Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest passed away this past March due to complications from diabetes. And now, after a series of powerful memorials, Phife’s getting a street named after him in his old Queens neighborhood.
OkayPlayer got confirmation from Phife’s manager that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign a bill to co-name a portion of Linden Boulevard at 192nd Street in St. Albans “Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor Way.”
The signing is set to take place on Wednesday, August 3 at 10 a.m. inside City Hall.
The intersection of 192nd Street and Linden Blvd. is a huge nod to the group’s beginnings as Phife mentioned the location in tracks like “Steve Biko” and “Check the Rhime.” Alongside Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi, the group was formed in that neighborhood in 1985.
New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray said the network fits into the administration’s larger, ThriveNYC project to boost mental health across the city.
“Everyone will face hardship. That is a part of life,” McCray said. “By acting early to help our youngest New Yorkers understand and manage their emotions, we can better equip them to handle stress, prevent or lessen the severity of future mental health challenges, and set them up for success. It is easier to grow a healthy child than to mend a broken adult.”
Under the program, staffers at nearly 400 pre-kindergarten and day care sites will get added training and classroom materials to support kids’ mental health.
Staffers at the pre-K and day care sites will also be able to refer kids to the seven Mental Health Network clinics, where those kids will have priority for services.
More than 3,000 kids and their families are expected to take part at first in the project that eventually aims to give mental health services to any of the city’s 100,000 universal pre-K students and city day care users who might need them.
The locations of the clinics are still to be determined, but there will be two in Bronx, two in Brooklyn and one each in the other three boroughs. The city schools have also invested $47 million in programs to improve school climate and boost students’ mental health under the de Blasio administration.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said pre-K staffers will be better equipped to help students build strong foundations for success in school and life thanks to the training they will receive under the Mental Health Network. “Teachers and school administrators play an important role in nurturing a child’s social and emotional growth,” Fariña said.
New York City agreed Friday to pay $3.9 million to the family of a Bronx teenager shot to death by a white police officer in 2012. The deal settled a federal lawsuit brought by the family of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham (pictured below).
“This was a tragic case,” said New York Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci. “After evaluating all the facts, and consulting with key stakeholders such as the NYPD, it was determined that settling the matter was in the best interest of the city.”
Attorney Royce Russell said the family will comment Monday.
Graham died after he was shot once in the chest in February 2012 in a tiny bathroom in the three-family home where he lived with his grandmother and other relatives. Richard Haste, the officer who shot him, said he fired his weapon because he thought he was going to be shot. No weapons were found in the apartment.
Haste was indicted on manslaughter charges in the summer of 2012, but charges were dismissed by a judge who said prosecutors improperly instructed grand jurors to imply they should disregard testimony from police officers that they radioed Haste in advance to warn him that they thought Graham had a pistol. A second grand jury declined to re-indict the officer.
Manhattan federal prosecutors are conducting a civil rights investigation.
The Graham shooting has been cited during demonstrations after grand juries in Missouri and New York declined to indict police officers in the deaths last year of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson and 43-year-old Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk after he was put in a chokehold when he was stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. The deaths fueled a national conversation about policing and race.
The Graham deal adds to a series of settlements in high-profile civil rights claims against police, jail officers and the city under first-term Mayor Bill de Blasio.
One day after a grand jury declined to indict a New York police officer in the death of Eric Garner, prompting angry protests and calls for reform from elected officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday announced the start of a significant retraining of the nation’s largest police force.
Mr. de Blasio said the grand jury’s decision had focused the public’s attention on the relationship between the police and the public. “Fundamental questions are being asked, and rightfully so,” he said. “The way we go about policing has to change.”
The de Blasio administration did not immediately explain in detail what the training would entail and how the city would cover the considerable costs of such an undertaking.
Addressing the reaction on Wednesday to the grand jury’s decision, Mr. de Blasio said he understood the frustration of so many and he called on people to channel that anger into working for change.
“People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives,” he said.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said the retraining would require some 22,000 officers to complete a three-day course.
The program, beginning this month, is modeled on the periodic required firearms retraining that all officers must regularly undergo. Mr. Bratton first announced the department-wide retraining effort in the wake of Mr. Garner’s death. He provided further details at a City Council hearing in September, including learning “de-escalation” techniques. Continue reading “Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Retraining of New York Police”→
The five men whose convictions in the brutal 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park were later overturned have agreed to a settlement of about $40 million from New York City to resolve a bitterly fought civil rights lawsuit over their arrests and imprisonment in the sensational crime.
The agreement, reached between the city’s Law Department and the five plaintiffs, would bring to an end an extraordinary legal battle over a crime that came to symbolize a sense of lawlessness in New York, amid reports of “wilding” youths and a marauding “wolf pack” that set its sights on a 28-year-old investment banker who ran in the park many evenings after work.
The confidential deal, disclosed by a person who is not a party in the lawsuit but was told about the proposed settlement, must still be approved by the city comptroller and then by a federal judge.
The initial story of the crime, as told by the police and prosecutors, was that a band of young people, part of a larger gang that rampaged through Central Park, had mercilessly beaten and sexually assaulted the jogger. The story quickly exploded into the public psyche, fanned by politicians and sensational news reports that served to inflame racial tensions.
The five black and Hispanic men, ages 14 to 16 at the time of their arrests, claimed that incriminating statements they had given had been coerced by the authorities. The statements were ruled admissible, and the men were convicted in two separate trials in 1990.
In December 2002, an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, found DNA and other evidence that the woman had been raped and beaten not by the five teenagers but by another man, Matias Reyes, a convicted rapist and murderer who had confessed to acting alone in the attack. Concluding that the new evidence could have changed the original verdict, Mr. Morgenthau’s office joined a defense motion asking that the convictions be vacated.
If approved, the settlement would fulfill a pledge by Mayor Bill de Blasio to meet a “moral obligation to right this injustice.”
New York City will settle its long-running legal battle over the Police Department’s practice of stopping, questioning and often frisking people on the street — a divisive issue at the heart of the mayoral race last year — by agreeing to reforms that a judge ordered in August, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.
In making the announcement, which he said he hoped would end a turbulent chapter in the city’s racial history, Mr. de Blasio offered a sweeping repudiation of the aggressive policing practices that had been a hallmark of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, but that had stoked anger and resentment in many black and Latino neighborhoods. He essentially reversed the course set by Mr. Bloomberg, whose administration had appealed the judge’s ruling.
“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. “We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.”
The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, found that the department’s stop-and-frisk tactics were unconstitutional, and that it had resorted to “a policy of indirect racial profiling.” At the height of the program, in the first quarter of 2012, the police stopped people — mostly black and Latino men — on more than 200,000 occasions. A vast majority of those stopped were found to have done nothing wrong.
Judge Scheindlin had ordered the appointment of a monitor to develop, in consultation with the parties, widespread reforms of the department’s “policies, training, supervision, monitoring and discipline regarding stop-and-frisk.” That process will go forward as part of the agreement.
New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has agreed to settle the Central Park Five case — a decade-long, $250 million lawsuit brought by the five men wrongly convicted of beating and raping a jogger in Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989. Filmmaker Ken Burns, whose 2012 documentary “The Central Park Five” tells the story of that dark chapter in New York City history, confirmed the news during an appearance on HuffPost Live Tuesday.
“These kids served upwards of 13 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit,” Burns said. “After they got out, they were exonerated. They then launched a civil suit against the city of New York that’s now 10 years old, and the city has just stalled and refused to settle what is clearly something that benefits not just the Five and their families, but the detectives and prosecutors who made a mistake and the people of the city of New York, and the rest of us that all bought it lock, stock and barrel back in 1989.
“Bill de Blasio, the mayor-elect, has agreed to settle this case, and though this is justice delayed way too long, and that is justice denied, [they] will not only be exonerated … but they will have justice, they will see some closure, they will be able to be made whole,” Burns added.