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Age no opponent for some of NFL’s veteran stars

August 21, 2014

 

Associated Press

  

 

There’s something stunning happening on Michael Vick’s head.

 

You can’t see them from far away, but... Read more...

Stress a key factor in mental health

August 21, 2014

 

By Stacy M. Brown

Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

  

Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and body.

 

Until now, it hasn’t been clear... Read more...

Los Angeles schools decriminalize discipline

August 21, 2014

 

By MATT HAMILTON

Associated Press

 

Students caught misbehaving in the nation’s second largest school district will be sent to the principal’s office rather than... Read more...

Aniston, Hamm, Hudson set to Stand Up to Cancer

August 21, 2014

 

Associated Press

 

 

 

Jennifer Aniston, Jon Hamm, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland want to connect with you about cancer.

 

They... Read more...

Fake deliveryman charged with two home invasions

August 21, 2014

 

City News Service

 

  

A 34-year-old man was charged this week with posing as a deliveryman in two home invasion robberies in Garden Grove this month. Jerry Cleveland... Read more...

February 20, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The FBI says a black civil rights activist was killed during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, and it suspects militant members of the American Indian Movement are responsible, according to recently released documents.

The hundreds of pages of reports provided to Buffalo, N.Y., attorney Michael Kuzma and shared with The Associated Press Wednesday shed new light on the 40-year-old case of Ray Robinson, an activist and follower of Martin Luther King Jr. But the documents fall short of pinpointing where Robinson was buried and do little to fulfill his family’s wish to have the remains brought home to Detroit.

Desiree Marks, who’s held out hope for 40 years that she’d see her father again, said she was crushed by the FBI’s confirmation of his death.

“I’ve always thought that might not be the case. He may come home. He may be alive. He may, he may, he may,” Marks told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “And yesterday, when I was reading the documents it was very difficult. It made it real final.”

AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt said Wednesday that he was only in Wounded Knee for 51 days and knew nothing of Robinson.

“I don’t know who he is,” Bellecourt said. “I never met him. I don’t know what he looks like.”

Robinson, a father of three from Bogue Chitto, Ala., traveled to South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in April 1973 to stand alongside Native Americans in their fight against social injustice. The 71-day standoff between AIM members and federal agents at Wounded Knee left at least two tribal members dead and a federal agent seriously wounded. The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation occupation is credited with raising awareness about Native American struggles.

The documents were released in response to Kuzma’s June lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department to help Robinson's widow, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson, and their children get some closure.

Buswell-Robinson, of Detroit, said her husband’s nonviolent approach conflicted with the violent situation at Wounded Knee and that it’s possible AIM members suspected he was a federal informant. The personable, 6-foot-2 black man with a deep baritone voice would have stood out on a Midwest American Indian reservation, she said.

Robinson’s family just wants to bring his remains home for a proper burial.

“I’d just like to have my dad. I’d like to have a place where I can sit down and talk to him and know he’s there,” said Marks, who also lives in Detroit.

The Robinson case, which has been opened, closed and reopened over the years, was most recently closed again in July, said Greg Boosalis, an FBI spokesman in Minneapolis.

“If new information comes forward that is substantial, we will reopen it,” Boosalis said.

According to the FBI documents, an unidentified cooperating witness told agents that “Robinson had been tortured and murdered within the AIM occupation perimeter, and then his remains were buried ‘in the hills.’”

Any search or excavation attempts would likely be complicated by the reservation’s sovereign status. Buswell-Robinson and her two daughters traveled to Wounded Knee in 2004 to walk areas that Robinson likely walked, but they came back without answers.

Another witness told agents that Robinson was in Wounded Knee for about a week and had difficulty adjusting to the lack of food, the chaos of the scene and the unilateral AIM command. That witness said Robinson immediately wanted to open discussion in the bunker about AIM’s strategies but no one listened or took him seriously.

The witness said Robinson got into a heated exchange with another person and was taken to a house by a security team. When Robinson grabbed a knife from a table, he was circled by AIM security guards, according to the witness. A shot rang out, and Robinson’s eyes “rolled up as he went down.”

Buswell-Robinson, 69, questions that account and believes Robinson was in the Wounded Knee occupation area for hours, not weeks. She said the most likely account of her husband’s death is one passed on to her by Barbara Deming, a writer and political activist who was asked by Buswell-Robinson in the mid-1970s to look into the killing. She relayed the story to Buswell-Robinson in letters years after the disappearance.

According to Deming’s account, Robinson was eating oatmeal one day but hadn’t yet checked in with an AIM leader. He was ordered to report to the leader immediately but said the check-in had to wait until he was finished eating. He was then shot, according to the story.

“Ray did not respond well to that authoritative direction,” Buswell-Robinson said.

The wounded Robinson was taken to a clinic, but the FBI hasn’t pinned down what happened next.

For decades, AIM leaders have denied knowledge of Robinson’s death. One witness told agents that AIM leader Vernon Bellecourt, who died in 2007, knew Robinson had been killed and “made a statement to the effect that AIM had ‘really managed to keep a tight lid on that one' over the years.’”

AIM leader Dennis Banks did not return a message left by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Clyde Bellecourt questioned why the FBI wasn’t spending its time investigating the many unsolved Native American deaths during Wounded Knee.

“There’s never been a grand jury hearing on any of them,” he said.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

February 13, 2014

Associated Press

 

NEW ORLEANS — Former News Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, best remembered for his impassioned pleas for help after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina, was convicted Wednesday of accepting bribes in exchange for helping businessmen secure millions of dollars in city work, including after the devastating storm.

The federal jury found Nagin guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him, involving a string of crimes before and after the storm. He sat quietly at the defense table after the verdict was read and his wife, Seletha, was being consoled in the front row.

Before the verdict, the 57-year-old Ray Nagin said outside the New Orleans courtroom: “I’ve been at peace with this for a long time. I’m good.”

Sentencing was set for June 11. Nagin left the courthouse more than an hour after the verdict was read, and after U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan ordered that his bond be modified to provide for “additional conditions of electronic monitoring and home confinement.”

The Democrat, who left office in 2010 after eight years, was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes — money, free vacation trips and truckloads of free granite for his family business — from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Nagin’s support for various projects.

The granite and some of the money came from developer Frank Fradella. More money came from another contractor, Rodney Williams, for Nagin’s help in securing city contracts. Convicted former city vendor Mark St. Pierre, who got a no-bid contract with the city in Nagin’s first term, provided trips to Jamaica and Hawaii.

A movie theater owner seeking tax breaks provided a trip to New York, prosecutors said. In a conspiracy count, prosecutors also said Nagin sought and got granite work for his business from a major retailer, identified in court as The Home Depot, while helping the retailer work out details related to the opening of a new store in post-Katrina new Orleans. The company was not accused of any wrongdoing.

Nagin had vehemently denied it all during several hours of testimony that spanned two days of trial. But the jury didn’t believe him. The only not-guilty verdict came on one count of bribery involving a portion of the money from Williams.

Nagin had testified that key witnesses lied and prosecutors misinterpreted evidence including emails, checks and pages from his appointment calendar linking him to businessmen who said they bribed him.

As Nagin and defense attorney Robert Jenkins left the courthouse Wednesday, walking with a throng of media, photographers and video cameras, Nagin could be heard saying: “I maintain my innocence.”

The defense repeatedly said prosecutors overstated Nagin’s authority to approve contracts. His lawyer said there is no proof money and material given to the granite business owned by Nagin and his sons, Stone Age LLC, was tied to city business.

The charges against Nagin included one overarching conspiracy count along with six counts of bribery, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and four counts of filing false tax returns.

The charges carry a variety of maximum sentences ranging from three to 20 years, but how long he would serve was unclear and will depend on a pre-sentence investigation and various sentencing guidelines.

Jenkins said Nagin’s testimony didn’t hurt the case and that an appeal would be filed after sentencing.

The conviction wasn’t a surprise to Rainelle Smith, 64, of New Orleans, who said she voted for Nagin.

“I don’t believe he served the city as well as he should have,” she said. “He was supposed to come in and prevent the corruption the city was known for. We, in my family, thought of him as the ‘cleanup man.’ Instead he gets in office and he soiled it more.”

The charges resulted from a City Hall corruption investigation that had resulted in several convictions or guilty pleas by former Nagin associates by the time trial started on Jan. 27.

Fradella and Williams, both awaiting sentencing for their roles in separate bribery schemes alleged in the case, each testified that they bribed Nagin.

Nagin’s former technology chief, Greg Meffert, who also is awaiting sentencing after a plea deal, told jurors he helped St. Pierre, bribe Nagin with lavish vacation trips. St. Pierre did not testify. He was convicted in the case in 2011.

Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey and Chevel Johnson contributed to this report.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

February 13, 2014

By Princess Manasseh

LAWT Contributing Writer

 

In a packed ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Wednesday, February 5, the National Action Network (NAN) held its inaugural Black History Month Awards Luncheon. 

NAN founder and president, Reverend Al Sharpton who hosted the event was careful to recognize the day as also being the birthday of the late Trayvon Martin, who would have been 19 years old.   

The afternoon’s honorees were Danny Bakewell Sr., publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel; Honorable Aja Brown, mayor of Compton, CA; Jon Platt, president North America, Warner/Chappell Music; Reverend Xavier L. Thompson, pastor, Southern Missionary Baptist Church; and Randy Falco on behalf of Univision Communications Inc.

Irving “Magic” Johnson helped to get the program started.  The former Laker received a warm welcome from the crowd as he took to the podium. 

“I have to first of all apologize to the Rev for being late,” Johnson told the guests, “but I was downtown, I just bought the Sparks Basketball team,” he announced to roaring applause. “I just cut the press conference short, because I told them I promised Reverend Sharpton I’d be here!”

A video presentation of some of the work and achievements of NAN played as lunch was served.  Following the video Rev. Sharpton addressed the crowd, welcoming a few special guests in the audience.  Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray who Sharpton described as “walking Black history”, “God Father” Clarence Avant, businessman and mobilizer J. Anthony Brown, and Rev. Sister Omarosa, were among those mentioned. 

Next, came time to present the awards to the afternoon’s honored guests. 

“Today we initiate these Black History Month honors with the National Action Network because Black history is not something in the past,” Reverend Sharpton related. “We reduce history too often as something that happened, rather than what continues to happen. Black history is living, and we want to honor those that help to make history now. “

President of North America Warner/Chappell Music Jon Platt was one of those Sharpton described as currently making history. First to receive his award, Platt “has risen as a giant in an industry that many Blacks have never been able to reach [such a] level of achievement and accomplishment,” said the Reverend of the executive side of the music industry. 

Next Rev. Sharpton introduced Compton’s newly elected Mayor Aja Brown, the youngest the city has ever seen. 

“We honor a lady now who has made a difference. Around the country Compton was known in a negative , now we have a mayor who has begun turning that around,” he said of Brown who accepted her award with honor and humility, expressing great pride at being awarded amongst “such powerful individuals.”

“Mayor Aja Brown believes in the resurrection. A women who has taken a city that had surrendered to despair, and took it to a place where people are looking upward.”

Reverend Xavier Thompson received his award to heavy applause and cheers as many community members whose lives he has personally touched were in attendance, along with his family and expectant wife.

President and CEO of Univision Randy Falco accepted the award on behalf of the communications company.  Reverend Sharpton stressed the importance of Black and Brown coalitions and Falco echoed his sentiments.

Of the five honorees, Sentinel Publisher Danny Bakewell Sr. was the only civil rights era activist, a fact Reverend Sharpton was deliberate in pointing out.

“I have marveled at him because California is not an easy place to organize,” the Revered noted.  Sharpton commended Bakewell for being on the “front lines” in community activism over the years, while simultaneously making business work so as “not to have to beg from those he had to confront.” “He’s the quintessential renaissance man of the civil rights movement around this country,” proclaimed Sharpton before inviting Bakewell up to receive the award. 

The luncheon is intended to be the first of an annual recognition of community leaders and corporations who are actively making Black history.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

February 13, 2014

LAWT News Service

 

A 21-year-old man was convicted February 11, of four counts of attempted murder for a shooting that wounded four people outside a Halloween party on the USC campus, prompting the defendant to flip over a chair in anger and beg deputies to shoot him. The nine-woman, three-man panel took less than three hours to reach its verdict against Brandon Spencer. Prosecutors told jurors that the October 2012 shooting was the result of a longstanding feud between Spencer and a rival gang member.

The defense maintained it was a case of mistaken identity, with Spencer's father contending his son was prosecuted in a rush to judgment to satisfy the University of Southern California and its donors. After Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edmund Clarke Jr. thanked the jurors for their service and they filed out of the courtroom, Spencer reacted in anger and frustration, yelling expletives about a life in prison.

Then he yelled, ``Shoot me, I don't give a (expletive),'' as three deputies pushed furniture out of way and tried to restrain him.

``I love you dad,'' he hollered, before again asking the armed deputies to kill him. He struggled as court officers held him down, calling him by his first name and urging him to ``calm down'' as they got him handcuffed. He broke loose once more and three deputies pinned him to the ground as family members cried and called out to Spencer.

Clarke cleared the courtroom shortly afterward. Outside in the hallway, Spencer's father leveled charges of racism, telling reporters that his son was not a gang member and that prosecutors were driven by pressure from USC.

``(They) want to keep all these black men off the USC campus,'' James Spencer charged. ``This is just to satisfy USC.”

The elder Spencer said jurors were not allowed to hear that his son was a licensed security guard, and said his son had enrolled at UCLA to begin studying to be an emergency medical technician. Deputy District Attorney Antonella Nistorescu told jurors during her closing argument that the defendant was a ``documented, well-known'' gang member who had been shot in the stomach in August 2011 by an unidentified rival gang member. She said Spencer was seeking vengeance when he fired at reputed gang member Geno Hall outside the party at USC. Hall, a former Crenshaw High School football standout, testified that he had just been talking to his girlfriend when he was shot and didn't know who did it or why.

``Gang members don't snitch, they don't talk to the police ... even rivals,'' Nistorescu told the jury.

Three other witnesses testified that it was Spencer who shot Hall and three others: Mysson Downs, Thomas Richie and Davonte Smith. The prosecution used tweets that had been sent on Spencer's phone as evidence of his gang links, while defense attorney John Blanchard countered that ``the younger generation likes to trash talk.'' The prosecutor pointed to the fact that Spencer pulled off his shirt in the wake of the shooting as evidence of his guilt. But Blanchard said his client pulled off his red shirt to avoid sporting gang colors.

``When he heard gunshots, deja vu, nightmare relived, he's going to run,'' Blanchard said.

The shirt was tied to Spencer via DNA, but there were no fingerprints on the gun found by police and DNA evidence was inconclusive. The gunfire broke out near a party sponsored by the Black Student Assembly and attended by about 400 people. Neither Spencer nor any of the four victims were USC students.

Blanchard said he would file an appeal, citing what he said were contradicting statements by the three eyewitnesses. Blanchard told jurors during his closing argument, ``When you consider all the evidence, the huge inconsistencies and holes ... it's called reasonable doubt, ladies and gentlemen.''

However, Nistorescu countered that the three agreed that Spencer was the shooter, telling jurors they should expect disagreements on smaller details of the shooting. Spencer, who is being held without bail, is due back in court on Feb. 21 for sentencing. He is facing a possible life sentence, as jurors also found true gang and gun allegations.

``He's destroyed,'' his father said.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

February 13, 2014

By Margaret Summers

Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

 

Although food stamps can only be used to purchase food, the GOP believes food stamps create welfare dependency.

 

One of five children in the U.S. lives in poverty, according to a new report from a children’s advocacy organization.

 

The report, conducted by Children’s Defense Fund, also found that one in every 10 children, or 7.1 million children, is extremely poor.

 

“We are in a very dangerous time right now,” Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, the organization’s president and founder, told an audience of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. members at a recent legislative conference in D.C. “If [African-American women] don’t stop our children’s backward slide, no one else will.”

 

 

The report — “The State of America’s Children 2014″ — is produced annually by the nonprofit advocacy organization for children and families. This year’s report said that in five years, children of color in the U.S., who are disproportionately poor, will comprise the majority of all children in the U.S. These economically disadvantaged and undereducated young people will grow up to be the nation’s consumers, workforce and military, it noted.

 

Edelman said she is especially alarmed at the “cradle-to-prison pipeline” trend, in which growing numbers of impoverished African-American children, particularly males, become involved in the juvenile justice system and ultimately end up in adult penitentiaries.

 

“The prisons are full of our sons,” she said. “One in three black boys born in 2000 will go to prison. Imprisonment is becoming the new American apartheid.”

 

The report details how poverty results in hunger and homelessness among poor U.S. children. Roughly 1.2 million public school students were homeless from 2011 to 2012, 73 percent more than before the recession. More than one in nine children lacked access to adequate food in 2012, a rate 23 percent higher than before the recession.

 

“This summer we’ll be facing a serious child hunger problem,” Edelman said. “There will be a [huge] drop in summer school free breakfasts and lunches. I’ve heard stories about how sometimes when Mississippi school buses are late taking children to school, the children cry because they missed the free school breakfast.”

 

The summer feeding program in the schools provides nutritious meals to young people, the only source of food all day for many of them. The program is also a source of employment for many adults, but not all states make use of the program, Edelman said.

 

“There is a special need for these programs in poor rural areas of the country,” she added.

 

A substandard education is another major barrier to overcoming poverty.

 

“Eighty percent of our black children in fourth and eighth grade can’t read at grade level,” Edelman said. “Our children are being sentenced to social and economic death.”

 

The report says that in six states — Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin — at least half of African-American children are poor, and nearly half the states had African-American child poverty rates of 40 percent or more.

 

“How can [House Speaker] John Boehner (R-Ohio) represent a state where 50 percent of its African-American children are poor and do nothing about it?” asked Edelman.

 

She told the sorority audience that it was not only important to lobby their representatives and senators to pass legislation that ends childhood poverty, but to meet with them in their home districts.

 

“When Congress members hear from you back home, it will really scare them,” she said.

 

To illustrate how effective women can be in getting measures passed to lift children out of poverty, Edelman discussed a favorite analogy of her hero, slave abolitionist and feminist Sojourner Truth.

 

“In describing the political power of minorities, Sojourner often talked about fleas,” she said. “She would say that enough fleas biting strategically can fell the biggest dog. They are small but indestructible, and they keep reproducing. This is a lesson for all of us. We have to be disciplined, focused, strategic ‘fleas.’”

 

“The State of America’s Children 2014″ can be read at and downloaded from the Children’s Defense Fund website at www.childrensdefense.org.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

News

Obama gives France $10 million to fight terror in Africa

Obama gives France $10 million to fight terror in Africa

August 21, 2014   By Saeed Shabazz   Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News       Incensed by the news that President Barack...

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Community

Donating blood saves lives; Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation Annual blood drive is back for the ­community September 27th and sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California.

Donating blood saves lives; Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation Annual blood drive is back for the ­community September 27th and sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California.

August 21, 2014   By Brian W. Carter   LAWT Staff Writer       Blood donation is so important and vital to many lives being saved.  It can...

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Sports News

The dubious Sterling era is officially over – former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is in

The dubious Sterling era is officially over – former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is in

August 14, 2014   Associated Press   Steve Ballmer officially became the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday August 12.   The team...

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Arts & Culture

Ray Jay faces misdemeanor charges

Ray Jay faces misdemeanor charges

August 21, 2014   City News Service       Entertainer Ray J, who was arrested in May for allegedly groping a woman at a Beverly Hills hotel bar...

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Market Update

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