Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cop Not Charged for Shooting Unarmed Elderly Black Man


A total of 12 witnesses all said that he was unarmed. In spite of this, a 73-year-old black man in Homer, La., was shot in a case that has sparked a great deal of racial tension in the area. What is most intriguing is that the grand jury refused to indict the police officer involved.

A grand jury gave a "no true bill" ruling in the case of Bernard Monroe, the senior citizen who was shot by officer Tim Cox. The ruling implies that the case will not go to trial, and the group rejected from consideration all charges, including murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide.




In this tiny town of 3,800, many citizens were outraged last February when Bernard Monroe, a man who was left voiceless by cancer, was shot by a police officer. The police have stated that Monroe was armed during the shooting, but witnesses are telling a different story.

The grand jury heard 20 witnesses over a two-day period, according to Kurt Wall, director of the Criminal Division of the State Attorney General's office. The local prosecutor recused himself, causing the Attorney General to step in.

"We believe it was a full, complete, accurate and thorough presentation conducted at a neutral site. We respect the grand jury's decision," Wall told the media.

The situation has not yet come to an end. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is now stepping in to investigate the case. Also, the local chapter of the NAACP is angered by what has happened to Mr. Monroe.

"I am so disappointed," said the Rev. Willie Young Sr. "When you have 12 witnesses that say the man did not have a gun, and he was gunned down by police, what are you supposed to believe? We are left with the belief that police in Homer have a license to kill."

According to reports, Bernard Monroe was shot by Officer Cox on February 20, after Cox and another officer were chasing Monroe's son through the house. They eventually shocked his son with a stun gun in the yard. Bernard Monroe was in the yard with several family members at a cookout when the incident took place.




A total of 12 witnesses all said that he was unarmed. In spite of this, a 73-year-old black man in Homer, La., was shot in a case that has sparked a great deal of racial tension in the area. What is most intriguing is that the grand jury refused to indict the police officer involved.

A grand jury gave a "no true bill" ruling in the case of Bernard Monroe, the senior citizen who was shot by officer Tim Cox. The ruling implies that the case will not go to trial, and the group rejected from consideration all charges, including murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide.

In this tiny town of 3,800, many citizens were outraged last February when Bernard Monroe, a man who was left voiceless by cancer, was shot by a police officer. The police have stated that Monroe was armed during the shooting, but witnesses are telling a different story.

The grand jury heard 20 witnesses over a two-day period, according to Kurt Wall, director of the Criminal Division of the State Attorney General's office. The local prosecutor recused himself, causing the Attorney General to step in.

"We believe it was a full, complete, accurate and thorough presentation conducted at a neutral site. We respect the grand jury's decision," Wall told the media.

The situation has not yet come to an end. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is now stepping in to investigate the case. Also, the local chapter of the NAACP is angered by what has happened to Mr. Monroe.

"I am so disappointed," said the Rev. Willie Young Sr. "When you have 12 witnesses that say the man did not have a gun, and he was gunned down by police, what are you supposed to believe? We are left with the belief that police in Homer have a license to kill."

According to reports, Bernard Monroe was shot by Officer Cox on February 20, after Cox and another officer were chasing Monroe's son through the house. They eventually shocked his son with a stun gun in the yard. Bernard Monroe was in the yard with several family members at a cookout when the incident took place.

When it comes to the Bernard Monroe shooting the bottom line is this:

1) We cannot jump to judgment in this case: The FBI has come in to investigate. I am hopeful that after due process has occurred, we can get to the bottom of this incident. The Rev. Al Sharpton, however, has already held a march in the area, and in spite of what some may think about Rev. Sharpton's involvement, I am well aware that he does a thorough investigation himself before deciding to intervene in police-shooting incidents. There appears to be evidence that this shooting may have been an abuse of police authority.

2) If police did abuse their authority, this is reflective of a problem that is far too common: All across the country, many citizens are afraid of the police. It should not be the case that in a supposedly free society, we must be fearful of another human being arbitrarily applying his wrath on to those who disagree with him. I've seen cops go overboard on multiple occasions for no good reason, and the day of the rogue police officer must come to an end.

3) Let's hope this is not a case of dirty small town justice: When my team worked on the case of Heather Ellis, the college student who faced 15 years in prison in an incident that stemmed from her cutting a line at a Walmart, I learned a great deal about how things happen in small towns behind closed doors. Nowhere is this more true than in the South, where people are consistently arrested for crimes they did not commit. One case that comes to mind is that of Rodney Stanberry, a man for whom there is very little evidence to support the years he has spent serving time for a murder conviction. Another is the case of Jamie and Gladis Scott, two sisters who have served a number of years for a crime that many believe they did not commit. What is most sad about this reality is that the justice system still does not work in favor of black people, especially if they are poor. Additionally, this system is destroying black families everywhere.

I call on organizations, such as The National Black Law Students Association, to get to the forefront of these issues and use their legal expertise to systematically confront these issues and bring long-awaited justice to the African-American community. If they don't step up to the plate on these issues, then no one can. We've got to work together to make this situation right.


Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.

Doctor Is Charged in Death of Jackson



Doctor Is Charged in Death of Jackson

Paterson Bombshellgategate Eve? Gov Denies Luv, Times Still Mum




With speculation about the contents of a forthcoming New York Times "bombshell" report on Governor Paterson reaching a fever pitch, Paterson personally addressed the salacious rumors in an interview with the Associated Press yesterday, reiterating that he hasn't been involved sexually with another woman since he was separated from his wife a decade ago, and hasn't done drugs since his early 20s. "For the last couple of weeks I have been the subject of what, even by Albany standards, has been a spate of outrageous rumors about me," Paterson said. "There is an accountability that should exist in the media. How do I get my reputation back? Because I don't believe I have done anything to deserve this kind of bashing." (Yesterday, a source close to Paterson told Daily Intel that the Times's story "is PG-13, not XXX.")

The Times is expected to publish their story as soon as tomorrow, following an interview with Paterson today. Rumors about the unrevealed dirt range from "drug-fueled swinger parties at the Governor's mansion" to "He's not really blind." Yesterday Paterson called the gossip "callous and sleazy," and "acknowledged that the allegations played to stereotypes about black men." (They also play to the stereotypes of past New York Governors, and Paterson himself, who has admitted to drug use and sexual infidelity.)

In a thinly-veiled insinuation, Paterson seemed to point the finger at his presumptive election rival Andrew Cuomo, remarking that the rumors are "certainly serving others' interest and not mine." But according to the Post, several sources interviewed by Times reporters believe the paper has been speaking to the jilted ex-lover of Paterson staffer and confidant David Johnson. The Post also spreads a rumor that Paterson was late arriving at the scene of last February's Buffalo plane crash because he was "preoccupied with a local lady friend."

Meanwhile, the Post's Fred Dicker opines that "by sitting on their supposed blockbuster of a story for nearly two weeks, the Times' scribes have created a paralytic frenzy in state government the likes of which have never been seen before. Perhaps they're bucking for the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded for buzz." (It's okay to be jealous, Dicker). In return, Paterson blasted the Post for their item about a State Trooper catching him embracing a woman in a utility closet in the Executive Mansion, insisting the room in which he was reportedly caught doesn't even exist. Post Editor in Chief Col Allan stood by the story and asked, "Does the governor's mansion not have a single closet?"
It was also revealed yesterday that 10 members of Paterson's security detail were transferred out of the unit; a source in the State Police tells the Daily News, "My feeling is they are trying to plug the leaks." And another source tells the Post, "They're trying to smoke out the leaker. What they don't realize it's almost everybody on the detail because everyone's sick of his behavior." State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt says the transfer was routine and that, to his knowledge, no one on the Governor's security detail has witnessed anything illegal or improper.

Never one to miss an opening, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio caught the buzz wave by penning an open letter to Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, demanding the paper "confirm or print it. If you do not, then you have a moral obligation to stop the drama and the psychological warfare on Governor Paterson. Unfortunately, these rumors about the Governor are a sad reflection of Albany politics." Heh, yeah like that one time State Sen. Kevin Parker called Paterson a "coke-snorting, staff-banging governor."

Finally, Paterson was at the Times headquarters yesterday to meet with the editorial board about his plans to run for Governor, which he says he will formally announce within a couple weeks. Asked about his personal relationship with Cuomo, whom he's known for years, Paterson quipped, "We went on a rafting trip with our families a few years ago. That was when I guess I missed my chance."

By John Del Signore

FBI takes new look at white men's killing of East Texas black teen in 1955

It was just a "playful night of gunfire," a top investigator for the Texas Rangers said.

No justice after 55 years in racial killing

News Videos

The nine bullets fired by two white men into a rural East Texas cafe – leaving a black teenager dead – had nothing to do...

Published 1 hour ago by Dallas Morning News



FBI takes new look at white men's killing of East Texas black teen in 1955

It was just a "playful night of gunfire," a top investigator for the Texas Rangers said.

No justice after 55 years in racial killing

News Videos

The nine bullets fired by two white men into a rural East Texas cafe – leaving a black teenager dead – had nothing to do...

Read More...

Video: Mary J. Blige tribute at ‘Black Women in Music’









The Jacksons Billie Jean live Victory Tour HQ




Stimulus 2 Up For A Vote In The Senate This Week


By Richard West

Another stimulus bill is up for a vote in the Senate this week – what Democrats have been calling the jobs bill – with the country’s economic woes firmly the focus. Elected representatives are facing significant public pressure to do something about the economy, specifically the high unemployment rate. Instead of one large second stimulus, Senators want to split it into smaller jobs bills that are less likely to incite widespread opposition.

Proposed Job-Creation Measures


Though it hasn’t been officially announced, the jobs bill under consideration is said to cost $81 billion. Provisions include a proposal whereby companies would not have to pay an employee’s 2010 6.2% Social Security payroll tax if they hire an unemployed worker. If the worker is kept for a year, the company would then get a $1,000 tax credit. Another provision allows companies to write off job-creating investments in one year rather than over several years. The bill also extends unemployment and COBRA benefits as well as certain tax breaks, like those for research and development. It may also extend funding authorization for transportation projects and delay a cut in Medicare payments to physicians.

Renewed Bipartisanship

Despite all the discussed proposals, Senate Democrats haven’t officially announced what’s in the bill, cautioning that it could still change. This is to give them time to drum up bipartisan support. The focus on bipartisan support comes after Republican Scott Brown’s election to the Senate in Massachusetts, taking the late Ted Kennedy’s seat in what is widely seen as a blow to the Democrats. Brown’s election broke the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority, meaning Democrats will need some Republican support. President Obama has also been making overtures to Republicans, including a Q&A with House Republicans last week and inviting a Republican to his Super Bowl party. Even so, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called for a cloture vote on Feb. 8, with or without Republican support. That would clear the way for final passage of the jobs bill sometime later that week.

If the Senate did pass a bill, it still has to contend with the House Democrats, who are openly disdainful of the Senate’s move to split the second stimulus bill into several smaller pieces. The House passed a $154 billion jobs bill in late 2009, with which any new Senate legislation would need to be reconciled.

Ayatollah So


Showing yet again how much Iran appreciates Barack Obama's "let's just talk and be pals" foreign policy strategy, Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is promising a "huge punch" which will stun Western powers this coming Thursday, to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Speculations about the nature of this "huge punch" include the possibility of an Internet meltdown when one billion Muslims simultaneously "de-friend" Barack Obama on Facebook, or the possible announcement of an Iranian "Super-DUPER-Bowl" which will have "much funnier commercials than those produced by the infidels."

In any event, it's time this president got serious about Iran's nuclear weapons program, support of international terror, murder of demonstrators, and threats to destroy Israel.

"The Audacity of Hugs" isn't working.

Google Launching Twitter-Killer For Gmail!


Google could launch a Twitter-killer as soon as this week, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Google already allows Gmail users to update their status. The prompt reads, "let people know what you're up to, or share links to photos, videos, and Web pages." But every time a user updates their status, the previous update disappears into the ether.

The WSJ says the new feature will "allow Gmail users to view a stream of status updates from people they choose to connect with." It will be tightly integrated with Google's video-sharing site YouTube and its photo-sharing site Picasa.

Yahoo launched a very similar feature for its email service back in August 2009.

If Google is smart, these status updates will pour into and out of Facebook and Twitter. That way it will have an immediate install base of users already trained to update everyone they know about the latest thing they viewed, thought or ate.

Otherwise, it's hard to see how this feature won't end up as another in a long line of Google products that tried, and failed, to beat popular services from Web rivals (See Orkut versus MySpace, Google Video versus YouTube, Open Social versus Facebook Platform, Google Friend Connect versus Facebook Connect).

RIP, John Murtha



Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the longtime top Democrat on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, has died at 77 years of age. Murtha, the subject of ethics queries for much of his career, was the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress. A national security hawk, he lit a fire under many of his Democratic colleagues when he came out forcefully for withdrawing from Iraq in 2005.

Another east coast snowstorm brewing on New Jersey

Forecasts call for another 20 inches of snow in Washington DC with snow spreading to NJ this time.



Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Storm systems barreling across the country may bring as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of new snow to Washington and Baltimore starting late tomorrow, while New Jersey may receive a foot, forecasters said.
With the Washington-Baltimore area still digging out from a weekend storm that left record snowfalls in some areas, the latest blast of winter “is going to be accompanied by heavy winds, which will make it feel worse, and across the Northeast that wind is going to last through the weekend,” said Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc.

A winter storm watch was posted today by the National Weather Service for New Jersey, New York, Long Island, southern Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. A winter storm warning was posted for Washington starting at noon tomorrow, and 10 to 20 more inches may fall, the agency said.

Obama's Approval Rating Takes a Hit


by Mark Silva

By the numbers, neither President Barack Obama nor the incumbent members of Congress are looking very comfortable these days.

But then, it takes someone to beat someone - which is why the public discontent with incumbent members of Congress registered in yet another poll today leaves open the question of who will be challenging those incumbents in November, not to mention the question of a challenger for Obama in 2012.

The president's public job approval among registered voters nationwide has slipped to 44 percent in the Marist Poll out today - with disapproval running at 47 percent. It was running 46 approval, 44 disapproval in Marist's December survey.

"Disappointer-in-chief,'' Marist is calling the president today.

As in other surveys, the president's loss of support among independent voters is what stands out today: "For the first time since taking office,'' Marist reports today, a majority of independents surveyed - 57 percent - disapprove of the job that the president is performing, with just 29 percent approving.

The partisans remain polarized: 81 percent of Democrats voicing approval of the president's performance, 80 percent of Republicans disapproval.

""If attracting Independents and bipartisanship are the aim, then the president clearly has a lot of ground to cover in year two," says Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist Institute for Public Opinion.

For members of Congress, however, there is a lot less time to repair relations with frustrated voters. Among registered voters surveyed, if the election were held today, 44 percent say they would vote to elect someone new, while 42 percent say they'd stick with their representative. Among those swing-voting independents, half say they would vote against the incumbent.

"The winds of change are still blowing around the nation,'' Miringoff reports. " If your working address is the U.S. Capitol, you have to watch these figures closely.''

Palin Drives Libertarians out of Tea Party

Sarah Palin got a lot of publicity for speaking at the Tea Party convention in Nashville, but I’m not sure she knew where she was because her Sunday morning follow-up hit a sour note note that destroyed whatever support she got from appearing there in the first place:

President Barack Obama won’t be re-elected in 2012 unless he can “toughen up” on national security, according to Sarah Palin. The former Governor of Alaska believes that declaring war on Iran could help the president get re-elected.

“Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decided really to come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do,” Palin told Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday. “That changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years.”

She might as well have said “let’s burn the constitution and expand the Fed.”

Granted, the tea party messaging can be pretty schizophrenic and has often served as a grab bag of anti-Obama sentiment. But their primary message has always been economic, and they have their roots in the libertarian-leaning, anti-interventionist conservatism of Ron Paul.

Tea party star Allen West, who raised over twice as much in the 4th quarter of 2009 than Democratic incumbent Ron Klein (FL-22), says “We must get away from occupation warfare and nation building.” Rand Paul, who is very likely to win Jim Bunning’s Kentucky Senate seat, would’ve voted against the war in Iraq and wants a constitutional declaration to continue the war in Afghanistan. Adam Kokesh is running as an anti-war candidate against Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luj├ín in New Mexico’s third congressional district (Lujan voted for the war supplemental).

There’s a tension within the conservative movement right now between the more social conservative, neocon wing that Palin represents, and the anti-tax tea party libertarians who have stronger paleo leanings. The latter have an ugly nativist streak, but they are straining to get away from George Bush’s war. It’s gays & God vs. guns.

There was a lot of pushback because of the price of the Palin tickets, and many of the rank-and-file tea party activists see her as a symbol of the establishment GOP’s attempt to co-opt their nascent movement.

Palin evidently thought she could endorse Rand Paul and they’d all throw flowers at her feet. Instead they’re having a melt down over her speech, trying to figure out how to keep the neocons out of future conventions.

Rather than navigating the gulf between the tea party activists and the GOP, Palin drove a wedge between them.

Well, at least she had the good sense not to mention her Bridge to Nowhere. But you have to wonder why they invited her there in the first place.

Conrad Murray: Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, Pleads Not Guilty

In a follow-up to a story we posted earlier today, Conrad Murray has been officially charged with involuntary manslaughter and has entered a plea of not guilty.

The documents were filed in court today by the Los Angeles District Attorney, who alleges Murray “did unlawfully, and without malice, kill Michael Joseph Jackson." Those are haunting words just to read, aren't they?

Meanwhile, the county coroner released his official findings at the hearing and there's no doubt about it: a lethal dosage of Propofol killed the singer. Eleven vials of the drug were found in Jackson's home, and none of had prescription directions, patient or doctor names.




According to the coroner's report, obtained by TMZ, homicide is cited as the cause of death because...

1.The setting of Jackson's bedroom (e.g. a chair alongside the bed) indicate the drugs were not self-administered.
2.Propofol was injected in a non-hospital setting, without any appropriate medical indication.
3.Suggested equipment for patient monitoring, precision dosing and resuscitation were not present.
After the DA originally asked for bail to be set at $300,000, the judge set it at $75,000. He forced Murray to hand over his passport and decreed that the doctor cannot be in possession of, or prescribe, anesthetics.

If Murray is found guilty, he'll face a maximum of four years in prison.

Even if he's acquitted of these criminal charges, the family can sue Murray for millions, according to Bill Newkirk, a lawyer who specializes inmedical malpractice.

"This is absolutely a slam-dunk malpractice case simply because of the alleged use of propofol. If the drug was indeed in his system, no competent doctor could justify why it was used. You can bet the Jackson family will be filing a civil claim soon against any doctors implicated in Jackson's medical care."

Iran Starts Higher Uranium Enrichment

Iran says it has begun enriching uranium to a higher level, defying international efforts to curb its nuclear activity.

Iranian state media reports the process started at Iran's Natanz facility Tuesday in the presence of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

Iran told the IAEA Monday of its plans to enrich uranium to 20 percent in order to fuel a medical nuclear reactor.

Western powers are concerned that if Iran is able to enrich uranium to 20 percent, it could eventually produce weapons-grade uranium through the same process.

Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions against Iran for its failure to halt uranium enrichment.

A U.S. Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday the United States wants a fourth round of sanctions passed "within weeks, not months."

Russia's national security chief Nikolai Patrushev said Iran's decision to boost uranium enrichment has raised doubts about the peacefulness of its nuclear program.

Russia has traditionally been reluctant to impose sanctions against Iran, but Russian officials recently have shown a willingness to take a tougher position toward the Islamic Republic.

In Paris Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said they will push for strong new sanctions.

U.S. officials said they hope to bring a resolution to the Security Council this month, while France holds the rotating presidency.

The U.N. had brokered a deal with a group of world powers that called for Tehran to ship its uranium abroad for enrichment and have it returned as reactor fuel. But Iran had given mixed signals about its willingness to accept the deal.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Tuesday called for the parties involved in the negotiations to continue work towards finding a solution.

China has been opposed to setting additional sanctions against Iran.