Sandra Bland’s Family Sues State Trooper, Wants Answers

HOUSTON (AP) — The family of a black woman found dead in a Texas jail three days after a confrontation with a white state trooper filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Tuesday against the officer and other officials, saying it was a last resort after being unable to get enough information about the case.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Chicago-area woman, was found dead in her Waller County jail cell in Hempstead on July 13. Her family and others have criticized Trooper Brian Encinia, who stopped Bland for failing to signal a lane change. Video of the stop shows the confrontation quickly escalated after Encinia asked Bland to put out her cigarette.

“This family's motivation is that they don't want to see this sort of thing happen again to another family,” attorney Cannon Lambert said during a news conference in Houston.

Lambert expressed dismay that Encinia remains on administrative leave rather than being fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The trooper, on the force for just over a year, has been placed on administrative leave for violating unspecified police procedures and the department's courtesy policy.

“We are asking for bold, decisive action,” he added. “The fact that it hasn't happened yet is a frustrating thing.”

Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, holding a Bible during the news conference, said the events that led to her daughter's death began with an unwarranted traffic stop.

“The bottom line is she never should have been inside the jail cell. Period,” she said.

Lambert called on the Department of Justice to launch its own investigation, saying the case needs a fresh and unbiased look. He said information the family has received from law enforcement has been inconsistent, which raises concerns about what has and hasn't been given to them.

County and state officials have released findings of an autopsy, surveillance video showing Bland being ...read more

The Origins of Ferguson Movement – A Year Later

A year ago, most Americans had never heard of the St. Louis suburb called Ferguson. But after a white police officer fatally shot a black 18-year-old in the street, the name of the middle-class community became virtually a household word. From the first hours after Michael Brown‘s death, Associated Press reporter Jim Salter watched as a neighborhood protest launched a national movement. What follows is an excerpt of the introduction to “Deadly Force: Fatal Confrontations with Police,” an upcoming book published by The Associated Press (www.ap.org/books).
ST. LOUIS (AP) — EDITOR'S NOTE — A year ago, most Americans had never heard of the St. Louis suburb called Ferguson. But after a white police officer fatally shot a black 18-year-old in the street, the name of the middle-class community became virtually a household word. From the first hours after Michael Brown's death, Associated Press reporter Jim Salter watched as a neighborhood protest launched a national movement. What follows is an excerpt of the introduction to “Deadly Force: Fatal Confrontations with Police,” an upcoming book published by The Associated Press (www.ap.org/books ).

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Until August 2014, Ferguson, Missouri, wasn't the kind of place that generated much news. It was a mostly quiet suburban town of 21,000, a mix of beautiful old homes and working-class neighborhoods. Like a lot of communities in north St. Louis County, it had seen significant white flight and was now two-thirds African-American.

My wife's grandmother lived in Ferguson until she died in 1991, so I spent some time there as a young man. But since joining the St. Louis office of The Associated Press in 1993, I had never been to Ferguson as a reporter.

On Aug. 9, I returned home from a bike ride to learn that a young black man had been fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer. ...read more

POSITIVE NEWS! W.K. Kellogg Foundation Donates $4.7 Million To Benefit Young Men Of Color

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is donating $4.7 million to eight organizations in New Orleans and two coalitions in Mississippi devoted to uplifting young men and boys of color.

The grants will ensure that men and boys of color are receiving better opportunities for advancement, and will also aid in closing racial disparities in each respective area. The Mississippi coalitions will evenly divide $2 million over the next two years to tackle the school-to-prison pipeline issue.

...read more

Husband of Restaurateur B. Smith Talks About Their New Memoir &Her Ongoing Battle With Alzheimers

PLAY AUDIO https://ioneblackamericaweb.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/080415jr.mp3

Jacque Reid talks to the Dan Gasby, the husband of lifestyle expert and restaurateur B. Smith. The two are writing Before I Forget, a memoir that will chronicle B's battle with Alzheimers.

“It's never easy when you see someone gradually change or do things that they once did so easily. But we set out to make a difference. Sweetie is doing good, but I'm not going to sit hear and sugar coat things. My wife was literally a woman that could do everything. The great thing about her is that she made so many things look effortless,” Gasby said.

Click the link above to hear the entire interview.

    ...read more

    Baltimore Partners With Federal Agencies To Combat Homicides

    BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police and civic leaders launched a partnership Monday with five federal agencies that will embed their special agents with city homicide detectives, bidding to quell an upswing in homicides and other violent crime in that city.

    Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was joined by State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Acting Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, and U.S. representatives Barbara Mikulski, among others, to announce the start of the Baltimore Federal Homicide Task Force.

    “We have doubled down on our commitment to focus on repeat violent offenders, and that's what we continue to do in a more collaborative and intentional way,” Rawlings-Blake said. “We are increasing the resources, we are increasing the collaboration and increasing the partnership at all levels. This is our next step in our all-hands-on-deck approach to decreasing violence.”

    The partnership is embedding two special agents from each of the five crime-fighting federal agencies on the streets with homicide detectives for the next 60 days. The agencies are the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    The homicide rate in Baltimore began to skyrocket in May, when the city saw 42 homicides in a single month. There was a brief dip in June, with 29 killings, however the number shot up again in July, breaking a 43-year record. The uptick comes after rioting in the spring over the death of Freddie Gray, the black man critically injured in police custody.

    For several years “American cities have not seen an uptick in homicides we're seeing in 2015,” Davis, the acting police commissioner, said Monday. “Now we're back at the table, and our cities are looking at Baltimore. They want to know what Baltimore's going to do about it.”

    Davis had said Sunday that more people are arming themselves on the streets, and that ...read more

    Bobbi Kristina Laid To Rest In New Jersey Next To Her Mother, Whitney Houston

    WESTFIELD, N.J. (AP) — Family and friends gathered at a cemetery Monday to pay their final respects to Bobbi Kristina Brown as she was buried next to her mother, singer Whitney Houston.

    Police closed the road into Fairview Cemetery for the private ceremony. Outside the cemetery, well-wishers gathered to wave to the motorcade and hold up pictures.

    The casket holding the 22-year-old daughter of Houston and singer Bobby Brown arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport shortly before 10 a.m. and made the short trip to Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, the same facility that handled Houston's funeral arrangements three years ago.

    About 90 minutes later, the hearse drove to the cemetery in Westfield, followed by black SUVs carrying relatives including cousin Dionne Warwick.

    Bobbi Kristina died in hospice care July 26, about six months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her suburban Atlanta townhome.

    Her death was similar to the way her mother died.

    Whitney Houston's body was found face-down in a foot of water in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel just before the 2012 Grammy Awards. Authorities found prescription drugs in the suite and evidence of heart disease and cocaine in her body but determined her death was an accidental drowning.

    ...read more

    On Eve Of The Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death, His Killer Has A Lot To Say

    A little less than a week before the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.'s fatal shooting — the unarmed Black teenager whose death at the hands of a White police officer sparked what has arguably become the largest Black liberation movement in decades — the New Yorker published a profile of the shooter that explores his life following Aug. 9, 2014 and what he thinks of the aftermath of what many believe to be a racially tinged incident.

    The profile — which garnered criticism from Black Lives Matter activists and Twitter users who believe the piece was humanizing a man who killed an 18-year-old boy — aimed to highlight a vein between Darren Wilson‘s often challenging upbringing, his eagerness to learn how to be the best cop, and the shooting that followed his encounter with Brown, though it wasn't exactly clear how any one of these factors will exonerate Wilson in the court of public opinion (if sympathy is what the New Yorker expected).

    What was clear is this: Wilson, whose very name propelled a movement in the Black community calling for justice, doesn't think race has anything to do with, well, anything.

    Interesting for someone who, while having been found not to violate Brown's rights, was part of a system the Justice Department found to be racially biased. As originally reported by NewsOne, a DOJ report says the discrimination was perpetuated due to the racial stereotypes held by Ferguson city officials. In one incident, officials distributed racist jokes on their city email accounts, including a jab at President Barack Obama and a joke suggesting abortion in the Black community would reduce crime.

    But for Wilson, who spoke with the New Yorker's Jake Halpern over the course of a few days in his “nondescript” ...read more

    Bobbi Kristina Heads To Final Resting Place

    WESTFIELD, N.J. (AP) — A hearse is carrying the body of Bobbi Kristina Brown to her final resting place.

    The hearse left a funeral home in Newark Monday followed by two SUVs carrying relatives, including cousin Dionne Warwick.

    This is the same funeral home that handled arrangements three years ago for her mother, Whitney Houston.

    The funeral home declined to comment about Brown's expected burial next to her mother in Fairview Cemetery in Westfield.

    Police have closed the road leading to the cemetery.

    The 22-year-old was the only child of Houston and musician Bobby Brown.

    Bobbi Kristina died in hospice care July 26, about six months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her suburban Atlanta townhome on Jan. 31.

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    At Least 37 Injured, Including 2 Children, In Chicago Weekend Shootings

    At least 37 people were injured — including a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy — and three killed in Chicago shootings spanning from Friday to Sunday night, CBS reports.

    Fifteen of those injured were shot between Sunday afternoon and Monday. According to the Chicago Tribune, the largest incident occurred when four men were shot in the West Englewood neighborhood. The suspect fled, police spokesman and Officer Ron Gaines said.

    From CBS Chicago:

    The most recent fatal attack happened early Sunday in a West Pullman alley on the Far South Side. A 20-year-old man was discovered unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds at 5 a.m. in the 11700 block of South LaSalle, according to Chicago Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed the death but could not release his name Sunday morning because family had not yet been notified. Less than two hours earlier, a man died and another was critically wounded in a lakefront shooting in the Oakland neighborhood on the South Side.

    The men, ages 21 and 31, were sitting on the lakefront near 43rd Street about 3:15 a.m. when two gunmen walked up and started shooting, police said. The 21-year-old was shot in the abdomen and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died at 9:55 a.m., authorities said. His name was withheld Sunday night. The weekend's third homicide victim was one of five people shot at a house party early Sunday in the West Side Austin neighborhood, police said.

    The two young children who were injured were shot within minutes of each other on Sunday. The young girl was struck in the leg Sunday evening after an argument between two people ended in a barrage of bullets. She was taken to Comer Children's Hospital and remains in serious condition.

    The 7-year-old boy, ...read more

    Donald Trump: Obama Has ‘Set A Very Poor Standard’ For African-American Presidents

    During a Sunday interview with ABC News, presidential candidate Donald Trump defended comments he made about Barack Obama, concluding that America will not see a Black president for quite some time due to the legacy the current Commander-In-Chief has left behind.

    The comments came after Trump, who has been in the news lately for disparaging comments against Mexican immigrants and women, was asked a question about a 2014 tweet that stated there would not be a Black president for generations because of the “poor job” Obama has done.

    Sadly, because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won't see another black president for generations!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2014

    “I think he has set a very poor standard,” Trump said. “I think that he has set a very low bar and I think it's a shame for the African-American people.”

    He continued, insisting that he would win the Black vote in 2016 because Obama “has done nothing for African-Americans.”

    “You look at what's gone on with their income levels. You look at what's gone on with their youth. I thought that he would be a great cheerleader for this country,” Trump told ABC. I thought he'd do a fabulous job for the African-American citizens of this country. He has done nothing. They are worse now than just about ever…”

    And I think that I will win the African-American vote and I think I will win the Hispanic vote.

    The comments sent social media ablaze with critique that embattled White presidents have never before prevented another White president from taking office. And coming the same day Trump addressed the Black Lives Matter movement by insisting more power should be given to the police amid increasing incidents of police brutality against the Black community, it's unlikely he'll garner ...read more