California correctional group blasted for ‘scare tactic’

Members of the California Correctional Peace Officer Association were called out after placing a gun target on the photo of a Black lawmaker in California.

The CCPOA, in a two-minute political video, clearly displayed an image of a “crosshair” symbol over the face of state Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat from Los Angeles, at the 1-minute-20-second mark of the clip, which was widely circulated before it was deleted.

Glen Stailey, a correctional officer and CCPOA’s state president, posted the video on Facebook. CCPOA is supporting a candidate whois running against Jones-Sawyer in November’s general election, wrote Antonio Ray Harvey for the California Black Media.

“It is unconscionable that the president of a peace officer’s association would use such a scare tactic that could incite someone to take action and cause harm,” said Jones-Sawyer, who has asked the Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms for additional security. He has also requested that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra investigate the matter.

Jones-Sawyer, who represents the 59th Assembly District, is currently in a fight to hold on to his seat. He trailed Efren Martinez, also a Democrat, in the primary election, which forced a runoff on Nov. 3.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, established in 1957 as the California Correctional Officers Association, has over 30,000 members.

— Bakersfield News Observer

Officer in Alton Sterling case dismissed from suit over deathBATON ROUGE, La. — A white police officer who assisted in the arrest in which Alton Sterling was fatally shot has been dismissed from a wrongful death lawsuit.

A state district judge dismissed Howie Lake II from the case in September at the request of Lake and his attorney, The Advocate reported.

Lake used a stun gun on Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, and helped wrestle him to the ground during the 2016 encounter in Baton Rouge. Lake did not fire his gun.

Former Baton Rouge officer Blane Salamoni shot Sterling six times during the struggle outside a convenience store where Sterling was selling homemade compact discs.

Federal and state prosecutors declined to criminally charge Salamoni and Lake.

In 2017, Sterling’s family sued the city, its police department and former police chief and the two officers. The lawsuit alleges the shooting fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by police.

Lake’s attorney had argued there was “absolutely nothing” the officer could have done to prevent Salamoni from fatally shooting Sterling, according to The Advocate.

Salamoni and the others named remain in the suit defendants. It will go to court in March, unless a settlement is reached, news outlets have reported.

— The Associated Press

Governor repeats vow to pardon St. Louis couple

LIBERTY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said last week he “most certainly would” pardon a St. Louis couple if they are convicted of gun charges after waving guns at protesters walking in front of their home as they headed to the mayor’s house during the summer.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey were indicted last Tuesday on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence arising from their confrontation with the demonstrators in their neighborhood.

Parson had said earlier that he would pardon the couple and he repeated that pledge during a news conference Wednesday.

“We’ll let it play out and see how this all comes out in the courts, but I stand by what I said,” he said.

Protesters marching to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home were outside the McCloskeys’ $1.15 million home when the couple emerged with guns and waved them at the demonstrators while demanding they get off their property.

The McCloskeys have argued they were exercising their Second Amendment rights and defending their home from protesters who were threatening them. They have become heroes to conservatives and gun-rights advocates and drawn support from President Donald Trump.

Protest leaders have said the marchers were peaceful and did not threaten the couple.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat, charged the couple with felony unlawful use of a weapon. She said the use of guns risked bloodshed at what she called an otherwise peaceful protest.

— The Associated Pres

Trump plans to fill seat on Puerto Rico oversight panel

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The White House said last week that President Donald Trump plans to appoint a man who once advised creditors in financial disputes involving Puerto Rico and Argentina to a federal control board overseeing the U.S. territory’s finances.

Justin Peterson is expected to fill one of two positions left empty after longtime board members recently resigned.

Peterson is a managing partner at DCI, a public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C. He previously worked on the campaigns of former Sen. Elizabeth Dole and former President George W. Bush.

The U.S. Congress created the board four years ago after Puerto Rico announced its more than $70 billion public debt load was unpayable and sought to restructure a portion of it.

— The Associated Press

Black St. Louis aldermen oppose altering election forma


ST. LOUIS — Most of the Black aldermen say they oppose a Nov. 3 ballot proposal that would make future elections for mayor, alderman and other city offices nonpartisan.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the African American caucus said in a statement that Proposition D would result “in the elimination of the Democratic Party in the city.”

The aldermen also criticized another part of the proposal that would allow residents in the city’s March primaries to vote for more than one candidate at the same time. The two top vote-getters would move on to the April general election.

Supporters of the plan say it would bring St. Louis in line with other Missouri municipalities and many in other states that have candidates run without party labels.

Because St. Louis is heavily Democratic, the Democratic primary has been the de facto general election for many decades.

The Black caucus is made up of 10 of the 11

African Americans who hold wards seats on the Board of Aldermen.

— The Associated Press

Ex-UAW leader pleads guilty in embezzlement scheme

DETROIT — The former president of the United Auto Workers pleaded guilty in late September to an embezzlement scheme, saying he suspected that union dues were being used for golf, lodging and fancy meals but “deliberately looked away” and enjoyed the bounty.

Dennis Williams, 67, is the latest senior leader at the UAW to plead guilty in the federal investigation of corruption in the union’s upper ranks. His successor as president, Gary Jones, pleaded guilty in June.

Williams, who joined the union as a welder in Rock Island, Illinois, in 1977, rose to become secretary-treasurer and then president from 2014 until he retired in 2018. He was accused of conspiring with others to cover up the source of cash for expensive retreats in Palm Springs, California.

With about 400,000 members, the Detroit-based UAW is best known for representing workers at Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor.

Eleven union officials and a late official’s spouse have pleaded guilty since 2017, although not all the crimes were connected. The first wave of convictions, which included some Fiat Chrysler employees, involved taking money from a Fiat Chrysler-UAW training center in Detroit.

— The Associated Press

Court approves $800 million settlement in Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS — A court approved a settlement totaling $800 million from casino company MGM Resorts International and its insurers to more than 4,400 relatives and victims of the Las Vegas Strip shooting that was the deadliest in recent U.S. history.

The action makes final a deal settling dozens of lawsuits on the eve of the third anniversary of the mass shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at an open-air concert near the Mandalay Bay resort on Oct. 1, 2017.

Authorities said more than 22,000 people were attending an outdoor music festival when the gunman, Stephen Paddock, fired military-style weapons from windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay rained bullets down onto the crowd.

Las Vegas police and the FBI determined the 64-year-old retired accountant and high-stakes poker player meticulously planned the attack and acted alone.

MGM Resorts, owner of the hotel and the concert venue, acknowledged no liability. It will pay $49 million, while its insurance companies will pay $751 million.

— The Associated Press

Panel to compile, create local minority history course

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Providence has assembled a group of historical groups and community leaders who over the course of four months will create a public education program that details the history of Black and Indigenous people in the city.

The initiative announced recently is the first part of the truth telling and reparations process that Mayor Jorge Elorza launched in July.

“In order to plan a truly equitable future for our city, we need to know our history and reconcile our truths,” Elorza said in a statement.

Groups including the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, Rhode Island Historical Society and the 1696 Heritage Group will work with the city’s African American Ambassador Group Truth Telling Committee to collect and analyze historical documents and artifacts.

They will look at the history of the city through the enslavement and genocide of African heritage and Indigenous people; examine discriminatory state and municipal laws; and examine the continued impact of slavery, Indigenous genocide, racial discrimination, and displacement, the statement said.

The goal is to create a program that will be used to supplement the curriculum in city schools.

— The Associated Press

Ohio panel developing mass p

rotest standards for police

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A statewide standard for Ohio police departments to follow when dealing with mass protests could assist small agencies that don’t have experience in handling such demonstrations and give bigger departments the chance to review procedures, according to the head of the state’s criminal justice services office.

The Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, which is assisted by Moore’s office, is developing the standard at the direction of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine. The board previously created statewide police standards for use of force, use of deadly force, recruiting and retention, and body cameras, among others.

“We are not looking to give the small number of violent protesters a free pass. Far from it,” DeWine said in proposing the standards in June.

— The Associated Press

His directive came as many departments in Ohio and nationally were criticized for their handling of protests.

— The Associated Press

Judge approves changes to police surveillance in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A federal judge has ruled the police department in Memphis cannot cooperate with another agency to avoid restrictions from a decades-old order barring the city from engaging in surveillance of protesters and activists.

The Commercial Appeal reported the recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla made changes to the 1978 federal consent decree, which was issued following disclosure the police department spied on civil rights activists, violating their First Amendment rights.

The rewritten order says the police department and the city “shall not encourage, cooperate with, delegate, employ or contract” with local, state or federal agencies to “plan or conduct” activities prohibited by the order.

The ruling comes as an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit claims Memphis police engaged in improper electronic surveillance of activists associated with Black Lives Matter and other groups in recent years. McCalla ruled in 2018 that the agency violated the order by watching and monitoring the social media accounts of protesters.

The rewritten decree also addressed social media, and other technologies like body cameras, WREG-TV reported.

The ACLU and attorneys with the police department had reached agreements on rewrites to other sections of the decree, but disagreed on how police could share information with other agencies.

Michael Rallings, the police department’s director, and other police officials have argued the language in the order was restrictive and would hamper their ability to cooperate with other agencies.

— The Associated Press

Illinois revises marijuana licenses process after complaints

CHICAGO — Illinois tweaked how business owners seeking recreational marijuana licenses can apply following complaints that the process favored politically connected and rich applicants over minorities and veterans who were supposed to benefit.

Recreational marijuana sales started in January under a state law that, like similar efforts elsewhere, was touted for so-called social equity provisions designed to address racial disparities and other inequities in the decadeslong war on drugs.

Black residents in Illinois are seven times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white residents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

However, some state legislators and applicants for pot shops said minorities and veterans were still being shut out under the complex point-based application process where only those with a perfect score would be allowed a shot at licenses. The first licenses to sell and grow recreational cannabis were given to existing medical marijuana companies.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a first-term Democrat, described the changes that will give rejected applicants a second chance as a matter of fairness.

Of more than 700 applicants, just 21 finalists got perfect scores to qualify for the lottery to win 75 licenses. Some criteria included having environmentally friendly plans and having at least 51% of the organization owned by minorities or veterans. Applicants can seek multiple licenses.

State officials say Illinois could issue up to 500 dispensary licenses in a process that will take years.

Some applicants said they were rejected in the expensive process even after meeting the criteria. Two Black-owned businesses that were passed over sued, saying only “politically-connected insider companies” won lottery spots and alleging scoring inconsistencies.

Under procedures announced recently, rejected applicants will be able to submit revised applications after the state notifies them of any “deficiencies” in their applications.

Sales for recreational marijuana in the first six months of the year topped $239 million, exceeding state projections. Illinois collected nearly $53 million in tax revenue during that time, according to Pritzker’s office.

— The Associated Press

Sigma Pi Phi donates $55,000 to civil rights museum

Members of Beta Gamma Boulé and the national Grand Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity made a joint donation of $55,000 to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Sept. 12.

Beta Gamma Boule of Jackson, Mississippi, was chartered in September 1975.

Four charter members of Beta Gamma Boulé are featured at the museum: Gilbert Mason, physician and leader of the wade-in campaign to desegregate the Gulf Coast beaches in Mississippi; John People Jr., the sixth president of Jackson State University; Robert Smith, a physician and civil fights activist; and Jack Young, a civil rights attorney.

Sigma Pi Phi was founded in Philadelphia on May 15, 1904, and its alumni includes civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and NAACP co-founder WEB DuBois.

— The Jackson Advocate

Richmond University president plans to step down in 2022

RICHMOND, Va. — The first Black president of a university in the state’s capital has announced that he will step down in 2022.

University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher, 73, said in a recent statement that he plans to leave the position in early 2022.

Crutcher gave the two-year window to allow the university to “have as much time as possible” to choose a successor, amid “great disruption and challenges” facing higher education, according to his statement.

He assumed the role in 2015 and accepted a two-year extension from the school’s board of trustees in June.

The university was set to form a search committee that would begin looking for the next president this fall, officials said.

Crutcher will return to the faculty as a university professor after a sabbatical.

— The Associated Presss

Black general takes command at U.S. Air Force Academy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The U.S. Air Force Academy installed a new superintendent who will be the first Black officer to lead the military institution.

Lt. Gen. Richard Clark also became the first former commandant of cadets to return to the top position at the academy near Colorado Springs, The Gazette reported.

Clark accepted his “dream job” during a September ceremony, becoming the first Black superintendent in the school’s 66-year history after a stint at the Pentagon, where he oversaw the Air Force’s nuclear weapons program. He replaced Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, who retired after 35 years in the military.

Clark attended the academy beginning in 1982, when he was a linebacker on the football team. He would oversee military training at the academy as the cadet commandant from 2010 to 2012.

— The Associated Press

Group seeks recognition for school desegregation landmarks

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A group of historians wants a national site dedicated to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared school segregation illegal to incorporate locations in South Carolina that helped pave the way for the case.

Historians and family members of those who fought for equal education of Black children in South Carolina said recently that they are seeking the inclusion of places in Columbia and Clarendon County in the National Park Service’s Brown v. Board of Education historical site in Topeka, Kansas, The Post and Courier reported.

According to the group, the 1954 Supreme Court court case cannot be fully understood without the role of Briggs v. Elliott, a 1950 lawsuit filed in Summerton that challenged segregation. That suit was the first of five to be combined into Brown v. Board of Education.

The advocates want national recognition of the South Carolina schools at the center of that case, the home of Harry and Eliza Briggs, and churches that served as meeting sites for parents who were challenging the unequal school system, among other places, the newspaper said.

Designating the locations as part of the Kansas site would allow for better signage, expanded opportunities for grants that would fund upgrades and education as well as other initiatives that could boost tourism revenue. The effort has bipartisan support in Congress.

— The Associated Press

Boston University gets $1.5 million for antiracism research

BOSTON — Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research was awarded $1.5 million from the Rockefeller Foundation to research racial disparities in the U.S., the university recently announced.

The grant will support projects including the center’s COVID-19 Racial Data Tracker, which is being used to study the virus’ impact on people of color. It will also support a project to track broader data on racial inequities.

Ibram X. Kendi, the center’s director, called it a “game changing gift.”

“It will allow us to accelerate our COVID and racial data tracker and our research teams to really study the problem and make more of a policy impact,” Kendi said in a statement.

The center was formed in July amid nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African Americans killed by police. Its recent donors also include Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who is giving $10 million.

— The Associated Press

Police accountability package now law in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. — The first of Connecticut’s sweeping police accountability laws went into effect on Oct. 1, including a provision that requires police and corrections officers to intervene if they see a colleague using excessive force.

The legislation was passed in July amid protests and calls for change following the May killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Under the law, any officer who witnesses unreasonable, excessive or illegal force and does not intervene may be charged with the same crime as the officer who used the force. Departments are also prohibited from retaliating in any way against officers who intervene.

The legislative package also created a new inspector general’s office, which will take over the investigation of cases involving the use of force by police to determine if that action was justified. But lawmakers have yet to appoint anyone to lead that office.

Another law stipulates that police officers who lose their state certification can no longer apply for licenses to be security guards in Connecticut. There is also a new law dealing with the false reporting of crimes, with stiffer penalties for bogus 911 calls.

The rules for traffic stops have been changed as police may no longer ask drivers to search their cars if they’ve been stopped solely for a motor vehicle violation. Officers still may conduct searches if they have probable cause to believe a more serious crime has been committed or if they receive the unsolicited consent of the driver. Also, drivers pulled over for motor vehicle violation also cannot be asked to produce citizenship papers or anything other than their driver’s license, registration and insurance information.

Other parts of the package, including a controversial provision limiting government immunity protections for police, are set to go into effect in January.

— The Associated Press

Pacific Power utility sued over devastating Oregon wildfires

PORTLAND, Ore. — Three Pacific Northwest law firms have filed a class action lawsuit against the Pacific Power utility and its parent company, claiming they failed to shut down its power lines despite historically high winds and extremely dangerous wildfire conditions.

The lawsuit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, names Jeanyne James and Robin Colbert as lead plaintiffs. The couple lost their home, garage and cars in the small community of Lyons, Oregon, to a wildfire that raced through a canyon last month, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

The blaze was one of multiple fires that burned across the state, as wildfires destroyed several thousand homes and killed nine people in Oregon and two in northern California. The lawsuit alleged the high winds also toppled energized power lines that sparked some of the blazes.

Fire officials have not yet cited an official cause of the fires.

California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, filed for bankruptcy after one of its transmission lines sparked the Camp fire in 2018. That fire devastated the town of Paradise, destroying 11,000 homes and claiming 85 lives. The utility agreed in May to pay $13.5 billion in cash and stock to settle claims.

— The Associated Press

Maryland gets first Black woman on GOP legislative side

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s first female Black Republican state legislator is scheduled to be sworn in.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones was scheduled to swear in Brenda Thiam as the newest member of the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis on Tuesday.

Thiam was appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan to represent a district in Washington County in western Maryland to replace former Del. Paul Corderman, who was appointed to the state Senate.

Thiam is a behavioral health specialist who assists families of children with autism. She also established a nonprofit focused on supporting employment and residential services for adults with autism.

— The Associated Press

Tennessee inmate who claims innocence seeks clemency

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee death row inmate who has always claimed innocence asked the governor to commute his sentence to life in prison.

Pervis Payne, 53, is scheduled to die on Dec. 3 for the 1987 stabbing deaths of Charisse Christopher and her 2-year-old daughter, Lacie Jo. Christopher’s son, Nicholas, who was 3 at the time, was also stabbed but survived.

Payne, who is Black, told police he was at Christopher’s apartment building to meet his girlfriend when he heard pleads from the victims, who were white, and tried to help them. He said he panicked when he saw a white policeman and ran away.

Prosecutors argued at trial that Payne was high on cocaine and looking for sex when he killed Christopher and her daughter in a “drug-induced frenzy.” Payne’s defense attorneys have argued that the evidence does not support that theory.

“The stereotypes used to convict Mr. Payne are the same used repeatedly throughout history, from Emmett Till to the Central Park 5,” the clemency petition to Gov. Bill Lee states.

A Memphis judge last month ordered DNA testing of a knife and other evidence in the case. Testing is ongoing, and it should be completed by mid-November, said Kelley Henry, a lawyer for Payne.

The petition sent to Lee on Oct. 5 asks the governor to at least postpone Payne’s execution until lawmakers can fix that loophole. Payne also has a petition pending in federal court that asks the judge to halt his execution based on the same claims.

— The Associated Press

Central State Hospital marks 150 years of role in Virginia

A key part of African-American health and history in Virginia was celebrated recently, as state health officials and professionals gathered online to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Central State Hospital outside Petersburg.

The virtual event was a significant shift in plans for the commemoration, which initially was to take place on the grounds of the hospital but was moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Central State Hospital’s origins can be traced to December 1869 when Edward Canby, a Union Army general and acting military governor of Virginia in the wake of the Civil War, ordered a former Richmond Confederate hospital be converted into a state asylum for African-Americans with mental illnesses.

A year later, the Virginia General Assembly incorporated it as a state institution, then called the Central Lunatic Asylum, and gave it a new purpose- to house and treat “colored persons of unsound mind” from across the state.

It was the first of its kind in the United States. At the time, it housed 123 “insane persons and 100 paupers, not insane,” according to the history.

Central State gradually grew over the years, moving from Richmond to Dinwiddie County on a sprawling farm purchased by the city of Petersburg. It was renamed Central State Hospital in 1894 and expanded through the decades to accommodate a wider variety of illnesses and conditions, including substance abuse and evaluations in court cases.

In 1968, several years after the passage of federal civil rights legislation, the state of Virginia desegregated its hospitals, and Central State, which had been designated solely for the treatment of African-Americans, opened to all patients, regardless of race.

Currently, Central State Hospital has 229 patients and 829 full-time staff. In addition to its civil unit, it also houses the only maximum-security mental health unit in the state.

As part of the state commitment to Central State, an agreement was reached with Virginia officials last year to build a new $315 million facility with more modern accommodations and to address a number of technological and logistical concerns on the 543-acre campus. The new facility, whose construction is expected to start in 2021, would replace 13 outdated buildings.

— Richmond Free Press

California city uses declaration to reform police force

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco Bay Area city has proclaimed a public safety emergency declaration allowing staff to bypass normal channels to push through reforms involving a scandal-ridden department that is reeling from high crime rates, low morale and troubled community relations in the wake of shootings of minorities by police.

“Very brave step for all of us but it’s something that needed to be done,” Mayor Bob Sampayan said as the Vallejo City Council unanimously approved the motion on Oct. 5.

City staff recommended the declaration, which allows the police chief and city manager to hire command staff and more quickly implement policy changes, although the city could risk litigation in doing so.

The council also passed a broader police reform proposal directing the city manager and police chief to beef up community policing, provide options for independent oversight and find ways to improve public trust and transparency.

The city of 120,000 people faces “a crisis of legitimacy and trust” that demands emergency action, said Vallejo spokeswoman Christina Lee before the meeting.

There have been more than 350 shootings and 22 homicides in the city this year, including an incident in August in which two people were killed and their 1-year-old shot.

At the same time, police face mounting criticism and fiscal liability over shootings and misconduct by officers. Lee says two dozen federal civil rights cases and more than a dozen tort claims are pending that could cost the city $50 million as well as higher insurance premiums.

Advocates of police reform are not persuaded that an emergency declaration will transform the department that has a longstanding reputation for violence, especially toward Black and Latino people.

— The Associated Press

Ohio can’t stop paying out nuclear plant bailout money

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s attorney general can’t block the state’s nuclear plants from collecting fees on electricity bills even though the law that authorized the bailout money is at the center of a $60 million federal bribery probe, a judge ruled recently.

A Franklin County judge denied Attorney General Dave Yost’s attempt to stop Energy Harbor from receiving payments for two nuclear plants near Cleveland and Toledo that were bailed out through the now-tainted legislation.

The bailout is funded by a fee that will be added to every electricity bill in the state starting Jan. 1 — directing over $150 million a year, through 2026, to the two nuclear plants.

Energy Harbor is the former FirstEnergy Solutions, a onetime subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. The company said in a statement that the state’s lawsuit “unjustly targets the company for lawfully participating in the political process and advocating for policy that is consistent with our interests.”

The lawsuit also sought to freeze the assets of former House Speaker Larry Householder’s $1 million campaign fund and dissolve the dark money groups involved in the bribery scheme.

But Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Chris Brown noted in his ruling that blocking donations and other speech would be an infringement of the companies’ and individuals’ First Amendment rights.

The House created a committee in August to determine the fate of the legislation after federal prosecutors had accused Householder and four others of shepherding energy company money for personal and political use as part of an effort to pass the bailout bill, then kill any attempt to repeal it at the polls. All five men have pleaded not guilty.

The committee adjourned hearings on the eve of the Oct. 1 deadline to repeal the law before 90% of the state’s electricity customers begin to see an added fee on their bills come Jan. 1.

However, Yost says the rejection of his preliminary injunction is not the end. The Republican attorney general brought the lawsuit after he promised to seek the legal remedies necessary if the General Assembly could not do so in time.

— The Associated Press

Chicago police union suspends ex-president for 3 years

CHICAGO — The former president of Chicago’s largest police union has been suspended from the organization for three years after his successor accused him of leaving a camera in his office and not disclosing it.

Kevin Graham’s suspension was confirmed recently by John Catanzara, the current president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7.

Graham, who was ousted by Catanzara as the union’s leader in May by rank-and-file officers who voted in a runoff election, denied any wrongdoing. He said he plans to appeal his suspension.

Catanzara had already tried to have Graham removed from the union’s board in June after the camera was discovered in his office at the union’s Chicago headquarters.

— The Associated Press

Black lawmakers, activists demand police transparency

BATON ROUGE, La. — Members of Louisiana’s Legislative Black Caucus joined activists to demand transparency from state police after the death of a Black man during a struggle with troopers, among other incidents involving the agency.

The group gathered recently on the Capitol steps in Baton Rouge for a news conference and demanded the immediate release of all body camera and dash camera video of state police’s encounter with Ronald Greene, 49, in May 2019, The Advocate reported.

Police initially told Greene’s family he died from injuries suffered in a crash at the end of a car chase near Monroe that began over a traffic violation. State police later acknowledged there was a “struggle” with troopers, including Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who died in a single-car crash last month.

Greene’s relatives and their attorneys met with state legislators ahead of the news conference, the newspaper said. The family has filed a federal wrongful-death suit alleging troopers “brutalized” Greene, leaving him “beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest.”

Hollingsworth, who was white, was heard on a body camera mic recording obtained by The Associated Press this month admitting to severely beating Greene. The trooper died in the crash hours after he learned he was being fired for his role in the case.

The demonstrators also demanded the resignation of state police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves, alleging the legislature made an exception in Louisiana’s nepotism laws to allow his son, Kaleb Reeves, to remain a trooper.

Kaleb Reeves was involved in a car crash while responding to a call in Monroe last week that left an 11-year-old and an 18-year-old dead. State police have not released any details on what caused the crash.

— The Associated Press

IBM to spin off $19B business to focus on cloud computing

ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM says it is breaking off a $19 billion chunk of its business to focus on cloud computing.

The 109-year-old tech company, which had $77 billion in revenue last year, said recently that it was spinning off its managed infrastructure services unit into a new public company, temporarily named NewCo. The separation is expected to take effect by late 2021.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said the split will help IBM focus on its cloud platform and artificial intelligence, while the newly formed company will provide services to manage the infrastructure of businesses and other organizations.

Once a household name for its personal computers, IBM shed its PC business in 2005 and has since become focused on supplying software services to big businesses, governments and other organizations. It has worked to strengthen its cloud computing business but has struggled to compete with top cloud rivals Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

— The Associated Press

Interactive bike tour to roll through civil rights sites

DETROIT — History buffs can roll around sites in Detroit as part of an interactive civil rights bike tour.

The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office is launching the tour in which guests can navigate using a smartphone or tablet. The program will receive funding from a National Park Service grant.

The recommended route begins and ends at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The entire loop has 20 stops and is about 17 miles long — the product of a 14-person board that looked at sites in a concentrated area of the city that was conducive to a bike tour.

Most of the sites were associated with the period of the 1950-1970s and the growth of the Black Power movement.

— The Associated Press

S.C. city will conduct racial bias audit of police department

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — The city has awarded a contract to a Virginia-based firm to conduct a racial bias audit of its police department.

The Post and Courier reported the City Council voted unanimously Thursday to hire the firm CNA for the long-awaited audit.

Residents have said for years that the agency over-policed Black people, and activists have said the audit would help restore public trust in the police force.

The firm will charge the city $283,000 to spend six to eight months conducting the audit and a year helping to implement changes. The audit will include reviewing police interactions with youth and body worn cameras.

— The Associated Press

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.