Alabama

LaShandra Warren has made history in Montgomery by becoming the first African American named as county administrator at the Montgomery County Courthouse. Warren was a judicial assistant for 11 years, and worked with Judge Charles Price for 10 of those years. Warren grew up in Montgomery and attended Alabama State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, as well as two master’s degrees. In addition to being the first African American in the position, she is also the first female.


Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green has been awarded a $1.1 million grant to develop a cancer treatment involving lasers and nanoparticles. She is an assistant professor at Tuskegee University and one of only 100 Black women physicists in the U.S. Green’s drive to work in cancer research is partly driven by her aunt’s death due to the disease. Her aunt and uncle raised her after the death of both her parents. “She refused the treatment because she didn’t want to experience the side effects,” Green explained. “It was heartbreaking, but I could appreciate she wanted to die on her own terms.” Green is exploring lasers as an alternative to radiation and chemotherapy, which can have debilitating side effects.

California

Alicia Garza, considered one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, was a guest of state Rep. Barbara Lee (D) at President Barack Obama’s seventh annual state of the union address Tuesday. Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi co-founded the movement in 2012 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.


The former female singers of Chic—Alfa, Luci and Norma Jean—have signed with Beverly Hills-based Pacific Electronic Music (PEM). The trio will perform and record under the name Next Step. Chic, which was created by Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards, had hits in the 1970s, including “Le Freak,” “Good Times” and “Everybody Dance.”

Colorado

Six sheriff’s deputies in Denver have been put on leave and placed on restrictive duty, in the wake of the death of a Black inmate which has been ruled a homicide. According to a recently released report, deputies at the Denver jail forcibly re strained 50-year-old Michael Marshall who was reportedly experiencing a psychotic episode. When he fell unconscious, he was sent to a hospital, where he was put on life support and died nine days later. The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner has concluded that Marshall’s death was a homicide, and that his demise was a result of “complications of positional asphyxia to include aspiration pneumonia due to being physically restrained by law enforcement during an acute psychotic episode.” An internal investigation is underway, reports the Associated Press.

Florida

Police and the NAACP are involved in an investigation into the death of Barbara Dawson, who laid in a parking lot next to a police car before dying. Dawson was removed from the hospital by a police officer, despite her protests that she was having trouble breathing. The cop was trying to place her in his car and take her into custody for disorderly conduct, when she initially refused to leave the hospital. According to a video from the officer’s car, she lay on the ground for 18 minutes before someone finally readmitted her into the hospital, but the 57-year-old died shortly thereafter from a blood clot. “We think what they did was put criminality over health care,” said state Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg). “We think what they did here was compromise public safety by failing to give her the medical attention that she deserved and needed.”


Bethune-Cookman University started the new year with the opening of its new school of religion, which will offer degrees in religion and philosophy as well as Christian ministry. Rev. Dr. Randolph Bracy is the dean of the school. “This is a historical moment for B-CU, a school that was founded and operates on Christian principles. This focused program will enable us to promote and encourage ministry. It is going to prove very beneficial for the university and the community, as a whole,” Bracy commented.

Georgia

District Attorney Robert James Jr. said he will ask a grand jury to indict a Dekalb County police officer for the death of Anthony Hill, an Air Force veteran. Hill, who is Black, was shot by Robert Olsen in March 2015, when he came across Hill, naked, “acting strangely.” Hill reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress order as a result of time he served in Afghanistan. James said he will ask the grand jury to charge Olsen with felony murder and aggravated assault.

Illinois

The DuSable Museum of African American History has partnered with the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) South Chapter to present “Hope Is Vote” this Saturday (Jan. 16). The purpose of the event is to educate young adults on the power of their voting rights. Participants will be able to engage in a discussion about voter rights and ask questions of a panel. The event is free and will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. at the museum, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago. More info at (773) 947-0600 or (773) 644-1785.

Louisiana MORE INFO TK

Marion Mitchell, a father in LaFayette, says he is frustrated with police who aren’t taking serious claims that his daughter is missing. Mitchell’s 16-year-old daughter and her best friend have been missing for a week. “It’s mind boggling,” he said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “They didn’t care and it was all we could do to get them to do anything. We couldn’t even get the television stations to report it.” The two were last seen getting into a car near their high school. “We’re not seeing them as missing,” Sgt. Kyle Soriez of the Lafayette Police Dept. told the newspaper. “In fact, out local media hasn’t even covered them as missing. I believe one of the local media outlets has them just on their social network page, just as assistance to the parents, but currently they’re runaways.” Mitchell said, however, it was out of character for his daughter to be out of touch with the family.

Maryland

A Baltimore court has delayed the trial of Caesar Goodson Jr., the police officer facing the most severe charges in the Freddie Gray case. The delay comes as the result of a legal maneuver where it has to be determined whether William Porter, another officer charged in the incident, can be forced to testify during Goodson’s trial. Goodson’s charges include second-degree depraved-heart murder, which carries a sentence of 30 years. He was the officer driving the van that in which Gray was being transported. In addition, Goodson faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree negligent assault, manslaughter by vehicle, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Porter was tried in December, but the proceeding ended with a hung jury. He is scheduled to be retried in June.


Prince George County police officer Jenchesky Santiago was sentenced to five years in prison last week for shoving a gun into the mouth a Black suspect in 2014. The official charge he was convicted of was misconduct in office and first- and second-degree assault. According to police files, Santiago pulled Williams Cunningham over outside of his home and accused him of parking illegally. Cunningham reportedly tried to explain to Santiago that he lived at the residence, but Santiago ordered the man to stay by his car and pointed his gun at Cunningham,’s head and eventually placed it in his mouth.

Michigan CLARITY

The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) and IHS Automotive, part of IHS Inc. (IHS) and a leading source of critical information and insight into the global automotive industry, celebrated the Diversity Volume Leadership Awards (DVL) at Cobo Center last week. The awards are a collection of the best automotive brands driving sales with multicultural consumers.THIS SENTENCE IS NOT CLEAR One of the premier industry events, the DVL Awards annually celebrates segment leaders. It is the only event of its kind focused on multicultural automotive buyers. Of the top industry honors presented to automotive manufacturers, nominees for the DVL Awards have demonstrated the highest new vehicle registrations with ethnic, women and millennial consumers.HUH?

New York

Four men have been taken into custody after an 18-year-old was brutally sexually assaulted on a playground in the Brownsville section of New York City. Police say it was a “horrific scene” as five men took turns raping the young woman. The young lady was reportedly in the Osborn Playground area at around 11:15 p.m. on Thursday. She and her father were near the park’s hardball courts, reports the New York Daily News, when five men approached them. According to police, one of the young men pulled a gun. He was wearing a red jacket and black pants. He reportedly ordered the father to leave the area. “Get the f___ out of here,” he allegedly said. The young lady’s father ran from the playground and called 9-1-1. While he was gone, the five men took turns sexually assaulting the young lady. People in the area told NYDN that the park is not lighted adequately. Of the four charged (a fifth suspect is being sought), one was 14, one was 17 and two were 15.

South Carolina

Arson is suspected in a fire that took place at the house of Michael Slager, the police officer who has been charged in the murder of Walter Scott. Authorities say that they discovered an incendiary device at the scene. According to the Charleston Post and Courier, a neighbor put out the fire, which caused minor damage to the home. The house has been empty since the North Charleston police officer was arrested in September and charged with the murder of Scott, who he is seen fatally shooting in the back as Scott flees from a traffic stop. Slager was just released on $500,000 bond. “People of goodwill can differ about what should happen in this case, but people of goodwill do not start fires intended to intimidate or terrorize,” said Slager’s attorney, Andy Savage. “Justice in this case will be dispensed by the members of a jury, and by no one else.”

Texas

State trooper Brian Encinia, the officer who originally arrested Sandra Bland, who later died in her jail cell, has been fired and charged with perjury for reportedly lying about his confrontation with Bland during the traffic stop that landed her in jail. Encinia said in his initial report that Bland was “combative and uncooperative” during the stop, but a grand jury decided last week that the cop was lying. The perjury charge, however, is just a misdemeanor and only carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

National

David Bowie, who was married to Black super model Iman for 24 years, died at the age of 69 on Sunday. He had just celebrated his birthday on Friday. Iman released a bevy of photos on social media in celebration of Bowie, who was a music icon and trendsetter for decades. According to the New York Times, he had been fighting cancer for the last 18 months.