Nearly a year after protesters in Baton Rouge were arrested during marches for 37-year-old resident Alton Sterling – who was killed by police while selling CDs outside of a store – a federal judge approved a class-action settlement Friday, Oct. 27 that awards up to $1,000 to dozens. One of the most high-profile activists to be involved with the settlement was DeRay Mckesson, who was arrested along with 69 others. Besides cash payments, the victims will have their records expunged free of charge, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles gave the final approval regarding the settlement after a hearing with McKesson and other plaintiffs. The 69 plaintiffs will ultimately be rewarded amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000 out of the total value of the settlement estimated at $136,000. “It obviously is a matter that touches on a lot of sensitive issues and had the potential for being very contentious and destructive,” deGravelles said.
Kira Marrero, a 24-year-old plaintiff from New Orleans, was arrested while protesting the police-involved shooting of Sterling. “I’m definitely glad that we’re getting some justice, though at the same time it’s a really painful memory to dig up,” she said. “I’m still pretty heartbroken, I guess, by everything that happened. I think everyone who knew me trusted that I wasn’t out there breaking the law and that clearly something was wrong.”
A cohort of racial justice and civil rights organizations delivered a petition advocating for major police reforms to the Department of Justice this afternoon. With more than 500,000 signatures, the petition urges the White House to defund police departments that reject community-based reforms. It also calls for justice in the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Color of Change, which led the effort, partnered with Advancement Project, BYP100, the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, Black Lives Matter and the NAACP for a 2 p.m. press conference.
The petition reads:
Our criminal justice system is not properly holding police accountable. We must defund police departments that employ officers who are quick to kill and condone practices that do not value Black life. Our nation, politicians and many police are in agreement that police departments need reform, however, no one is ensuring this reform happens—and more and more Black people are getting killed because of it.
NEW YORK — The WNBA has withdrawn its fines for teams and players who showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warm-up shirts before games.
WNBA president Lisa Borders applauds the league’s players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court. Borders said in a statement Saturday that the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts during pregame protests, which began after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until August 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”
Borders also tweeted her support for the players.
Appreciate our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. Rescinding imposed fines to show them even more support.
Each organization had been fined $5,000 and players were each given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.
The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
“It’s a huge win overall,” said Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, who is president of the WNBA players’ union. “I think more than anything I told [Borders] at times you’re going to agree to disagree. With this, I’m really proud of the players standing strong and for utilizing their voices. Change starts with us. We have a social responsibility as well.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton said early Saturday that his organization, the National Action Network, would pay the $500 fines. He called the penalty “unacceptable.”
The Liberty wore the plain black shirts four times, including Wednesday against Washington. Indiana and Phoenix donned the shirts Tuesday night before their nationally televised game.
“We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we’re living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision,” Liberty president Isiah Thomas said. “We are also very proud of our players; the world is seeing what we already knew. They’re truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players’ willingness to enter the political and social activism arena.”
The fines were administered Wednesday, and neither the Fever nor the Liberty wore the shirts at their matinee game Thursday. Tina Charles did wear her warm-up shirt inside-out in honor of a shooting in Florida that morning.
Charles said she was happy that the league rescinded the fines. She has donated her entire salary this year to her charity — Hopey’s Heart Foundation — so the withdrawn fine means more money that will help buy automated external defibrillators. Still, she said it was “embarrassing” that the players had been fined in the first place.
WASHINGTON ― In the course of one year as an elected official, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) was pulled over seven times by law enforcement. Another time, a Capitol Police officer demanded that Scott show him his ID because the special pin on Scott’s suit jacket ― a pin assigned to United States senators ― evidently wasn’t enough.
Scott shared these stories and more Wednesday evening during a roughly 18-minute speech on the Senate floor. He is the only black senator in the Republican conference, and one of just two in the upper chamber.
His speech on Wednesday was the second in a series of three in response to a lone gunman killing five police officers in Dallas last week, as well as the police shootings of Alton Sterling, who was killed outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, who was shot during a traffic stop in Minnesota. Scott delivered his first speech on Tuesday and plans to deliver the final one Thursday.
“This speech is perhaps the most difficult, because it’s the most personal,” Scott said during his Wednesday remarks.
Scott’s address on Wednesday came after four other senators urged their colleagues to take a vote on criminal justice reform ― something many lawmakers say is badly needed.
“There is a deep divide between the black community and law enforcement ― a trust gap,” Scott said. “We cannot ignore these issues. Because while so many officers do good ― and we should be very thankful in support of all those officers that do good ― some simply do not. I’ve experienced it myself.”
Scott said he chose to talk about his encounters with police, experiences that left him feeling humiliated and “very scared,” because he’s heard people trying to paint Castile and Walter Scott ― a black man who was killed by a police officer in South Carolina last year while running away ― as criminals.
No highlight, championship or individual accomplishment showcased during the 2016 ESPY Awards Wednesday night was more powerful than the show’s cold opening.
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James teamed up for a moving call to action for other athletes to use their celebrity, influence and resources to make a difference in a divided America plagued by gun violence, injustice and racism.
Anthony turned to Instagram last week as the nation was torn by the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the retaliatory attack that led to the deaths of five Dallas police officers to urge others to inspire change. This week, he said he plans to use the Summer Olympics as another platform to spread his message, indicating he is not taking this lightly.
Reminiscent of Muhammad Ali’s black athlete summit from the summer of 1967, Melo started the show on a moving note when he was joined by fellow NBA stars Paul, Wade and James in a three-and-a-half-minute speech that, because of its social significance, timeliness and let’s face it, the need right now for more thoughtful and serious social leadership, may have eclipsed the legendary Jimmy V speech as ESPN’s finest moment.
Good evening. Tonight is a celebration of sports, celebrating our accomplishments and our victories. But, in this moment of celebration, we asked to start the show tonight this way, the four of us talking to our fellow athletes, with the country watching.
Because we cannot ignore the reality of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that plague so many of us.
According to theurbandaily.com, Issa Rae, star and creator of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and the upcoming HBO series Insecure, in an effort to take positive action after the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana earlier this week, started a scholarship fund for his children. t not only exceeded its $200,000 goal within hours, it is currently at over three times that amount, at $664,986.
“Can we get a scholarship fund going 4 #AltonSterling’s son/kids?” she tweeted Wednesday (July 6). “Some of us feel helpless when these things happen, but that’s a small step.”
Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five, was fatally shot by police outside of a Louisiana convenience store on Tuesday. A graphic video of the altercation shows Sterling being held on the ground before being shot multiple times in the chest and back. The incident has sparked national protest, and a civil rights investigation has been opened by the Justice Department, the New York Times reports.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I really needed this today. I specifically set my alarm this morning to wake me at 6AM (PST) to watch Serena Williams compete for her seventh – yes, take that in – seventh Wimbledon title, and to tie Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slams won in the Open Era.
I’ll admit, regardless of the week of continued brutality and violence by police against black citizens and the gut-wrenching retaliation in Dallas because of such violence, as a lifelong fan, I most likely would have been up and watching Serena anyway. But because of its timing, this victory – this continued rising, this perseverance – was that much more coveted, and that much sweeter.
Although Williams did not mention or comment on what’s been happening in America as she accepted her trophy, don’t think she’s remained silent in the media about it. On her Twitter (which we here at GBN happily follow), she spoke directly to the recent atrocities and let us know they were on her mind days before this most crucial, career-defining match:
In London I have to wake up to this. He was black. Shot 4 times? When will something be done- no REALLY be done?!?! pic.twitter.com/OaLn60G6nm
This tweet leads me to speculate that Serena was that much more focused, that much more centered and that much more desirous of the outcome that occurred – because she knew in her heart she wasn’t just winning her 22nd Grand Slam and making history for herself, but for all of us.
So thank you, Serena – for playing your best tennis today and being so damned undeniable. You have been and are a shining light and the G.O.A.T. and a champion for the ages. You are loved and supported in all of your endeavors. You are #blackexcellence. (And P.S. having Beyoncé and Jay Z in your box was on point, too! #Freedom #Formation)
NBA star Carmelo Anthony took to Instagram Friday with a lengthy post about the need for fellow professional athletes to drop all fear of backlash and use their platform to speak out against injustice.
“I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge,” Anthony wrote. “There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone.”
The post was written in reaction to the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the killing of five police officers in Dallas Thursday night during protests over the two fatalities.
“I’m all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people,” he wrote. “Look I’ll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary. We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work.”
Melo’s caption accompanied a photo of Muhammad Ali with Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul Jabbar and other black athletes at the famed 1967 Cleveland summit in support of Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the Vietnam War.
article by Ben Poston, Veronica Rocha, Joseph Serna and Kate Mather via latimes.com
Rappers and Los Angeles-area natives the Game and Snoop Dogg led a unification march for men of color Friday morning to the Los Angeles Police Department’s graduation of its newest officers, hours after five Dallas police officers were shot and killed and seven others were wounded during a sniper attack.
About 6:30 a.m., the Game posted on his Instagram account a call for black, Mexican and men of all races to march to the Los Angeles Police Department’s headquarters to “make the Californian government & its law branches aware that from today forward, we will be UNIFIED as minorities & we will no longer allow them to hunt us or be hunted by us!!!”
He said women and children should stay away, “THIS IS OUR MISSION FOR THEM,” he wrote.
The Game, a Compton native whose legal name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, said in his announcement the march had to be peaceful.
“Do not: bring any weapons or anything illegal. Do not come high or belligerent … We don’t need any HOT HEADS or anyone there for the wrong reasons… We will stand as we are, UNIFIED. I’m calling ALL GANGS, ALL RACES, ALL GROWN MEN affiliated or not & we will stand UNIFIED.”
A post shared by The Game (@losangelesconfidential) on
Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, said organizers didn’t know there was an LAPD recruit graduation scheduled for Friday morning. The point of the march was to reintroduce the Police Department to members of the community it serves, he told reporters at the scene.
About 50 men joined the march to LAPD headquarters.
“The mission is to reintroduce our community to the LAPD… just to get some understanding and dialogue,” he said. “We’re the ones they’re going to be dealing with, we’re the ones that are going to be pulled over. … We’re here on peace.”
The group began planning the march before dawn, the Game said. Organizers spoke with marchers about their unifying, peaceful message so it couldn’t be misconstrued by police, and conversely, so they would listen when law enforcement responded.
“We don’t have to fear each other today,” he said.
By now, most have heard about the latest in the incredibly disturbing string of homicides of black citizens at the hands of local police. Alton Sterling was shot and killed after two police officers approached him on Tuesday evening for selling CDs near a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
According to CNN, the state’s governor, John Bel Edwards, announced that the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will investigate the shooting. Edwards added that the Middle District of Louisiana’s U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI will also assist in the investigation.
Officers say they arrived at the scene when an anonymous 911 caller reported a man threatening him with a gun. A struggle ensued between Sterling and the two officers. Sterling was pinned down, then shot multiple times in the head and chest, eventually succumbing to his injuries.
The encounter was caught on camera and went viral yesterday evening, sparking protests and national media attention. After observing video of the encounter, Edwards said he had “very serious concerns.”
“The video is disturbing to say the least,” he added.
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said he is also committed to working with federal investigators.
At a morning press conference, Sterling’s family tearfully condemned the actions of the BRPD officers involved in the shooting, asking for justice while visually broken and dismayed.