Demonstrators Mark 3-Year Anniversary of Vonderritt Myers, Jr. Death

MCNS Staff

Vonderrit Myers Jr.

Vonderrit Myers Jr.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched in the Shaw neighborhood Sunday night to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the police shooting death of Vonderritt Myers, Jr.

Protesters carried signs saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Police Lies Murder” during the march through the south St. Louis neighborhood.

Having gathered around 6pm at the intersection of Shaw Boulevard and Klemm St., demonstrators proceeded south on Klemm, turned east on Flora toward Grand and circled back around to the origin location. The family of the fallen 18-year old, including his father, Vonderritt Myers, Sr., and mother, Syreeta Myers participated, among the hundreds of marchers carrying candles and releasing balloons. March leaders announced that the organized action ended at about 8:45pm.

The Myers demonstration is one of many marches happening throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area that have reemerged after the not-guilty verdict of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley. Often several times per day, the “No Justice, No Profits” protests have caused some temporary business closures and resulted in millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Vonderritt Myers, Jr. was shot and killed by former St. Louis police officer Jason Flanery on Oct. 8, 2014, while the officer worked a secondary job for a private security company. Flanery’s statement to investigators that Myers shot at him was, at the time, controversial. The fatal police shooting of Vonderritt Myers, Jr. led to months of protests that coincided with demonstrations against racism and the police shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr. Investigators later stated that evidence supported Flanery’s claims.

Flanery abruptly resigned from the police department in January 2016 after he was charged with a DWI in a different incident in which he was driving his police car and struck a parked car.

Report: Black Students More Severely Punished in Missouri

By Free Radicalindex

An ACLU report revealed what some African-Americans in Missouri have already known for years: students of color are disciplined unequally.

While much of this is not new, the ACLU provided empirical evidence of the punishment discrepancies occurring in Missouri. Black students are three times as likely to receive an out of school suspension. Though Blacks comprise only 14% of all students, during the 2015-2016 school year they received 38% of suspensions lasting more than 90 days and 35% of all suspensions lasting 11-89 days. Black students also accounted for 29% of all in school suspensions throughout the state during the 2013-2014 school year.

Such draconian punishments have long histories, stemming all the way from America’s period of enslavement. Evidence of this is in the state’s continued use of corporal punishment. Missouri is one of only nineteen remaining states that still this form of discipline. Black students are also disproportionately represented as enduring corporal punishment. In 2013-2014, just under half (24%) of all students receiving corporal punishment were Black.

These unbalanced rates of discipline are especially pronounced for students with disabilities. According to the ACLU, Black male students with disabilities are more likely to receive an out of school suspension than any other group.

Out of every 100 Black students with disabilities, nearly 28 received a suspension. Out of every 100 White students with disabilities, only 8% received an out of state suspension. Similar developments occurred with in school suspensions. Out of every 100 Black students with disabilities, nearly 26 received in school suspensions whereas the rate was just under 12 for White students with disabilities.

Such data have serious implications, particularly when considering the student to prison pipeline. Scholars have shown that students who are sent to jail and have encounters with law enforcement for school related behaviors are more likely to experience incarceration in their adulthood. Rather than being a deterrent, zero tolerance policies involving law enforcement encourage criminalization. In Missouri, Black students disproportionately make up 18% of school-related arrests and 17% of referrals to law enforcement.  Though Black students with disabilities make up only 16% of all students with disabilities, they account for 22% of all arrests of students with disabilities and 20% of all law enforcement referrals for students with disabilities.

Some of the data comes as no surprise. In 2015, the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA found that Black students are more likely to be suspended in Missouri than in any other state.

Jemele Hill Suspended for Cowboys Boycott Tweet

By MCNS Staff

Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill

ESPN has suspended Sportscenter host Jemele Hill for what they say is the second break with company social media policy in the past few weeks.

The suspension was a reaction to critical tweets from Hill about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s announcement that any player that did not stand during the national anthem would be benched.

“Jerry Jones also has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones. If they don’t kneel, some will see them as sellouts,” she stated, among a stream of tweets.

In a second tweet, Hill wrote, “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.”

“This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers,” Hill specifes.

ESPN found the online comments in violation of their social media guidelines. A statement from the network reads, “Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines. She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”

Hill, 41, is the co-host of “Sportscenter” with Michael Smith. According to national reports, Smith declined to host the first 6pm edition of Sportscenter without his co-host and Matt Barrie filled in. The Washington Post states Smith returned to the show Tuesday and is expected to host SC6 by himself for the next two weeks until Hill returns.

The president took time out of his schedule to tweet on Hill, saying “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!” But, his attention may not be only due to the suspension. In September, she drew ire with network executives and others when she tweeted that President Trump was a “white supremacist.” Following the tweet, Hill apologized for having “painted ESPN in an unfair light.”

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FBI “Black Identity Extremist” Characterization is False

By S. Christopher Emerson

A leaked report hit news sites last weekend revealing that the FBI has been spending its time and resources generating a stigma around Black anti-racism and human rights work, erroneously labelling it “Black Identity Extremism.” While its comes as no surprise that the foremost domestic defenders of American white supremacy would find new, or rather, regurgitated, ways of making Blackness illegal, the contradictions in this false characterization are glaring and absurd.

We have been bombarded on news and social media with examples of white nationalist violence of the highest order. These incidents are predictably marked by the reactionary “thoughts being with all those affected by these tragedies” and the knee-jerk conversation about gun violence the sinister NRA lobbies that rub and, sometimes, twist, lawmakers’ ahem… arms. The fallacy of intraracial crime, specifically, crime in Black communities in major cities, often comes up as talking heads on conservative faux news organs continue to blame Black folks for EVERYTHING except prosperity. But for real… we see this deflection from the broader issue of acculturated of American violence, or as Parliament Funkadelic eloquently put it, “America Eat(ing) its Young.” But it looks like the FBI is buying the hype lock, stock and barrel.

Let’s all take this moment to revile Dylann Roof, who murdered nine innocent Black members of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC after prayer service on the evening of June 17, 2015. While many Black folks remark how he escaped his manhunt unscathed, and was even bought Burger King by his arresting officers, we imagine him rotting in a jail somewhere, longing to drape himself in the confederate flag from one of the few disturbing images that surfaced from his Facebook page. And let’s not forget that of the thousands of armed, tiki torch brandishing, khaki and crew cut rocking white nationalists that descended upon the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (what’s with wypipo and the name Charlotte?) one weekend in August 2017 to oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The one death that occurred was that of a counter protester, inflicted by a neo-Nazi enthusiast who drove his car into hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators just off campus that Saturday.

…but the FBI is worried about Black folks fighting oppression- naturally.

To add insult to injury, a Black man, DeAndre Harris, who was attacked by white nationalists in a parking garage during the Charlottesville riot, has been issued a felony charge of unlawful wounding. Cell phone video of the incident shows several white guys attack  Harris, causing a spinal injury and a head laceration that required 10 stitches. Reports say a self-proclaimed “southern nationalist” accused Harris of hurting him during the fray. Wypipo wypipoing to wypipo authorities so wypipo can use the law to wypipo.

Charges against the pummeled Harris come not even 48 hours after white nationalists, led by self proclaimed Alt-Right spokesman and punching face Richard Spencer returned to UVA for a follow up “Unite the Right” rally this past weekend. No racists were arrested or harmed in the exercise of race rioting, though…

White cultural and political leaders have been building the Black Boogeyman for generations from The Heart of Darkness, to Birth of a Nation, to King Kong to the Kerner Commission Report to Faux News’s constant South Side of Chicago funeral dirge. The most recent iteration of Black villianization is *ominous music* “The Ferguson Effect” (if you listen closely, you can hear middle aged white women screaming in terror in rural locales across the country). Coined by former St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson, officials in all levels of bureaucracy have scapegoated the protests following the police murder of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, MO to undermine the swell of awareness and work against racism and toward progressive social change. This conveniently ignores the causes of citizen anger including, but not limited to, racism, police brutality, lack of access to resources, injustice in courts systems, government and police officials are engaging in trickle down victim blaming. But this is a basic strategy of oppressors- pee on your head, tell you it’s raining, then call you a criminal for wiping yourself clean and fighting back when the smell of urine hits your nostrils.

This leaked FBI mischaracterization of Black freedom fighters as “Black identity extremists” is another falsehood; a bastard child of white supremacist theory and fear. This is the same fear that generated the rise in NRA membership in response to Civil Rights and Black Power efforts and gave rise to groups like the Black Panther Party and the Deacons for Defense. “Black Identity extremists” labelling is no less than racist status quo isolation of the folks that have the courage to fight back against systems that subjugate people of color, and ignore the behemoth of racism and the root causes of protest.

Gas Tanker in Accra, Ghana Explodes

Gas tanker explosion in Accra, Ghana.

Gas tanker explosion in Accra, Ghana.

By Chuma Kisu

According to international reports, a tanker explosion near a gas station in Accra, Ghana has killed at least seven people and injured nearly seventy others Saturday night October 7, 2017. Accra is the capital of Ghana.

The blaze and blasts gutted a liquefied gas filling station and a nearby petroleum station in the Atomic Junction area of the Legon suburb of Accra, The blast sent a giant fireball into the sky and local residents fleeing.

The head of the Ghana Standards Authority, Alex Dodoo, on Sunday said there had been eight gas explosions in four years, including in June 2015, when a similar fire and explosion at a petrol station in Accra killed more than 100 people.

In December last year, a gas tanker caught fire in another residential area of Accra, creating a fireball that caused five deaths and damaged a nearby school.

“This is a time for concrete action,” Dodoo was quoted as saying by Citi FM radio after Saturday’s incident. “Fixing it and making sure that it doesn’t happen again is a responsible thing to do.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo offered his condolences, and said his “government is resolved, now more than ever, to ensure such an incident does not occur again”.

Akufo-Addo said cabinet ministers will meet on Thursday and will likely come out with a “comprehensive program” and policy to prevent future explosions.

“I would like everybody involved in the industry to recognize we will all have to make adjustments to be able to guarantee the safety and the security of our people so these things do not happen again,” he said.

But the OccupyGhana pressure group feared nothing would change once the messages of condolences and anger passed.

“One would have thought that after the June 3 (2015) disaster there would have been a massive clampdown on how filling stations are sited in residential areas,” the group’s spokesman, Nana Sarpong Agyeman-Badu, told AFP.

“We have not really done much or learnt anything. We all go back to sleep and the issue will come back up again, we will talk about it then go back to sleep.

“I am pretty sure in the next couple of weeks we will see back and forth – people going around shutting down filling stations – and then we go back to as we were.”