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Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:14 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:13 PM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University has canceled plans to display the house where Rosa Parks lived for a time after she left the south and moved to Detroit.
The house had been on a demolition list until it was saved by Parks' niece and artist Ryan Mendoza, who moved it to Berlin. He brought it back to the United States in pieces last month with Brown's backing, and was reassembling it when the Ivy League university made the abrupt announcement Thursday.
Parks' niece, Rhea McCauley, called the decision a missed opportunity and said the university had not consulted with the family.
"They made this decision on their own," she said.
Brown cited an unspecified dispute involving the R osa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, which Parks co-founded but which has feuded with relatives in the past. Brown spokesman Brian Clark said in an email that the university "took steps quickly upon learning recently about the dispute."
"Brown is not a party in the dispute and therefore we are not in a position to speak about the nature of the dispute," when asked for more details. "Also, we know that individuals involved in the dispute intended to object strongly if the exhibit proceeded. It is out of our respect for the legacy of Rosa Parks that Brown is stepping aside."
A message left for the institute was not immediately returned Thursday. But a lawyer for the institute, Steven Cohen, cast doubt on the connection to Parks in comments he made to The Brown Daily Herald student newspaper last month.
"The truth is, she didn't stay there," he told the newspaper. "It's a house which Rosa Parks' brother and his family used to live in. It's no more Rosa Parks' house than it is my house."
McCauley disputed that, as did Ray Rickman, a Providence community activist who worked with Parks for three years in the office of U.S. Rep. John Conyers in Detroit. Rickman, who sometimes drove Parks to church, recalled driving by the house with Parks one day.
"She told me she used to live in it. And I laughed and said that's a tiny house, and she said a lot of people lived in it," he said. "It was something to that effect. And then she laughed and I laughed and changed the subject."
Mendoza, who owns the house, decided to bring it to Brown because it has grappled in recent years with its historical ties to the slave trade. He disassembled the house, packed it up and sent it by ship across the Atlantic and has spent the past few weeks preparing the site for the house and building a frame for it.
Mendoza had planned to reassemble it piece by piece for a display that was due to open to the public next month. He said someone told him a lawyer had threatened Brown with a cease-and-desist letter, and he learned Thursday afternoon that the display was canceled. He pointed out that the decision was announced a few hours after he published a statement calling on Brown to rename itself "Rosa Parks University."
"Maybe Brown took on a project too big for them," Mendoza said. "Brown does not command this ship, and this house will go on to find a better home, but it breaks my heart that there should be such vast cowardice, everybody's ducking and hiding."
McCauley called the house a part of history and said the project was an effort to help students "understand Auntie Rosa's legacy."
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 2:14 PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento police officials have released the harrowing audio and video, including footage from two officers’ body cameras, in the shooting death of an unarmed black man killed by police Sunday night.
Stephon Alonzo Clark, 23, was shot multiple times in the backyard of his grandparents’ house, where he lived with several siblings. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn previously said the two unnamed officers involved in the shooting, who are on administrative leave while the case remains under investigation, fired on Clark 20 times.
The footage was made public after it was shared with Clark’s family, per department policy.
The body camera footage shows that the officers opened fire upon Clark seconds after encountering him on his patio. It also shows that, while the two officers involved ordered Clark to show them his hands, neither identified themselves as police officers.
Clark’s aunt, Saquoia Durham, told The Sacramento Bee that her nephew did not stand a chance.
“As soon as they did the command, they started shooting,” Durham told the newspaper. “They said, ‘Put your hands up, gun’ and then they just let loose on my nephew. They didn’t give him a chance to put his hands up or anything, and then when they shot him down, they knew they messed up.”
Family members and local activists also wondered why one of the videos shows, about six minutes after the shooting, an officer saying, “Hey, mute.” Officers are then seen muting the microphones on their body cameras for the rest of the recording released to the public.
A police spokesman told the Bee there are a number of reasons officers may choose to mute their microphones, but did not go into detail.
The officers who shot at Clark said they believed he was armed, but all that was found with his body was a cellphone. The killing has sparked protests and demands from Clark’s family and friends, as well as Sacramento officials, for answers about why an unarmed man was killed outside his own home.
The Bee reported that the Rev. Al Sharpton has been in touch with Clark’s family and plans to travel to Sacramento to help ensure that Clark has a proper burial. The family has established a GoFundMe page to help fund his funeral arrangements, which include being buried next to a brother also cut down by gun violence, the Bee reported.
Clark’s grandparents and other family members were inside the house as the shooting took place. His grandfather called 911 after hearing the gunshots, and his grandmother, Sequita Thompson, said she only learned the dead man was her grandson when she looked out the window after hours of police questioning on what she heard that night.
“I opened that curtain and he was dead. I started screaming,” Thompson told the Bee.
The shooting and the events surrounding it are laid out in the audio and video released Wednesday night, beginning with a 911 call from a resident in Clark’s neighborhood. The caller tells a dispatcher that there is a man going through the neighborhood and breaking vehicle windows, including those on the caller’s truck.
“What did he use to break the windows?” the dispatcher asks.
“I have no idea,” the man responds. “I heard the noise and I came outside and he was standing right there on the side of my truck, and I grabbed my ball bat … (unintelligible) … I didn’t hit him, or nothing like that.”
The caller tells the dispatcher that the man is now in another yard, trying to get over a fence, but that he is trapped because of a neighbor’s dogs.
The dispatcher asks for a description of the man, and the caller tells her he could not determine the man’s race because of the dark hoodie he was wearing. The suspect was wearing pants that appeared to have white stripes or dots on them, he says.
During silent periods in the call, at least one dog can be heard barking in the background. The dispatcher continues to get the scant details of the vandal’s appearance: he’s tall, at more than 6 feet, and thin.
The dispatcher tells the caller that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is sending a helicopter to search for the man and keep an eye on him until city police officers arrive. The weekend was a busy one because of St. Patrick’s Day, she says.
The caller, a mechanic, tells the dispatcher that he keeps his tools in his truck, so the sound of his windows being broken alarmed him.
“He’s lucky to be alive, if I would have gotten a hold of him,” the caller says, laughing.
At that point in the 911 call, the officers who would shoot and kill Clark were about a block and a half away, according to the dispatcher.
Audio from the dispatch office gives a glance into the same time frame from the viewpoint of law enforcement officers. The dispatcher relays a description of the accused vandal, and a male voice from the helicopter overhead mentions two large dogs as the only heat sources he can see on the infrared camera.
A few minutes later, the deputy in the helicopter comes back on, telling the responding officers below he sees a man looking in the window of a home.
“Two yards to the south of you, I’ve got a guy in a backyard looking into their window,” the deputy says. “He’s picking up a -- looks like a toolbar, or some sort of thing. He might be trying to break the window. Stand by.”
A moment later, the deputy says, “Okay, he’s breaking the window! Running south! Running to the south!”
The footage from the circling helicopter does not show Clark smashing the window, but picks up immediately afterward. The deputy is relaying his movements as Clark, seen only as a white figure in the camera’s infrared vision, jumps onto what appears to be a shed and vaults over the fence into his grandparents’ yard.
At that point, he stops running and walks up to a vehicle between the fence and his grandparents’ home, briefly looking inside.
As the helicopter continues to circle, the two police officers on the ground can be seen on the road in front of Clark’s grandparents’ home. One of the officers spots Clark and begins to run toward him, gun drawn.
His partner follows and, as both officers run in his direction, Clark goes around the corner into the backyard of the house. Both officers follow, with one running into the open for a second before grabbing his partner and taking cover at the corner of the house.
The officers huddle there and, as the helicopter’s camera gets a full view of the backyard, shots can be seen fired from the officers’ guns.
Clark falls to the ground on his grandparents’ patio as the bullets ricochet off the pavement around him. He appears to try crawling away before becoming still.
“Shots fired! Shots fired!” the deputy in the helicopter says.
“Copy, shots fired,” the dispatcher responds.
One of the officers on the ground, sounding out of breath, tells the dispatcher that the man is down, with no movement. He requests that backup officers arrive from a specific direction and asks that fire medics be en route.
The officers have been criticized for waiting five minutes, until backup arrived, before rendering aid to Clark. Fire medics pronounced him dead at the scene.
At one point, the dispatcher asks the officers if they also need medics.
“Negative,” an officer responds. “Neither one of us are hit, we’re okay. Suspect’s down.”
The footage from the officers’ body cameras prior to the gunfire starts out quiet, as they make their way through the neighborhood, searching for the man suspected of vandalizing people’s vehicles. In the videos, the officers are seen asking a neighbor’s permission to search her backyard for the man.
As they search, the dogs heard in the original 911 call are much closer. The officers clear a shed before heading back onto the street.
A few moments later, the officers begin running toward the area where the deputy in the helicopter spotted Clark looking into the vehicle window next to his grandparents’ house.
“Show me your hands! Show me your hands! Stop!” one officer screams at Clark when he spots him. He runs after Clark, who is heading around the corner toward the patio.
As the officer rounds the corner, he again screams, “Show me your hands!” and, “Gun!” before pushing his partner back.
As both officers huddle at the corner, the same officer yells, “Show me your hands! Gun! Gun! Gun!”
They then both open fire.
See the body camera footage from both officers, beginning when they first spot Clark, below. Warning: The images and language may be disturbing for some readers.
Footage from the second officer’s body camera shows his hands holding his service weapon around the corner of the house as he and his partner unleash a barrage of bullets. It is not clear from the location of his body camera, which would be attached to his chest, if the second officer could see who he was shooting at.
The second officer’s body camera captured the fiery blasts from his partner’s gun as the gunshots rang out.
“Five seven, shots fired,” the first officer breathlessly tells the dispatcher. “Subject down.”
Over the next few minutes, the officers continue ordering Clark to show them his hands, with no response.
The second officer says that Clark was “still pointing” when he saw him prior to the shooting. They both spend a few moments quietly trying to catch their breath, during which time the officers determine that neither of them was shot.
The officers agree to do a “tactical reload,” a maneuver in which law enforcement officers reload recently-fired weapons with fresh, full magazines to ensure they don’t run out of ammunition. The second officer estimated that he fired his weapon about five times, though his body camera footage shows more.
Hahn has previously said that each officer fired 10 times.
The second officer’s body camera footage shows that additional police officers began to show up about that time, with one officer asking if the suspect had a gun.
“We haven’t secured it,” the second officer said. “We’re not moving in until we have more (backup).”
The first officer is also heard saying, “(Clark’s) still down, he’s not moving. We can’t see the gun.”
The officers tell their colleagues that Clark walked toward them with his hands out in front of him and that he held something that looked like a gun.
As the officers speak, their flashlights highlight Clark’s body, lying face-down on the patio. They continue to search from a distance for a gun.
They also continue to try to get a response from Clark.
“Hey, can you hear us?” one officer yells.
“We need to know if you’re okay,” a female officer says. “We need to get you medics, but we can’t go over there to get you help unless we know you don’t have your weapon.”
They continue trying to speak to the motionless Clark as sirens are heard in the background.
“Sir, can you move?” the female officer asks. “Can you hear us?”
At least one officer keeps a gun trained on Clark the entire time and, for a few moments, the second of the first two officers on the scene suggests firing a non-lethal weapon at his body to ensure he isn’t faking unconsciousness, the footage shows. It does not appear that the officers did so.
A few minutes later, the footage shows the officers finally approaching Clark’s body.
“Hey, if one of you guys want to go hands, cover him … oh, (expletive),” the second officer says as they get to Clark.
The body camera shows the edge of something flat and light-colored peeking out from underneath his body. As they handcuff his limp hands behind his back and turn him over to start CPR, their flashlights show what the item is.
It is the iPhone Clark was carrying.
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:20 AM
— President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to veto a $1.3 trillion funding bill because it did not include money for a resolution for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and failed to fully fund a wall across the country’s southern border.
The Senate had passed the bill early Friday morning. The House passed it on Thursday. The more then 2,300-page bill was made public less than 24 hours before it was passed.
Trump said in a tweet that he was considering vetoing the omnibus spending bill.
I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2018
If Trump decides to veto the bill, the government would shut down at midnight, hours before thousands are expected at the “March for Our Lives,” a gun control rally scheduled for Saturday.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:42 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:42 PM
WASHINGTON — Congress has passed a massive spending bill which includes $700 billion for defense, spends billions more on aircraft, ships and tanks and provides a 2.4 percent pay hike for troops.
The $60 billion increase in military spending is the biggest in 15 years.
The budget plan also includes $300 million to continue cleaning the Great Lakes, $400 million for cleanup at a closed uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, and millions of dollars for Ohio to combat opioid addiction.
The $1.3 trillion measure, which was passed by the House on Thursday and the Senate on Friday, keeps the federal government open until the end of September. But Friday morning, President Donald Trump threatened to veto the omnibus bill because it did not include money for a resolution for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and failed to fully fund a wall across the country’s southern border.
The Air Force share of defense spending is $183.6 billion, which also aims to add 4,000 airmen by 2020, Air Force officials have said. It includes nearly $25 billion for procurement of aircraft, space vehicles, missiles, and ammunition and more than $49 billion for operations and maintenance, budget documents show.
“For the Air Force, the higher level of spending in the budget bill offers an opportunity to fix nagging readiness problems while moving forward with long delayed plans to replace Cold War aircraft,” Loren B. Thompson, a senior defense analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute and a defense industry consultant, said in an email. “It also provides seed money for a transformation in how the Air Force will assure U.S. air and space superiority in the future.”
The spending bill includes $1.08 billion to upgrade the Abrams M-1 tank. Most of that money will be spent at the JSMC plant in Lima.
Across all research, testing and technology accounts, it adds $25.6 billion, documents show.
Impact at Wright-Patterson
The influx of dollars is a particular windfall for research spending at the Air Force Research Laboratory headquarters at Wright-Patterson, observers said.
“For Wright Patterson, the impending budget increase signals a surge in research spending to unprecedented peace time levels,” Thompson said. “This could be the beginning of a golden age for the Air Force’s premier research and modernization site if Washington can find a way of keeping spending levels high in the years ahead.”
AFRL’s budget could exceed last year’s level of $4.8 billion, which was nearly split between government appropriations and sponsored research.
This time, about $1.2 billion of that in government appropriations is headed to Wright-Patterson, according to spokespersons in U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office.
A breakdown of other budgets at Wright-Patterson was not yet available, spokeswoman Marie Vanover said Thursday.
But in some research accounts, such as materials and aerospace vehicles, spending could rise as much as 20 percent, said Michael Gessel, vice president of federal programs at the Dayton Development Coalition.
The budget boost bodes well for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, also headquartered at Wright-Patterson, with money beyond the president’s request to procure more aircraft and will jump start new contracts that had been on hold without a permanent budget, Gessel said.
“The larger, overall funding level provided by this bill, which is accompanied by additional flexibility on spending authority, will relieve many budgetary pressures as the funding makes its way from Washington to field operations, including Wright-Patterson,” Gessel said in an email.
“There are provisions which give more flexibility in personnel management of civilian defense workers. This is important to Wright-Patterson because of the large percentage of civilians who work on the base.”
The bill provides $3 billion to reduce opioid addiction, of which $1 billion is set aside for grants that will go directly to the states. Fifteen percent of the state grant money has been earmarked for states which have been hardest by opioids, such as Ohio.
“This is good news for Ohio and good news for the millions of Americans who continue to struggle with addiction,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I’m particularly pleased that the bill includes $60 million for states to develop an infant plan of safe care to help newborns exposed to opioids and their families.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said “while we know there is more work to be done,” the money in the bill “is a meaningful step forward for Ohio.”
The money for the Great Lakes was inserted into the bill after the White House did not include any money for the program, known as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The program has strong bipartisan backing from lawmakers from both parties, such as Portman and Brown.
Both Brown and Portman pushed for more money to continue the cleanup at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, about 65 miles south of Columbus. The $400 million, Brown said, should guarantee no additional layoffs at the facility.
How Ohio lawmakers voted
The House passed the measure by a vote of 256-to-167 with local Republicans Mike Turner of Dayton and Steve Chabot of Cincinnati voting yes.
Republicans Jim Jordan of Urbana and Warren Davidson of Troy voted no.
In an interview on Fox News, Jordan complained that the 2,200-page bill “grows the government at a $1.3 trillion price tag which will lead to a trillion dollar deficit,” adding “this may be the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress.”
By contrast, Columbus-area Congressman Steve Stivers said the measure “provides critical funding for our military and veterans, resources for opioid addiction prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, and resources for our schools to keep our kids safe.”
The Senate must approve the bill because lawmakers from both parties were unable to agree on a budget for the 2018 spending year which began on October 1 and ends on September 30. By passing the bill, the Senate guarantees the government will remain open for next seven months.
Get the latest news from our team on our Ohio Politics Facebook page and on Twitter at @Ohio_Politics
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
STROUDSBURG, Pa. — This week’s spring snowstorm has Punxsutawney Phil on the run.
Pennsylvania’s prognosticator is wanted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
They even have his mugshot up on the “Warrant Wall.”
He’s been charged with deception and lying to the public.
You may recall, Phil saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter – the six weeks was up last week.