Civil rights advocates slam Baker bill

In the wake of the shooting death of Auburn police officer Ronald Tarantino, Gov. Charlie Baker is advancing legislation that would elevate the charge of assault and battery on a police officer to a felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison. ...read more

WATCH: Wisconsin Police Knee, Punch, & Taser 18-Year-Old Teen During Arrest

A tense police confrontation was caught on camera between an 18-year-old Wisconsin teen and two police officers on Tuesday.

Authorities say they were called to a local Taco Bell in Madison, Wisconsin, where they allegedly found Genele Laird yielding a knife, KABC reports.

Laird, they say, was at the restaurant to retrieve her cell phone from an employee who had stolen it.

When the video begins, Laird is handcuffed, but after a series of struggles, officers begin kicking her and bring her down to the ground, where they can be seen punching her. One officer then uses a Taser in the side and in the leg.

Laird screams in pain as she is tasered multiple times. Officers then cover her head with a spit mask and put her in the back of a patrol car. An internal investigation is being conducted at this time, police say.

SOURCES: KABC | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter

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Chicago Woman Stabbed To Death In Domestic Attack On Train

A woman was stabbed to death Thursday (June 24) on Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line after a confrontation with an unidentified man.

The suspect in question is currently in police custody. Police are withholding his name until they announce charges.

“This was domestic in nature. We're sure of that,” First Deputy John Escalante said in a news conference outside the 47th Street station.

The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Jessica Hampton, according to The Chicago Tribune. Hampton was riding a southbound train when she was fatally stabbed around 12:35 p.m., police say. CTA halted service at the 47th Street station for several hours to conduct an investigation.

DEVELOPING: Jessica Hampton, 25yo, was stabbed to death Thurs on the Red Line in #Chicago @fox32news #heartbreaking pic.twitter.com/GPB7aplQMR

— Elizabeth Matthews (@ElizabethFox32) June 24, 2016

Witnesses say they overheard Hampton and the man exchange a few words before he stabbed her multiple times, slitting her neck and torso.

One person who witnessed the crime later found out she and Hampton were cousins. Andrea Patterson told The Tribune she was sitting across from the couple with her headphones on, when she saw the man ask Hampton a question.

“I don't know what was the question … I did hear her say ‘no' and she shook her head no,” Patterson said. She accounted the gruesome details, saying that Hampton struggled with the man before falling to her knees.

“She was fighting back, she was crying ‘help me, help me!,'” Patterson said. After he fatally stabbed her and the doors opened, “He walked off, stepped over her body and walked off like nothing happened,” she said.

The suspect was later arrested on the platform without a struggle. Police will use surveillance video to piece together the chain of events leading ...read more

No Charges For Texas Cop Who Pinned Down Black Teen At Pool

A Collin County, Texas grand jury declined on Thursday to indict a former McKinney police officer caught in a firestorm for subduing a bikini-clad Black girl at a pool party last summer, CBS News reports.

“We're glad that the system worked in his favor in this case,” Tom Mills, the attorney for Eric Casebolt, told The Dallas Morning News.

The newspaper could not reach the family of 15-year-old Dajerria Becton for a comment.

A video shows Casebolt, who is White, throwing and pinning Becton to the ground, as he draws his weapon on other teenagers. He was responding to a call about rowdy behavior at a pool party in the upscale community.

The image of a White officer with a knee pressed against Becton's back sparked outrage. For many, it was more evidence of excessive police force against African-Americans.

Grand Jury Will Not Indict “Out Of Control” McKinney, Texas Pool Party Cop https://t.co/w5ep0NG3Dx via @HipHopWired

— HipHopWired (@HipHopWired) June 23, 2016

According to The Morning News, the Texas Rangers investigated the incident and sent its report to the county prosecutor in January.

The City of McKinney released this statement:

“On Thursday June 23, the District Attorney's office presented the findings of the Ranger's investigation to a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury's decision was to “No Bill” any charges against Eric Casebolt in relation to the June 2015 incident.”

The police department will hold a community forum on Monday evening, on the theme “Moving Forward, Strengthening Police and Community Relationships.”

As for Casebold, he resigned four days after the incident. Mills said his client wanted the case resolved before looking for another job — perhaps in policing.

SOURCE: Dallas Morning News, CBS News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter

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State Drops Charges In Delaware Mom’s Death After Only Witness Recants

Arteise Brown, a 24-year-old mother of two, was walking with a friend and two children on April 28, 2015, in their Delaware neighborhood, when 13 shots rang out.

Brown fell to the grown after a bullet struck her in the lower back. Medics attempted to revive her on the sidewalk and in the ambulance, but despite their efforts, she died at Christiana Hospital in Wilmington.

Another 19-year-old woman was also hit in her upper thigh by a bullet as she stepped out of her car. She survived her injuries.

No charges in Del. mom's shooting death after witness recants https://t.co/o9lyKkoC1l via @USATODAY

— I'm a human (@emmad000) June 22, 2016

On Tuesday, state prosecutors were forced to drop charges against Mateo Pinkston, the Wilmington man identified as the shooter, USA Today reports. The only witness who agreed to testify recanted her statement, saying she did not actually see Pinkston and only identified him because that was “the word on the street.”

Pinkston was arrested in May 2015 and faced second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and weapons charges in connection with the shooting.

After the witness backpedaled, prosecutors were left with no choice but to drop the charges and release the defendant from jail.

Authorities are now asking for the public's help to come forward with any leads identifying who shot Brown. They believe at least one person can corroborate the shooter's identity.

“Having the cooperation of those who know what happened and can identify perpetrators of violent crimes is necessary to successfully prosecute these criminals,” police spokesman Carl Kanefsky said.

A previously sealed affidavit revealed officers interviewed six witnesses and the surviving 19-year-old victim. Two witnesses were able to identify Pinkston as the shooter, but other accounts differed in regards to the chain of events.

Pinkston has already been convicted of ...read more

Nation’s Largest School Desegregation Program To Phase Out

The largest and longest-running school desegregation program in the nation is coming to an end, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Since the 1980s, more than 60,000 African-American students in St. Louis attended predominantly White county schools. At the same time, White students from the suburbs were allowed to attend magnate schools in the city. But the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation, the group that oversees the desegregation program, says it's time the student transfer program winds down.

“It is a legal requirement that the program cannot continue forever,” David Glaser, executive director of VICC, said at a meeting of superintendents and representatives of the 12 participating school districts, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Under consideration is a plan, beginning in fall 2019, to limit county school admissions to students who have a sibling already enrolled. A vote on that plan is expected by the end of this year.

That plan would be the final extension of a program that came into existence more than three decades ago, following a federal desegregation lawsuit. There was a 10-year extension in 1999, after St. Louis Public Schools and Missouri won federal approval to end federal oversight of the program. Other extensions were later enacted. But as the Post-Dispatch noted, federal courts have ruled that race-based programs must end at some point.

“It's done what it's expected to do. It's given students in the city the chance to interact with students in the county. It's a program that's been around a long time and that benefits students in both places,” Kelvin Adams, superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, told the Post-Dispatch.

According to the newspaper, 18 percent of St. Louis' African-American students attended desegregated schools before the transfers began. That number increased to 55 percent by 1995.

In terms of academic achievement, the Post-Dispatch says there has been mixed results. A ...read more

Freddie Gray Van Driver Acquitted Of All Charges

Officer Caesar Goodson, the Baltimore Police officer and van driver accused of giving a “rough ride” that killed Freddie Gray, was found not guilty by Judge Barry Williams on Thursday.

Goodson faced the most serious charges of the six Baltimore officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. He was found not guilty of 2nd degree depraved heart murder, and also acquitted of three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Prosecutors argued Goodson had five chances to render aid to Gray after his neck was broken in the back of the van, which they said demonstrated a “depraved heart.” They also said Goodson was the direct cause of the injuries, driving the van in a reckless manner that threw the shackled black man around in the back of the van's steel cage. As a certified field training officer, prosecutors said Goodson knew Police Department rules and broke them.

But Goodson's defense argued that officers who checked on Gray didn't know he was seriously injured, and that Goodson deferred to decisions of other officers not to put a seatbelt on Gray.

Williams, a former city prosecutor who also investigated police misconduct for the Justice Department, heard Goodson's case instead of a jury.

Four other officers still face charges for their roles in Gray's arrest and death. The next trial, of Lt. Brian Rice, who is charged with manslaughter, is scheduled to begin July 7.

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Roxbury’s Dudley-Eliot Square seeks state cultural district status

A coalition of Roxbury groups are making a case for a Dudley-Eliot Square Cultural District — a designation they hope will enhance the neighborhood's cultural scene and boost economic activity. ...read more

NYC Seeks Dismissal Of Teacher’s Lawsuit Over Central Park 5 Lesson

New York City asked a federal judge to throw out a teacher's lawsuit, which claimed that she was fired over her lesson plan about the five Black teens wrongfully convicted of a violent gang rape in Central Park, NBC News reports.

Convicted in 1989, the so-called Central Park Five were exonerated in 2002 of raping a White female investment banker. DNA evidence backed up the confession of the actual rapist. The city ultimately settled a federal lawsuit with the five men for $40 million, but that didn't end the divisive turmoil. Many New Yorkers of color point to that case as evidence of police misconduct and ongoing systemic injustice.

23 Years Later the Falsely Accused "Central Park Five" Gets Justice https://t.co/XEwog9NyMv pic.twitter.com/gR1MIP0wel

— Black Then (@4BlackThen) May 29, 2016

Jeena Lee-Walker, the teacher at the center of the controversy, claimed that she received negative performance reviews because her lessons on the Central Park Five appeared biased in favor of the wrongfully convicted Black teens.

New York English Teacher Jeena Lee-Walker Fired Over Central Park 5 Lessons https://t.co/7T7AOZ1Bur pic.twitter.com/6v7hMsdduJ

— BCNN1 (@bcnn1) January 9, 2016

In her lawsuit, Lee-Walker said her students—mostly Black and Latino—connected with the case.

“I think because [the students'] instinctual reaction was, like, ‘Oh my God, this is such an injustice, cops are bad' — just very emotional responses— maybe that was part of what the administrators felt fearful about or unbalanced,” she told NBC.

The city said Lee-Walker's assistant principal legitimately feared that her lessons would anger students of color. School officials did not prohibit the former English teacher from discussing the case in class, but they said she had to “be fair and evenhanded.”

In its petition to dismiss the case, the city said Lee-Walker ...read more