Cop Who Killed Eric Garner is Fired

Erc Garner with his wife Esaw.

Erc Garner pictured with his wife Esaw.

By Free Radical 

Former NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who has the infamous distinction of killing Eric Garner, has been fired. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill made the announcement Monday, more than five years after Garner was killed.

The news was met with reserved relief by Eric Garner’s family. Garner’s daughter, Emerald Snipes, thanked Commissioner O’Neill yet expressed, “You finally made a decision that should have been made five years ago.”

The commissioner’s decision was made after the Department of Justice failed to bring charges against Pantaleo in July. This represented the last opportunity for Pantaleo to be criminally charged.

However, earlier this month an NYPD administrative judge recommended Pantaleo’s firing and described his actions as “reckless and constituted a gross deviation from the standard of conduct established for a New York City police officer.”

In July 2014 Garner was stopped in Staten Island under the alleged suspicion of selling individual cigarettes. He was quickly subdued by several officers. Pantaleo put him in a chokehold which is a procedure that has been banned by the NYPD. Thisresulted in Garner’s homicide according to the New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Nonetheless, the majority white police union, the New York City Benevolent Association disagreed with the decision and suggested that commissioner O’Neal was motivated by fear.

Speaking through his attorney, Pantaleo said he will appeal the decision. As it currently stands, his firing excludes him from the police department’s pension plan though he will receive all of the money that he put in.

Curry Reestablishes Howard’s Golf Program

Stephen Curry made a million dollar donation to restart Howard University's golf program.

NBA star Stephen Curry made a million dollar donation to restart Howard University’s golf program.

By Free Radical

Further dipping his toes in the realm of philanthropy, NBA superstar Stephen Curry made a significant donation to Howard University which will revamp its golf program. Though an exact amount was not revealed, the Washington Post reveals the contribution is at least $1 million over the next six years.

Under Armour, who Curry has a sponsorship deal with, will provide clothing for the golf teams. Golf merchandise company Callaway will provide equipment. It is believed that after this period Howard will be able to develop an endowment fund that will pay for the program.

The decision to fund the program stemmed from another outreach effort taken on by Curry. This year he executive produced Emanuel, a documentary on the 2015 massacre of parishioners at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church in 2015. At a screening of the film at Howard’s Washington D.C. campus, Otis Ferguson, a college junior and golf enthusiast engaged Curry about their shared love for the sport. Ferguson told Curry about his failed attempts to start a golf team at the school.

“To hear somebody as passionate about the game as I was, all the while still pursuing their education at Howard … impacted me,” Curry said.

That chance conversation eventually resulted in Curry’s donation which by the 2020-2021 school year will pay for a coach and three scholarship athletes, two women and one man. Competing in the Division I, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Howard will be one of the few HBCUs, almost 30 out of about 100, that have golf programs. Such programs are traditionally expensive to run. HBCUS, often times with limited resources, focus on sports better positioned to generate revenue such as football and basketball.

The lack of golfing programs not only males a university’s athletic programs less diverse, but it also disadvantages students who can leverage their golf skills in the professional world. “It’s a big opportunity for us to expose students to a game that oftentimes is played as business deals are decided and a game that generations of families can play together,” Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick said.

Curry also intends to make his program an instrument to enhance diversity in the world of golf. “I just think about how many kids, especially from underserved communities, have the talent to play but just don’t have the funds or the resources,” Curry said.

This lesson of giving back will be impressed upon the student athletes who participate in Howard’s golf program. All will be required to volunteer for Curry and his wife Ayesha’s “Eat.Learn.Play.” program which promotes the healthy development of children.

“It’s significant. That’s the argument I’ve been trying to make since I assumed the presidency,” said Frederick. “This is one of America’s best investments. HBCUs, the return on the investment has been incredible for the country.”

C. Diff Bacteria Threat Results from Sugary Diets

Diets filled with sugar attract C. Diff.

Diets full of simple sugars attract C. Diff.

By MCNS Staff

Some widespread bacteria types that are known to cause serious gut infections are evolving. They can better consume sugar which is highly available in western diets while simultaneously resisting disinfectants that are used in western healthcare settings.

The diarrhea and colitis-causing bacteria type Clostridioides difficile, or C. Diff is common throughout this environment and results in nearly 500,000 infections every year in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This can be fatal for the elderly and very sick people who have been hospitalized or have been administered antibiotics.

Traces of the bacteria are especially susceptible to being found in U.S. hospitals  which often serve foods composed of simple sugars. The bacteria developed over thousands of years and adapted to human diets, hence its compatibility with simple sugars. For more on the bacteria, click here.

Reasonable Doubt

By Free Radical

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a huge Jay-Z fan. I like his music and the brother has demonstrated that he has some consciousness.  He has appropriately used his OG status in the rap game to promote social justice causes.

I would also be lying if I told you that he looked eerily out of place, chumming it up with NFL Commissioner Roger Godell this past week to formally announce the new partnership between his Roc Nation imprint and the league.

The unprecedented agreement  is billed to  merge sports, entertainment, and activism. According to the new deal, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation  will have a role in selecting artists for the NFL’s entertainment programs and venues including the Super Bowl halftime show. The Brooklyn based rapper will also assist the league in its signature social justice initiative , Inspire Change. As of Friday, TMZ has reported that the move also positions Jay-Z to become an NFL Owner.

The news comes as a surprise as Jay-Z has been forthcoming in his support of Colin Kaepernick, whose public protests against police brutality during league games created a firestorm of controversy and led to him being blackballed by the league. This has subsequently resulted in many fans and artists of color distancing themselves from the league. For example, megastars Rihanna and Cardi B reportedly declined invitations to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show because of Kaepernick’s treatment.

For his part, Jay-Z has worn a Colon Kaepernick jersey during a Saturday Night Live performance. He also famously rapped in the song Ape—-, with his wife Beyoncé, that “Once I said no to the Super Bowl: You need me, I don’t need you. Every night we in the end zone. Tell the NFL we in stadiums too.”

So this past week has been a major about face. In the press conference held at the Roc Nation office, Jay-Z  said, “I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct?” He continued, “So, in that case, this is a success; this is the next thing. ’Cause there’s two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’ So, for me, it was like, action, actionable item, what are we going to do with it? Everyone heard and we hear what you’re saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying. So what are we going to do? So we should, millions of millions of people, and all we get stuck on [is] Colin not having a job. I think we’re past kneeling. I think it’s time for action.”

On one hand, I can see Jay-Z’s point. There is a need for sustained social justice engagement. Even while blackballed, Kaepernick has completed a million dollar pledge campaign that donated much needed resources to organizations committed to progressive change. The former quarterback is also doing important work with his “Know Your Rights” program which teaches youth how to interact with law enforcement.

Jay-Z has arguably done similar work. He has used his entertainment platform to produce documentaries on Trayvon Justice and Kalief Browder which have helped to expose racial injustice in the nation’s criminal justice system. He has offered tangible support to rappers enmeshed in this system such as 21 Savage who faced deportation and Meek Mill who he helped craft the Reform Alliance program which combats criminal justice inequities. He also recently helped ordinary citizens such as an Arizona family that was violently accosted by police.

With his social justice bonafides, I think Jay-Z is sincere in his belief that the new partnership will create new avenues for progressive change. Yet at the same time, the NFL has little credibility in the social justice arena. You name the offense, the league has committed it; from concealing the impact of concussions, to protecting perpetrators of domestic violence, and it’s treacherous campaign to silence players who voiced opposition to police violence.

Given this context, I have no faith in their sincerity to promote racial uplift. NFL owners do have a public relations problem and had egg thrown in their faces when engaging with their nonwhite fan base. In some instances, the NFL has almost become a dirty word. This was clearly seen by the public shaming of artists who participated in the most recent Super Bowl activities which included Travis Scott (who Jay-Z advised not to participate) and even Gladys Knight who sang the national anthem.

Herein lies Jay-Z, who arguably has the most cred in the music industry (other than his wife Beyoncé, which augments his cred), who can provide cover for the league and welcome back both Black artists and fans.

And perhaps creating progressive programs and institutions that benefit communities of color can happen. Ultimately, any evaluation of the partnership will have to consider this as a factor.

Yet the ultimate evaluation will also have to reckon with the irony that a program for social justice has been unjustly concocted on the back of someone who is denied a job for expressing their constitutional right. By any measure, the agreement and any social justice posturing by the NFL would not have happened had it not been for the initial forays of Kaepernick.

Obviously the movement is not all about Kaepernick and is bigger than him. But any movement for social justice, particularly in the Black tradition, reveres the freedom fighters who took the courageous first steps to eradicating racism. A victory that excludes them is not one that I would want to fight for. In all likelihood, it is no victory at all.