St. Louis Sues to Allow Police to Abuse Protestors

The city of St. Louis has filed a motion to allow police to exact violence against demonstrators who do not pose a threat.

The city of St. Louis has filed a motion to allow police to use violence on protestors who pose no threat.

By Free Radical

On Friday, the St. Louis City Counselor’s Office filed a federal petition to grant local police the legal sanction to use strong arm tactics against protestors.

The case stems from the 2017 uprising in response to the Jason Shockley acquittal. Shockley, who was found not guiltily of first degree murder and armed criminal action after he killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a Black man, following a car chase. Video evidence placed much of Shockley’s story in doubt and hinted at the former police officer maliciously killing Smith as a result of becoming exasperated after the pursuit.

In the protests that ensued, police officers used “kettle” techniques to surround, and according to multiple witness statements, beat, taunt, and pepper spray demonstrators. Police officers also unknowingly beat a Black undercover cop at the scene.

This wanton violence sparked a 2017 ACLU lawsuit that resulted in a federal injunction which barred police from macing or threatening to mace individuals who posed no threat of violence.

Though the city initially expressed it would comply with the order, Friday’s motion sought to dissolve the injunction. The city contends that the ACLU “inveigled the Court into improvident intrusion into police practices in the City of St. Louis.” If successful, the city will be able to arbitrarily punish peaceful demonstrators with little legal consequence.

“We’ll be responding, but we see the case differently, of course,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. Rothert also expressed that motions to dismiss a case are common, especially when two opposing sides are nearing the end of the phase in which they exchange evidence.

The city and ACLU were also ordered to enter into resolution. They have not done so yet.

Johnson Publishing Files for Bankruptcy

Ebony and Jet have long been staples of the African-American media landscape.

Ebony and Jet have long been staples of the African-American media landscape. On Tuesday, Johnson Publishing, which created the magazines, filed for bankruptcy.

By Free Radical

Johnson Publishing, which for decades, printed the iconic magazines, Ebony and Jet, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday in Chicago. The sale, however, will not impact distribution of Ebony or Jet, which had already been sold in 2016.

The company released a statement that expressed that they were “caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome.”

John H. Johnson founded Johnson Publishing Company in 1942 by borrowing $500 against his mother’s furniture. From this humble start, the company grew into a multimillion dollar venture focusing on publishing and cosmetics. The covers of its Ebony and Jet newsmagazines consistently featured the “who’s who” of Black America.

The newspapers was also crucial in documenting the most pressing issues of the day. Jet for example made the history changing decision to feature images of Emmit Till, a Chicago fourteen year older who was savagely lynched while visiting family in Mississippi. The publication of Till’s body helped spark the Civil Rights Movement. The overall success of his business ventures made Johnson one of the wealthiest Black men in the United States.

Johnson passed in 2005 and his media holdings had a difficult time navigating the new landscape brought forth by the internet.

The Johnson Publishing Company has recently stated that it has a potential buyer that is committed to “advancing cultural preservation, supporting community-based businesses and building and operating legacy brands.” However any sale would have to be approved by bankruptcy court.

Family of 7-Year-Old Girl Killed By Detroit Police Reach $8.2M Settlement

Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in 2010 while sleeping by Detroit police. Her family reached a settlement with the city.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed in 2010 while sleeping by Detroit police. Her family has reached a settlement with the city.

By Malcolm Speaks

The city of Detroit has agreed to pay an $8.25 million settlement to the family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a little girl who was shot and killed during a police raid in 2010.

This settlement was announced just days before a civil trial for the case was set to begin and it is now awaiting approval from the Detroit City Council, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Seven year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot and killed when a bullet from Detroit officer Joseph Weekley‘s gun struck her in the head while she slept on the couch in her family’s home during a raid. Officers raided the home in a chaotic fashion in order to search for a murder suspect on May 16, 2010.

Officer Weekley, a former member of the department’s elite special response team, claimed that his gun went off accidentally while he “tussled” with the little girl’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones.

After a one-year internal and federal investigation, on October 4, 2011, a grand jury indicted Officer Joseph Weekley on involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment with a gun, according to CBS.

The Detroit officer was tried twice, and both trials ended in hung juries. During the trials, prosecutors accused Weekley of being negligent, careless and reckless in the execution of a search warrant for a murder suspect and said Weekley should have followed his training and kept his finger off the trigger of his gun.

However, a judge actually dropped the involuntary manslaughter charge during the second trial in 2014, citing lack of evidence and officer Weekly is still a member of the Detroit police force.

Kamala Harris Unveils Education Policy

Kamala Harris has centered teacher compensation as crucial in her education policy.

Senator Kamala Harris has centered teacher pay as crucial in her education policy.

By Free Radical

Gearing for the height of the election season, Senator Kamala Harris released her education policy last week. The ambitious plan promises to raise teacher annual salaries on average by $13,500.

The proposal would create incentives for local school districts to receive federal funding. It would be paid for by strengthening the estate tax which was was lowered by the Trump administration. If elected, Harris would reverse the change and then close additional loopholes.

“You can judge a society by the way it treats its children,” Harris said at a campaign rally in Houston. “And one of the greatest expressions of love that a society can give its children is educating those children with the resources they need.”

Harris’s plan promises to specifically target communities of color by providing additional targeted investments to raise the salaries of teachers who work at schools that have large populations of students and faculties of color.

The proposal will also make specific allocations to HBCUs which are recommended to receive half the money earmarked for collegiate education programs that include teacher and administrator residencies, mentoring partnerships, and career ladder models.

Harris, an alum of Howard University in Washington D.C., recently cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would allocate money to HBCUs to preserve historic buildings on their campuses.

She has also championed raising the federal Pell Grant and enhancing the research capacity at HBCUs in such emerging fields as artificial intelligence.