Tag: FBI

‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case

Harold Richardson, from left, Vincent Thames, Terrill Swift and Michael Saunders were convicted of a 1994 rape and murder but later were cleared. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)

by Fran Spielman via chicagosuntimes.com

Four Englewood teenagers coerced into confessing to a rape and murder they did not commit before being exonerated by DNA evidence will divide a $31 million settlement from Chicago taxpayers, one of the largest in the city’s history.

Michael Saunders, Vincent Thames, Harold Richardson and Terrill Swift were between 15 and 18 when they were arrested for the November 1994 murder of Nina Glover. An autopsy concluded that the 30-year-old prostitute had been strangled. Her naked body was discovered behind a liquor store at 1400 W. Garfield wrapped in a bloody sheet and stuffed in a dumpster.

In 2011, a judge overturned the conviction of the “Englewood Four,” freeing Richardson and Saunders after they spent 17 years behind bars. Swift and Thames, who served more than a dozen years, had already been released.

“These were four young men who no way possible they could have committed the crime they were manipulated and coerced into confessing to. They all spent . . . over a decade in prison for something they didn’t do. The number is very large and the magnitude of the injury is very large,” said attorney Locke Bowman, who represented Swift.

Bowman said the $31 million settlement would not have been possible if former assistant state’s attorney Terence Johnson hadn’t “broken ranks from the other law enforcement personnel” and provided a statement to the FBI that confirmed what the Englewood Four had long maintained.

“This was psychological coercion primarily in all four of the cases. They were tricked and coerced into confessing . . . They were fed the information. And they were the victims of police overreaching,” Bowman said Friday.

Continue reading “‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case”

President Barack Obama Signs Emmett Till Bill To Reopen Unsolved Civil Rights Cases

President Barack Obama (photo via vibe.com/Getty Images)

article via vibe.com

President Barack Obama signed legislation earlier this month that allows the FBI and the Department of Justice to reopen unsolved civil rights cases. Initially titled Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes, the updated version of this bill now allows both agencies to bring to justice those who committed crimes prior to 1970.

Named after Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy from Chicago who was taken from his bed in the middle of night, beat and shot by two white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman, the Justice Department is being encouraged to reach out to “activists, advocates and academics working on these issues.”

Other departments who will aid in resolving these cases include the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University, Northeastern University School of Law’s Civil Rights and and Restorative Justice Project, The Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University.

To read full article, go to: POTUS Signs Emmett Till Bill To Reopen Unsolved Civil Rights Cases

FBI To Finally Collect & Publish Info About Police-Involved Fatal Shootings

(Photo via Getty Images)
(Photo via Getty Images)

Responding to long running complaints about the lack of national data available for how often police resort to deadly force, the FBI on Monday announced plans to track and publish the statistics.

The Washington Post reports that FBI Director James B. Comey described the information as vital in the ongoing debate over policing in the United States.

Via the Washington Post:

Continuing “without comprehensive data only stalls meaningful conversation and fuels empty debates, both within law enforcement and in the communities we serve,” [Comey] wrote in a message accompanying the release of the FBI’s crime statistics for 2014.

This is not the first time Comey has criticized the lack of data available regarding how often police officers shoot and kill people. While the federal government does track some fatal police shootings, federal officials have acknowledged that this data is incomplete. Not all agencies in the United States participate in the voluntary reporting system, which had left a considerable gap in the ongoing public discussion.

Earlier this year, Comey joined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., who called the lack of information about the shootings “unacceptable,” notes the report.

The criticism came after protests against police violence following several high-profile law enforcement-involved deaths of unarmed Blacks, including Eric Garner in New York City, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

‘Selma’ Director Ava DuVernay To Direct CBS Pilot ‘For Justice’

Ava DuVernay
Director Ava DuVernay (JASON LAVERIS/FILMMAGIC)

Ava DuVernay has signed on to direct CBS’s “For Justice” drama pilot, Variety has learned.

From “Law & Order” veteran Rene Balcer, who’s serving as writer and executive producer, the pilot follows a female FBI agent working in the Criminal Section of the Department of Civil Rights Division who finds herself caught between her radical real family and her professional family.

The project, based on James Patterson’s novel “The Thomas Berryman Number,” also has Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, James Patterson, Bill Robinson and Leopoldo Gout attached to exec produce with Balcer. Berry Welsh will co-exec produce. CBS TV is the studio.

DuVernay is also creating an original television series for OWN with Oprah Winfrey, based on the novel “Queen Sugar.”

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via variety.com

Justice Department To Review George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin Case

justice department george zimmerman
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 25: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder makes a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act at the Justice Department on June 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which aimed at protecting minority voters, is unconstitutional (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department says it is looking into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case. The department opened an investigation into Martin’s death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.

In a statement Sunday, the Justice Department said the criminal section of the civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida are continuing to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal probe, in addition to the evidence and testimony from the state trial.  The statement said that, in the government’s words, “experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation.”

article via huffingtonpost.com

Eight Fascinating Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.

The Martin Luther King Memorial is seen

At this time of year there are many different posts about Martin Luther King Jr.  Here are eight facts that are not commonly discussed:

Fact 1:  He was born Michael Luther King, Jr. January 15, 1929 in  Atlanta, Georgia.

Fact 2:  His father, Michael King, Sr., changed their names to Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. when Martin Jr. was about five.

Fact 3: King was the youngest person, at the time, to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Fact 4:  King authored six books published from 1958 through 1968, works on American race relations and collections of his sermons and lectures.

Fact 5: King stood behind President Lyndon B. Johnson as Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

Fact 6: Senate investigations revealed that the FBI illegally bugged King’s hotel rooms and home phone from 1962-1968.

Fact 7:  An ongoing controversy over the inscription on the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial which says “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”, is taken from a 1968 King sermon, “If you want to say I was a drum major, say I was a drum major for justice, say I was a drum major for peace, I was a drum major for righteousness and all the other shallow things will not matter.”, at issue is also the cost to repair, change or delete the inscription.

Fact 8:  King met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Lester Grange on problems affecting black Americans. Making it an  interesting  fact that he actually met with two presidents about Civil Rights at different times.

article by Oretha Winston via theurbandaily.com

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