Black lawmakers to push for hate-crimes law in Georgia

ATLANTA — Black lawmakers in Georgia said Thursday they planned to push for a state hate crimes law after a white 16-year-old girl was accused of plotting to attack Black churchgoers.

In 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the state hate-crimes law, saying it was “unconstitutionally vague.”

In a statement, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus said it would push for a hate-crimes law “that protects the civil rights of all and further penalizes those who commit hate crimes.”

Georgia is one of only four states without such a law, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The others are South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming.

The plot targeting Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church came to light last week, when Gainesville High School students told administrators the girl had a notebook with detailed plans to ambush churchgoers as they worshipped. The teen, whose name hasn’t been released, was charged with criminal attempt to commit murder.

— The Associated Press

School board to welcome first Black female member

RICHMOND, Va. — The Henrico School Board welcomed its first female African-American member.

Alicia S. Atkins was elected to represent the Varina District on Nov. 5. She will take office in January.

Atkins was among four African-American candidates — all women — vying for the seat with the scheduled retirement of board chairman John W. Montgomery Jr., who has represented the district since 2008.

With nearly 17,000 votes cast, Atkins claimed 44.65% of the ballots over Joyce L. Davis, Michelle Roots Henderson and Kandise N. Lucas.

— Richmond Free Press

Public Defender’s official appointed judge in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE — Milton Childs Sr. a supervisor in the State Public Defender’s Office, has been appointed to the circuit court bench in Milwaukee County.

Gov. Tony Evers’ office announced Childs’ selection last month to fill the vacancy with Joseph Donald heading to replace retiring Kitty Brennan in the District 1 Court of Appeals.

Childs, 55, was born and raised in Milwaukee and taught math for 12 years after graduating from Xavier University. He also served eight years and left the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves with the rank of sergeant.

Childs said he got interested in the law while in court to support one of his students. He enrolled in Marquette University’s night program and continued teaching for the 4 1/2 years until he received his law degree in 2003. After law school, he worked in the state public defender’s office in Sheboygan.

— Milwaukee Times Weekly

D.C. slumlord ordered to return $1.1M to tenants

WASHINGTON — Sanford Capital LLC and its owner have been ordered by city’s attorney general to return more than $1.1 million in rent payments to 155 tenants in Wards 5, 7 and 8 who were forced to live in uninhabitable conditions.

The joint settlement agreement, announced recently by Attorney General Karl Racine, resolves three consumer protection lawsuits his office brought against the company based in Bethesda, Maryland, for charging rent while failing to maintain properties and endangering tenants.

Sanford Capital, which has a long and troubled history, once owned more than 65 buildings in the city and has been the target of Racine’s office since 2016.

Sanford Capital, which formerly operated residential apartment buildings in the district, and its principal, Aubrey Carter Nowell, allegedly engaged in a pattern of neglect and forced hundreds of vulnerable low-income tenants to live in unsafe and inhumane conditions, according to Racine’s office.

— Washington Informer

Black workers at Facebook confirm continued hostilities

CALIFORNIA — Just a year after a letter published by a former Black Facebook employee accused the company of creating a hostile environment for its Black employees and users, a new anonymous memo published on Medium claims the environment has only grown more hostile.

“Racism, discrimination, bias, and aggression do not come from the big moments,” they write. “It’s in the small actions that mount up over time and build into a culture where we are only meant to be seen as quotas, but never heard, never acknowledged, never recognized, and never accepted.”

Twelve current and former employees of color describe specific instances of racism and hostility they have encountered. The writers added that all alleged incidents had witnesses and corroboration.

One Facebook program manager describes being told by two white employees to “clean up after their mess” and after reporting the incident to their supervisor, was told to “dress more professionally.”

The workers also included screenshots of posts made on Blind, the anonymous workplace community app. Pictured are various offensive posts.

— L.A. Focus

Court dismisses lawsuit in fight over new NBA stadium

CALIFORNIA — In a victory for Inglewood, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge recently threw out a lawsuit seeking to block the proposed Los Angeles Clippers arena by arguing that the city-owned arena site should have instead been used for affordable housing.

Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy rejected the primary argument of the Uplift Inglewood group, which accused the city of violating a state surplus land law when it entered into an agreement involving the proposed $1.2-billion arena and entertainment complex on 23 acres of municipal land.

The law requires that any land deemed “unnecessary” for a civic purpose must first be considered for affordable housing development. But Murphy accepted Inglewood’s argument that the Clippers site had for years been reserved for the legitimate purpose of economic development and thus is not “surplus” as defined by the law.

Construction and operation of the proposed 18,500-seat Arena complex is expected to generate 8,500 new jobs, inject $268 million into the local economy, and yield $190 million in additional tax revenue for Inglewood over the next 25 years.

— L.A. Focus

HBCU money won’t appear in federal stopgap funding bill

WASHINGTON — Millions in funding for historically Black colleges won’t be part of the federal funding package to avoid a government shutdown.

The U.S. House approved a continuing resolution to fund the government until Dec. 20, but it won’t include the FUTURE Act — the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education Act, which would authorize $255 million to Black colleges and minority-serving institutions.

The bill stalled in the Senate and lapsed on Sept. 30.

Rep. Alma Adams, a Charlotte Democrat and founder of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, voted for the continuing resolution, but railed against dropping the FUTURE Act she co-sponsored with Republican Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina.

— The Charlotte Post

Oklahoma judge faces felony charge of income tax evasion

OKLAHOMA — Oklahoma County District Judge Kendra Coleman is now facing a felony charge regarding her state income tax filings and owing $100,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Coleman is accused of failing to file a state income tax return and evading payment of her 2017 state taxes. She filed her 2017 state tax return Sept. 12, soon after news reports surfaced on her troubles.

It was due last year. The judge acknowledged last month she was behind on her taxes.

Recently, prosecutors revised their charges to focus on her 2017 state tax return because of new information.

— The Black Chronicle

Recusal motions against Black judge set for hearing

NEW IBERIA, La. — The Louisiana Supreme Court has ordered a retired judge to hear about 300 requests to have an African-American judge removed from her cases after she criticized prosecutors of mistreating Black defendants.

Judge Lori Landry says the Iberia Parish District Attorney’s Office unjustly incarcerates Black people.

District Attorney Bo Duhé accuses Landry of being bias and his office has filed hundreds of recusal motions against Landry, who has refused to step aside.

News outlets report retired Rapides Parish Judge Harry F. Randow will operate as a judge “ad hoc,” for the sole purpose of handling the recusal motions. The next hearing will be Dec. 12.

— The Associated Press

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