Cop Who Killed Tamir Rice Withdraws Application for New Post

By Free Radical

Tamir Rice was gunned down by Cleveland police in 2014.

Tamir Rice was gunned down by Cleveland police in 2014.

 

Timothy Loehmann, the former Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12 year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, has withdrawn his application from the Bellaire, Ohio police department. According to Cleveland Fox 8, Loehmann’s decision was prompted by outside pressure.

Bellaire Police Chief Dick Flanagan confirmed to Ohio television news affiliate WTRF that Loehmann withdrew his application.

The Times Leader in Ohio reported Friday that Flanagan had hired Loehmann part-time as a Bellaire police officer. In explanation, the chief stated that Loehmann was never charged in Tamir Rice’s death and deserves a second chance.

A press conference was held Wednesday featuring Cleveland area Black Lives Matter activists and Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, to announce that Loehmann was no longer with the Bellaire force.

“As of this afternoon, Timothy Loehmann has withdrawn his application in Bellaire,” Rice’s mother Samaria Rice said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “Hopefully, he will not be hired as a police officer by any other state.”

Bellaire is a municipality of about 4,000 residents located more than 150 miles south of Cleveland.

In 2014, Loehmann and fellow officer Frank Garmback sped in their patrol car to a gazebo in the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland where Tamir Rice had been playing with a toy gun. In less than two seconds, Loehmann shot his gun twice, resulting in the death of the 12 year-old. Afterwards, the officers did not give the adolescent any medical attention but instead accosted his older sister who came to his aid. A grand jury declined to indict Loehmann or Garmback in Rice’s death.

Critics question whether a proper review of Loehmann’s work record was completed prior to his hire by the Cleveland force. If one was done, it may have had come to the department’s attention that he was previously deemed “unfit for duty” and that he resigned from a previous post due to a “dangerous loss of composure” during firearms training.

This fact along with Tamir Rice’s death urges observers to question why Bellaire would hire someone with Loehmann’s history. Some have pointed out the fact that Bellaire and Wheeling, West Virginia which borders it are collectively 93 percent White.

Nonetheless, a media communication blitz by the Tamir Rice Foundation and other concerned individuals likely applied enough pressure to force Loehmann’s resignation.

Kansas and Missouri Worst in Educating Black Collegians

Despite protests in 2015, Missouri still lags behind most other states in educating Black college students.

Despite protests in 2015, Missouri still lags behind most other states in educating Black college students.

By Free Radical

The states of Kansas and Missouri rank worst when it comes to educating Black college students, according to a new report. On a 4.0 GPA-style scale, the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center ranked Kansas the lowest at 1.61 followed by Missouri at 1.68.

The study’s authors USC professor Shaun Harper and research associate Isaiah Simmons employed a rubric that weighed the percentage of black students compared to the percentage of black people 18- to 25 years old in the state; the graduation rate of black students; the number of black women versus black men in the student body; and the ratio of black students to black faculty.

Though no state earned a “B” average, Massachusetts scored highest with 2.81.  In Missouri, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Missouri-Kansas City received the highest marks of 2.25. The stage’s flagship college, University of Missouri in Columbia scored a 1.75.

The report called on institutions to take diversity seriously and work to correct the microaggressions, culturally irrelevant curricula, and other offensive experiences that repel Black students and faculty.

These circumstances caused Mizzou to erupt along with many other colleges in 2015 as Black students protested their alienation on White college campuses following uprisings in major cities prompted by the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, MO. Mizzou has since made strides to hire more faculty of color, offered aggressive scholarship packages for low-income students, and hired Kevin McDonald as Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Black faculty have increased at Mizzou from 61 in 2014 to 65 in 2017. Yet they still make up just 7 percent of all instructors. The number of Black students has dropped from the 2,500 pre-protest number in 2014 to 2,067 currently.

Eric Reid Protests Anthem Before First Game Back

By Malcolm Speaks

Eric Reid continues to protest despite being signed.

Eric Reid continues to protest despite being signed.

This past Sunday, Eric Reid played his first game this season as a Carolina Panther and continued to protest during the US national anthem by taking a knee. The Panthers beat the New York Giants 33-31 in Charlotte, NC.

The former Pro Bowl defensive back is also suing the NFL over collusion for keeping him out of the league because of protests with Colin Kaepernick.

During this past offseason, Reid went unsigned by all 32 teams after becoming a free agent, while only one team, the Cincinnati Bengals, even brought Reid in for a workout. Bengals’ owner Mike Brown allegedly asked Reid for assurance that he would not kneel during games. Reid refused and he went unsigned.

However, the Carolina Panthers finally signed Reid on September 28 and he played in their first game of the season this past Sunday when the Panthers’ pulled off a last-second victory. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said after the game that all he cares about is winning and he has Reid’s back.

“Anything he stands for as a teammate, I stand with him,” Newton said to reporters after the game. “I didn’t see a distraction today. You have to respect it.”

Reid also spoke about being back in the league and on the field while Kaepernick remains out of the league.

“It’s bittersweet,” Reid told reporters after the game. “We won the game, but Colin is home with my kids. He should be playing.”

Reid said that he told head coach Ron Rivera before the game that he would kneel and added that he was not asking for permission. Kaepernick chimed in on Twitter and acknowledged two other players, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson of the Miami Dolphins, who continue to kneel during the anthem.

Explaining his decision to kneel, Reid said after the game that the country has “made no progress” with regard to police killings and social justice in general.

“We’ve made baby steps, but people try to give crumbs and present them as cakes,” he said when interviewed by the Charlotte Observer. “So you can come at me with all the hate you want, but it doesn’t change the fact of the truth.”

Eric Reid knelt alongside former 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick during the anthem to protest the police killings of black people and people of color throughout the 2016 season. Reid continued to play for the 49ers last season and continued the protest.

Missouri Judge Blocks Portions of State Voter ID Law

By MCNS Staffvote-here-sign

On Tuesday, a Missouri judge blocked parts of the state’s voter photo identification law, which could make it easier for some people to vote in the November election.

According to the Associated Press, the ruling prevents the state from advertising that the photo ID is required to vote. It also stops election officials from requiring that voters lacking photo ID sign a sworn statement while presenting some other form of identification to cast a regular ballot.

AP sources state that the permanent injunction issued by Senior Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan takes effect immediately. But Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says he will ask that the injunction be put on hold while he appeals the decision to a higher court.

The ruling may affect the outcome of the upcoming November elections, which feature a highly contested constitutional amendment measures toward legalizing marijuana sales and use, a minimum wage increase and US senate race between Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Voter ID laws have been promoted by Republicans for decades in many states to supposedly prevent voter fraud. But most state voter fraud percentages remain in the lower single digits, with some even a fraction of a percent. Many progressives oppose voter ID laws and liken them to Jim Crow Era voter suppression tactics. They argue that voter ID laws are used to disenfranchise the vote for the people of color, the elderly, the disabled and the poor, who sometimes have trouble obtaining the required identification.

The AP states that Attorneys for Priorities USA, a Washington-based liberal advocacy group that sued on behalf of some Missouri voters, argued that more than 300,000 voters may lack valid photo identifications. According to local reports, as of last week, the state issued free photo identification cards to 1,456 voters who requested them.

Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil praised the ruling as “an important victory for voting rights that will ensure that future elections in the state are open and accessible to every eligible voter.”

Missouri’s current voter ID laws were activated in 2016 when the Republican-led legislature overrode then-Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto. A 2016 vote approved the constitutional amendment intended to permit voter ID laws in the state. The law was not in affect for the 2016 elections.

The AP states that the law had allowed people lacking a photo ID to cast regular ballots if they show one of several non-photo forms of identification and sign sworn statements saying they don’t possess personal identification, understand they can get an ID for free from the state and acknowledge that personal identification is required to vote.

Callahan said the sworn statement is “contradictory and misleading” and “impermissibly infringes on a citizen’s right to vote as guaranteed under the Missouri Constitution.”

National reports indicate that it is not clear from Callahan’s ruling whether the secretary of state’s office could come up with a new version of the affidavit that could be required in elections. Otherwise, the ruling appears to allow people lacking photo IDs to nonetheless cast regular ballots if they show some other form of identification, such as a student ID card, utility bill, bank statement or paycheck that contains a home address.

The ruling leaves another option for people lacking identification to cast provisional ballots, which are counted if their signatures match those on file or they return later to show a photo ID.