Commentary by Black Kos editor JoanMar
The year 2023 has proven to be especially brutal for the most vulnerable among us. Wars and acts of terrorism around the globe have not spared those least equipped to protect themselves. Already traumatized by reports and pictures of the wanton disregard for the lives of children caught in generations-old conflicts, I was further shook when I read of the little angel who lost her life in a horrific accident that was entirely preventable. It is imperative that the individual responsible for this grievous loss be held accountable.
On the night of November 25, Jer’Manica Anglin and her baby daughter were driving home. I try to imagine that last drive home, and if I know anything about children, Jalina and her mom were more than likely involved in a very spirited conversation… with Jalina providing most of the spirit. I imagine the precious little girl chattering away and kicking her legs, and mom responding with lots of encouraging monosyllables as she navigates the Florida traffic. Bright children in backseats usually have a lot to say. Sadly, only one would survive this trip.
A 5-year-old girl died Saturday night after a car accident with a Florida police truck.
The police truck was responding to an emergency call when the car carrying the child pulled out into an intersection and collided with the police vehicle, according to a press release by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Drivers of emergency vehicles, even with lights flashing and sirens blaring, have a duty to approach intersections with caution and to slow down at red lights. Officer Swann did not slow down. He went through the stop light at an estimated 87 MPH. But even more egregiously, if that is possible, Officer Swan, who was not injured, sat in his truck and waited for his fellow officers to arrive on the scene who then whisked him off. He chose not to render aid to his victims. Who does that?
In the wake of the execution-style murder of Michael Brown back in 2014, members of the Support the Dream Defenders group worked on a few quality laws; among them was The Good Samaritan Law. That law sought to force law-enforcement officers to render aid if or when a member of the public is injured in their presence. Imagine needing a law to force you to be human and extend a helping hand to someone in need.
The Good Samaritan Act of 2016
The Good Samaritan Law would make it illegal for cops to fail to render aid...
To require law enforcement agents to provide first aid to anybody injured in a stop or arrest, and to provide a rebuttable presumption, as provided herein, if first aid is not rendered...
Sec. 201. REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION. If the law enforcement agent or the law enforcement agents have failed or refused to comply with the first aid requirements described in Title I of this Act, then there shall be a rebuttable presumption in any federal court that the law enforcement agent or the law enforcement agents have violated the constitutional rights of the suspect or suspects or other person or persons who were the subject of the use of force. The presumption may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that the law enforcement agent was her- or himself unable to render aid because, objectively and subjectively, there was an immediate danger of gunfire from other individuals present.
The officer had time and opportunity to render aid, which may have saved little Jalina. He chose not to do even the bare minimum to save a life. That’s dereliction of duty, and that alone should disqualify him from ever again wearing a cop’s badge. Fire him. Now.
"I can't stop thinking about my baby, my grandchild is no longer here," LaTrice McKinnis, the victim's grandmother, said. "We want justice. Jalina was a bright, intelligent young girl that was taken from us. I don’t have my Lina no more. Lina called me ‘Nanner’ because she could’nt pronounce ‘Nana.’"
The response from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was equally callous, and one wonders if they’d have adopted that insensitive tone had the victim been endowed with less melanin. Instead of offering sympathy to the grief-stricken family, they chose to heap insult upon injury by insinuating that Jalina’s death may have been caused by her mother’s negligence. They questioned whether the child was securely strapped in her car seat. She was.
Officer Danny Swann was reckless and heartless. He should be fired, arrested, and charged with negligent homicide.
From her dad: "She was Lina. She was bright and happy. She liked to talk," Daniel said. "Everybody knows she was a good girl. She was sweet."
From her mom: “I’m blessed for the 5 years I had with you. My girl, my heart I will forever love you. Visit me in my dreams. If I could trade my life with you I would. I’m hurting so bad.”
Rest in peace, Little Angel. Condolences to her mom, her dad, her three siblings, her grandma, the rest of her family, and her community.
News round up by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
In the summer of 2021, the body of 29-year-old Damien Cameron was delivered to the crime lab in Jackson, Mississippi. Cameron, a Black man, had died after a struggle with police. His face was swollen and bloodied, and there was bleeding in his neck. Witnesses described seeing two deputies kneeling on Cameron for more than 10 minutes. Yet Staci Turner, the state’s medical examiner, ruled Cameron’s manner of death to be “undetermined.” That decision effectively headed off any further investigation. The officers returned to work.
Two years later, Rankin County Deputy Hunter Elward, one of the officers who had knelt on Cameron, pleaded guilty to federal charges in another case—the horrific torture of two Black men. Elward and a gang of his fellow deputies, who called themselves the Goon Squad, admitted to breaking into the men’s home, torturing and sexually humiliating them, then sticking a gun into the mouth of one of the men, at which point the deputies claim it mistakenly fired, leaving the man with severe and disfiguring injuries.
The fallout from the torture cases brought new attention to Turner’s work in Cameron’s death. In a subsequent review, three separate medical examiners said that Turner was wrong to classify Cameron’s manner of death as “undetermined.” They say it was clearly a homicide. If it had been classified that way at the time, it’s possible that a criminal investigation might have taken Elward off the street, and might have revealed the rot in the sheriff’s department.
Cameron’s death came 14 months after the death of George Floyd, and there are clear similarities. Both men died after one or more police officers knelt on their backs. Both cases involve disputes between forensic pathologists about manner of death, and both raise important questions not only about how that determination is made but about whether medical examiners are adequately shielded from political pressure when making it.
Floyd’s case again came under scrutiny in right-wing media last October. In an unrelated gender discrimination lawsuit against the Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office, prosecutor Amy Sweasy testified that in the days after Floyd died under the knee of Police Officer Derek Chauvin, medical examiner Andrew Baker told her that “there were no medical findings that showed any injury to the vital structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck.” Sweasy says Baker then asked her, “What happens when the actual evidence doesn’t match up with the public narrative that everyone’s already decided on?” and warned, “This is the kind of case that ends careers.”
That testimony expands on a memo Sweasy wrote that was well publicized by Chauvin’s defense team in August 2020, though the comments she attributed to Baker in that memo were somewhat less inflammatory. Baker did eventually testify for the state and classified Floyd’s death as a homicide, prodding far-right pundits like Tucker Carlson to conclude that the doctor had changed his testimony to appease activists and political leaders. Under oath at Chauvin’s trial, Baker denied changing his diagnosis or bowing to pressure.
Voters eligible to cast ballots are already being swept up in a grassroots effort to purge the nation's registration rolls ahead of the 2024 presidential election, a CBS News investigation has found.
Fueled by doubts about the 2020 election, an army of conservative activists is poring over state voter lists, looking for registration errors that can be used to file what are known as voter challenges — questioning the registrations of thousands of Americans.
The undertaking, which includes the involvement of a lawyer tied to former President Trump's alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, tends to affect minority or younger voters who may be statistically more likely to vote Democrat, according to local election officials.
"It's young voters, it's people of color, and it's people that are unhoused," said Karli Swift, chair of the election board in DeKalb County, Georgia. "Those are generally the types of people that end up in voter challenges."
One of those hit with challenges was James McWhorter, who received a letter at the barbershop he manages in the middle of October from DeKalb County informing him that someone had challenged his voter status. The challenger, a woman named Gail Lee, argued McWhorter improperly registered to vote at a commercial address and snapped photos of his barbershop, which is located inside an Atlanta-area Kroger supermarket, as evidence.
"I didn't know Gail Lee from a can of paint," McWhorter told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett.
A new lawsuit claims police targeted Black residents during a manhunt for a suspect wanted in the shooting of a McKeesport police officer in 2020.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania claims the police department, the city of McKeesport and Allegheny County police violated residents' Fourth Amendment rights.
The complaint alleges police officers from the McKeesport Police Department used abusive tactics, including demanding entry into homes at gunpoint without a warrant.
"I'm here to hold them accountable for what they did in our community and at our home," Courtney Tompkins said.
During a news conference, Tompkins describes the day she says more than a dozen McKeesport police officers forced their way into her home at gunpoint.
She says shortly after McKeesport Police Officer Jerry Athans was shot, more than a dozen police officers with guns drawn stopped her boyfriend, who she says didn't even fit the description of the suspect, outside of their home and demanded to come inside even though they didn't have a warrant.
"I let them in my house, because who wouldn't? You got not just handguns, you have rifles, everything pointed at you," Tompkins said.
In December 2020, surveillance cameras caught Koby Francis shooting Officer Athans outside the McKeesport police station while in custody for a protection from abuse order. An all-out manhunt ensued for 10 days before Francis was caught by U.S. Marshals in West Virginia.
During the search for Francis, the complaint alleges McKeesport police and Allegheny County police targeted Black residents using illegal abusive tactics while white residents were treated far less harshly.
“President Joe Biden's got our backs because he's not only thinking about our present but also our future," says Darren Riley, a Black male entrepreneur, in the ad titled "List." The Grio: New Biden-Harris campaign ad highlights economy and Black men
A new ad from the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign first obtained by theGrio continues to court Black voters in the early stages of the next year’s presidential election.
The ad titled “List” highlights President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ economic investments and how the administration’s agenda seeks to create more pathways to economic prosperity in Black communities.
The spot, which was released Wednesday, features Darren Riley, a Black man who is a small-business owner and entrepreneur from Detroit. Riley highlights how the Biden-Harris agenda is making a difference in communities like his throughout the country.
The College Board said it revised the course after the Florida controversy, promising an “unflinching encounter with the facts,” an announcement interpreted as an admission it had watered the course down. but it did not add back every topic downgraded. The Grio: College Board revises advance placement Black studies class
The College Board on Wednesday released an updated framework for its new Advanced Placement African American Studies course, months after the nonprofit testing company came under intense scrutiny for engaging with conservative critics.
The revision includes more material on topics including the Tulsa Race Massacre, Black culture’s influence on film and sports, and discriminatory practices related to housing, known as redlining. The new framework will be used when the course officially launches next academic year.
The course gained national attention early this year when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, now a Republican presidential candidate, said he would ban the course in his state because it pushed a political agenda. The College Board later removed several topics from the exam, including Black Lives Matter, slavery reparations and queer life, and was criticized for bowing to political pressure.
The latest changes address some of that criticism.
The course outline includes written works about feminism and intersectionality, which is a framework for understanding the effects of overlapping systems of discrimination or disadvantage. A unit on “The Black Feminist Movement, Womanism and Intersectionality” includes the 1977 Combahee River Collective Statement by a group of Black feminist lesbians who fought against capitalism, imperialism and patriarchy.
Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger’s foreign ministers on Friday recommended that the countries form a confederation following a two-day meeting in Mali’s capital, Bamako. The meeting aimed to flesh out the details of the new Alliance of Sahel States, created in September, which commits each country to come to the others’ aid in defense against external aggression.
Many of the meeting’s recommendations on military and economic integration appeared similar to the concept undergirding the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the now 11-member regional body from which the junta-led countries, alongside Guinea, were ousted following repeated coups d’états since 2020.
The countries’ finance ministers are considering ways to create an investment bank and economic stabilization fund as well as a monetary union. Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said their recommendations would be submitted to each head of state.
Security experts believe these recent moves are nothing more than political grandstanding to legitimize junta rule in the face of punitive sanctions imposed by ECOWAS.
Nate Allen, an associate professor at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies told the Associated Press that the partnership was in reality “‘an effort to entrench and legitimize (their) military governments’ more than to tackle the violent extremism which they have limited capacity to fight.”
As Folahanmi Aina wrote in Foreign Policy, the alliance fails to tackle the root causes of violent extremism in the region, which include socioeconomic grievances, human rights violations, and climate change. Instead it “is a convenient arrangement adopted by the putschists to mask their fear of uncertainty in a climate of heightened tension with France.”
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