- Created on 11 December 2013
Photo by News One
Florida-based youth advocacy group, Dream Defenders, released a video today regarding the death of 17-year-old Georgia teen Kendrick Johnson. Johnson was found dead in a rolled up wrestling mat in a gym inside the Lowndes High School in Valdosta, sparking a series of unanswered questions from his parents and supporters. The Dream Defenders have compiled a video titled "#JusticeForKJ" which aims to reveal a new angle to the curious case.
Tomorrow, a rally will be held on the Georgia Capitol steps featuring a bevy of civil rights activists and speakers including Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, Dr. Joseph Lowery and many more. The Dream Defenders video serves a precursor for the "Who Killed KJ" rally, and features exclusive interviews with Johnson's parents, Jacquelyn and Kenneth Johnson and others in the Valdosta community.
The Dream Defenders, who work primarily with Black and Latino youth in their home state, felt compelled to join with the Johnson family as they continue to fight for the truth regarding what truly happened at the school back in January. Authorities investigating the case ruled Johnson's death accidental, a claim attorneys for the family have vehemently decried.
"As Dream Defenders, we recognize that the struggles faced by our generation in the state of Florida are the same struggles faced by youth of color around the country," said Kevin Banatte, video producer and student at Florida A&M University. "Young people must work together to ensure that future generations don't suffer the loss of sons, daughters, or friends like Kendrick Johnson."
"After hearing what happened to Kendrick Johnson, we knew we had to act. This video and the march in Atlanta tomorrow are part of our determination to expose the negligence of local investigators in Valdosta and demand justice," added DeAndre Jones, who is working with the Justice For KJ campaign.
To watch the video, click here.
- Created on 10 December 2013
Photo by News One
The list was unveiled to the media during a meeting Monday morning, with Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured center) and executives from Macy's, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers in attendance.
Though Sharpton was pleased with the bill, he warned that it needs NYPD participation to be truly effective. "We cannot have an agreement with the NYPD without the incoming commissioner saying, 'We agree to that,'" Sharpton said. He has reached out to returning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton for a meeting.
While Bratton didn't respond to any calls Monday, a spokeswoman for Bill De Blasio said the city's next top cop will gladly sit down.
"Mayor-elect De Blasio has said repeatedly that his administration will have zero tolerance for racial profiling of any kind," Lis Smith said.
Per the bill, any employees who profile customers will be disciplined or fired. In addition, inappropriate language and excessive force in holding suspects is also banned, as employees must "respect the basic civil and legal rights of any person suspected."
The stores will occasionally undergo tests to ensure compliance, and they are to implement the bill across the country, not just in New York City. The bills need to be "highly visible" in all stores, according to Kirsten John Foy, who runs Brooklyn's National Action Network chapter.
"We left it to each store to figure out their specifics for posting, but it must be posted in common areas, available upon request and clearly placed on store websites," he said.
Stores will have to place the information online and in their locations within a week; a few are even planning on promoting the bill through ads.
"The message, I think, is very simple," said Macy's VP Ed Goldberg. "We understand the gravity of the situation. . . . We subscribe to the document that's going to be released by the retail council."
The bill comes months after a spate of racial profiling charges against Macy's Herald Square and Barneys NYC. Four Black shoppers claim undercover officers accused them of credit card fraud after making purchases at the stores; two of them would file lawsuits against the chains and the NYPD.
For more info, click here.
- Created on 10 December 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. — George Zimmerman asked a judge on Monday to change the terms of his bond so he can have contact with the girlfriend he's accused of assaulting.
Zimmerman filed an affidavit from his girlfriend that says she doesn't want him charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief.
In the signed affidavit, Samantha Scheibe — referring to Zimmerman as "my boyfriend" — said that detectives misinterpreted what she said and that she hasn't been coerced into the request.
Zimmerman was arrested last month after Scheibe accused him in a call to 911 of pointing a gun at her, smashing a coffee table and pushing her outside. Zimmerman also called dispatchers, denied pointing a gun at her and blamed her for the broken table.
"I am not afraid of George in any manner and I want to be with him," Scheibe said in the affidavit.
Prosecutors could continue with the case despite Scheibe's request.
Lynne Bumpus Hooper, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office, said in an email that prosecutors can and have gone on in domestic cases without victim cooperation.
She said prosecutors take into account the victim's wishes, law enforcement reports, physical evidence, other witnesses, victim credibility, defendant statements, 911 calls and medical records. But she also said a case becomes more difficult to prove if prosecutors don't have a victim's testimony and he or she is the only witness.
Zimmerman's Miami-based defense lawyer, Jayne Weintraub, said in a phone interview that her motion focuses on getting rid of the no-contact order between Zimmerman and Scheibe but that she wants the State Attorney's Office to reconsider the entire case in light of Scheibe's statement.
"I'm hoping that the prosecutors will take a good hard look at this and take the target off of George's back and drop the charges," Weintraub said.
She said a hearing will be scheduled in the near future to discuss the motion and affidavit.
Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime last summer in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
- Created on 09 December 2013
Photo by Getty Images
An Olympic gold medal won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games has sold for a record $1.4 million in an online auction.
SCP Auctions says an anonymous bidder paid $1,466,574, the highest price for a piece of Olympic memorabilia. The online auction ended Sunday.
Owens won gold in the 100- and 200-meters, 400 relay and long jump at the games attended by Adolph Hitler, who used the Olympics to showcase his ideas of Aryan supremacy.
To read more. click here.