Street Sandra Bland Stopped On Renamed In Her Honor

Prairie View City Council members in Texas are hoping a road renamed after activist Sandra Bland will serve as a constant reminder of the injustices they say she suffered in Waller County, USA Today reports.

City officials are also hopeful that the road, which leads to Bland's alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, will also encourage law enforcement to make better choices and always follow best practices when making stops on University Drive, which will become Sandra Bland Parkway for three to five years before the council votes on the matter again.

“I am overwhelmed, and I am just truly thankful to the city of Prairie View,” Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland's mother, said in a press conference here after the decision to rename the road.

“This is the first step, the very first step,” Reed-Veal said. “There's still so much more that needs to be done.”

Bland, 28, was stopped on the same road July 10 for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. When Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia felt his power threatened by Bland's wit and matter-of-fact tone, he arrested her on a charge of assaulting a public servant.

She was found hanging in her jail cell three days after her arrest, a death that has been ruled a suicide but is also being treated like a murder investigation. According to CNN, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating Sandra's death.

“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”

Mathis said the case would go to a grand jury.

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60 Years After His Horrific Murder, Emmitt Till Is Remembered And Celebrated

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Sixty years after a black Chicago teenager was killed for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi, relatives and civil rights activists are holding church services and movie screenings to remember Emmett Till.

They're also trying to continue the legacy of his late mother, Mamie Till Mobley, who worked with young people and encouraged them to challenge injustice in their everyday lives. It's a message that Deborah Watts, a distant cousin of Till's, sees as relevant amid the killings in recent years of young black men such as Trayvon Martin in Florida and Tamir Rice in Ohio.

Watts, of Minneapolis, was a toddler when Till was killed. She said that as she grew up, she spoke often with Mobley about Till.

“It was her motivation to turn his death into something positive,” Watts said Thursday in Jackson.

The 14-year-old Till was visiting relatives in the cotton country of the Mississippi Delta on Aug. 24, 1955, when witnesses said he violated the Jim Crow social code by whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman working behind the counter of a store in the tiny town of Money.

On Aug. 28, he was kidnapped from his uncle's home a few miles away. On Aug. 31, his body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River, with a bullet hole in his head and severe cuts on his face. Barbed wire was wrapped around his neck and he was weighted down with a cotton gin fan.

Till's mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago, and Jet magazine published photos of his corpse. The brutality sparked outrage that galvanized the civil rights movement.

In September 1955, an all-white, all-male jury in Sumner, Mississippi, acquitted the two white men charged in the slaying — J.W. Milam and his half brother, Roy Bryant, the husband of Carolyn Bryant.

On Friday in ...read more

Obama To New Orleans: ‘You Inspire Me, And America’

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Visiting residents on tidy porch stoops and sampling the fried chicken at a corner restaurant, President Barack Obama held out the people of New Orleans on Thursday as an extraordinary example of renewal and resilience 10 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

“There's something in you guys that is just irrepressible,” Obama told hundreds of residents assembled at a bustling new community center in an area of the Lower 9th Ward that was once under 17 feet of water. “The people of New Orleans didn't just inspire me, you inspired all of America.”

He held out the city's comeback as a metaphor for what's happening all across a nation that has moved from economic crisis to higher ground.

“Look at what's happened here,” he declared, speaking of a transformed American city that was once “dark and underwater.”

Still, Obama acknowledged that much remains to be done. And after walking door to door in the historic Treme section of a city reborn from tragedy, he cautioned that “just because the housing is nice doesn't mean our job is done.”

Areas of the city still suffer from high poverty, he said, and young people still take the wrong path.

There is more to be done to confront “structural inequities that existed long before the storm happened,” he added.

In his remarks at the community center, Obama blended the same themes of resilience and renewal that he drew from encounters with the sturdy residents he met along Magic Street and at other locations.

Leah Chase, the 92-year-old proprietor of Dooky Chase's Restaurant, was one of those to chat with Obama. She pronounced herself a fan of the man, saying he'd handled “a rough road.”

Chase — who's known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine” — said, “That's all you have to do: handle what's handed to ...read more

Rox. residents to Baker admin: We’re busy Sept. 8. Voting!

Roxbury voters objected to the Governor's economic development listening session tour date in Roxbury, which coincides with the Sept. 8 preliminary voting for City Council. ...read more

Accused Bank Robber Says He Committed Crime To Pay For Daughter’s Chemotherapy Treatments

A 23-year-old father says desperation led him to rob a Michigan bank so he could pay for his daughter's chemotherapy treatments.

Brian Randolph was arrested Aug. 14 for allegedly robbing a bank two days before. Randolph entered Vibe Credit Union in South Lyon, Michigan, on Aug. 12 and passed a note to the teller demanding $20,000. He warned the teller he had a gun, although he did not. Randolph made off with $8,100 in cash, ABC News reports.

After he was caught, Randolph told law enforcement he committed the crime to pay for his one-year-old daughter's chemotherapy treatments.

His daughter is battling retinoblastoma, a form of cancer that develops in the eye. Randolph's girlfriend, Asia Dupree, told reporters their daughter gets chemo treatment for her cancer every four weeks. After Randolph's insurance dropped him, his family said he took matters into his own hands.

“I guess it was desperation. Time was ticking right before her appointment came up,” Dupree told WXYZ-TV.

Lt. Chris Sovik of the South Lyon Police Department said he's having a hard time believing the claims, since Randolph was apprehended by the police while in possession of newly purchased high-priced items.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

Randolph was arrested after authorities began tailing him and pulled him over in Detroit on Aug. 14. In the car, authorities found a Gucci bag with clothing and accessories, the new shirts and clothes, and new tennis shoes in his size in the front seat. “If that is the case,” Sovik added, referring to the reports of cancer, “I can certainly understand. You want to do everything you can to protect your daughter. But there are lots of fathers whose daughters have cancer as well, and you don't see them out there robbing banks all the time.”

Randolph is currently ...read more

Shots Fired On Texas Southern University Campus; One In Critical Condition [VIDEO]

Police are investigating a mysterious shooting on the campus property of Texas Southern University.

ABC 13 reports:

The shooting happened on Blodgett Street around 8:30pm in the parking lot of an apartment complex owned by the university.

According to TSU Vice President Eva Pickens, the victim was rushed in critical condition to a nearby hospital. A suspect is in police custody.

Pickens says they're still trying to figure out what exactly happened and whether anyone involved is a student.

The campus was not placed on a lock down because officials believe it was an isolated incident, Pickens said.

Watch below:

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(Photo/Video Source: ABC 13)

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A Tale Of Two Cities – Soledad O’Brien Talks Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary

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Soledad O'Brien is everywhere, you ain't never there. That's a Jay-Z lyric, but it seems appropriate for the enterprising reporter who manages to be everywhere the news is made. So the on-air murders of a Virginia news reporter and her cameraman truly hit home.

“This was just a horrific case of a guy who was armed and had a terrible history of HR,” O'Brien says. “I don't know if that's something you can protect against. They were so young. They were really just ambushed by a deranged and awful person. It's just terrible.”

This year's 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which she covered for CNN at the time, is another reminder that life is precious and it can be changed in seconds. O'Brien covered much of the storm in knee-boots, telling the stories of a flooded city and the devastation the storm left behind.

“Personally it made me realize what the actual roots of what reporting was. I felt like we were really providing a service for the people of New Orleans, for the people in the rest of the country, for CNN globally. I felt like this is exactly what reporters are supposed to be. You're supposed to be grilling people, pushing them, holding people accountable, connecting families that are lost,” O'Brien said. “It helped me realize that reporting can be all of those things. Did I help humanity, if even for a moment.”

While it was a banner moment for O'Brien's career, she found a kinship with the people of New Orleans. The Long Island native says that people think she's now from the city.

‘I grew up in a place where people said ‘Who are you' and ‘You're not really from here, are you' to a place where people wanted to make you a part of their family ...read more

Troubled And Angry Man Behind On-Air Killings In Virginia

Long before he filmed himself gunning down a TV reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast Wednesday, the man identified as the killer traced a twisted and volatile career path that saw him fired from at least two stations for conflicts with co-workers, leaving memories of an “off-kilter” loner easily angered by office humor.

When the shooter, identified by authorities as Vester Lee Flanagan II, was fired from Roanoke, Virginia, station WDBJ in 2013, he had to be escorted out of the building by local police “because he was not going to leave willingly or under his own free will,” the station's former news director, Dan Dennison, said in an interview with a Hawaii station, Hawaii News Now (KHNL/KGMB).

Flanagan, 41, had “a long series of complaints against co-workers nearly from the beginning of employment at the TV station,” said Dennison, now an official with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. “All of these allegations were deemed to be unfounded.” Though the claims were along racial lines, he said, “we did a thorough investigation and could find no evidence that anyone had racially discriminated against this man.” The victims of Wednesday's shooting — reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27 — were white; Flanagan was black.

Hours after he shot his former co-workers then posted video of the attack to his Facebook page, Flanagan crashed a vehicle and shot himself. He died at a hospital later Wednesday, authorities said.

The conflict described by Dennison in many ways echoed another, in 2000, when Flanagan was fired from a Tallahassee, Florida, television station after threatening fellow employees, a former supervisor said.

Flanagan “was a good on-air performer, a pretty good reporter and then things started getting a little strange with him,” Don Shafer, the former news director of Florida's WTWC-TV said Wednesday in ...read more

Civil Rights Activist Amelia Boynton Robinson Dies at 104

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Amelia Boynton Robinson, a civil rights activist who nearly died while helping lead the “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march in 1965, championed voting rights for blacks and was the first black woman to run for Congress in Alabama, died early Wednesday at age 104, her son Bruce Boynton said.

Boynton Robinson was among those beaten during the voting rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in March 1965 that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” State troopers teargased and clubbed the marchers as they tried to cross the bridge. A newspaper photo showing Boynton Robinson, who had been beaten unconscious, drew wide attention to the movement.

Fifty years later, Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, pushed her across the span in a wheelchair during a commemoration.

Boynton Robinson, who was hospitalized in July after having a major stroke, turned 104 on Aug. 18. Her son said she had been living in Tuskegee and was hospitalized in Montgomery. Boynton Robinson's family said in a written statement that she was surrounded by relatives and friends when she died around 2:20 a.m.

In January, Boynton Robinson attended the State of the Union address as a special guest of Democratic Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, who said Boynton's 1964 run for Congress paved the way for her. Sewell is Alabama's first elected black congresswoman. Boynton was the first woman to run on a Democratic ticket in Alabama and the first black woman to run for Congress in the state, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

“Mrs. Boynton Robinson suffered grave injustices on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma at the hands of state troopers on Bloody Sunday, yet she refused to be intimidated,” Sewell said in January. “She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, my colleague Rep. John Lewis and ...read more

White House Jumper Fatally Shot In Pennsylvania Court After Stabbing Deputy

A man who tried to illegally enter the White House in March was killed Tuesday after stabbing a sheriff in court, CNN reports.

Curtis Smith, 34, entered the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester, Pennsylvania armed with a knife. Witnesses claim Smith was focused on a sheriff deputy as he bypassed security. Screaming “I'm going to get you,” Smith slashed at the sheriff. Another deputy shot Smith after the attack. He was administered CPR, but was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Smith was previously on police radar for climbing an outer White House fence in March. The suspect, who happened to be one of three jumpers in that month alone, told police he wanted to send a message to President Barack Obama. He signed a release that he would not return to the area.

West Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan released a statement on the condition of the wounded deputy.

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