Category Archives: National

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.

Toni Morrison, Pulitzer & Nobel Prize Winning Author, Passes

By MCNS Staff

Toni Morrison is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2012

Toni Morrison was awarded the prestigious  Medal of Freedom by then President Barack Obama in 2012

Toni Morrison, born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, passed away on August 5, 2019 in The Bronx, New York. Widely considered one of the greatest writers of our time, Morrison is noted for her examination of the Black experience, particularly the black woman’s experience, within a racist and sexist American society.

Morrison attended the famous HBCU, Howard University, from 1949 to 1953, when she obtained a B.A. in English. She then obtained an M.A. in American History from Cornell University in 1955.

She taught at the HBCU Texas Southern University for two years before teaching at her Alma Mater, Howard University, from 1957 to 1964. In 1965 Morrison served as a senior fiction editor at Random House and held that post until the New York State Board of Regents appointed her as Chair in the Humanities at the State University of New York at Albany in 1984. Ms. Morrison left the State University of New York at Albany in 1989 in order to become a professor at Princeton University. Ms. Morrison then retired in 2006.

Among her many awards, Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 for her novel “Beloved.” She was also the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She was honored as a National Humanities Medalist by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, by President Barack Obama in 2012.

She is the author of nine novels, including The Bluest Eye, her first novel which was published in 1969, Sula, published in 1973, Song of Solomon, published in 1977, Tar Baby, published in 1981, Beloved, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and Jazz, which was published in 1992.

While Morrison taught at Howard University, she married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect, in 1958. They had two children, Harold and Slade, and were married until 1964.

Irenosen Okojie, the award-winning Nigerian novelist, wrote that Toni Morrison’s gift was to make Black people feel seen. In this vein, Morrison gave “meaning and multiplicity to Black lives by writing them into existence.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities, which sponsors the National Humanities Medal, described Morrison as America’s most renowned Black woman writer when she received this award in 2000.

Toni Morrison remains an inspiration for many reasons, but especially because she believed in herself and Black people long before White institutions chose to recognize her.

“I was more interesting than they were,” Morrison said in reference to these very institutions. “I knew more than they did.”

Yet Morrison did not feel that her gift was singular. She believed that all people can make art.  “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

Davis to Enter Women’s Hall of Fame

Angela Davis will enter the Women's Hall of Fame in September.

Angela Davis will be entering the Women’s Hall of Fame in September.

By Free Radical 

In September, revered freedom fighter Angela Davis will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She will join nine other prominent awardees including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Native American lawyer and professor Sarah Deer.

According to Betty Bayer, president of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, “We are pleased to add these American women to the ranks of inductees whose leadership and achievements have changed the course of American history.”

The organization was founded in 1969 and claims to be the nation’s oldest hall of fame for women. At present, 276 women have been inducted. The 2019 cohort of inductees is especially special as the year marks the centennial of the 19th amendment which granted White women the right to vote.

Angela Davis has been on the cutting edge of movements for social justice for well over 50 years. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama she became deeply involved in radicalism in California during the Civil Rights and Black Power eras.

She gained national attention as a UCLA professor in 1969 when she was targeted by then California governor Ronald Reagan for her ties to Communism.

Furthermore, in the early 1970s Davis was placed on the FBI’s Top Ten List on trumped up charges that she conspired a prison escape in California. The escape was engineered by Jonathan Jackson, the younger brother of renowned and imprisoned Black intellectual George Jackson.

Seeing that she would be made a scapegoat, Davis fled before spending 16 months in jail while awaiting trial. Her incarceration sparked an international “Free Angela” campaign that helped result in her acquittal in 1972.

Unbowed, Davis continued her activism highlighting the evils of racism, sexism, classism, militarism, and the prison industrial complex. She also continued her academic career as a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is now an in demand author who has  written ten booksand a highly sought out international lecturer.

13 Philly Officers Potentially Terminated for Racist, Violent Posts

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

By Malcolm Speaks

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. reported at a news conference on Thursday that thirteen police officers will be potentially terminated for submitting racist and/or violent Facebook posts.

The 13 are among 72 policemen in the city who were placed on administrative duty after a review of thousands of social media posts and comments by law enforcement officers around the country. The posts and comments were captured in an online database called the Plain View Project and were shared on June 1.

Some of the posts were homophobic while other posts either advocated violence or were deemed racist.

One example from the database is a post from 2014 where a Philadelphia officer wrote that a suspect “should be taken out back and put down like the rabid animal he is.” Another officer shared a photo in November 2015, which said Islam is a “cult” that glorified death.

Another more recent post is from this past February where a Philadelphia officer commented on a news article about an alleged murderer by writing, “hang him.”

A Plain View Project representative said that the Facebook posts and comments “could undermine public trust and confidence in our police.”

The Philadelphia Police Department also conducted an internal investigation with a law firm in order to determine if some of the posts that were submitted by its officers were constitutionally protected speech.

The department announced disciplinary actions this past Thursday, which depended on how egregious the Facebook posts by the individual officers were.

Additionally, some of the 72 officers who were placed on administrative duty will be suspended for five days, police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. reported.

Seventeen others will face more severe disciplinary action, including the 13 officers who will be suspended with the intent to dismiss, according to Commissioner Ross. The remaining four officers will receive 30-day suspensions.

“I continue to be very angered and disappointed by these posts,” Commissioner Ross said. The 13 officers to be fired made posts that “advocated violence.”

The highest-ranking official to be fired is a sergeant, Commissioner Ross told reporters, however he declined to identify any of the 13 officers by name.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said many of the posts were “deeply disturbing.”

“We have a duty to represent ourselves and our city,” he said at the news conference. “We will not allow this incident to break down the progress we have made and we pledge to do better.”

The Philadelphia police department policy states, “employees are prohibited from using ethnic slurs, profanity, personal insults; material that is harassing, defamatory, fraudulent, or discriminatory, or other content or communications that would not be acceptable in a City workplace under City or agency policy or practice.”

Additionally, the department policy states, “there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when engaging in social networking online. As such, the content of social networking websites may be obtained for use in criminal trials, civil proceedings, and departmental investigations.”

However, the Philadelphia news source Billy Penn posted a review of the database, which shows that despite the departmental police policy, in addition to the above examples, Philadelphia officers still submitted posts and comments that used overtly racist language to describe people of color, immigrants and Muslims. And with even higher frequency, current and former police officers advocated or openly fantasized about extrajudicial violence against criminal suspects, left-wing protesters and billionaire George Soros.

Therefore, Commissioner Ross said that every member of the police department would be required to view a training video about social media and policies on off-duty behavior.

The Plain View Project scoured 3,500 public accounts from officers in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; York, Pennsylvania; Twin Falls, Idaho; Denison, Texas; and Lake County, Florida.

In response to the findings of this project, last month, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner added 22 names to an “exclusion list” of officers who were banned from bringing cases to her office after the Facebook posts were made public. In a letter that was sent to Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards and St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden, Gardner said seven of those 22 officers were “permanently banned.”