Thursday, April 26, 2007

2 White Cops Plead Guilty In 92 Year Old Black Woman's Death

ATLANTA (AP) - Two white police offiers pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in the shooting death of a 92-year-old black woman during a botched drug raid last fall. A third officer still faces charges in the woman's death.
Officer J.R. Smith told the judge Thursday that he regretted what had happened.
"I'm sorry," the 35-year-old said, his voice barely audible. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation, making false statements and perjury, which was based on untrue claims in a warrant.
Former Officer Gregg Junnier, 40, who retired from the Atlanta police force in January, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, violation of oath, criminal solicitation and making false statements. Both men are expected to face more than 10 years in prison.
The charges followed a Nov. 21 "no-knock" drug raid on the home of Kathryn Johnston, 92. An informant had described buying drugs from a dealer there, police said. When the officers burst in without warning, Johnston fired at them, and they fired back, killing her.
Fulton County prosecutor Peter Johnson disclosed Thursday that the officers involved in Johnston's death fired 39 shots, striking her five or six times, including a fatal blow to the chest.
He said Johnston only fired once through her door and didn't hit any of the officers. That means the officers who were wounded likely were hit by their own colleagues, he said.
Junnier and Smith, who is on administrative leave, had been charged in an indictment unsealed earlier Thursday with felony murder, violation of oath by a public officer, criminal solicitation, burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and making false statements.
The third officer, Arthur Tesler, also on administrative leave, was charged with violation of oath by a public officer, making false statements and false imprisonment under color of legal process. His attorney, William McKenney, said Tesler expects to go to trial.
Tesler, 40, is "very relieved" not to face murder charges, McKenney said, "but we're concerned about the three charges."
In Junnier's and Smith's cases, prosecutors asked the judge Thursday to withhold sentencing until after a hearing later Thursday in federal court where both are expected to enter pleas.
U.S. Attorney David Nahmias told The Associated Press that the recommended federal sentence for Junnier will be 10 years and one month in prison, and for Smith, 12 years, seven months. The state and federal sentences are expected to run concurrently.
Both men could have faced up to life in prison had they been convicted of murder.
The deadly drug raid had been set up after narcotics officers said an informant had claimed there was cocaine in the home.
When the plainclothes officers burst in without notice, police said Johnston fired at them and they fired back. No cocaine was found.
The case raised serious questions about no-knock warrants and whether the officers followed proper procedures.
Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington asked the FBI to lead a multi- agency probe into the shootout. He also announced policy changes to require the department to drug-test its nearly 1,800 officers and mandate that top supervisors sign off on narcotics operations and no- knock warrants.
To get the warrant, officers told a magistrate judge that an undercover informant had told them Johnston's home had surveillance cameras monitored carefully by a drug dealer named "Sam."
After the shooting, a man claiming to be the informant told a television station that he never purchased drugs there, prompting Pennington to admit he was uncertain whether the suspected drug dealer actually existed.
The Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights activist who serves as a spokesman for Johnston's family, said the family was satisfied with Thursday's developments.
"They have never sought vengeance. They have only sought justice," he said.
Hutchins said the family is considering civil action against the police department.
"I think what happened today makes it very clear that Ms. Johnston was violated, that her civil rights were violated," he said.
Associated Press Writer Jason Bronis contributed to this report from Atlanta.

There's A Market For Niggaz

Monday, April 23, 2007

Teen suspect's talking led to vandals' arrests

According to an affidavit for a search warrant filed yesterday in Stafford Circuit Court, the student who was bragged to called Deputy J.C. Wright Sunday and named the suspect.

Date published: 4/5/2007


One of the four Stafford County teenagers charged with hate crimes and other vandalism-related offenses apparently bragged to the wrong person.
Court records show that the 17-year-old suspect, a student at Stafford Senior High School, told a fellow student that he was involved in the vandalism of two churches over the weekend and other vandalism in the past.
Union Bell Baptist Church on Hollywood Farm Road and Strong Tower Ministries on Ferry Road both were defaced by spray paint over the weekend.
Racial slurs were sprayed at Union Bell, and "[expletive] God" was sprayed on a sign at Strong Tower. A pentagram with a circle around it was sprayed on the other side of the sign.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant filed yesterday in Stafford Circuit Court, the student who was bragged to called Deputy J.C. Wright Sunday and named the suspect.
Wright went to the informant's house and observed an online conversation between the informant and the suspect, who used the screen name "xPTWxApathyx."
The suspect sent the informant a link to a news article about the church vandalism and typed incriminating statements about his role in the Union Bell incident, the affidavit states.
Wright then contacted Deputy Tom Calverley, a school resource officer at Stafford High. Calverley told Wright that the suspect, who is not being named because he is a juvenile, was already under investigation for hacking into the high school network and distributing Ku Klux Klan fliers at the school.
Police later interviewed the suspect at his southern Stafford home. Court records state that the suspect admitted to the crimes and named his three accomplices.
Two of the suspects are 17, and the other 14 and two are brothers. Their names are in court records, but are not being listed because they have not been charged as adults.
The affidavit states that those three also admitted to their roles in the incidents. The brothers said they had had contact with the initial suspect on the Internet.
Police raided a home on Sunset Ridge Lane in the White Oak area and seized several computers and cell phones.
A second search warrant was served on the same house, this time by fire investigator Ben Gouldman III. Fireworks and mortar tubes were seized in that raid.
The suspects in the church vandalism are also suspected of other crimes, including mailbox bombings and setting cars on fire.
On March 18, court records state, Gouldman responded to a mailbox vandalism at 194 New Hope Church Road. While heading there, Gouldman saw a mailbox on fire at 67 Ringgold Road. Both locations are in the White Oak area.
Because the mailbox at 67 Ringgold Road had already been vandalized numerous times, a surveillance camera had been set up.
The tape showed a white four-door vehicle similar to one owned by the brothers' parents. The same vehicle was captured on film at the same mailbox the day before, the affidavit states.
Gouldman is investigating possible charges of using fire bombs or explosive materials, but those charges hadn't been filed as of yesterday.
The four suspects have been charged so far with two felony counts each of entering property with the purpose of damaging it and two misdemeanor counts of injuries to a church.
Sheriff Charles Jett said more charges are pending. Among the other cases connected to the investigation is a recent incident at Scoops Ice Cream store in which $15,000 worth of ice cream was lost when someone turned off the power to the building.Keith Epps: 540/374-5404Email:

Female Officers Called Nappy Head Hoes In Roll Call


NY Post

April 23, 2007 -- Several NYPD sergeants and officers were on the hot seat yesterday for calling four black female cops "nappy-headed ho's" during two separate roll calls - within days of shock jock Don Imus' firing for using the same racist slur on air.
The incidents, confirmed by an NYPD source yesterday, have already led to one sergeant being transferred from his precinct and stripped of supervisory duties, and another being ordered to answer questions about his conduct by departmental investigators.
"This language is unacceptable under any circumstances, and even more egregious when it comes from individuals in positions of authority," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
The first incident occurred April 12 - the same day Imus was fired from his WFAN show - during evening roll call at the Queens Narcotics Division.
Detective Aretha Williams was looking for the sign-out book at the end of her shift.
"Don't give me no lip before I call you a nappy-headed ho," Sgt. Michael Cantatore, who is white, told Williams, according to the detective.
That comment "cut me to the core," said Williams yesterday. "I find it disrespectful, racist, sexist.
"It can't be tolerated," said the 15-year veteran, who broke down into tears during a press conference with 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.
Cantatore is scheduled to retire today. An NYPD source said he would be interviewed tomorrow by Equal Opportunity Office investigators who are probing the women's complaints.
In another incident, on April 15, three black female officers - Tronnette Jackson, Maria Gomez and Karen Nelson - allegedly were singled out during a morning roll call in Brooklyn's 70th Precinct by Sgt. Carlos Mateo, who is Hispanic.
"Stand-up, ho's," Mateo said, according to lawyer Bonita Zelman, who works with the Guardians Association, an advocacy group for minority officers.
Police Officer Ralph Montenez then chimed in, "They're not just ho's, they're nappy-headed ho's," according to Zelman.
The women did not respond during this exchange.
On Friday, according to a police source, Mateo was transferred out of the 70th Precinct to an undisclosed assignment and stripped of his supervisory duties.
The sergeant had already been on thin ice over problems handling his administrative work and now faces possible demotion, a police source said.
"He wasn't a mean-spirited guy," a source said. "He was just a little dopey."

Center wins justice for Billy Ray Johnson

April 20, 2007 — A civil jury in Linden, Texas, today awarded approximately $9 million in damages to Billy Ray Johnson, a mentally disabled black man who was taunted, knocked unconscious and dumped along a desolate road by four white men in September 2003.
The Center brought suit on his behalf in 2005 after the men responsible for the crime received only misdemeanor convictions and light jail sentences — 30 days for three of them and 60 days for one.
"On behalf of Billy Ray Johnson, we thank the jury — the conscience of Cass County — for returning a just and fair verdict," said Morris Dees, the Center's founder and chief trial attorney, in a statement to the media after the verdict.
"The defendants in this case treated Billy Ray like trash. They broke his body and threw him in a ditch alongside a deserted road. The jury told all of Texas and, indeed, the entire country that Billy Ray is a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity, that the life of each of us — rich or poor, black or white, abled or disabled — is truly precious. It's a message, I hope, that we always remember."
Johnson, 46, who suffered serious, permanent brain injuries from the attack, will require care for the rest of his life.
The case exposed deep racial fault lines in the East Texas community. Many blacks viewed the episode as a vicious hate crime, but predominantly white juries acquitted two of the defendants of felony charges. Many whites in the town expressed sympathy for the defendants and indifference to Johnson's injuries.
After a four-day trial that began on April 17, the jury of 11 whites and one black deliberated less than four hours before returning a unanimous verdict finding James Cory Hicks and Christopher Colt Amox responsible for Johnson's injuries.
Two other defendants, Dallas Chadwick Stone and John Wesley Owens, earlier reached confidential settlements in the lawsuit.
Jurors said afterward they hoped the verdict sends a message to children in their community and to the nation as a whole.
"Billy Ray is not an 'it,' like one of the defendants said," one juror said. "He is a human being. We hope that our verdict sends a message to the nation about this community."
Another said, "No one — no one — should have to go through what this man went through. And no amount of money can fix that."
All four men were at a "pasture party" on the night of September 28, 2003, when Johnson — 42 at the time but childlike and naive — was picked up from town and brought to the party, where about a dozen people were sitting on tailgates drinking beer.
After a period in which they teased and taunted Johnson, the defendants began talking about beating him up. Amox, who had been a high school pitcher, punched Johnson in the face, knocking him unconscious. Instead of taking Johnson to the hospital, the men threw him into the back of a pickup truck and left him by the side of a remote rural road.
The Cass County juries that heard the criminal cases against Amox, who was 20 at the time, and Hicks, then 24 and a jail employee, acquitted them of serious felony charges and instead handed down lesser convictions with a recommended sentence of probation.
Stone, then 18, and Owens, then 19, were allowed to plead guilty to an "injury to a disabled individual by omission" charge. They testified against Amox and Hicks.
A judge sentenced Owens, Stone and Amox to 30-day terms in the county jail and Hicks to 60 days.
Johnson had no criminal background, history of violence or trouble of any kind, lived with his mother and brother before the assault. Now he lives in a Texas nursing home. 1 1 -->

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Racist German army tape stirs outrage

Associated Press Writer Sun Apr 15, 6:48 AM ET

BERLIN - A German army instructor ordered a soldier to envision himself in New York City facing hostile blacks while firing his machine gun, a video that aired Saturday on national television showed.
The president of the Bronx, the New York City borough that the army instructor referred to in his directions to the soldier, demanded an apology from the German military and said the clip "indicates that bias and assumptions and racism is alive and well around the world."
Coming after scandals involving photos of German soldiers posing with skulls in
Afghanistan and the abuse of recruits by instructors, the video seemed likely to raise more questions about training practices in Germany's conscript army.
The Defense Ministry said the video was shot in July 2006 at barracks in the northern town of Rendsburg and that the army has been aware of it since January.
"We are currently investigating the incident," said Florian Naggies, a spokesman for the army and Defense Ministry.
He did not identify the instructor or the soldier.
The clip shows an instructor and a soldier in camouflage uniforms in a forest. The instructor tells the soldier, "You are in the Bronx. A black van is stopping in front of you. Three African-Americans are getting out and they are insulting your mother in the worst ways. ... Act."
The soldier fires his machine gun several times and yells an obscenity several times in English. The instructor then tells the soldier to curse even louder.
In New York, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. said whoever was responsible for the video should be disciplined.
"We need to put to rest the prejudices and the hate that is allowed ... to be perpetuated so easily and cheaply," said Carrion, who is of Puerto Rican descent.
"The German government obviously has work to do to correct something that is insidious ... Clearly these folks don't know anything about African Americans or the Bronx," he said.
Carrion, who just returned from a trip to Germany to promote Bronx tourism, said he would be willing to go back to talk to people in the German military about his borough.
"If we can get a delegation of German military officials to come or government officials, I will host them," he added. "I'll take them around the Bronx."
The Rev. Al Sharpton' said he was outraged that Germans were "depicting blacks as target practice." "I think this is an incredibly racist kind of insult to African-Americans and it speaks to the kind of institutional racism that people think we are hallucinating about," he said.
The existence of the video was first reported on the home page of the German news magazine Stern on Friday and excerpts were aired on the news television channel n-tv on Saturday.
According to Stern, the 90-second clip had been posted on a Web site used by soldiers to exchange private videos. A soldier who used the site alerted his superiors, the magazine reported.
The video is the latest embarrassment for the German army. Eighteen army instructors are currently on trial for allegedly abusing and humiliating 163 recruits in 2004. Last year, newspapers published photos of German soldiers in Afghanistan posing with a skulls — including one who exposed himself while holding a skull.
"We can no longer talk about an isolated case," said Lt. Juergen Rose of the Darmstaedter Signal, a group of current and former army officers and sergeants who independently review military procedures.
"Things like this don't happen in the army on an everyday basis, but unfortunately in recent years there have been a number of comparable incidents."
Carrion said he spent much of his visit to Germany telling people about the "turnaround of the Bronx," which became a national symbol of urban decay after a 1977 visit by President Jimmy Carter. Movies like "Fort Apache: The Bronx," about a police precinct overrun by crime, added to the negative images.
Unemployment and crime have fallen dramatically in the borough, while investment in housing, office space and other projects is way up, Carrion said. The New York Yankees are building a new stadium next to their old one in the borough, a 53,000-seat open-air ballpark that is set to open in 2009.
The people of the Bronx, especially black residents, "deserve an apology from the German military," Carrion said.
Associated Press Writers Nahal Toosi and David B. Caruso contributed to this report from New York.

Tony Blair blames spate of murders on black culture

Political correctness not helping, says PM·
Community leaders react angrily to comments

Patrick Wintour and Vikram Dodd
Thursday April 12, 2007
The Guardian

Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture. His remarks angered community leaders, who accused him of ignorance and failing to provide support for black-led efforts to tackle the problem.
One accused him of misunderstanding the advice he had been given on the issue at a Downing Street summit.
Black community leaders reacted after Mr Blair said the recent violence should not be treated as part of a general crime wave, but as specific to black youth. He said people had to drop their political correctness and recognise that the violence would not be stopped "by pretending it is not young black kids doing it".

It needed to be addressed by a tailored counter-attack in the same way as football hooliganism was reined in by producing measures aimed at the specific problem, rather than general lawlessness.
Mr Blair's remarks are at odds with those of the Home Office minister Lady Scotland, who told the home affairs select committee last month that the disproportionate number of black youths in the criminal justice system was a function of their disproportionate poverty, and not to do with a distinctive black culture.
Giving the Callaghan lecture in Cardiff, the prime minister admitted he had been "lurching into total frankness" in the final weeks of his premiership. He called on black people to lead the fight against knife crime. He said that "the black community - the vast majority of whom in these communities are decent, law abiding people horrified at what is happening - need to be mobilised in denunciation of this gang culture that is killing innocent young black kids".
Mr Blair said he had been moved to make his controversial remarks after speaking to a black pastor of a London church at a Downing Street knife crime summit, who said: "When are we going to start saying this is a problem amongst a section of the black community and not, for reasons of political correctness, pretend that this is nothing to do with it?" Mr Blair said there needed to be an "intense police focus" on the minority of young black Britons behind the gun and knife attacks. The laws on knife and gun gangs needed to be toughened and the ringleaders "taken out of circulation".
Last night, British African-Caribbean figures leading the fight against gang culture condemned Mr Blair's speech. The Rev Nims Obunge, chief executive of the Peace Alliance, one of the main organisations working against gang crime, denounced the prime minister.
Mr Obunge, who attended the Downing Street summit chaired by Mr Blair in February, said he had been cited by the prime minister: "He makes it look like I said it's the black community doing it. What I said is it's making the black community more vulnerable and they need more support and funding for the work they're doing. ... He has taken what I said out of context. We came for support and he has failed and has come back with more police powers to use against our black children."
Keith Jarrett, chair of the National Black Police Association, whose members work with vulnerable youngsters, said: "Social deprivation and delinquency go hand in hand and we need to tackle both. It is curious that the prime minister does not mention deprivation in his speech."
Lee Jasper, adviser on policing to London's mayor, said: "For years we have said this is an issue the black community has to deal with. The PM is spectacularly ill-informed if he thinks otherwise.
"Every home secretary from [David] Blunkett onwards has been pressed on tackling the growing phenomenon of gun and gang crime in deprived black communities, and government has failed to respond to what has been a clear demand for additional resources to tackle youth alienation and disaffection".
The Home Office has already announced it is looking at the possibility of banning membership of gangs, tougher enforcement of the supposed mandatory five-year sentences for possession of illegal firearms, and lowering the age from 21 to 18 for this mandatory sentence.
Answering questions later Mr Blair said: "Economic inequality is a factor and we should deal with that, but I don't think it's the thing that is producing the most violent expression of this social alienation.
"I think that is to do with the fact that particular youngsters are being brought up in a setting that has no rules, no discipline, no proper framework around them."
Some people working with children knew at the age of five whether they were going to be in "real trouble" later, he said.
Mr Blair is known to believe the tendency for many black boys to be raised in families without a father leads to a lack of appropriate role models.
He said: "We need to stop thinking of this as a society that has gone wrong - it has not - but of specific groups that for specific reasons have gone outside of the proper lines of respect and good conduct towards others and need by specific measures to be brought back into the fold."
The Commission for Racial Equality broadly backed Mr Blair, saying people "shouldn't be afraid to talk about this issue for fear of sounding prejudiced".
Mr Blair spoke out as a second teenager was due to appear in court charged with the murder of 14-year-old Paul Erhahon, stabbed to death in east London on Friday. He was the seventh Londoner under 16 to be murdered since the end of January, and his 15-year-old friend, who was also stabbed, remains in hospital.

Oliver Stone: "All Niggers Love Scarface"

Saturday, April 14th 2007, 12:43 PM

Oliver Stone may wind up in the same circle of hell as Don Imus now that the director has been accused of using the N-word.
Screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper says Stone whipped the racist epithet on him at an L.A. party shortly after Cooper's movie "New Jack City" came out in 1991.
"Oliver Stone's my hero, so I went over to him," Cooper recalls in StopSmiling magazine. "[I said,] 'Man, I love your movie 'Wall Street.' … He said to me, 'Okay, thank you very much. I bet you like [the Stone-scripted] 'Scarface,' too. All n—s like 'Scarface.'
"[Stone] stumbled off. Right before I could go after him and commit career suicide, [director] Stan [Lathan] and [hip-hop mogul] Russell [Simmons] pulled on my arm and said, 'No you don't. Let it go. That's just him, he's high.'?"
A rep for Stone didn't deny the account, saying, "We have no comment." The usually vocal Simmons also declined to comment.
Cooper still respects Stone. "I don't think he's racist," he tells us. "He was tipsy. We were all a little tipsy. I don't think he meant it maliciously."
But the Rev. Al Sharpton says the story "gives me a different look at Oliver Stone. I had some respect for his work. … We've got to stop this. We've got to start raising the standard of language. If [Stone] thought it was something cute that he was saying, it wasn't."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Girl Like Me

About Malcolm X

Georgia school plans its first non-segregated prom

After decades of separate functions, students hope to unite behind dance

ASHBURN, Ga. - Breaking from tradition, high school students in this small town are getting together for this year’s prom.

Prom night at Turner County High has long been an evening of de facto segregation: white students organized their own unofficial prom, while black students did the same.
This year’s group of seniors didn’t want that legacy. When the four senior class officers — two whites and two blacks — met with Principal Chad Stone at the start of the school year, they had more on their minds than changes to the school’s dress code.

They wanted an all-school prom. They wanted everyone invited.
On April 21, they’ll have their wish. The town’s auditorium will be transformed into a tropical scene, and for the first time, every junior and senior, regardless of race, will be invited.

The prom’s theme: Breakaway.
“Everybody says that’s just how it’s always been. It’s just the way of this very small town,” said James Hall, a 17-year-old black student who is the senior class president. “But it’s time for a change.”

There are excited announcements of the upcoming dance plastered all over the school, where about 55 percent of students are black and most of the rest are white. A makeshift countdown to the prom is displayed as a cardboard cutout on a main hallway. Student council members canvass the hallways, asking students to buy a $25 ticket and be a part of history. In the cafeteria, images of palm trees and waterfalls brighten up the sterile walls. “The First Ever!” a poster exclaims. “Got your haircut?”

Difficult task Students say the self-segregation that splits social circles in school mirrors the attitude of this town of 4,000 people. So getting every student to break from the past could be a difficult task. With prom night about two weeks away, only half of the 160 upper-class students have bought tickets. And there’s talk around the school that some white students might throw a competing party at a nearby lake.

“Everyone is saying they’re not going to the school prom,” said Steven Tuller, a 17-year-old white junior who doesn’t plan to attend either event because he wants to wait until he’s a senior. “They’re saying it’s tradition.”

Yet Turner County High already has defied tradition this year. The school abandoned its practice of naming separate white and black homecoming queens. Instead, a mixed-race student was named the county’s first solo homecoming queen.


DJ Fired for Encouraging Listeners to Repeat Don Imus' Remarks

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A radio station fired its longtime morning DJ Wednesday after he encouraged listeners to repeat talk-show host Don Imus racially charged comments in an on-air contest.

Gary Smith told WSBG-FM listeners to call and say "I'm a nappy-headed ho" for Tuesday's "Phrase that Pays" contest, said Rick Musselman, executive vice president of station owner Nassau Broadcasting Partners L.P.

Musselman said three of the listeners who called were awarded tickets to a NASCAR promotion at a local club. Station management reviewed a tape of the broadcast of the "Gary in the Morning" show and fired Smith, Musselman said. Musselman said that Smith was fired and not suspended because he uttered the slur in a premeditated manner, "with full knowledge of the reaction to Don Imus' use of the exact same phrase."

The nationally syndicated Imus was suspended for two weeks by CBS Radio and MSNBC after he called members of the mostly black Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." Civil rights groups have demanded his firing.

Smith has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
WSBG 93.5, a 3,000-watt rock station, is based in Stroudsburg, about 40 miles northeast of Allentown. The Princeton, N.J.-based Nassau is privately held with more than 50 radio stations in the Northeast.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese's faces discrimination lawsuit

Woman says manager treated her party with disrespect, ordered another black couple to leave

By Jon Murray

A woman is suing Chuck E. Cheese's over alleged racial discrimination by a manager at an Indianapolis restaurant.
The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, says the manager treated Michelle Boggs' party disrespectfully in July after a disagreement about the bill for a 1-year-old's birthday party. They were at the Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant at 8109 E. Washington St. on the Far Eastside.
He then ushered them out the door and said, "Don't worry about the check, just get your black (expletive) out of here," the lawsuit says.
The same manager -- whom the suit names as Paul Dubbin -- earlier ordered another black couple to leave and apologized to white customers about the altercation, the suit says.
An employee who answered the phone Friday said no one named Paul Dubbin currently works there.
The location is a company-owned store, and the lawsuit names CEC Entertainment, Chuck E. Cheese's parent company.
Dick Huston, an executive vice president, said he couldn't comment on the lawsuit but said the company had launched an investigation into the incident.
"We take these allegations very seriously," he said.
Boggs' suit says the disagreement was over a charge for a birthday cake, which she had not ordered. She is seeking reimbursement of a $30 deposit, compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages.
The suit also requests that the court order the company to provide race-relations training to all managers and assistant managers.

Call Star reporter Jon Murray at (317) 444-2752.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Police: Two blacks stabbed in Palm Springs hate crime

Sunday, April 08, 2007

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) -- A female white supremacist gang member stabbed a black man and woman during an apparent race-related brawl late Thursday, authorities said.Police arrested Mandie Kearns, 28, who they said had a bloody knife in her pocket and admitted to being a member of the racist gang, said Palm Springs Police Sgt. Mitch Spike.Kearns is being held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime charge and police are searching the area for additional suspects.The stabbings occurred during a street fight between white and black crowds that totaled close to 30 near the city's busy weekly street fair, Spike said.
Police who arrived to the scene found the 20-year-old black woman with serious stab wounds to her back and the man, also 20, with less serious wounds to the back and shoulder."We think it was racially motivated," Spike said. He did not reveal what ignited the brawl, but said racial violence is rare in the city. The woman suffered two collapsed lungs from the stab wounds.Police withheld the identities of the two victims to prevent possible retaliation.Richard Cadarette, chairman of the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission, said he was surprised by the incident."Nothing like that has ever occurred that I've heard of. White supremacy is something I'm completely unfamiliar with in this location," he said.Riverside County authorities have been monitoring in recent years white supremacist groups in the southwest part of the county and unincorporated areas near Desert Hot Springs.The FBI and Riverside County formed a hate crimes task force in 2003.

Prison for South African 'baboon murderer'

A South African farmer has been jailed for 20 years for killing Zimbabwean farm worker Jealous Dube, who he said he had mistaken for a baboon.

The judge dismissed Jewell Crossberg's claim that he had fired shots to scare off baboons on his farm in Limpopo Province, which borders Zimbabwe.
The farmer was also found guilty of attempting to murder four other workers he had accused of laziness.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans cross illegally to South Africa each day seeking work.
Many head to nearby farms where, according to US-based Human Rights Watch, farmers routinely violate their basic labour rights.
Race tensions
"I really, really, really didn't mean to shoot anyone dead," the farmer cried in court earlier this week, according to South Africa's Beeld newspaper.
But Judge Ronnie Boshielo said on Thursday that Mr Crossberg had no respect for human life, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported.
He had not bothered to check what had happened to Mr Dube after the shooting incident, Judge Boshielo said.
Mr Crossberg was refused permission to appeal.
Correspondents say such cases highlight race tensions that still exist in the South African countryside 13 years after apartheid.
Two years ago, white farmer Mark Scott-Crossley was convicted of beating up a black employee and then throwing him into a lion enclosure where his remains were found.


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Arrests spark racial concerns

Rina Benden For The Enquirer

ALBION — The arrests of four black students at Albion High School last week are prompting calls for an examination of the district's disciplinary policies, and raising concerns that the practices are not equally applied to all pupils.
According to Eric Miller, Albion Department of Public Safety chief, four male students were involved in a fight on March 26, and were handcuffed and taken into custody.
Two days later, two female students, one Caucasian and the other bi-racial, were involved in a fight, but were not handcuffed or arrested. Miller confirmed that the girls' parents were allowed to take them home.
"Those individuals were not arrested due to the fact that at Public Safety, we have only so many holding cells, and we're not allowed to house juveniles in sight or sound presence of (jailed) adults," Miller said.
"We didn't have adequate facility at that moment, so the decision was made that they were to be released. They were still charged with disorderly conduct."
The disparity in the handling of the cases drew complaints from parents and community members who attended Monday's Albion City Council meeting.
Wes Dick, first vice president of the Albion chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people, attended the meeting.
"The dilemma for many who had had their children arrested, was that it appeared to be racial favoritism," he said Tuesday. "We'd like to see a proactive program that emphasizes conflict resolution — intervention — so that we're working toward getting students to have better behavior, but not putting them in the criminal justice system that can also be seen as a track toward failure."
Miller denied that the arrests were racially motivated.
"We are not racist; we do not participate in racist activities," Miller said. "The policy is that when kids are fighting in the school, the school district calls the Department of Public Safety, we make arrests of all parties, charge them with disorderly conduct, and bring them to the station. We remove them as we remove anyone else under arrest: in handcuffs, in the patrol car — for their safety and for our safety. They are fingerprinted, photographed, their parents are called. Juveniles are released to their parents; those 17 or older are treated as adults."
Talene Williams' 17-year-old son was one of the black students arrested on March 26.
"There were a group of children who had been harassing and threatening him daily," Williams said. "The day the fight took place, my son was headed to the office to talk to the assistant principal, Derrick Crum. He was at the office when two boys attacked him, and he accidentally hit a girl who was with the group. I was told that Mr. Crum came out to intervene, and everybody's swinging, and I guess my son hit Mr. Crum."
According to Williams, three boys and one girl were arrested, rather than four males as Miller said.
Crum could not be reached for comment.
Lily Bennett of Albion, who said her 14-year-old daughter was arrested after a verbal dispute with Crum, was critical of the policy.
"I think it's absolutely ridiculous," she said. "These are kids and they're taking them out of school in handcuffs."
NAACP President Robert Dunklin said there was a meeting on Feb. 12 at Lewis Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Albion of community members, Miller, students, parents, school administrators and pastors to discuss the district's arrest policy, and that there have been subsequent meetings on the topic.
"There's some very angry parents in this town at this point," Dunklin said. "I think we need a cooling-off period before we can bring everybody together and get settled down.
School board president David Moore said he was aware of the concerns regarding the policy.
"I know that (interim superintendent) Mr. (Larry) Ley was in direct conversation with the Department of Public Safety about these last two incidents before spring break intervened," he said. "I can understand why there's a concern about racism. To the extent we have to deal with incidents of this kind, we intend to and believe we do deal with them as evenhandedly as possible, but we don't decide when to make arrests and when not. Our power ends when the telephone call is made to the public safety department."
Ley is on vacation and unavailable for comment.
The Rev. Donald Phillips of Lewis Chapel has called for a community prayer at 12 p.m. today in front of city hall as "a part of our political and spiritual response to recent events in our school system and community," he said in a printed statement.
Dunklin said the community must consider the best interests of the city's youth.
"I think we can help by talking to our children. And listening to them."
Rina Benden can be reached at

2 White Teachers Molest 6 Black Students


CLINTON, S.C. - The arrest of two women teachers on charges of having sex with their male students has brought cries of lingering racism in one of South Carolina's most conservative counties and evoked some of the South's oldest and deepest-seated racial taboos.
Both women are white. The boys - six in all - are black.
Some of the blacks who make up more than a quarter of Laurens County's 70,000 residents are upset over the handling of the two cases, particularly the release of the teachers on bail.
They say the cases reflect the way crimes by whites against blacks in the segregated South were treated less seriously than other offenses, and blacks who leveled accusations against whites were less likely to be believed.
"If this had been black teachers, they would not be out of jail right now," said Corinnie Young, a 49-year-old bookstore employee who is black.
Some blacks shudder to think what would have happened if the teachers were black men and the students were white girls.
"I can assure you if it were an African American male who committed such an offense against a white female, history shows us that the charges, the punishment and the sentencing would be totally different," said state NAACP president Lonnie Randolph. "The system ain't blind when the perpetrator is an African American male or female or when the victim is a white female."
Jerry Peace, the county prosecutor and a white man, said that the teachers are wearing electronic tracking devices and that their release on bail - $125,000 for one, $110,000 for the other - was based not on race, but on the danger to the community and the likelihood that the defendants might flee.
In any case, it would be unusual for someone accused of such a crime to be held without bail. Deborah Ahrens, a visiting professor of criminal law at the University of South Carolina, said of the bail amounts for the two teachers: "For the clients that I've represented in the past that were up for similar offenses, that sounds about right."
Signs of racial tension, old and new, are not hard to find in Laurens County. The school where one of the teachers worked used to be blacks-only. In the town of Laurens, where one of the teachers taught, an old movie theater has been converted into a Ku Klux Klan museum and paraphernalia store called The Redneck Shop. There, visitors can buy Confederate flags and bumper stickers, such as one that depicts three Klansmen and reads "The Original Boys in the Hood."
Textile mills were once the chief source of jobs in the working-class area about 60 miles northwest of the state capital of Columbia, but the industry went into decline in the 1990s. The main employers now include a maker of plastic coolers and Presbyterian College in Clinton. As of 2003, nearly 15 percent of county residents lived below the poverty line.
And as in many communities, most neighborhoods in the county are either black or white. People of different races find themselves side by side in one of two places: work or school.
Wendie Schweikert, a 37-year-old married woman who had been teaching elementary school in Laurens for more than a decade, was arrested last year after the mother of an 11-year-old boy accused her of having sex with the boy at school at least twice. Authorities said they found evidence bearing his DNA in her classroom. She is also accused of having sex with him in her car near a miniature golf course and arcade in Greenville, about 40 miles away.
Allenna Ward, a 24-year-old minister's daughter in her second year of teaching, was fired Feb. 28 after she was charged with having sex with at least five boys. Some of the alleged victims, 14 and 15 years old, were students at the middle school in Clinton where Ward taught. Police say Ward, who is married, had sex with the boys at the school, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant.
Attempts to contact the women in person and by telephone were unsuccessful, and their lawyers did not return repeated calls.
Black and white residents alike said they are shocked by the accusations. Many echoed the sentiments of Peggy Hawkins, a 50-year-old white resident. "Boys are boys and she done wrong," Hawkins said of one of the teachers.
The Rev. David Kennedy, a local black activist, is among those who see racism at work. He said the white teachers accused of preying on black students figured "they can do what they want to do with them and they know the consequences won't be great."
He suggested that blacks in town are too afraid to speak out: "There's a long history of intimidation and it's a sin. It's unholy in Laurens County to speak out."
Parents whose children go to E.B Morse Elementary School, where Schweikert taught, say they have trouble reconciling the accusations with the woman they knew.
"She was very involved," said Shea Mills, whose son attended the school. "I remember she would make kids pick paper up in the halls."
Bell Street Middle School Principal Maureen Tiller said Ward did well during an evaluation of her skills, and "personality-wise she seemed to be fine."
Nicole Sullivan, whose daughter went to Schweikert's school, said that when the case broke, students brought home notes saying the teacher had resigned. The notes did not explain why.
"I don't want to say it was a racial thing, but if it were a white victim and a black teacher, I think things would have been handled differently," said Sullivan, who is black.
(Corrects the name of 'The Redneck Shop.')

Don Imus Calls Rutgers Girls Team Nappy Head Hoes

Racial slur on sofa label stuns family

Apr 06, 2007 04:30 AM
Jim Wilkes Staff Reporter Toronto Star

When the new chocolate-coloured sofa set was delivered to her Brampton home, Doris Moore was stunned to see packing labels describing the shade as "Nigger-brown."
She and husband Douglas purchased a sofa, loveseat and chair in dark brown leather last week from Vanaik Furniture and Mattress store on Dundas St. E.
Moore, 30, who describes herself as an African-American born and raised in New York, said it was her 7-year-old daughter who pointed out the label just after delivery men from the Mississauga furniture store left.
"She's very curious and she started reading the labels," Moore explained. "She said, `Mommy, what is nig ... ger brown?' I went over and just couldn't believe my eyes."
She said yesterday each piece had a similar label affixed to the woven protective covering wrapped around the furniture.
"In this day and age, that's totally unacceptable," Moore said.
Douglas explained the origins of the word to daughter Olivia, telling how it was a bad name that blacks were called during the days of slavery in the United States.
"It was tough, because she really didn't understand," Moore said. "She'd never heard that word before and didn't really understand the concept of it."
Moore, who has a younger son and daughter, said she's heard the word used many times, although it has never been directed in anger at her.
"But it's a very, very bad word that makes you feel degraded, like you're a nobody," she said.
Moore said she called the furniture store the following day and three other times since, and feels discouraged that no one has returned her calls.
When interviewed yesterday by the Star, Romesh Kumar, Vanaik's assistant manager, passed the buck to his supplier, Cosmos Furniture in Scarborough.
"Why should I take the blame?" he said. "I'm a trader, I don't manufacture. I sell from 20 companies, maybe 50 companies. How can I take care of all of them?"
He said that he would check similar stock and make sure other labels were removed.
"That's terrible, that's a racial ... something?" Kumar said. "This is entirely wrong, but it's not my fault. It's my job to sell good product to people."
He said the best he could do is to give Moore the telephone number of his supplier, so she could take it up with him.
The owner of Cosmos Furniture, Paul Kumar, no relation to Romesh, said he was upset to learn packing labels on products he sold carried a racial epithet.
"I import my products from overseas," he said. "I've never noticed anything like that. This is something new to me."
He passed the blame to a Chinese company, but apologized for the labels. He said he would contact the furniture maker in Guangzhou and demand they remove all similar labels.
Moore said she's not sure she wants the sofa set in her home.
"Every time I sit on it, I'll think of that," she said.