Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead At 79 | News One

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It’s time for Democrats to UNITE!

News One Story here: via Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead At 79 | News One.

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Charges filed against Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Who Slapped Homeless Man | 10 News – Home

Charges filed against Fort Lauderdale police officer who slapped homeless man Officer Victor Ramirez, 34, facing 3 misdemeanor charges.  (We need an update on this case.  Rameriz’s court date was July 2nd – M.K. Williams http://www.civilrightsagenda.com. See story below)

Author: Amanda Batchelor, Senior Digital Editor, abatchelor@local10.com
Roger Lohse, Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
Published On: Apr 06 2015 11:49:36 AM EDT   Updated On: Apr 06 2015 11:30:00 PM EDT
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. –

A Fort Lauderdale police officer seen threatening and slapping a sitting homeless man at the central bus terminal in a video that has been seen across the country is now facing criminal charges.

The Broward County state attorney’s office filed three misdemeanor charges against Officer Victor Ramirez, 34, including two counts of battery and one count of falsifying records, Thursday.

On Monday morning, Ramirez’s attorney was given a summons for his client to appear in court May 18.


Officer caught on camera slapping homeless man
In the cellphone video from Feb. 22, a man identified as Bruce Laclair, 58, walks by the person who caught the entire incident on camera. The video shows Ramirez close behind. Seconds later, Ramirez shoves Laclair to the ground.

“Relax,” Ramirez said. “I’m telling you right now what is going to happen — you’re not supposed to go pee here.”

The two men go back and forth a few times before Ramirez is seen trying to grab Laclair’s arm and slapping him.

“I’m not (expletive) around with you,” Ramirez is heard saying. “Don’t (expletive) touch me. Don’t (expletive) touch me.”

Ramirez then turns Laclair around and arrests him.

A witness told Local 10 News that the incident started after Ramirez told Laclair to leave the bus terminal.

Words were exchanged, and Laclair said he was going to use the bathroom first.

“The guy didn’t raise his hand to the officer at all,” Gerald Schorder said. “The officer just knocked him down with his hands. The guy was defenseless.”

Signs posted around the bus terminal off Broward Boulevard and Andrews Avenue warn people about loitering. Laclair was arrested on a trespassing charge.

Ramirez’s attorney, Michael Dutko, told Local 10 News that the video only shows half of the story, stating that Laclair had tried to grab the officer twice before the witness began recording the altercation.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said Ramirez has been relieved from duty without pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

Mayor Jack Seiler urged the public to not judge the entire department based on a one-minute clip.

“Look around where you work. Look around where I work. Look around at all of our jobs and tell me is there one percent of your work force that has maybe made a very poor decision or acted irresponsibly,” Seiler said.

Dutko said his client will plead not guilty.

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

Copyright 2015 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

via Charges filed against Fort Lauderdale police officer who slapped homeless man | News – Home.

If You’re Sick and Tired of This Filth – Please Post Here

Media like this should BE ILLEGAL.  This child is 14 years old.  At the minor age of 14, a child cannot get a driver’s permit, vote, buy cigarettes or alcohol, nor purchase a firearm.  A 14-year old also cannot be held responsible for any written contracts bearing his or her signature. But guess what? They can go to jail, can’t they?  Then, after their prison terms have been served, these same children who are now adults are prohibited from voting, disqualified for jobs and decent housing….all because they now have a criminal record.    

But, the powers that be in the “gangsta rap” industry think that we are STUPID ENOUGH TO BELIEVE that they should be allowed to orchestrate and distribute productions where they have placed firearms (either real or in likeness),  and filthy language in a 14 year old child’s hands and minds…and think that we the people are just going to throw our hands up to the heavens for mercy saying, “Oh, Lord…..there’s nothing that we can do!”

WRONG!  

I, along with millions of others, are sick and tired of the abuse and excuse of constitutional “freedom of speech” which allows architects of degeneration to exploit black and brown people in the worse possible imagery that there is.  It’s DISGUSTING!

The bottom line is…these “characters” appearing on this video, and thousands of more media outlets – such as film, video games and social media ARE NOTHING MORE THAN PUPPETS, waving guns and profanity for cash attached to the master puppeteers’ strings. It started with the “gansta rap” genre of the late 80’s combined with the introduction of crack cocaine into our largest city’s urban, black and brown neighborhoods.

It was this devised PLAN that then girded the Reagan administration with the proclamation of the “war on drugs” which introduced disparate mass incarceration, mandatory minimum sentences, and last but not least…prison profiteering. Anyone who thinks that the money behind this “gansta” imagery is not also exchanged by the same hands which control the Prison Industrial Complex has to WAKE UP. These puppets think they are “representing how hard and gangsta” they can be. They obviously don’t know what REAL GANSTAS do or look like…because they are at the highest levels of power in this nation!

If you’re sick and tired of this mess too, please post so in the area below.  A petition WILL be forthcoming!

Your Advocate,

M. Kita Williams

http://www.civilrightsagenda.com

President Obama Is Right: Americans of All Stripes Strongly Support Reducing the Country’s Prison Population – Huff Post

 On Tuesday afternoon, President Barack Obama told NAACP members at their annual convention that the country is finally ready for comprehensive reform of our broken criminal justice system. “We cannot close our eyes anymore” to the cost in human lives destroyed and taxpayer dollars wasted, he said, “and the good news, and this is truly good news, is that good people of all political persuasions are starting to think that we need to do something about this.”

The president is right, and the numbers bear this out all across this country, in blue and red states alike. In early June, the ACLU commissioned a nationwide poll of registered voters who are likely to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The results, released Wednesday, demonstrate that we have arrived at a bipartisan moment where majorities of Americans no longer believe our criminal justice system serves the common good.

Nearly seven out of 10 registered voters polled said the United States should begin to reduce the nation’s prison population, which accounts for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. And this majority isn’t composed of just Democrats and independents. Fifty-four percent of Republicans said it’s time to shrink the number of Americans serving time in prisons and jails, too.

Those polled also understand our public policies must be smarter. Eighty-seven percent agreed that drug addicts and people with serious mental illnesses don’t deserve to be behind bars but in treatment. They even know that our past desire to make prison the consequence of far too many crimes, no matter how big or small, has been counterproductive. Almost 80 percent of those polled agreed that funneling nonviolent offenders into prison won’t make their communities any safer because these institutions have a poor track record of rehabilitating people with serious addictions and mental illnesses.

President Obama also spoke morally of the need for second chances. Those polled believe this too. Approximately 60 percent said that “people who have committed serious crimes can turn their lives around and move away from a life of crime with the right kind of help.”

These numbers only confirm what I know is true from crisscrossing the country in pursuit of criminal justice reform. My travels have introduced me to people who have spent time behind bars, who are still behind bars, and who are sentenced to stay there for life. I’ve sat with Mississippi clergy and Oklahoma women separated from their children. I’ve listened to the family and loved ones of murder victims and met with police, prosecutors, and judges.

My conversations confirm what our polling numbers tell us: Americans are tired of a criminal justice system with only one tool in the toolbox, worn out from overuse and in desperate need of replacement. Americans want more effective options that reflect understanding that holding someone accountable doesn’t necessarily mean warehousing them in a cage, and that failing to provide individualized support for rehabilitation and re-engagement with community is pennywise and pound foolish. We spend $80 billion every year locking people up, and this number doesn’t capture the indirect costs to families, communities, and taxpayers that flow from failing to address the root causes of crime.

While this has truly been a historic week because of the White House’s very public embrace of criminal justice reform, we cannot forget that all roads do not lead to Washington. While the population of our federal prisons has exploded over the last four decades, they still only hold 200,000 people. Our state prisons and local jails hold 2 million.

Oklahoma, where President Obama will be visiting the El Reno prison today, has the third worst incarceration rate in the country overall, and the second worst if federal prisoners are removed from the calculation. Furthermore, it ranks first in incarceration rates for women, at a rate that is more than twice the national rate.

Even though the president rightly focuses on the devastation wrought by federal mandatory minimums for drug crimes, it is important to remember that where Congress led, the states followed. One in four people in state prison in Oklahoma is there for drug distribution or possession, with sentences averaging five years for possession and 10 years for distribution. Half of Oklahoma’s state prisoners are incarcerated for a nonviolent offense.

Reversing the last four decades’ explosion in incarceration rates may seem like an impossibly huge lift. It is true that the makeup of our jail and prison populations reflects deeply rooted patterns of poverty and racism in our communities, and some will argue that we will never be able to fix our broken criminal justice system unless we fix those problems first.

This is not so.

We can immediately implement reforms that will bring down the numbers of people behind bars; address untreated addiction, trauma, and mental illness; and help people with training, education, and jobs. These steps help people today and impact their standing in society tomorrow. Moreover, these steps will help bring us back in line with America’s promise of a just society that believes in both accountability and fairness, and mistakes and second chances.

Or as President Obama put it, “justice and redemption go hand in hand.”

By:  Become a fan

Director, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice

Alison Holcomb is the director of the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice.

Eric Garner’s family reacts to $5.9 million settlement – CNN

Eric Garner's family, NYC reach settlement

Eric Garner’s family, NYC reach settlement 01:14

Story highlights

  • Eric Garner’s family renews calls for officer to be charged
  • New York City settles “pre-litigation claim” with Garner estate for $5.9 million
  • Garner, 43, died at the hands of police in 2014 in an incident that triggered nationwide protests

(CNN)The mother of Eric Garner, the man who died nearly one year ago at the hands of New York City police officers, said Tuesday that a $5.9 million pretrial settlement reached with the city is not a victory, and she renewed calls for federal charges in the case.

“Don’t congratulate us,” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters. “This is not a victory. The victory will come when we get justice.”

Garner’s family accepted the settlement Monday, which stemmed from a racially charged case that fueled months of anti-police protests across the nation. Garner’s estate filed a claim against the city in October 2014 for damages related to his death.

“Following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of Eric Garner that is in the best interests of all parties,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Garner’s family reacted to the settlement Tuesday at a news conference with activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, who announced a rally scheduled for Saturday outside the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn.

“At the grand jury, we didn’t receive justice even though my son said he couldn’t breathe 11 times,” Carr said. “Eleven times he said he couldn’t breathe.”

She asked people to join her and the mothers of other men who died at the hands of police to “commemorate and never forget the name Eric Garner” at Saturday’s rally.

“We still need you to stand with us,” she said.

Garner’s daughter Erica agreed that the settlement does not represent justice for her family.

“We are calling for the Department of Justice and (Attorney General) Loretta Lynch to deliver justice for my father,” she said, referring to an ongoing federal civil rights investigation into the case.

In an op-ed in the New York Post Tuesday, Ed Mullins, president of the New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association, called the settlement “obscene” and an attempt by the city to “placate outside political agendas.”

Police Commissioner William Bratton declined to comment on the settlement.

NYC: settlement an acknowledgment, not an admission

Cell phone video of the fatal encounter on July 17, 2014 shows Garner, an African-American man, being held on the ground by an NYPD officer in an apparent chokehold. Garner, who had been apprehended for allegedly illegally selling cigarettes, repeatedly yelled, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” — words that would later become a rallying cry at anti-police demonstrations.

“We are all familiar with the events that led to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our city and our nation,” said Stringer. “It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve.”

No officer was indicted in his death, and Stringer said that while the multi-million dollar settlement “acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death… the city has not admitted liability.”

The incident — and perhaps the subsequent protests — triggered reforms inhow police go about their business, particularly in minority communities. Asked about Garner prior to the settlement announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the anniversary of his death was on his mind, as it was with many New Yorkers, but also said “I think the important thing is to stay focused on the work of reform.”

“I think we’ve come a long way, even in the last year, in terms of bringing police and community together,” said de Blasio. “The whole police force is being retrained.”

Fast facts: Controversial police encounters

Eric Garner Case Is Settled by New York City for $5.9 Million – NY Times

New York City reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner on Monday, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful-death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island last July, the city comptroller and a lawyer for the family said.

The agreement, reached a few days before the anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death, headed off one legal battle even as a federal inquiry into the killing and several others at the state and local level remain open and could provide a further accounting of how he died.

Still, the settlement was a pivotal moment in a case that has engulfed the city since the afternoon of July 17, 2014, when two officers approached Mr. Garner as he stood unarmed on a sidewalk, and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. One of the officers used a chokehold — prohibited by the Police Department — to subdue him, and that was cited by the medical examiner as a cause of Mr. Garner’s death.

Mr. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times, became a national rallying cry. A Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who used the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, fueled weeks of demonstrations. The protests eased after two police officers in Brooklyn were fatally shot in December by a man who suggested he was avenging the deaths of Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown.

The killings of the officers shook the city anew, deepening tensions between the police and Mayor Bill de Blasio and slowing a push to enact a host of criminal justice reforms. Last year, Mr. Garner’s relatives, including his widow, Esaw Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carr, filed a notice of claim — a procedural step that must precede a lawsuit — against the city. In the notice, they said were seeking $75 million in damages. Since then, the family has been in talks with the comptroller’s office.

“Mr. Garner’s death is a touchstone in our city’s history and in the history of the entire nation,” the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, said in a telephone interview late on Monday. “Financial compensation is certainly not everything, and it can’t bring Mr. Garner back. But it is our way of creating balance and giving a family a certain closure.”

The family had given the city a deadline of Friday, the anniversary of the death, to come to an agreement or the relatives would move forward with the lawsuit, Jonathan C. Moore, the lawyer for Mr. Garner’s family, said. (In wrongful-death cases, the claimants have two years to file suit.)

Photo

Mr. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr. CreditMark Kauzlarich/The New York Times

The agreement came after months of halting negotiations. It was among the biggest settlements reached so far as part of a strategy by Mr. Stringer, to settle major civil rights claims even before a lawsuit is filed. He has said the aim is to save taxpayers the expense, and families the pain, of a long legal process. He said five lawyers from his office were involved in the negotiations, which ended on Monday.

But the resolution of the legal claim against the city did not provide any greater clarity on the actions of the officers that day or on the policing strategies that have come under criticism in the year that has followed.

The relatives of Mr. Garner, along with Mr. Moore, are expected to discuss the settlement at a news conference scheduled for Tuesday morning at the Harlem offices of the National Action Network, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

On Saturday, Mr. Garner’s family is expected to lead a rally outside the Brooklyn offices of the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York to call for a federal case to be brought against the officers involved in Mr. Garner’s death.

Continue reading the main story

GRAPHIC

Fatal Police Encounters in New York City

Some of the fatal encounters since 1990 involving New York Police Department officers. Most did not lead to criminal charges.