African American news for the week of April 9, 2015.
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya
4/9/2015, 2:48 p.m.
An inmate who spent nearly 30 years on death row was released last week after it was revealed there wasn't enough evidence to link him to two murders. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Laura Petro dismissed the case against Anthony Ray Hinton, who is now 58. “We've been hoping for this. We've believed that this should have happened,” said Bryan Stevenson, Hinton's attorney, who has been representing him for 16 years. Stevenson said that Hinton wept, when he heard the news. The case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the higher court ruled that Hinton did not have the proper legal representation during his trial, and the case was sent back to the state to try again. However, state prosecutors claimed recently that they did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute Hinton for the murders.
No criminal charges will be filed against a White Phoenix police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man in December during what authorities described as a struggle, county prosecutors said last week. According to an investigation, authorities say that Officer Mark Rine was justified in using deadly force against Rumain Brisbon. Prosecutors said the shooting was within Arizona law. Police have said that Brisbon, 34, was shot and killed on Dec. 2 as he struggled with Rine, who suspected he was selling drugs. Rine mistakenly believed that he felt the handle of a gun in the man's pocket. It was later learned that Brisbon was actually carrying a pill bottle. Marci Kratter, the attorney for Brisbon's family, said she was not surprised that Rine will not be held accountable “there was no investigation,” Kratter said. “They were certainly not interested in finding out what the truth was.” Kratter said the family plans to pursue further legal action.
The Jonathan Foundation announced its second annual Spring Fundraiser on Sunday, April 19, at Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin. The foundation is an assessment scholarship program advocating for children diagnosed with autism, Asperger's Developmental Delay, and other intellectual disabilities. Cartoon Network's "The Amazing World of Gumball" stars—Jacob Hopkins and Terrell Ransom Jr., youth advocates for the foundation, will be in attendance. Co-MCs include award-winning film and television writer Dave Shelton, who is also a cartoonist, voice actor, author, comic and director ("Everybody Loves Raymond," Nickelodeon, Disney, etc.). Joining Shelton will be entrepreneur Thomas Leffer, president of iMatrix Software. More help is needed to help fight learning disabilities. Go to www.thejonathanfoundation.org for more information.
Attorney Zulu Ali will moderate a conference in Los Angeles that will discuss police and prosecutor accountability and the abuse crisis. The conference will also call for United Nations involvement. The American Committee on United Nations Oversight, a civil rights and advocacy group, will host the conference on April 11 at 2 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel at 120 S. Los Angeles St. One of the things on the agenda is the launching of the Stop and Frisk Academy, a non-profit project designed to educate minority youth on how to properly interact with law enforcement during police contact. For more information on the conference, call (951) 782-8722.