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Former professional boxer ordered to stand trial for 1987 murder of ex-manager

July 24, 2014

 

LAWT News Service

  

Former pro boxer Exum Speight has been ordered to stand trial for the 1987 murder of his ex-manager, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced... Read more...

Promoting awareness of mental health issues on Skid Row and beyond

July 24, 2014

 

By Maya Humes

L.A. Watts Times Intern

 

While the roads remain empty, the sidewalks of Skid Row are lined with cardboard boxes, tents, and men and women... Read more...

Local school goes up in flames

July 24, 2014

City News Service 

A building housing Animo South Los Angeles Charter High School was destroyed July 23 by flames that spiraled 100 feet into the air, making the fire visible throughout much of... Read more...

Spend this weekend surrounded by amazing artists and delicious food

July 24, 2014

 

By Destiny Brooks

L.A. Watts Times Intern

 

 

July 26-27 on Central Ave between 42nd and 43rd streets the 19th annual Central Ave Jazz Festival will take place.... Read more...

District Attorney says training is key to diversion programs

July 17, 2014

 

City News Service

 

Training law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other members of the criminal justice system to recognize mental illness is critical to breaking... Read more...

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas approves reward for Compton killer

July 17, 2014

 

City News Service 

The Board of Supervisors approved a $10,000 reward in hopes of tracking down the killer of a 23-year-old man gunned down last year in Compton in broad daylight.

 

David... Read more...

November 07, 2013

By Edward Rice, III and Princess Manasseh

LAWT Contributing Writers

 

It was an average citizen, WWII veteran Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama who organized a Veterans Day for his city on Nov 11, 1947 to honor all of America’s Veterans for their loyal service. Later U.S. Representative Edward H. Rees of Kansas proposed legislation changing the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all who have served in America’s Armed Forces.

While many of us will take the opportunity to stay out late Sunday night and sleep in Monday, very few will understand the reasons why and the sacrifices that accompany this federal holiday.

“Men and women who serve do so for many reasons but few pause to share the depth of those experiences,” explained Los Angeles resident and Air Force Veteran, Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth. “Having a day set aside where someone acknowledges the sacrifice made by so many who may not even know why they made the choice they made, is an honor that goes beyond words or the waving of a flag.”

One was a seventeen year old wanting to strike out on his own, another was an aspiring nurse who saw the Marines as her ticket to success, still a third was a young man drafted against his will.  Here are the stories of veterans shedding some light on the scope of military life, and telling what Veteran’s Day means to them. 

“I had always been told I would go to college and I expected I would be successful in life, but no one in my family had gone to college, nor had anyone (in recent memory) served in the military,” said Bridgeforth was recruited in the late eighties by an African American Sergeant who looked professional and confident in the teenagers eyes.  “When Staff-Sergeant Thomas McCray presented the Air Force as a viable option and I responded affirmatively, I was really saying ‘Yes’ to being like him,” Bridgeforth recalls.   

Robert Miller’s story is rather different.  A teenager in the late sixty’s Miller was drafted into the Army during a time of political unrest.

“I went in during a time when they were trying to draft a lot of Black people to Vietnam,” Miller recalls. “People were refusing to draft, they were running away to Canada and other places, it wasn’t a time in America for Black people,” recalled Miller. “It was a militant time, the panther party was going on, there were the hippies up the north, free love all that kind of stuff. JFK had not long been assassinated, it was one of those times in history when it wasn’t popular to go to the military. When you came back people called you baby killers…all kind of stuff was going on.”

Miller served in the US Army from 1966 to 1968.  During that same two-year period, Viola Williams served in the Marine Corps, having gone in by choice in pursuit of success. 

“During the time that I was in the military it seemed you could be successful if you wanted to, if you had a goal. For women, maybe if you wanted to travel, or maybe wanted to meet your husband, those were options.  But for me it was an opportunity to get into something that was my calling. I really didn’t know where it was going to lead me but I felt that no matter where it sent me, it was going to be a positive experience,” Williams remembered.

“I could’ve gotten lost in that environment and the culture, a very male dominated culture. Thankfully I was able to stay focused, it was a great experience that lead me to where I am today.” 

Today Williams is a Nurse at the VA Hospital where she sees veterans on a daily basis, many whose military experiences turned out harder than hers. 

“Yes I see a lot of homeless men and women veterans, I would say I see more homeless Black veterans than Whites,” shared Williams.  “We [the VA Hospital] have programs in place and ones that we’re developing to help homeless veterans transition back into society,” explained Williams.  “One of my goals is to develop a network and support group through social media, that informs veterans of the resources available to them. I see so many resources underutilized it hurts my heart.”

Deonte P. Allen Sr. served 12 years in the U.S. Army achieving the rank of Sargent.  Going in as a seventeen-year-old Allen chose the military because he wanted to be able to provide for himself. 

Joining the military years after Miller, Allen served in active duty during a different war and at a very different time politically. 

“One of the best ‘thank you’s’ I’ve ever received from a civilian was while I was in Kabul, Afghanistan.  A young boy walked up to me to thank me for protecting him and his family. The only thing the news covered was the few that did not want us there.  In reality so many of them appreciate America for helping their country.” 

Allen who was deployed to war environments on six different occasions says maturing is the biggest change he underwent in the military,

“I had a care-free attitude when I joined, but I soon realized that I needed to grow up mentally. Realizing that men and women to my left and right depended on me, I knew I had to mature quickly.”        

“Veteran’s Day is important to me because our country takes a day to celebrate the men and women that have given a part of their life to serve this great country,” explained Allen.  “Being in the military is not for everybody, and the few that decide to join and serve deserve a day to be recognized.”

It’s no secret that since slaves first arrived in America there has not been a war fought by this country that African Americans did not participate in. To this day the proud history established by African Americans in the military such as the Buffalo Soldiers and the Tuskegee Airman continues with our current men and women.

 

 

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

November 07, 2013

By KATHY MATHESON and

PETE YOST

 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The nation's top law enforcement officer got a glimpse of the challenges facing ex-offenders attempting to rebuild their lives on Tuesday as he attended an unusual court session and then met with several of them afterward.

Attorney General Eric Holder watched as more than a dozen men on supervised release updated a federal judge on their jobs and personal situations, discussing problems from needing more hours at work to the cost of cataract surgery for the family dog.

The proceeding before District Judge Felipe Restrepo in Phila­delphia is part of an innovative re-entry initiative designed to give former inmates the support they need to stay out of jail.

“I’ve got to say, this is really heartwarming to see what you all are doing with your lives,” Holder told the participants afterward in open court. “What we’ve seen here today gives me a great deal of hope.”

Holder wants to find solutions to the country’s overburdened jails and high recidivism rates. The nation spent $80 billion on prisons in 2010, and yet federal facilities are still overflowing at 40 percent above capacity, Holder said.

As part of the “Smart On Crime” program that he launched in August, Holder is arguing for scaling back the use of harsh prison sentences for certain drug-related crimes and expanding a prison program to allow for release of some elderly, non-violent offenders

His visit to Philadelphia was the first of three to promote pioneering crime-prevention initiatives; he’ll visit St. Louis and Peoria, Ill., on Nov. 14.

Federal court officials in Phila­delphia began the Supervision to Aid Re-entry, or STAR, program seven years ago. It aims to cut the city’s violent crime rate by addressing the social, family and logistical issues confronting ex-offenders when they return to society.

The former inmates meet as a group with a judge every two weeks. In between, they might be working or taking mandated vocational training or parenting classes. Those who successfully complete the 52-week program can reduce their court-supervised release by a year.

Graduates say each class of 15 to 20 people ends up being a pretty tight-knit group.

“It gave me another family,” said Robert Warner, 46, of Philadelphia. Warner, who served 10 years on drug and gun charges, is now a manager at a suburban fast-food restaurant.

Officials estimate the Phila­del­phia program has saved $1.5 million in annual incarceration costs, based on fewer revocations of supervised release. Nationally, the revocation rate for offenders not in that type of program is 47 percent; the revocation rate of STAR participants is about 20 percent, officials said.

While Philadelphia’s effort deals with high-risk offenders, the initiative in St. Louis is aimed at helping low-level drug offenders remain drug-free and the effort in Peoria, Ill., substitutes drug treatment for jail time for low-level drug offenders.

In all, 73 of 79 participants in the Peoria program have successfully completed it. The program operated by the U.S. Attorney’s office, a federal court, the probation office and defense lawyers is designed for defendants whose criminal conduct was motivated by substance abuse. The Justice Department says over $6 million has been saved through the program — money that otherwise would have been spent on putting the defendants behind bars.

On Tuesday in Philadelphia, the judge used a friendly, informal tone as he spoke to each man, congratulating them on new jobs, offering encouragement on setbacks, and gently penalizing one for missing an appointment with his probation officer.

For their part, the men shared problems involving driver’s licenses and housing, but one also showed off a new community college ID card and another brought photos of his art projects — which Holder admired. Many then talked with support staff outside the courtroom to address their issues.

Holder later met privately with Warner and several other graduates of the program, including a chef about to work in Paris and a soon-to-be college graduate.

“We don’t spend nearly enough money on these kinds of programs,” Holder said. “You all are the best salesmen for these kinds of efforts.”

Warner said afterward that he began hiring former inmates to help out the judge and probation officers who worked with his class. He said he still talks frequently with people he met in the program, and tries to be a role model for them.

“It makes me feel like a better man,” Warner said. “This program, it works. It really works.”

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

November 07, 2013

By SARAH EL DEEB

Associated Press

 

CAIRO (AP) — A court in Egypt upheld Wednesday an earlier ruling that banned the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered its assets confiscated, the state news agency reported. The decision moves forward the complicated process of the government taking control of the Islamist group’s far-reaching social network and its finances.

The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters rejected the Brotherhood's appeal to suspend the Sept. 23 ruling that ordered the group’s assets confiscated and its activities banned.

The sweeping September verdict was viewed as a legal pretext for the interim authorities to move against assets owned or administered by Brotherhood members, including schools, hospitals, charities, and businesses.

It is part of a wider government crackdown against the group following the popularly backed coup in July that removed President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member and Egypt’s first elected leader after the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Senior leaders have been arrested, and many of them sent to trial on a number of charges, including Morsi himself. His trial began Monday on charges of incitement to murder.

Egypt’s military-backed authorities formed a committee on Oct.2 to review the Brotherhood assets but have not moved against its finances.

Outlawed for most of its 85-year existence — with successive regimes alternating between repression and tolerance — the Brotherhood built its networks largely underground. That made it difficult for authorities to track, since many institutions were registered under individuals’ names.

Brotherhood lawyer Osama el-Helw said the group will file another appeal against Wednesday’s ruling, but this appeal unlike the first will not suspend implementation of the ban unless it is accepted by a court. It is also unlikely to reverse the initial ruling, legal experts said.

Ahmed Ragheb, an independent rights lawyer, said the decision has legal flaws: It comes from the wrong court and its guidelines for a government monitoring Brotherhood assets are unclear.

Technically, Wednesday’s verdict allows the government to move in on the group’s assets. The committee that includes judicial, security and intelligence officials has started to do an inventory of the group’s finances.

The government has come under pressure from politicians and public figures to fast-track the financial crackdown on the group, blaming the government-formed committee of stalling on implementing the court ruling. On Wednesday, the Cabinet asked the committee to issue regular reports about its work.

The leftist Tagammu party, which filed the case demanding the banning of the group, said the new ruling should give the authorities the green light to move.

“The government must take urgent measures to implement the court ruling ... and prove it is serious about implementing the law,” Hani el-Husseini, a Tagammu member, told the official MENA news agency.

El-Helw said the government has already violated due process by forming the committee and allowing it to begin its work while the group had filed for suspension of ruling.

“We will pursue legal means. Let the law be the arbiter,” el-Helw said.

Brotherhood lawyers also said they were considering other legal options, such as filing new court cases against the verdict in a different court.

The group issued a defiant statement saying that the movement was not a “passage in a book” that could be struck out with a “politicized verdict,” but rather consists of “ideas that connect its members.” It said the decision would hurt millions of Egyptians who it claims rely on the Brotherhood’s services.

The initial court’s explanation to ban the group gave few specific legal grounds, and denounced the group in broad political terms, saying that during Morsi’s year in office, “Egyptians found only repression and arrogance.”

The ruling banned the group as well as “any institution branching out of it or ... receiving financial support from it,” which could also force the disbanding of its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.

There is another legal case before Egypt’s administrative court seeking to dissolve the group’s offshoot, a non-governmental organization registered after the group rose to power in 2012. The court is holding its next session on Nov. 12.

 

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

October 31, 2013

LAWT News Service

 

Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. reported to a federal correctional facility in Butner, North Carolina to begin serving his sentence.  He was accompanied by his friend and former colleague North Carolina’s United States Representative, GK Butterfield, as well as his Atlanta-based Attorney, CK Hoffler from Edmond, Lindsay & Hoffler, LLP.

“Congressman Jackson and I have been good friends for many years and I am happy to report that he is in good spirits, all things considered,” confirmed Butterfield.

As Jackson begins to serve his term, he is aware that many people have expressed an interest and desire to visit him while he’s incarcerated.  Attorney CK Hoffler will coordinate these visits, which may begin as early as November 8 with the arrival of Jackson’s family as well as Pastors Rick Warren and Anthony Miller from California.  Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. from Cleveland, OH, Minister Louis Farrakhan, United States Repre­sentative Marsha Fudge, Chairman of Congressional Black Caucus, United States Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia, and public relations/media magnet Judy Smith are also expected to visit in short order. 

For those who have expressed an interest in writing the Con­gressman, his mailing address will be:

Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.

Reg. No. 32451-016

FCI Butner Medium I Satellite Camp

P.O. Box 1000

Butner, North Carolina 27509

When he surrendered to the facility, Jackson apologized again and expressed sincere regret for causing so much pain and sadness to his family, his constituents and his friends. 

Said Hoffler, “Jesse asked that his heartfelt thanks be extended again to all of those whose prayers and kindness towards him and his family have helped him through this extraordinarily difficult time.  His only wish is that a community of love continues to embrace his family and his children, in particular.”

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

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Obama visits southland

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Market Update

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