Justice Department hosts
St. Louis area police training
SUNSET HILLS, Mo. — A federal law enforcement team has completed the first training sessions for local police in the St. Louis area following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.
The Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services worked with top commanders from Ferguson, the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the Missouri Highway Patrol at a two-day session that concluded Friday and focused on how unintentional bias affects police work. The trainers included former police chiefs in Madison, Wisconsin, and East Palo Alto, California.
“We face a lot of resistance. We face defensiveness and even hostility,” said trainer Lorie Fridell, a University of South Florida criminology professor who helped lead the session on “fair and impartial policing.”
The voluntary effort, known as collaborative reform, is separate from a federal civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police shooting and a broader federal inquiry into the department’s policing methods. The sessions came as a state grand jury prepares to decide this month if Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, will face charges in the death of Brown, who was black. The shooting prompted protests and sparked a national conversation about race and policing, among other issues.
Soon after Brown was killed, President Barack Obama directed the Justice Department to work with police officials in and around Ferguson to help reduce tension and build trust. Ronald Davis, the former northern California police chief who now leads the Justice Department program, said his group is “in it for the long haul,” citing similar federal police reform efforts in Baltimore and New Orleans and in Sanford, Florida, after the Trayvon Martin shooting.
excessive force by trooper
LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas motorcyclist wants the federal Justice Department to investigate whether a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper violated his civil rights and used excessive force in a crash last month on a southern Nevada freeway on-ramp.
Attorney Stephen Stubbs filed a complaint on Monday that says his client, 39-year-old Allah Shah Lindsey, received a serious leg injury when an NHP patrol cruiser driven by Trooper Colter Shane Earl crashed into his motorcycle late Oct. 8.
Stubbs alleges the crash in the median emergency lane on the 215 Beltway at Rainbow Road was intentional.
He says Earl may have hit Lindsey because Lindsey is Black.
Trooper Chelsea Stuenkel declined comment on behalf of the highway patrol.
She said the crash is being investigated and Earl remains on the job.
Memphis mayor proposes
new safety measure
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton said police should be able to detain juveniles who are out after curfew.
The Commercial Appeal reported Wharton proposed the policy change in a letter this week to City Council member Myron Lowery. Local and state laws currently only allow officers to take teens home or to juvenile court.
Wharton said he wants the council to amend the city ordinance to allow officers to take minors to new “juvenile safety centers” where they would stay there until a parent or guardian picks them up.
Juvenile court officials said youth crime is actually down this year, but a recent attack by a mob of teens and other incidents have raised questions about safety.
Civil Rights Museum
to honor Tom Brokaw
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw will receive a Lifetime Achievement Freedom Award for Journalism from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
Themed “Breaking Barriers, Advancing Freedom,” The Freedom Award, National Civil Rights Museum’s annual fundraiser will be held Dec. 2.
Brokaw is a television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. Brokaw also produced specials for NBC, including 2001’s “The Greatest Generation Speaks,” based on Brokaw’s best-selling 1998 book, The Greatest Generation.
Early in his career (1965), he moved to Atlanta to cover the Civil Rights Movement and was able to cover stories on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Man, 19, accused of
stabbing his father to death
HOSCHTON, Ga. — Authorities said a 19-year-old man is accused of stabbing his father to death northeast of Atlanta.
Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said officers Wednesday afternoon found David Trent Walker in the street outside their home, standing over his wounded father — 46-year-old David Walker — in the Hoschton area.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that emergency workers loaded the wounded man into an ambulance, but he died a short time later.
David Trent Walker was booked into the Gwinnett County Detention Center, where he was being held on a murder charge. Jail records early Thursday did not indicate whether he had an attorney.
Atlanta group planning
holiday meal for the needy
ATLANTA — Leaders of an Atlanta organization said preparations are underway to feed the needy this Thanksgiving.
Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless officials say the annual Great Turkey Drop Off takes place Thursday morning at the DeKalb County Jail, which has one of the largest commercial kitchens in the metro Atlanta area.
The group’s leaders said Publix and Kroger supermarkets are expecting to deliver more than 1,000 turkeys to help the group host its Thanksgiving Day event at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Chief Executive Officer of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless Elizabeth Omilami says this year’s event will also feature programs to help clients move toward personal independence. The group is still accepting donations for its Thanksgiving dinner.
Ala. woman indicted on
82 counts in fraud scheme
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Federal prosecutors say the former chief financial officer of two nonprofit health clinics for the poor and homeless has been indicted in a scheme to defraud the agencies and the government, which provided most of their funding.
Authorities said in a statement Wednesday that 48-year-old Terri McGuire Mollica of Birmingham is facing an 82-count grand jury indictment. Charges against her include wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft and filing fraudulent tax returns.
Mollica worked for Birmingham Health Care and the Central Alabama Comprehensive Health Inc. and is accused of helping co-conspirators steal roughly $11 million in federal grant money and other property from the agencies. The indictment accuses Mollica of receiving about $1.7 million in the scheme.
Thornton steps down
as Alabama State trustee
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The chairman of the Alabama State University board of trustees said he’s stepping down to protect the school from a potential conflict of interest.
Larry Thornton said on Friday his decision to resign immediately from the board was in the best interest of Alabama State, noting the university’s contract for beverage services is being transferred from Coca-Cola Refreshments to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, United, Inc., of which Thornton serves on the board.
Thornton says state laws prohibit a board chairman from having financial relationships with university vendors or suppliers.
— Compiled from The Associated Press
Alabama State is one of the nation’s oldest historically Black universities and has been dealing with the fallout of an audit by the governor’s office that questioned spending and a warning from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges citing various issues.
According to police, a man found slumped over the wheel of a car became combative after an off-duty officer confronted him Thursday. The suspect hit the officer and several parked cars as he drove away.
The suspect’s car overturned when he tried to drive over a curb. Authorities said he then took a car after a motorist stopped to see what was going on. The suspect then ran into a wooded area, where he was apprehended.