JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a police officer after he used a stun gun on a City Council member while arresting him in a small, predominantly black Texas college town, authorities said Monday.

Prairie View officer Michael Kelley was indicted Friday for official oppression, a misdemeanor, said E. Rivera, chief investigator for the Waller County District Attorney’s Office.

Kelley’s attorney, Roger Bridgwater, said the officer “was shocked” by the indictment and that Kelley plans to plead not guilty. Kelley was expected to turn himself in to authorities within the next 24 hours and a judge has already set his bond at $3,000, Bridgwater said.

Police said the incident began last October when they questioned four men outside Prairie View City Council Member Jonathan Miller‘s apartment about suspicious activity in the neighborhood and Miller intervened. Video from police and from one of Miller’s friends showed Kelley using a Taser on Miller when he didn’t follow police commands. Miller and a female officer also at the scene are both black while Kelley is white.

Miller, 26, who didn’t immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment on Monday, has previously told reporters he was vouching for his friends during the incident and …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Interim Missouri Chancellor Rebuffs Calls to Fire Professor Amid Racial Tensions

By JIM SUHR, Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An interim chancellor on Monday rebuffed demands for the ouster of an assistant University of Missouri professor that have been rekindled in the wake of her being criminally charged for a campus run-in with student journalists during protests.

Hank Foley, who oversees the four-school system’s campus in Columbia, said the university “must allow due process to play out” and will not rush when it comes to determining Melissa Click’s future at the school, including a decision on tenure.

“For those of you calling for hasty action, I say that we have good, strong processes in place,” Foley said at a news conference.

Click, 45, was charged with misdemeanor assault earlier Monday. The assistant communications professor faces up to 15 days in jail and a fine up to $300 if convicted. The charge is related to a confrontation she had with a student photographer and a student videographer in November during protests over what some saw as indifference to racial issues.

Click called for “some muscle” to help remove the videographer, Mark Schierbecker, from the protest area on the Columbia campus. Schierbecker’s video of the run-in went viral, and he complained to university police.

The confrontation came the same day the …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Is Pastor Creflo Dollar Getting A Highway Named In His Honor?

By Krystal Franklin,

If at first you can’t get a jet, a highway must be next on the list.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

A proposal in the state Senate would dedicate a portion of Old National Highway in South Fulton County as the new “Creflo Dollar Highway,” a nod to the prosperity preacher’s influence as what the proposal calls “a world-renowned Bible teacher, a sought-after conference speaker and a best-selling author, with hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs in distribution worldwide.”

Officially filed as Senate Resolution 805 and sponsored by state Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta, the proposal on Monday got assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee, which over the course of the next several weeks will consider dozens of local road-naming requests as part of regular business at the state Capitol.

Dollar made headlines last year when he and other leaders in World Changers Church International in College Park launched and then dropped a campaign that asked followers to pony up $65 million for a top-of-the-line luxury Gulfstream G-650 jet. It’s an airplane generally reserved for world leaders, the top crop of business executives and billionaires.

Dollar’s church, whose dome is a College Park landmark, is in James’ district. And her recent road-naming track-record is pretty …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Saved By Stars: 8 Black Celebrities Who Are Real-Life Heroes

By Desire Thompson

T.I. at Triumph Awards 2015

Jamie Foxx’s brave act of kindness this month week taught us the award-winning actor possesses heroic abilities – even off-camera.

Foxx helped save the life of a man whose car crashed and burned near his home on Monday evening. After pulling 32-year-old Brett Kyle out of the vehicle, Foxx waited for paramedics on the scene. The next day, he shared a touching moment with Kyle’s father, who thanked him for saving his son’s life.

There are plenty of heroes who walk among us–even if technically they’re on the red carpet. Check out some stories about Hollywood’s unlikely heroes below.

T.I. Saves Two Suicidal Men & Woman In Car Crash

Rapper and actor extraordinaire Clifford “T.I.” Harris has saved lives on a few occasions. His superman moment came in Oct. 2010, when he talked a man out of committing suicide. The …read more

Source:: News One

Former Prosecutor To Lead Investigation Into Flint’s Water Crisis

By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s attorney general named a former prosecutor on Monday to spearhead an investigation into the process that left Flint’s drinking water tainted with lead, though Democrats questioned whether the special counsel would be impartial.

Republican Bill Schuette said Todd Flood, a former assistant prosecutor for Wayne County, which includes Detroit, will lead the probe and be joined by Andy Arena, a retired head of Detroit’s FBI office.

Schuette said the two would play key roles in the investigation and prevent conflicts of interest since the attorney general’s office also defends the state. Both will report to Schuette, who promised they would provide an “experienced and independent review of all the facts and circumstances.”

He dismissed any concerns about Flood, who is now in private practice and has donated to candidates from both parties, including Schuette.

“I don’t care who he (Flood) has given money to, Republican (or) Democrat. It doesn’t matter,” Schuette said. “This is about conducting a thorough, exhaustive, complete investigation. That’s what we’re doing.”

It is unclear at this point if the probe could result in criminal or civil charges. The investigation could focus on whether environmental laws were broken or if there was official misconduct in the process …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Trial Of New York Police Officer In Stairwell Shooting Begins With 911 Call

By TOM HAYS, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A friend of an unarmed man who was shot by a rookie New York Police Department officer in a darkened housing project stairwell can be heard wailing in the background on a recording of a 911 call that was played publicly for the first time Monday at the officer’s manslaughter trial.

“He’s not breathing!” the friend, Melissa Butler, yelled as the caller stood nearby and relayed a medic’s phone instructions for CPR on the night of Nov. 20, 2014.

The recording also captured a brief exchange between the caller, a resident who heard the shot, and defendant Peter Liang and his partner. The uniformed officers appeared while Butler — her hands covered in blood — was frantically trying to save the life of Akai Gurley. But they never offered any assistance as they descended the stairwell, Melissa Lopez told a Brooklyn jury.

Liang “didn’t do nothing,” Lopez said.

Prosecutors sought to use the tape and Lopez’s testimony on the first day of Liang’s trial to show that, along with recklessly firing his weapon, he callously ignored his duty to aid his victim.

“A police officer — this police officer — shot an innocent person . and he never even knelt down …read more

Source:: Black America Web