A killer targeting victims of color remains on the loose, terrifying a small suburban neighborhood outside of Phoenix, reports NBC News. On Aug. 3, authorities announced a ninth shooting that took place on July 11, when a gunman fired at a man and a 4-year-old boy sitting in a car. Fortunately, both victims survived. The town of Maryvale has remained on high alert since March 17, when a 16-year-old boy was fired at while walking down the street. A second shooting just one day later injured a 21-year-old man, as he stood near his car. While those victims did not become fatalities, all of that changed on April 1, when Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, 21, a soon-to-be father, was shot and killed directly outside of his pregnant fiancée’s home. Another shooting, which took place on June 12, tragically killed Stefanie Ellis, 33, her 12-year-old daughter Maleah, and their friend, Angela Linner, 31, as they sat outside of the Ellis home. A total of six people have died since March, ranging in ages 12-55. Authorities have made no arrests and can’t figure out a motive. They say the suspect follows a strikingly similar pattern, targeting victims near their homes or in their cars.
Damien Hooper-Campbell has been hired by San Jose-based eBay as the director of diversity, a first of its kind position for the company. Hooper-Campbell is from the Morehouse College graduating class of 2002 and brings to the job a wealth of experience. After graduating from Morehouse with a bahelors of arts in economics, he also received his Masters of business administration from Harvard Business School. Before working for eBay, Hooper-Campbell previously held roles at Google, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Two low-income individuals on Aug. 2 filed a lawsuit to stop a practice by the Los Angeles Superior Court of suspending driver’s licenses simply because people cannot pay high citation fees —thereby punishing people because they are poor, according to the advocacy group A New Way of Life. In addition to unfairly targeting poor people, this practice disproportionately burdens Black and Latino communities, according to a recent study of traffic courts in California. The case alleges that the court violates drivers’ due process rights by stripping them of the ability to fight the suspensions, when late fees and additional charges make it difficult for low-income people to clear the charges. Driver’s license suspensions help perpetuate the cycle of poverty, creating a virtual debtor’s prison, according to supporters of the legal acation. Not being able to drive can lead to the loss of a job, to the inability to access medical care and the inability to apply for public benefits.
District of Columbia
On Sept. 24, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open as a place to study and celebrate African American life, art, history, and culture. “Dream A World Anew,” coming out Sept. 27, is the companion book to this groundbreaking new museum. It is a publication that shows how the African American story transcends a single community and shapes all those who call themselves Americans. The museum will be on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
George Zimmerman was punched while eating at a restaurant. Witnesses said Zimmerman upset another patron, when he mentioned that he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Police have not arrested anyone but did release Zimmerman’s 911 call, where he claimed he was punched. Zimmerman was acquitted several years ago for shooting and killing Martin during an altercation on the grounds of an apartment complex. His acquittal came as a result of Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
The New York Times reported on July 31 that a town in Georgia has found a way to use its police force to challenge the voting rights of its Black residents. According to the report, the Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration in Sparta has been “systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180 Black residents “by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to “prove their residence or lose their voting rights.” The 180 Black residents make up roughly one fifth of Sparta’s total registered voters, the Times notes. A new lawsuit alleges that the Hancock County Board of Elections enacted this policy to help White candidates win more elections in Sparta, although county attorney Barry Fleming told the Times that the board’s policies have nothing to do with race. “The allegations that people were denied the right to vote are the opposite of the truth,” said Fleming, who claimed the policies were meant to restore order to the voting process after a period of supposed corruption. “This is probably more about politics and power than race.”
The attorney for the family of an 18-year-old suspect slain by Chicago law enforcement says the police video of the shooting is “beyond horrific.” Attorney Michael Oppenheimer says Paul O’Neal’s family was distraught after watching the body camera and dashcam videos that were released to the public on Aug. 5. Family spokesman Ja’Mal Green said O’Neal’s mother broke down. Oppenheimer says the July 28 video show that police took “street justice into their own hands,” when they killed O’Neal. An autopsy showed that O’Neal died of a gunshot wound to the back. Although the videos show officers saying they thought O’Neal fired at them, no gun was ever found. Green said the officers involved need to be held accountable. Three officers were stripped of police powers after the department determined they violated policy.
A coalition of community organizers are asking residents to help protect their own neighborhoods on Labor Day in response to the police union’s call for officers to refuse overtime work during the historically deadly weekend. The group is encouraging individuals and groups to ramp up safety measures and criticized a directive from the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police urging its members to protest the “disrespect” and “killing of officers” by not volunteering to work overtime. The effort, called the Community Peace Surge, is aimed at 10 high-crime areas on Chicago’s South Side and West Side. In those areas, a variety variety of activities including picnics, educational activities, and cleanup events, will be organized to offer plenty of non-violent options. “What the police won’t do on Labor Day weekend … we’ll do ourselves,” Keith Harris, a representative of the People Educated Against Crime community center in Englewood, said at gathering outside the Chicago Police Department headquarters earlier this week. “We’re calling on the men in the city of Chicago to stand up and do what men do, and that’s protect and provide,” Harris said. “You live on these blocks, protect your block. Protect your community and protect your neighborhood. Protect your family.”
Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson filed a lawsuit against the city of Baton Rouge and police officials on last Thursday, saying officers responded in a “militarized and aggressive manner” when arresting him and other people protesting a police shooting death. Mckesson was among nearly 200 protesters arrested in Baton Rouge following the July 5 shooting death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a Black man who was shot during a struggle with two White police officers. The federal class-action lawsuit, which names two other arrested protesters as plaintiffs, accuses police of using excessive force and violating the protesters’ constitutional rights. The suit said police advanced against protesters while wearing military gear, gas masks and brandishing assault weapons alongside armored vehicles. Officers threatened peaceful protesters by pointing their weapons directly at them, the suit said. “Defendants used excessive force in attacking, battering, beating, and assaulting plaintiffs and class members without provocation or the need for defense,” the suit said. Sterling’s shooting was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the Internet. The Justice Department is investigating Sterling’s death. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and other groups also filed a lawsuit last month over the treatment of protesters by police.
What started as a small goal to make $200 extra a month turned into a record-setting accomplishment and extraordinary success story for Mary Kay’s national sales director, Gloria Mayfield Banks. She is the first African American woman to hold the No. 1 position within Mary Kay’s independent sales force in the United States based on year-to-date earnings. Banks started her Mary Kay business in 1988 to earn extra money to pay for her children’s daycare costs. For nearly two decades, the entrepreneur has blazed a trail within the global cosmetics company by breaking numerous company records including achieving the status of Mary Kay Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director, a position held by only three women in the United States. A graduate of Howard University and Harvard Business School, Banks resides in Baltimore with her husband, Ken.
Dylann Roof, the White man charged in the massacre of nine Black parishioners at a Charleston church, was assaulted Aug. 4 by a Black inmate at the South Carolina jail where he is being held, a law official said. Dwayne Stafford ran down the stairs from his cell, after Roof went into the shower around 7:45 a.m. and hit him, bruising Roof’s face and back, according to a police report. The 22-year-old Roof was examined by jail medical personnel and then returned to his cell, Charleston County Sheriff’s Maj. Eric Watson told the Associated Press Watson said Stafford will be charged with assault. The 26-year-old Stafford is awaiting trial on first-degree assault and strong armed robbery charges. Roof has been housed at the Charleston County Detention Center since being brought back from North Carolina a day after the June 17, 2015, slayings of nine parishioners during a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church. Prosecutors have said Roof was trying to make his way to Nashville, Tenn., after the shootings. Roof faces the death penalty in upcoming trials in both federal and state courts.
Prosecutors won a rare conviction of a White former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black teen suspected of shoplifting. But the guilty verdict on Aug. 4 was for voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge than the original first-degree murder count. And the jury recommended a 2 1/2 year prison sentence for Stephen Rankin, a punishment far below the decade prosecutors had sought. The outcome is typical of the rare conviction that follows a shooting by police, said Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.”The sentence was not enough,” said Earl Lewis Jr., a cousin of the 18-year-old who died, William Chapman II. “This basically says to police officers that it’s still all right kill.” Rankin’s formal sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 12. A judge cannot increase the jury’s recommended sentence, but he could reduce it. Rankin’s attorneys said they plan to appeal.
ABC News correspondent Sara Haines is joining “The View” as the daytime talk show begins its 20th season. Haines, who worked on the “Today” show before joining ABC in 2013, has primarily worked on pop culture stories. She will replace Michelle Collins as a host. Whoopi Goldberg returns as moderator of the daytime talk show, along with other panelists Joy Behar, Candace Cameron Bure, Paula Faris and Raven-Symone. Although Raven-Symone will return, former co-host Sherri Shepherd, who appeared on the show this week, told the Tom Joyner Morning Show that the youngest host will only be on the panel one day a week.
Hillary Clinton addressed the first National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists joint conference on Aug. 6, in an effort to connect with journalists of color specifically tasked with telling her story. Clinton accepted the invitation from leadership in both organizations who have a storied history of inviting past presidential candidates. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declined the invitation, his second time in the past month electing not to address a historically Black organization. In July, he dismissed an invitation to attend the NAACP’s annual conference. Clinton opened her speech acknowledging journalism’s importance in democracy. “Now more than ever we need you to keep holding leaders and candidates accountable,” she said. “I think this is one of the few times that she’s been asked questions specifically about African Americans by African Americans; that was a plus,” said Richard Prince, a reporter for journal-isms.com. Clinton praised President Barack Obama’s leadership, saying that he does not get the credit he deserves specifically for leading the country out of the great recession.