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Across Black America week of April 20, 2017

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 4/20/2017, midnight

California

The Sacramento Police Department on April 11 announced a formal investigation into the actions of one of their officers who was seen slamming a Black man to the ground and beating him—all sparked by an alleged case of jaywalking. The video, released April 10, has sparked national outrage. It shows the officer confronting the man, identified as Nandi Cain Jr. as he crossed an intersection and attempting to talk to him. But the situation quickly escalates. After some words are exchanged while Cain is standing in the street, the officer then violently throws Cain to the ground and begins to punch him in the head. The events leading up to the incident were not captured by the camera, and it is not possible to hear the conversation between Cain and the officer before the incident occurred. Bystander Naomi Montaie, who took the video and posted it on Facebook, can be heard screaming, “Oh my God! Why’d you take him down like that? No! That was wrong!” Montaie filmed the five-minute-long video as the officer called for back-up. Six additional officers arrived to assist in Cain’s arrest. In a statement, the Sacramento Police Department said the officer originally “attempted to detain a pedestrian for allegedly unlawfully crossing the street.” Cain then “questioned the officer’s validity to stop him, at which time a violent encounter occurred between the officer and the pedestrian,” the statement continues. “For an unknown reason, the officer threw the pedestrian to the ground and began striking him in the face with his hand multiple times,” the SPD statement said. Cain was initially charged with resisting arrest, but it was later dropped and he was released, officials said

Georgia

A reported $500,000 statue of Tupac Shakur is slated to be erected in Georgia this September in honor of the 21st anniversary of the rapper’s death, reports Billboard. The statue was originally erected in Stone Mountain, which was home to a performing arts center supported through the Shakur Family Foundation. The center’s mission was to provide opportunities for young people through the arts, and it offered programs such as drama, dance, and creative writing classes. The center was named in honor of the late American rap artist and founded by his mother Afeni Shakur. The center was closed in 2015 and was sold to retired real estate investor, Jim Burnett. The original statue of the West Coast lyricist was taken down. Burnett has reportedly hired artist Nijel Binns (who has previously created statues of Michael Jackson, Shirley Temple and the Mother of Humanity statue permanently installed at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee in Los Angeles) to helm the project. Binns also took to his Facebook page to recognize the statue. This time around, he will help immortalize Shakur with a seven-foot bronze statue that will weigh approximately 1,000 pounds. Burnett is looking to unveil the statue in Septemberm but a location has yet to be announced.

Illinois

Robbery was the motive that led to the killing of a criminal court judge outside his Chicago home, police said last week, according to the Associated Press. Joshua Smith, 37, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and obstruction in the shooting death of Associate Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Myles, said Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples. A 52-year-old woman that the judge knew also was shot in the incident early April 10 on the city’s South Side. She survived. Her name has not been released because police say she is a witness in the killing. Staples said that Smith did not act alone and that the investigation is ongoing. Staples said the gun in the shooting was also used in an armed robbery in January that left a victim wounded. Video cameras on Myles’ home and others in the area helped police identify the car used by the suspects in the shooting and its license plate, Staples said. When police found the vehicle, it had a different license plate than the one seen in the videos, said Staples adding that police don’t think the car owner took part in the crime. Police have said the woman that Myles knew had already been shot and that Myles exchanged words with the attacker and then was shot as well. Smith was convicted of armed robbery in 2003 and sentenced to six years in prison, according to authorities. The Chicago Sun-Times, citing court records, reported that Smith appeared before Myles in 2001 on a charge of failing to have a title for a vehicle and the case was dismissed.