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Across Black America

African American news for the week of May 22, 2014.

Juliana Norwood | 5/23/2014, midnight

California

The broken smartphone Rihanna dropped while taking a selfie at a Clippers game—and which helped raise $116,500 for police groups—will be going on display at the Grammy Museum. The high bidder for the phone in an eBay auction was disqualified, but an anonymous bidder matched the amount and agreed to lend the signed smartphone to the museum, according to Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff, the owner of the phone. Soboroff persuaded Rihanna to take a selfie with him as both wore LAPD bracelets at a Clippers game. Rihanna, however, dropped the phone after snapping the photo. She later autographed the cracked phone and pledged $25,000 to the Los Angeles Police Foundation. Soboroff matched her donation then put the phone up for bid on eBay—with the bids topping out at $66,500. Half of the money raised will go to the Los Angeles Police Foundation for LAPD Cadets and the rest to the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation to support the families of fallen officers.

Florida

The Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce (MDCOC) has announced the selection of their new President and Chief Executive Officer. Gordon “Eric” Knowles, a seasoned senior executive with extensive experience creating strategic alliances in both the public and private sectors, takes the leadership position. Knowles has had an impressive career and credits his expertise in operations, event planning and execution, community building, employee training, and customer service. Knowles is the former Senior Director of Government Affairs for Sun Life Stadium and The Miami Dolphins. Some of his core accomplishments in this role include managing a 72,500 person facility (Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins and former Florida Marlins), managing tenant relations that included the Miami Dolphins, Miami Marlins, Orange Bowl Championship, and related events; handling the training and management of 3,500 game day employees, and directing all government affairs, as it pertains to Sun Life Stadium and the Miami Dolphins.

Indiana

Forty-year old Christopher Bour of Gary will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for sexually molesting an infant on nearly 10 different occasions during about a one-year period. He reportedly paid Natisha Hillard $500 to have sex with her 4-month-old infant girl. He pleaded guilty to buying a child for sex, possessing child pornography and three counts of producing child pornography. The judge rejected his request for the mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison, saying that his crime was too “horrific,” and sentenced Bour to a life sentence plus 55 years to be served consecutively. Meanwhile, Hillard has also pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting her sentencing. She admits to being in the room with Bour and the baby when he committed the acts.

North Carolina

NASCAR’s Hall of Fame class for 2015 includes Bill Elliott, one of its most popular drivers ever, and Wendell Scott, the only African American to win a top-level race, the auto racing sanctioning body announced Wednesday. Three other drivers—Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly and Rex White—will be inducted at a ceremony on January 30 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. Elliott won one Winston Cup title and 44 races in his 37-year career, including two victories at the Daytona 500. Known as “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”, a reference to his Georgia hometown, Elliott won the series top circuit championship in 1988. He was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver a record 16 times. In 1963, Scott became the only African American to win a race at NASCAR’s highest level, taking a 100-mile feature at Jacksonville, Fla. He also was the first African American to race full time in NASCAR’s premier series, called the Grand National Series at the time. Scott made the top 10 in 30 percent of the races in his 13-year Grand National career. He was portrayed in the 1977 movie “Greased Lightning” by Richard Pryor. He died in 1990.

Compiled By Juliana Norwood.