Woman Awakes To Hate Messages Written On Her Home And Car

When Mia Frias-Russell woke up last Wednesday, she discovered hateful messages written on the facade of her Indiana home and car and sugar in her gas tank.

“I was just shaking and in so much fear of who could have done it and why,” Frias-Russell told local news station WDRB.

Apparently the tension has been building for weeks until it boiled over and neighbors began shouting profanities at her in the street.

“I have been getting yelled n***** b**** out here mowing the grass several times,” the single mother said.

While it appears the harassment stems from racial tensions, Frias-Russell thinks it's because a private detective allegedly spread lies about her around the neighborhood. “That I am a drug user, drug abuser … that I'm a dangerous person, and none of those things are facts,” she said. “I truly believe … it's gotten around to the wrong ignorant person, and this is what happened.”

Ma'am, if it wasn't race-related, they would have spray painted “drug dealer” not n*****.

Frias-Russell livestreamed her reaction to the vandalism on Facebook. The video has been viewed over five million times.

SOURCE: WDRB | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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Monitor Chosen To Oversee Ferguson’s Police, Court Reforms

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge on Monday chose a monitor team to oversee reforms of Ferguson's policing and court system, a process expected to cost the St. Louis suburb more than $1 million.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry announced that Squire Patton Boggs, a law firm based in Cleveland, was picked from four finalists to make sure reforms are adequate in Ferguson. City officials say the cost of the monitoring will not exceed $1.25 million over five years, or $350,000 for any single year.

The team will be led by Clark Ervin, who was inspector general for the U.S. State Department and Homeland Security before becoming a partner at Squire Patton Boggs.

“We are honored to take on this important assignment at such a critical time in our nation,” Ervin said in a statement.

A consent decree between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice, approved by Perry in April, calls for diversity training for police, outfitting officers and jail workers with body cameras, and other reforms.

“I'm excited that both the City of Ferguson and the Department of Justice have worked together to complete the process of choosing an Independent Monitor,” Ferguson City Manager De'Carlon Seewood said in a statement. “This is a true testament that the collaboration between both parties had a mission and that is to do what's best for the Ferguson community and its police department.”

Ferguson's justice system came under scrutiny after the fatal 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old. A county grand jury and the Department of Justice cleared Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson officer who killed Brown. But the Justice Department found patterns of racial bias in Ferguson's policing and a municipal court system that generated revenue largely on the backs of poor and minority residents.

Ferguson requested applications from prospective monitor teams ...read more

Michelle Obama Electrifies DNC With Passionate Speech

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama stepped into the presidential election Monday with a forceful, impassioned defense of Hillary Clinton, casting her as the only candidate who can be trusted as a role model for the nation's children. She took numerous swipes at Republican Donald Trump, all without mentioning his name.

“This election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives,” Mrs. Obama said on the opening night of the Democratic convention. “There is only one person I trust with that responsibility, only one person I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is Hillary Clinton.”

The first lady was among a high-wattage line-up of speakers taking the stage, all but wiping away earlier tumult that had exposed deep tensions between Clinton supporters and those loyal to her primary opponent Bernie Sanders.

While Mrs. Obama has often avoided overt politics during her nearly eight years in the White House, her frustration with Trump's rise was evident. She warned that the White House couldn't be in the hands of someone with “a thin skin or a tendency to lash out” or someone who tells voters the country can be great again.

“This right now, is the greatest country on earth,” she said.

Sanders was taking the stage later in the night. He and his team spent much of Monday trying to keep backers from protesting on the convention floor. He sent urgent messages to his backers urging them to avoid protests on the convention floor. The Clinton campaign opened up speaking spots for his supporters.

An array of office holders and celebrities hammered home the call for unity, with singer Paul Simon singing his “Bridge Over Troubled ...read more

Mother Of Florida Nightclub Victim Says She Warned Son Beforehand

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — With the Orlando massacre still fresh on everyone's mind, the mother of a young man who was slain at a nightclub early Monday had warned her son about what to do if there were a shooting: “hit the floor, find a table.”

But when gunfire erupted at the Club Blu parking lot, 18-year-old Stef'an Strawder didn't have anywhere to hide. He was killed along with a 14-year-old boy, and 17 other people ranging in age from 12 to 27 were wounded during a swimsuit-themed party for teens.

“I told him to look for all the exits if any kind of shooting would go off, to hit the floor, find a table and get out of the way … because I thought about the people in Orlando. That was a big thing,” Strawder's mother, Stephanie White, told The Associated Press.

Since the shooting happened in the parking lot, “He didn't have that chance,” she said.

Florida is again reeling from a mass shooting at a nightclub, but instead of being committed by a terrorist spouting Islamist ideology, this rampage may have started with an argument over a rap performance. Police have not yet released a motive.

The shooting at a venue tucked in a strip mall also left 14-year-old Sean Archilles dead, and a state and its governor grappling with another tragedy. The massacre at Orlando's Pulse nightclub last month killed 49 and wounded dozens of others.

“The positive is we are at a 45-year low in our crime rate. The negatives – I can't imagine this happening to any person in our state. I don't want this to happen to anybody in my state. The 20 million people who live here, the probably 150 million people who visit here. We just want everybody to be safe,” Gov. Rick Scott told reporters ...read more

Iowa Football Player Mistaken For Robber, Held At Gunpoint

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A University of Iowa football player says he was playing “Pokemon Go” in a public park when he was mistaken for a suspected bank robber, surrounded by police and searched at gunpoint.

Faith Ekakitie writes on Facebook that he feared for his life Wednesday in Iowa City. He explains that a bank had been robbed nearby and that he matched the suspect's description of a “large black male, wearing all black, with something on top of his head.” He says he was wearing goggles on his head at the time.

Ekakitie says he understands why police did what they did. He says he had headphones in and didn't respond to police commands. He thanks Iowa City police for their professionalism.

A police spokesman chalks up the episode to “unfortunate timing.”

Fair or foul?

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Fox News Anchor Harris Faulkner Advances In Lawsuits Over Toy Hamster

Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner won a key first hurdle in her lawsuit over a plastic toy hamster named “Harris Faulkner.”

The “Fox Report Weekend” anchor sued Hasbro in August for allegedly violating her likeness and causing her emotional distress via the toy, which hails from the company's Littlest Pet Shop product line.

Hasbro filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that its hamster toy looked nothing like the plaintiff and that “name-sameness is not enough to state a claim for a violation of one's right of publicity.”

On Thursday, July 21, U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden disagreed.

Via The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Garner:

In an opinion released on Thursday, she writes, “In the specialized context of Hasbro's successful toy line ‘world,' in which the hamster is admittedly ‘a character' designed to be played with, Faulkner's allegation that this doll bears her unusual celebrity name sufficiently pleads a violation of the right of publicity.”

Faulkner gets past the pleading stage in part because the judge notes that the cited past publicity right disputes were decided at the summary judgment phase — where contentions of fact come into play.

Because of this, the judge dodges Hasbro's contention that Faulkner's Fox News is “so completely at odds with the Hamster Toy's imaginary world of Littlest Pet Shop that the court should treat the stark contextual difference as a ‘minus' factor warranting dismissal.”

Hayden writes: “Substantively, the allegations about this toy line and Hasbro's own statements establish that when a character like the hamster doll is used for what it is intended — play — it may take on new dimensions when it is linked up with and ‘becomes' a real person … Faulkner is entitled to adduce evidence that as a child plays inside this fictionalized, highly interactive world, s/he may see or put into the girl hamster doll named Harris ...read more

News Anchor Dies In Waterfall Accident Day Before 25th Birthday

Taylor Terrell a news anchor based in Macon, GA for 41NBC News is dead after falling 185 feet off of Rainbow Falls inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Taylor anchored 41NBC News at Daybreak and 41Today. She also regularly reported for the station's education series, What's Right with Our Schools. Previously, she worked at 41NBC as a General Assignment Reporter and Weekend Anchor. She started at 41NBC as an intern, immediately after graduating from Georgia Southern University.

“Taylor was a hard worker with a bright smile. She rose through the ranks from intern to reporter, to weekend anchor, to morning anchor and was eager to prepare for her next chapter,” News Director Brandon Long wrote in an email to The Telegraph. “This is a devastating loss for us here at 41NBC and most definitely for her family.”

In celebration of her 25th birthday Friday, Terrell and a friend visited Rainbow Falls, a 150-foot-tall waterfall in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest, Transylvania County sheriff's Chief Deputy Eddie Gunter said.

“It's a real dangerous spot,” Gunter said. “We usually have about two to three waterfall deaths up there every year. …. That was the seventh (waterfall-related death) we've had in our county this year. Transylvania County has a lot of waterfalls.”

The investigation is being handled by the U.S. Forest Service, said Cathy Dowd, a forest service public affairs officer.

Terrell “was wading in the river near the top of the falls (when) she lost her footing and fell into the water where the current swept her up and over the falls,” Dowd said. “Her body was recovered at the base of the falls.”

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2 Killed, 4 Still Hospitalized After Florida Nightclub Shooting

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Gunfire erupted at a nightclub hosting a swimsuit-themed party for teens in Florida, leaving two teens dead and at least 17 other people wounded, officials said Monday.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the violence, but Fort Myers police Capt. Jim Mulligan said the shooting was not an act of terror. Police detained three people and said the area around Club Blu had been deemed safe, Mulligan said.

The slain teens were 14-year-old Sean Archilles and 18-year-old Ste'Fan Strawder, police said. Archilles lived about a mile from the nightclub, said his father, Jean Archilles. Archilles said his son loved to play football and basketball.

“He liked to make people laugh. He's a funny kid. He's always joking,” Jean Archilles said.

He said he doesn't wish bad for the shooter.

“When he lays down in his bed, how is he feeling about what he did? A 14-year-old kid!” Archilles said. “Is he thinking about his family, his friends? Because everybody has family and friends. Does he feel good about himself?”

Four people were in the hospital. Two were in critical condition and two in fair condition, Lee Memorial Health System CEO Lisa Sgarlata said at a news conference.

All of the other patients were treated and released. The victims ranged in ages from 12 to 27.

There were two active crime scenes, police said. Several hours later a street in the area remained closed as police investigated.

The club is in a strip mall that includes a daycare center and is across the street from a large apartment complex. Officers had the area taped off as crime scene technicians scoured the strip mall parking lot for clues.

State records online show the alcohol license for Club Blu was revoked June 7 because of an incident that occurred a year ago, but there were no additional ...read more

Man Who Posted Alton Sterling Shooting Fights For Job

When Christopher LeDay decided to upload the video of Alton Sterling‘s shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to his Facebook page on July 5 in the name of justice, he had no idea that he could possibly lose his job.

But he and his lawyer say that is exactly what happened. He was detained on July 6 when he showed up for work at a private security firm at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, reports Atlanta's WSB-TV 2:

“He's been punished for doing the right thing,” said [his attorney,Tiffany] Simmons. “He's been punished for being a good Samaritan by showing this video and showing America that we have to look in the mirror and we have to change some things.”

According to LeDay, military police stopped him when he arrived on base July 6. Dunwoody Police then took him into custody.

A spokesperson for the Dunwoody Police Department said military police ran a search on LeDay as part of the security clearance process. They discovered LeDay was wanted on an old warrant out of Dunwoody and contacted the police department. Officers then arrived on base and transported LeDay to the DeKalb County Jail for “failing to appear on several traffic charges.”

LIVE on #Periscope: PRESS CONFERENCE : Christopher LeDay Arrested in Retaliation for Posting #AltonSterling Video S… https://t.co/usv4kIgpP7

— Ms. Simmons (@iamsimmonslaw) July 21, 2016

The charges sound foolish, but do they sound familiar? Ramsey Orta was also arrested after filming Eric Garner‘s death.

While some measures are underway to protect the rights of people who film police violence, it's important for Americans to know their rights and refuse to fall victim to tactics of oppression.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise ...read more

Black and Latino officials call for criminal justice reforms

Members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus drafted a letter outlining the urgency of passing criminal justice reforms at the state and local level, many of which were prompted by the nationwide movement to counter police abuse of blacks. ...read more