Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent shockwaves around the country when he told the American Bar Association, the premier lawyers group in the country, that it is time to acknowledge some of the mistakes of the criminal justice system, which has been the bane of cries for reform for decades in the country.
The mass and disproportionate incarceration of people of color in America’s prisons has been at the center of calls for reform in the justice system by civil rights groups, leaders of human rights associations, activists, and former law enforcement officials.
But on Monday, Holder, the 82nd attorney general, changed the game, bringing with him major drug sentencing proposals to the ABA meeting in San Francisco where he told the influential lawyers group, no more harsh sentences for minor and non-violent drug offenses. Instead, treatment and community service are options that should be used.
“We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate — not merely to convict, warehouse and forget,” Holder said in his speech. “We can start by fundamentally rethinking the notion of mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related crimes. Some statutes that mandate inflexible sentences — regardless of the facts or conduct at issue in a particular case — reduce the discretion available to prosecutors, judges and juries. They breed disrespect for the system. When applied indiscriminately, they do not serve public safety. They have had a disabling effect on communities, and they are ultimately counterproductive.”
Mandatory minimum sentences have been widely criticized by advocates for limiting the discretion of judges in imposing lesser sentences in low level and non-violent crime activities.
This major Justice Department change in policy could be seen as a way to address America’s overcrowded prisons.
“While the entire U.S. population has increased by about a third since 1980, the federal prison population has grown at an astonishing rate, by almost 800 percent. It’s still growing, despite the fact that federal prisons are operating at nearly 40 percent above capacity. Even though this country comprises just 5 percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. More than 219,000 federal inmates are currently behind bars,” Holder said. “Almost half of them are serving time for drug-related crimes, and many have substance use disorders. Nine to 10 million more people cycle through America’s local jails each year. And roughly 40 percent of former federal prisoners, and more than 60 percent of former state prisoners, are rearrested or have their supervision revoked within three years after their release, at great cost to American taxpayers and often for technical or minor violations of the terms of their release.”
Holder, whose remarks were part of his “Smart on Crime” initiative, said he has mandated a change in the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.
“They now will be charged with offenses for which the accompanying sentences are better suited to their individual conduct, rather than excessive prison terms more appropriate for violent criminals or drug kingpins,” Holder told the ABA annual meeting.
Holder who prefaced his remarks with what he calls a “vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities,” said the justice system actually may “exacerbate this problem, rather than alleviate it.”
“The bottom line is that, while the aggressive enforcement of federal criminal statutes remains necessary, we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation. To be effective, federal efforts must also focus on prevention and reentry,” Holder said.
Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called Holder’s speech to the ABA “the most significant proposal ever put forth by the Justice Department to reform our nation’s disastrous criminal justice system.”
“For years, our justice system has treated dangerous criminals in the same manner as non-violent men and women. Instead of appropriate punishment and rehabilitation, the system destroys far too many lives and costs our nation tens of billions of dollars each year,” Henderson said. “This has created a modern day caste system in America, where millions people — mostly African Americans, Latinos, and low-income Whites — are marked with a scarlet letter that erects permanent barriers to getting a job or an education and to reintegrate into society.”
In Detroit, Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, the DOJ’s top envoy welcomed Holder’s speech to the ABA.
“The Attorney General’s Smart on Crime initiative recognizes that it is time to revisit the policies that have resulted in an 800 percent increase in our prison population since the 1980s, costing taxpayers $80 billion a year. The initiative seeks to protect public safety while improving fairness and efficiency,” McQuade said. “The new program emphasizes prevention and re-entry, and limits mandatory minimum sentences to the most serious offenders, so that defendants who do not threaten public safety are not incarcerated for long periods of time at taxpayer expense. While strong prison sentences are important to deter criminal conduct, these sentences should be reserved for dangerous criminals.”
Carl Taylor, Michigan State University Professor of Sociology said the announcement by Holder is long overdue.
“It is a tremendous plus but in my opinion is very late when you look at the state if Michigan where correction is the number one budget item,” Taylor said. “We have a very draconian approach to correction. What Holder did is the right way, the right policy…he even admitted that the system is broke and by placing these nonviolent individuals in prison when they come out, where is the infrastructure that is going to get them employment?”
Wayne State University Police Chief Tony Holt, said the reality and perception of crime, especially in urban cities such as Detroit, is at an all time high.
“For the victims of this reality the bottom line is ‘put them away and don’t let this happen to me again.’ Up to this point we have tried a variety of different programs to arrive at a solution from more police officers on the street to more jails being built,” Holt said. “So far the solution have not been attained as we can fill the jails faster than we can built them.”
He said he couldn’t agree more with Attorney General Holder, that it is time to develop a new law enforcement strategy.
“Being tough on crime does not mean we are being smarter on crime. The attorney general is on target is that we have to examine and develop new law enforcement strategies. We have to double this strategy with expanded and targeted resources to develop sustainable solution to the growing crime problem in America,” Holt said. “The key question is how can we move beyond party lines, community mistrust and fear to get everyone to the table to discuss the issue? We can only do so by getting everyone involved working together toward a common sustainable solution. Holder has given us a challenge.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 10:12
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Donald James
REV. WENDELL ANTHONY, president of the Detroit Branch NAACP, the largest branch in the nation, speaks to the Michigan Chronicle at his Detroit office.— Andre Smith photo
As president of the Detroit Branch NAACP, Rev. Wendell Anthony has a long track record of fighting against injustices and systems that foster discriminatory practices designed to disempower and disenfranchise African-Americans in Detroit and beyond. Now in his 10th term as president, Anthony and the local branch of the NAACP, the nation’s largest, continue to stand at the vanguard of freedom, ready, willing and able to oppose all entities that threaten the rights of African-Americans.
While Anthony continues to lead epic fights on the battlefields of injustice, he and the Detroit Branch NAACP are vigorously battling to rebuff a law in Michigan that has allowed an emergency manager (EM) to assume full power in Detroit.
A new emergency manager law was pushed through by a Republican-controlled state legislature in 2012, after Michigan voters went to the polls to overwhelmingly voice their opposition to any such law. The hurried-through new law allowed Gov. Rick Snyder to appoint Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s EM. The appointment gave Orr complete control over the city’s executive and legislature branches of government.
The local NAACP, as well as a large contingent of other concerned community, religious and civil rights activists, believe such an appointment is illegal and unconstitutional.
“This emergency manager concept is more than a notion,” said Anthony, from his office. “What’s being done with this emergency manager takeover in Detroit is unfair, undemocratic and is a snatching away of our rights, and it’s not just a Detroit phenomenon, it’s a national strategy that I believe many in the Republican and conservative communities are utilizing to retain and recoup powers from communities of color. They are looking at the growing demographics of Black and Brown people in America and are doing everything they can to hold on to power.”
To add insult to injury, Anthony and other local civil rights and community groups have taken exception to Orr’s condescending words pertaining to Detroit, shortly after announcing that the city was filing for bankruptcy at his behest. Orr was quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article as saying, “For a long time the city has been dumb, lazy, happy and rich.”
Orr also said, “If you had an eighth-grade education, you’ll get 30 years of a good job and a pension and great health care, but you don’t have to worry about what’s going to come…”
“Mr. Orr’s recent comments strike at the heart and soul of all Detroiters,” Anthony said. “His comments are ones that would be attributed to Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity, George Will…even Clarence Thomas has not said that. Now, we (all Detroiters) have a window into the heart and soul of Kevyn Orr. The fact that he can say this to the Wall Street Journal, America’s premier bastion of conservative rhetoric, ideas, thinking and policies, is untenable.”
Many Detroiters who learned of Orr’s remarks, were reminded of negative comments made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a fundraiser on last year’s presidential campaign trail.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president (Obama) no matter what,” Romney said. “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Anthony said that in addition to Orr, Gov. Snyder must also be held responsible for words, actions, and the disrespect for the people of Detroit.
“Orr is Gov. Rick Snyder’s man; he is his appointment,” Anthony said. “It’s really Rick Snyder who is running Detroit. Kevyn Orr is his operational man, but Gov. Snyder needs to check his operational man.”
Anthony believes an apology from Orr, or from Gov. Snyder, is not enough, even though the EM recently addressed the brewing issue with a local television reporter.
“He didn’t apologize; he tried to justify,” Anthony said. “Mr. Orr just needs to go. We believe that his credibility is gone. How can you manage and reconstruct Detroit when you don’t respect Detroit? How can you come into the community and say that you want to work with the community, as if you respect the people, when we have on record that you think we are ‘dumb, lazy, happy and rich’? The city of Detroit deserves much better than that because we are much better than that.”
The Detroit Branch NAACP has filed lawsuits in federal courts, citing that the EM’s presence in Detroit is illegal and unconstitutional, which is resulting in the disempowerment of the people in Detroit. Anthony, senior pastor at Fellowship Chapel, expects some preliminary rulings on the lawsuits later this month, and is hoping that a final ruling comes sometime in October.
While waiting for the court rulings, Anthony vows to continue to speak out to stop discrimination, prejudice, and injustices when African-Americans in Detroit and across the nation are impacted.
In addition to his leadership role with the Detroit Branch NAACP, Anthony is the founder of the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee, a grassroots activist organization that supports issues and candidates locally and nationally.
He is also chairman and founder of the Freedom Institute for Economic Social Justice and People Empowerment.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 10:10
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
’ve been fending off surrogates from all sides of the political debate and was lately pulled into a conversation where the topic was the impact of race in this election. I find myself, like a surgeon, struggling to decipher whether this election should be about race or Black empowerment.
Because common sense solutions and approaches in a political climate ought to empower people, any people regardless of who they are or what their background is.
And because Black empowerment is the making of choices whether political, economic, educational or social that advances the quality of life of Blacks in a given environment, the elephant in the political room lately has been race and where it fits in the context of Black empowerment in the hotly contested mayoral showdown where a White candidate Mike Duggan came out of the primary heavily leading Benny Napoleon, his African-American challenger.
So if we go by the above definition, which of these two candidates is prepared to advocate Black empowerment in a majority African-American city like Detroit? Which has a plan that enhances the quality of life of people who live in Detroit and pay high taxes and insurance rates, when a few miles away it’s a different story, beyond Eight Mile, by the change of a zip code?
In this context a superficial response to these questions would limit one to the narrow confines of our collective wellbeing.
Sound political judgment and race-neutral politics, which should be the hallmark of this general election, is not an indictment on Black mayors who have served this city for only four decades.
In Gov. Rick Snyder’s own words, the problems facing Detroit have been brewing for sixty years, long before the advent of Black political leadership.
However, we cannot excuse the failures of those who served this city from Coleman A. Young to Dave Bing. But there were others before them, including Mayor Louis Miriani, who went to jail for federal tax evasion in the 1960s. There is a lot of blame to go around in this election and the state of bankruptcy.
For decades racial politics has been the powder keg for most elections in this town and it is bound to rear its head as we head in early October.
We’ll hear from surrogates of the candidates drumming Black empowerment in the context of strongly expressing racial pride by supporting Napoleon, while others will be arguing that while it is significant to express racial pride, it doesn’t mean that supporting Duggan, a White candidate, in itself is a bad omen if he has the desire and expressed plan to address the crisis in a majority Black city.
On the one hand there is a tendency to use a historical body of evidence — from slavery to Jim Crow to institutional racism that still lurks behind the façade of some institutions today struggling with the notion of diversity — as a criteria for our political choices, which affirms our empowerment. There is nothing wrong with that because we are guided by the dictates of history.
But it would be a serious error for us to ignore pragmatic and contemporary considerations concerning our present social and economic challenges. Blacks have elected White presidents for decades until President Obama came onto the scene in 2008, so the race question should actually not be an issue. It should be about who has the best plan to effectively deal with the problems facing Detroit.
The debate about weighing the historical body of evidence against our current realities and conditions in Detroit, and placing it at the forefront of the mayor’s race played out before with President Obama, where a segment of the Black intelligentsia argued that he must unequivocally demonstrate his “Blackness” by identifying specially targeted Black programs for the Black community.
At the same time, there are those in the Black intelligentsia who argued that Obama should identify programs that benefit not only Blacks but other communities that have suffered similarly to Blacks.
The struggle to balance the scales of justice, economic parity, public safety and full empowerment of Detroiters in this mayor’s race where some critics of Duggan argue that because of his skin color, he can’t define Black empowerment, while some supporters of Napoleon say he can by virtue of his skin color, is nothing sort of a double consciousness.
It will be a dangerous misnomer to solely define candidates and issues through the prism of race. While race rightly remains a subtext of many issues because of history (I don’t believe we live in a post-racial America), we must strive to look at the issues that affect us all through the compass of common sense directives.
The preeminence of common sense beckons us to act with basic good sense in our best interest. And we must ask the question in this mayor’s race: which candidate has the best interest and is prepared to address the difficult needs that Detroit currently has?
To address those needs and produce common sense solutions, we don’t need platitudes and filibusters. We need a program and a plan from Duggan and Napoleon that will move Detroit from its current economic doldrums and the squelchy marshes of despondency and despair to a brand new day of meaningful empowerment.
Because the history of this city is fraught with pain, along with the success, there are many in this town who have suffered and have witnessed the abuse of political power when it was supposed to serve and protect them.
There are many in this town who are cut out of the dream of a fulfilling life and have now been relegated to economic instability. Some of these individuals are pensioners and retirees whose benefits could easily, by the stroke of a pen, disappear in bankruptcy court. And all of this is happening because of decades of failed political power.
So, Detroiters must search deeply for the best candidate. As Thomas Paine rightly put it, “These are times that try the souls of men.” The soul of Detroit is not only been tried but is on trial in this election.
The bottom line is public safety and a depressed economy. Obama got elected largely because voters felt he had a better plan than both Sen. John McCain and Gov. Mitt Romney. He was elected simply on the merit of his vision. But having a Black president is not a cure-all for racism.
The campaigns of Duggan and Napoleon must offer more than just expecting to play to the sentiments of race and racism. These two candidates must show how clearly different each is on the issues and who has the best plan, creative vision and the willingness to listen to many in Detroit whose lives and experiences do not mirror the American Dream.
Let’s deal with the candidates on the merits of their program, the content of their character and their passion for public service.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 10:06
Category: Top News Written by by CNN's Jim Acosta, Kevin Liptak and Paul Steinhauser
(CNN) – Newark Mayor Cory Booker will move on to New Jersey's special Senate election as the Democratic nominee after winning his party's primary on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
He'll battle the GOP winner, former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan, for the October 16 contest, though polls show Booker is already considered the favorite to win the seat and become the first African American elected to the Senate since Barack Obama.
Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina is currently the only African American in the Senate, but he was appointed–not elected–to his seat.
"Thank you. It is such an honor to be your nominee, to be your Democratic nominee for the United States Senate," Booker, who won 59 pecent of the vote, told supporters at his victory party late Tuesday night in Newark.
Speaking with a slightly hoarse voice, Booker pledged to be "unwavering" in finding common ground in Washington if he becomes the state's next senator.
"The direction I will be most concerned with will not be right or left, it will be with going forward."
Heading into the special election, Booker has a massive fundraising advantage over his Republican opponent and a double-digit lead ahead of Lonegan, according to recent polls.
See video below:
In the Republican primary, Lonegan toppled physician Alieta Eck. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday at a press conference he fully anticipates endorsing the Republican nominee, no matter who wins Tuesday's contest.
While Lonegan now moves on as the GOP's pick for the seat, he trails Booker 29 percent to 54 percent in a hypothetical matchup among registered voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.
Lonegan won 79 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary.
With more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter and Oprah Winfrey as one of his biggest supporters, Booker's appeal and frequent television appearances have reached beyond the borders of the Garden State.
In addition to voting, Booker on Tuesday greeted voters and retweeted shout-outs from celebrities on Twitter, including comedian Sarah Silverman, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, writer and actress Lena Dunham, and Ivanka Trump, daughter of real estate titan Donald Trump.
Actress Eva Longoria appeared at an event for Booker on the eve of primary day, encouraging voters to turn out for the two-term mayor.
Elected in 2006, after losing his first mayoral attempt in 2002, the Stanford grad and former football player previously served on Newark city council. Booker's resume also includes a law degree from Yale and a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford.
His critics have accused the mayor of being more interested in his celebrity status than waging a serious campaign. But Booker's high profile has helped in part with his massive fundraising haul. As of July 24, the candidate has raised $8.6 million and has $4 million in the bank, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Rivals also bring up Booker's involvement in his internet start-up, Waywire. As the chairman with the largest share, Booker began promoting the struggling company last year. Critics argue the business was a distraction to his job as mayor, and they faulted him for initially opening up offices in New York City, rather than in his own town of Newark. Those offices closed down this year, according to The New York Times.
He has said publicly that if elected to the Senate, he would step down from the board of Waywire and put his shares in a blind trust. He would prohibit Waywire from lobbying his office and prohibit his staff from doing any work on the company's behalf.
"Everybody knows that Mayor Booker is excited about technology and what it can do to empower real people," campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis said in a statement. "He invested in an idea and helped get a business off the ground, and a lot of people found that idea compelling."
Christie called the special election after Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg passed away in early June. While a Republican interim senator–appointed by Christie–currently holds the seat, it has been expected a Democrat would win the special election in the largely blue state.
At the top of his victory speech Tuesday night, Booker first acknowledged Lautenberg's legacy. "He has made us safer and healthier. We are a better state and we are a better America because of Senator Frank Lautenberg."
The winner of the October 16 race will finish out Lautenberg's term through 2014, and the winner can run for a full term next year.
The nonpartisan political handicappers Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook both rate next year's Senate race in New Jersey as solid or safe for Democrats.
Christie was criticized earlier this summer when he set the oddly-timed date for the special election. Rather than scheduling the special election to fall in line with the already-set gubernatorial election in November, Christie set the special for October.
Critics pointed to the extra costs to taxpayers for a separate election, but the governor stood by his decision, saying New Jersey voters deserved to have an elected official in the Senate as soon as possible.
– CNN's Jim Acosta, Kevin Liptak and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:21
Category: News Briefs Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
According to Fox 2 News and The Detroit Free Press:
In late February, cash-strapped Detroit received a $1 million check from the local school system that wasn’t deposited. The routine payment wound up in a city hall desk drawer, where it was found a month later. Lack of modern technology like basic bill collecting is to blame according to Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager.
“Nobody sends million-dollar checks anymore -- they wire the money,” said Orr spokesman Bill Nowling. Except in Detroit. “We have financial systems that are three, four, five decades in the past,” Nowling said. “If we can fix those issues, then we’ll be able to provide services better, faster, more efficiently and cheaper.”
According to Brown and Nowling, those money errors should never happen again because a new procedure is now in place. "All the checks go immediately into the bank, and then we'll sort out what accounts they go into after that," Nowling said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 06:28
Category: Top News Written by Newsone
President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a measure restoring lower interest rates for student loans, pledging the hard-fought compromise would be just the first step in a broader, concerted fight to rein in the costs of a college education. Encircled by lawmakers from both parties in the Oval Office, Obama praised Democrats and Republicans alike for agreeing – finally – on what he called a sensible, reasonable approach to student loans even as he cautioned that “our job is not done.”
“Feels good signing bills. I haven’t done this in a while,” Obama said, alluding to the difficulty he’s faced getting Congress, particularly the Republican-controlled House, to approve his legislative priorities, such as gun control and budget deals. “Hint, hint,” he added to laughter. But even the feel-good moment at the White House came with reminders of the bitter partisanship that still makes future deals incredibly difficult for Obama. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the law part of the “Republican jobs plan,” while House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said it “stands in stark contrast to the House Republicans’ plan to saddle families with billions more in student debt.”
The rare compromise emerged only after a frenzy of summer negotiations, with lawmakers at odds over how loan rates should be set in the future even while they agreed that a doubling of rates – it kicked in July 1 when Congress failed to act before the deadline – would be bad policy and bad news for students. The legislation links student loan interest rates to the financial markets. It offers lower rates this fall because the government can borrow money cheaply at this time. If the economy improves in the coming years as expected, it will become more costly for the government to borrow money, and that cost would be passed on to students. About 11 million students this year are expected to have lower interest rates, saving the average undergraduate $1,500 on interest charges on this year’s loans.
Boehner called it “a good day” and a fine example of what Washington can accomplish when petty partisanship is put aside. “With the stroke of a pen, we’ve now officially taken the politics out of student loans,” he said. Obama cast the student loan deal as just the first of many measures the U.S. needs to make college affordable as a higher-tech economy makes advanced training and education a necessity for many workers. “The cost of college remains extraordinarily high. It’s out of reach for a lot of folks,” Obama said, calling it a burden as well on families who have to balance other priorities, like buying a home, with helping fund their children’s educations. “We’ve got to do something about it.” To that end, Obama said he’d be looking to the same coalition of political forces that came together on student loans as he pursues further steps.
White House officials have said Obama plans to lay out a broad and aggressive strategy in the coming months to tackle the spiraling cost of a college education. Even as they passed the bill weeks earlier, congressional officials were already talking about a broader approach to curbing fast-climbing costs and perhaps scrapping the deal when they take up a rewrite of the Higher Education Act this fall. Rates on new subsidized Stafford loans doubled to 6.8 percent July 1 when Congress couldn’t agree on a way to keep them at the previous 3.4 percent rate. Without congressional and presidential action, rates would have stayed at 6.8 percent. The compromise is a good deal for all students through the 2015 academic year. After that, interest rates are expected to climb above where they were when students left campus in the spring, if congressional estimates prove correct for 10-year Treasury notes. Undergraduates this fall will borrow at a 3.9 percent interest rate for subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Graduate students would have access to loans at 5.4 percent, and parents would borrow at 6.4 percent. The rates would be locked in for that year’s loan, but each year’s loan could be more expensive than the last. Interest rates will not top 8.25 percent for undergraduates.
Graduate students will not pay rates higher than 9.5 percent, and parents’ rates would top out at 10.5 percent. Using Congressional Budget Office estimates, rates would not reach those limits in the next 10 years. In all, some 18 million loans will be covered by the legislation, totaling about $106 billion this fall. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would reduce the deficit by $715 million over the next decade.
Last Updated on Saturday, 10 August 2013 14:54
Category: News Briefs Written by Hannington Dia/ NewsOne
The Jackie Robinson statue that sits outside MCU Park in Coney Island was found defaced with racial slurs and graffiti Wednesday, according to the NY Daily News.
A park manager discovered the slurs on the statue's base around 8:30 a.m. The messages were written in black marker and featured the statements, "Heil Hitler," "Die N**ger," "F**k N**ger" and "F**k Jackie Robinson." There were also swastikas reportedly spray painted around the statue's top.
The appalling words outraged the Brooklyn Cyclones team that plays at the park, especially given Robinson's status as the first African-American Major League Baseball player.
"The statue is a symbol of tolerance," said Billy Harner, director of communications for the Cyclones.
"It's an absolute tragedy that someone would deface it the way they did." According to Harner, the perpetrator left the scribblings shortly after a Cyclones game Tuesday evening.
While workers were able to remove the swastikas later in the morning, they've reportedly been unable to remove the black marker from the base. Police officials were on the scene by Wednesday afternoon and are treating the incident as a hate crime.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 August 2013 12:41
Category: News Briefs Written by NewsOne Staff
While most 17-year-olds are contemplating which college they plan on attending next fall, James Martin is thinking about where he wants to attend graduate school.
WSVN-TV 7 reports that Martin, of Marimar, Fla., just received his bachelor's degree in molecular biology from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) during a ceremony Tuesday. The baby-faced teen was by far the youngest graduate in his class of 1000 other students; he was also one of the most accomplished, finishing with a 3.9 GPA.
"James Martin, Suma Cum Laude," said announcer at the the ceremony. That he is so young is a fact that does not elude the young scholar.
"It's funny, because I have a really young face, so they all knew this kid doesn't belong here," Martin said. "They end up seeing you almost as a peer because you study like they do, you work like they do and at the same time, you're interacting."While Martin is clearly a super-talented young man, his mother, who home-schooled him as a child, admits that her son was not always so studious. "His early years, he tended to be a little lazy," said Joan Martin. "He daydreamed a lot and then, about 12 or 13, he started getting really serious."
Martin was so serious that his improved habits landed him on FAU's campus at 14-years-old. It was a successful journey that didn't go without its challenging moments, however. "It's been some nights, man," he said. "It's been some nights where I'm just like, 'Ugh!'"
While Martin is not sure of what his next steps will be, he does eventually want to pursue higher education.
"In a couple years, hopefully, I'll be on my way to getting a PhD, and so that would be a tremendous blessing," he said. "In another eight years, I'll be a professor somewhere."
Congratulations to another fine young man doing great things!
Last Updated on Friday, 09 August 2013 12:29
Category: News Briefs Written by Fox 2 News
DETROIT (WJBK) -
Detroit Police Chief James Craig plans to reintroduce a version of the Gang Squad, which was disbanded earlier this year, during a press conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
However, some people wanted to talk about it beforehand.
When it comes to crusaders working to stop the violence before it starts, plenty of people used to point to the DPD Gang Squad, which was busted up back in March. The reason for the breakup was to get more boots on the streets.
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 10:20
Category: News Briefs Written by Fox 2 News
DETROIT (WJBK) -
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon is one of two Detroit mayoral candidates advancing to the November general election after Tuesday's primary.
Napoleon joined Fox 2's Murray Feldman for a live interview Wednesday evening.
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 10:14
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