Tag: Benjamin Crump

Lezley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s Mother, Earns High School Diploma Alongside College-Bound Daughter Daysa Brown

Michael Brown’s mother and sister, Lesley McSpadden (l) and Daysa Brown (r), graduate high school on same day (photo via tuko.co.ke)

via eurweb.com

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, recently walked across the stage in Missouri to receive her high school diploma.What’s also interesting is that McSpadden earned her diploma alongside her daughter, Daysa Brown, thanks to the local school district’s adult high school education program, which allowed her to attend classes on weekday afternoons.

McSpadden dropped out of Ladue Horton Watkins High School after giving birth to her son Michael in her junior year. After creating the We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation, she decided to go back and get her diploma. The initiative, made in her late son’s honor, focuses on advocating for justice and advancing education.

Specifically, McSpadden got encouragement to go back and finish high school from Art McCoy, a Missouri school district superintendent after he learned she never completed school.  McSpadden worked on getting her diploma at Jennings High School in Jennings, Missouri along with her daughter, Deja Brown. However, their schedules didn’t overlap. “She would just go to afternoon class, so we never really interacted at school or in class or anything,” Brown told the St. Louis American. “But I did help her on homework. Like, math, she was like, ‘I’m stuck! I don’t understand this!’ so I would try to help her the best I could, because it was geometry, which I took already.”

The mother-daughter duo crossed the stage on the same day at Chaifetz Arena on May 26. It’s also worth noting that McSpadden, who presented her daughter’s diploma, is the first graduate of the district’s adult program.

Deja Brown, who will attend Tennessee State University in the fall, told the St.Louis American that she’s proud of herself and her mother for finishing school. “I know it’s something that she’s wanted to do,” she said. “She’s done it and she’s worked really hard, and she’s so excited and I’m excited for her!”

Meanwhile, Benjamin Crump, the family lawyer, told the Post-Dispatch that the ceremony was especially meaningful considering the trauma the family has experienced. He said McSpadden told him she “has a purpose now to try to uphold the legacy of her son.”

Michael Brown was 18 years old when he was shot six times by white officer Darren Wilson in August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. His killing sparked days of protest in the predominantly black city. The unrest garnered national attention and Black Lives Matter protests spread throughout the country.

To read full article, go to: Lezley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s Mom, Just Got Her High School Diploma

U.S. Senate Hopeful Kamala Harris Receives Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Public Service Award

Kamala Harris

Loyola Law School in Los Angeles honored California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris with its Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Public Service Award during a ceremony Friday that featured a panel discussion exploring the intersection of race and community policing. The event benefitted Loyola’s African American Scholarship Fund.

cochran15-STD-topThe Cochran Award is presented annually to an individual who embodies the qualities of the late Loyola alumnus Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. ’62. “Nobody has had the courage to say this is wrong,” Cochran once said. This award celebrates those who have such courage – those who have demonstrated excellence in their profession, dedication to social justice and a commitment to serving their community. These trailblazers, innovators, master attorneys and mentors embody the spirit of Cochran, the legendary attorney who dedicated his career to helping underserved constituencies fight for justice.

In the wake of such high-profile instances of racial conflict with law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City, the panel discussion “Seeking Justice in Our Community” focused on the challenges African-American and Latino communities face with regard to community policing. The panelists were Benjamin Crump, partner, Parks & Crump, L.L.C.; Jamon Hicks ’04, partner, Douglas / Hicks Law; Pamela Means, president, National Bar Association; Earl Paysinger, first assistant chief, Los Angeles Police Department; and Connie Rice, co-director, the Advancement Project.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Ferguson Police Department to Seek More Black Recruits; No Severance for Darren Wilson

March from Ferguson to Jefferson City
NAACP members and supporters pass by an auto parts store in Ferguson, Mo., that was destroyed by rioters as they walk Saturday on the first day of a planned seven-day, 120-mile march to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, Missouri’s capital. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Knowles spoke at a news conference a day after Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, resigned from the police force. Wilson did not receive severance pay, Knowles said.

Also Sunday, the White House announced that President Obama would hold several Ferguson-related events Monday.  Obama will meet with his Cabinet to discuss federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.  Then he will meet with civil rights leaders and later with law enforcement officials and community and faith leaders “to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust,” the White House said.

In Ferguson, the mayor said that adding a civilian review board and recruiting more African Americans would help improve the predominantly white police department’s relationship with Ferguson’s predominantly African American residents.

“We are committed to rebuilding our city,” Knowles said. “And a part of that is having officers invested in the community.”

In addition, Knowles said, the city will unveil a program in public schools that will aim to forge a bond between police officers and young people.

“We are here for you and will not leave you,” Knowles told residents.

For much of the last week, sometimes-violent protests have roiled the St. Louis suburb of about 21,000 after the grand jury’s decision.

When Wilson resigned Saturday, he said in a letter that he was told his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the city of Ferguson at risk.”

“It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal,” Wilson wrote. “I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”

Wilson’s lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, said the officer had resigned after learning of threats of violence against other officers and the department.  Knowles said Sunday he was unaware of any specific threats to Wilson and did not give him a deadline for a resignation.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said Sunday he would not resign, despite widespread criticism from protesters and calls for him to step down.  “My focus has been on safety and security of citizens,” Jackson said. “I report to the leadership of Ferguson. I’m concerned about the city. I will not resign.”

Jackson said he spoke with Wilson last week and was unaware of any specific threats to him. But Jackson added, “It’s been a threatening environment all along. Everybody knows that.”

Separately, Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing Brown’s family, said Sunday that Wilson’s resignation was no surprise.

“The family will pursue all the legal avenues,” Crump told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Crump said a wrongful-death lawsuit could be filed in the near future.

Continue reading “Ferguson Police Department to Seek More Black Recruits; No Severance for Darren Wilson”

Parents of Michael Brown to Attend Eric Garner Rally

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Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, the parents of slain teenager Michael Brown, attend a rally at Greater Grace Church in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 17, 2014.  (SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES) 

The parents of Michael Brown will be attending the rally for Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y., this Saturday.

According to the Huffington Post, Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., and mother, Lesley McSpadden, will attend the rally, which is expected to draw more than 15,000 people.

Attendees will march from the location of Garner’s death to the Staten Island district attorney’s office.  Supporters of the march hope that it will “symbolically link” the deaths of Brown and Garner and energize the advocacy against police brutality.

Brown’s parents were not sure of their attendance at first because they had not yet set a date for Brown’s funeral. Their legal representation, Benjamin Crump, announced Wednesday that Brown’s funeral will be held Monday.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

article by Diamond Sharp via theroot.com

Bill That Would Change Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Advances

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, answers questions with her lawyer Benjamin Crump, right, during a press conference with members of the National Bar Association in which they were calling for a repeal of Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. (Photo by Angel Valentin/Getty Images)
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, answers questions with her lawyer Benjamin Crump, right, during a press conference with members of the National Bar Association in which they were calling for a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. (Photo by Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

Florida Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that made some changes to the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.  The bill, which was passed by a vote of 7-2, has been strongly supported by the family of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder and was acquitted by a Florida jury in July.

“Tracy and I have said from the beginning that our hope is that the tragedy of Trayvon’s death can be turned into real change so that other parents don’t have to experience the grief we have endured” Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, said following the announcement of the bill’s advancement.

“The work here is not done, and we fear an uphill battle going forward to achieve real change in our son’s name.”  Stand Your Ground allows citizens to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger.  New changes to the bill would include providing proper training for neighborhood watch programs, ensuring a proper investigation is conducted after Stand Your Ground is claimed, allowing lawsuits against people acting in self-defense if they negligently injure or kill an innocent bystander and limit the use of the law when aggressors claim it.

“I see this as an important first step in making sure that Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law properly protects victims and applaud the committee for taking this first step,” said Martin family attorney Ben Crump in a press release. “In light of current events in Washington D.C., It is refreshing to see legislators compromising and working together so that Florida’s citizens are protected.”

article by Carrie Healey via thegrio.com

Sybrina Fulton Speaks Out Against Stop-And-Frisk Policies (VIDEO)

Sybrina FultonThe mother of Trayvon Martin spoke out Sunday against the stop-and-frisk police practice in New York City, saying neither police nor civilians have the right to stop someone because of their race.  Critics say the stops target blacks and Hispanics who aren’t doing anything wrong. Earlier this week, a judge told New York City that its policy was racial discrimination. The city plans to appeal.  “You can’t give people the authority, whether civilian or police officers the right to just stop somebody because of the color of their skin,” Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Over the past decade, New York police have stopped, questioned and sometimes patted down about 5 million people; 87 percent were black or Hispanic. About 10 percent of the stops spur an arrest or summons. Police find weapons a fraction of the time.  New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly defended the use of stop and frisk Sunday and said violent crimes would increase if the practice were abandoned.  “The losers in this, if this case is allowed to stand, are people who live in minority communities,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Fulton’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the stop and frisk policy targeted people by race and noted it was still being used as the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech approached.  “It actually takes us away from his poignant words of, ‘I dreamed my children would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin,’” Crump said.  Fulton has said neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman “got away with murder” in the 2012 killing of her son, largely because of Florida’s self-defense law.

Protesters had been occupying part of the Capitol in Tallahassee, calling for an examination of the Florida law since Zimmerman was acquitted last month. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in shooting the 17-year-old Martin during a fight; Martin’s supporters say Zimmerman profiled and followed him because Martin was black.

article by Associated Press via blackamericaweb.com