Monthly Archives: December 2016

Oakland Street Violence Claims 3 Generations 3 Years Apart

By Associated Press


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A man who urged an end to violence in Oakland after gunfire killed his son and grandson as they slept three years ago became a victim himself this week as he drove near a street memorial for his slain family.

Melvin Johnson, 39, was shot and killed Tuesday on the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area city, not far from the shrine for his 16-month-old grandson and 20-year-old son, who were fatally shot in August 2013, The East Bay Times reported Thursday.

Police have made no arrests and released no motive for Johnson’s killing. They have not said if the shooting was random or if Johnson was targeted. He died at a hospital.

“In three years and four months, three generations of one family has been lost to gun violence in the streets of Oakland,” community activist Sherri-Lyn Miller, a friend of Johnson’s, told The Associated Press. “Melvin Johnson was a giant teddy bear, and the loss has not only devastated the Johnson family, but all that knew him.”

Johnson had moved his son, Andrew “Drew” Thomas, and grandson, Drew Leon Deon Jackson, to the central California city of Fresno to get them away from Oakland’s street violence, …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Rachel Dolezal Axed From North Carolina MLK Diversity Summit

By Clarissa Hamlin

Organizers for the Martin Luther King Jr. Dreamfest in Cary, North Carolina, recently back peddled on a decision to include former NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal in a panel discussion during the event in January, reports the News & Observer.

Rachel Dolezal, former @NAACP leader accused of lying about her race, won’t participate in #Cary MLK Dreamfest

— The News & Observer (@newsobserver) December 28, 2016

Town officials announced Wednesday that the disgraced ex-president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP will no longer participate in a panel on racial identity after a noticeably negative response from community members, writes the news outlet:

Jireh Management Group, who had booked Dolezal as part of Cary’s annual MLK celebration, decided to remove her from the panel at the urging of community members, Doug McRainey, Cary’s director of parks, recreation and cultural resources, said Wednesday.

“They made the decision about two weeks ago to remove her from the diversity summit, which we support,” McRainey said. “We had two focus group meetings with citizens and pastors, and I think the feeling was that her presence would take away from the goals of the …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Video Appears To Show Texas Police Shooting Man Walking Away



DALLAS (AP) — A police dashcam video released five months after a Texas officer shot a black man appears to show the man walking away as the officer fired, and the man’s lawyer says he was not a threat.

David Collie was shot in the back, leaving him paralyzed, lawyer Nate Washington said Wednesday. Police said at the time of the July encounter that a Fort Worth officer fired twice, striking Collie “once in the lower torso.”

The officer and a Tarrant County sheriff’s deputy with him were off-duty at the time and working a security detail at an apartment complex, Washington said.

Police were searching for two shirtless black men who they believed had committed a robbery near a gas station, Washington said. Authorities said in a news release they issued at the time that Collie pulled a box cutter from his pocket and pointed it at the officers.

Collie was charged with aggravated assault on a public servant but a grand jury declined to indict him.

Fort Worth police on Wednesday defended the actions of the officers, who they have not named. Sgt. Marc Povero said in a statement that Collie failed to comply with commands to …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Chicago Speeds Up Plan To Equip Officers With Body Cameras



CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago authorities say all police officers will be equipped with body cameras by the end of 2017, a year ahead of schedule.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says in a Wednesday statement announcing the speeded up schedule that body cameras “improve transparency while building trust.”

Scrutiny of police intensified after the release of a squad-car video last year ago showing a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. The Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation and Emanuel pledged sweeping reforms. The city launched its body-camera program in 2015 and expanded it following protest over the McDonald video.

Wednesday’s statement didn’t include costs or camera numbers. But police said in September that 2,000 body cameras were in use and that 5,000 more would be bought for around $8 million.

Like on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

(Photo Source: AP)

…read more

Source:: Black America Web

Bishop Eddie Long Returns To Pulpit Almost Unrecognizable



Bishop Eddie Long has returned to the pulpit of Georgia’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church after being away for weeks, but his gaunt appearance has social media expressing shock, concern and brimming with speculation on the state of his health.

Via Straight From the A:

Many speculated the about the state of Long’s health after he publicly announced he was on a “vegan diet.” He then stated he had been ill but had been healed by the grace of God.

Now, many are buzzing online about the pastor’s shockingly frail appearance.

Twitter has been ablaze with speculation about Long’s new look and many are referring to as “Karma” for what he allegedly did to those young boys many years ago.

Atlanta’s own Bishop Eddie Long looks unrecognizable in new photos. Many speculate a serious health issue, he says, “God has healed him”.

— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) December 28, 2016

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Long is suffering from something but both he and the church are keeping his ailment under wraps.

The blog also points to a YouTube video posted by New Birth on December 11, 2016, which shows Long looking “so …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Missing New Jersey Family Members Found Alive In Virginia

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A New Jersey woman and her 5-year-old great-granddaughter have been found alive in Virginia, days after disappearing on a holiday road trip and evidence suggests the two had become stranded in remote woods, authorities said.

The 71-year-old woman, Barbara Briley, was unconscious when she was found beside a tree with her great-granddaughter La’Myra Briley on Wednesday afternoon in an area of Dinwiddie County south of Richmond and at least a mile from a paved road, Virginia State Police said.

Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in a statement that the two were near their vehicle, parked on private property, where they were discovered by a man. Authorities said it appeared the two had been there for several days and had snacks and drinks to get by. The two had been the focus of a multistate search.

Barbara Briley was flown by helicopter to VCU Medical Center in Richmond where she was listed in serious condition, the statement said. Authorities said the child appeared unharmed and was taken for a medical evaluation before being reunited with relatives.

The property owner had spotted the car from a distance and when he went to check on it, he found the two nearby, authorities said. …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Ex-Black Soldier To Be First Military Execution In 50 Years

By Nigel Roberts

The federal government plans to execute a former solider after a judge lifted a stay of execution last week that stood for eight years, the Fayetteville Observer reports.

A Jury convicted Ronald Gray in 1988 of two murders and three rapes while stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The former Army cook also pleaded guilty to two other murders and five rapes in civilian courts. He’s on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Former Fort Bragg soldier Ronald Gray loses battle to keep court order in place blocking his execution

— Thus Spake (@thus_spake) December 26, 2016

During the legal battle, the Observer said Gray’s defense team has centered its appeal on the argument that the military court lacks jurisdiction to prosecute him. However, U.S. District Court Judge J. Thomas Marten, who has presided over the case since 2014, has consistently ruled that the defense has failed to prove that a legal error occurred.

President George W. Bush signed a warrant in 2008 that authorized Gray’s execution, which is required for military executions, according to CNN. If the military goes forward with its plans, Gray’s execution would be the first since …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Dylann Roof Won’t Work To Spare His Life In Church Massacre

By JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Dylann Roof told a judge Wednesday he doesn’t plan to call any witnesses or present evidence to ask a jury to spare his life for killing nine black worshippers at a Charleston church in a hate crime.

But there also is mystery evidence that Roof is working hard to make sure the public never sees in his federal death penalty trial.

Roof, who is acting as his own attorney in the penalty phase to prevent what he thinks would be further embarrassment to himself or his family, again was warned by U.S. Judge Richard Gergel at a hearing Wednesday that being his own lawyer was a bad idea.

“That’s your decision,” Gergel told Roof. “I think that highlights my advice to you that you aren’t served by being your own counsel.”

Gergel told Roof to talk to his grandfather, who is a lawyer, and other family members one last time. He told Roof he has until the start of the penalty phase Tuesday to change his mind and hire his high-powered, publicly funded defense team back.

The same jurors who convicted Roof earlier this month on 33 counts including hate crimes and obstruction of religion will return next week to …read more

Source:: Black America Web

The Amount Of People Shot Over The Holiday Weekend In Chicago Is Horrifying

By Sukii

Rally For Peace

Source: Timothy Hiatt / Getty

Chicago had a very violent Christmas this year.

Sixty one people were shot in the Windy City this holiday weekend and of those marked by gun violence, 11 died from their wounds.

Chicago Tribune reports:

Seven people were killed on Christmas Day alone, more than on the holiday the past three years combined. Three people were killed in 2015, one in 2014, and two in 2013.

This weekend’s total shootings beat out prior years by a lot. The site continues, “The number of people shot over the holiday weekend also sharply outpaced recent years. During the Christmas weekend in 2015, 29 people were shot and seven of them died. In 2014, when Christmas fell on a Thursday, the four-day weekend included 35 people shot and seven people killed, according to Tribune data.

This past weekend’s toll pushed the total number of people shot in Chicago this year to more than 4,300 and the number of homicides to around 770. Last year, there were 2,989 shooting victims and 492 homicides.”

According to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, most of the victims were targeted by gang members. He said of the escalating violence the day after Christmas, “The violence primarily occurred in areas with …read more

Source:: Black America Web

Nonprofit Leader Who Wrote Racist Michelle Obama Post Fired

By Associated Press


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia nonprofit group has fired its director after she wrote a Facebook post referring to first lady Michelle Obama as an “ape in heels.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office said Tuesday that Pamela Ramsey Taylor, executive director of the Clay County Development Corp., was removed following an agreement with the nonprofit’s board of directors.

Taylor’s racist social media comments were not directly mentioned as the reason. She had been placed initially on a six-week leave that was scheduled to end last Friday.

However, the state requested “specific assurances” the nonprofit is following anti-discrimination policies and has been assured Taylor is gone as director, Tomblin spokeswoman Jessica Tice said.

The Appalachian Area Agency on Aging will manage the nonprofit daily for six months while the Clay County organization makes any changes needed for compliance as a state contractor, Tice said.

The nonprofit provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County.

West Virginia’s Bureau of Senior Services and the Bureau for Medical Services have been reviewing the nonprofit’s state contracts following the furor. The state also asked for guarantees that Taylor had not discriminated against recipients of state services.

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling was criticized for responding to Taylor’s post: …read more

Source:: Black America Web