01-30-2023  8:10 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

Democrats Voice Priorities for Coming Year in the Capitol

Highlights from the Democrats 2023 legislative agenda. 

Colorado Lawmakers Look to AI to Detect Wildfires Earlier

A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West and scientists say warming weather will continue to make fires more frequent and destructive.

Justices Weigh Effort to Balance Washington State's Tax Code

Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and its heavy reliance on sales and fuel taxes to pay for schools, roads and other public expenses falls disproportionately on low-income residents.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon State Celebrates Black History Month With a Series of Events

Free events highlight the achievements and perseverance of Black and African American communities from the past to the present. ...

Word is Bond Announces Second Annual In My Shoes Walking-tour Project for Black History Month

Tours run February 4 through February 25, 2023 in King, New Columbia, Vancouver, Woodlawn, Goose Hollow, Montavilla, Parkrose, and...

Oregon Graduation Rate Rises With Gains Made In Every Student Group

Class of 2022 graduation rate is second highest In Oregon’s history ...

City Council Approves 13 to Independent District Commission

The commission will lead the effort to establish four new geographic districts for Portland’s next city council. ...

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Social Justice Classes Topic of Feb. 8 Oregon State Science Pub

The free event, which can be attended in person or viewed online, will feature a presentation by Kathryn McIntosh. She will discuss...

Name of Seattle officer in crash that killed woman released

SEATTLE (AP) — Police have released the name of a Seattle police officer who was responding to a medical call when his patrol SUV hit and killed 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula last week in a city crosswalk. Seattle Police Department Detective and spokesperson Judinna Gulpan confirmed...

Kidnap suspect released day he arrived at Nevada prison

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state’s custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said...

Knight, Illinois State take down Southern Illinois 72-66

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Seneca Knight scored 24 points and Kendall Lewis secured the victory with a jump shot with 37 seconds remaining as Illinois State took down Southern Illinois 72-66 on Sunday. Knight shot 6 for 8, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range, and 9 of 10 from the free...

Deen scores 21 to lead Bradley to 83-76 victory over UIC

CHICAGO (AP) — Duke Deen had 21 points to lead Bradley to an 83-76 win over Illinois-Chicago on Sunday. Deen shot 5 for 10 from the floor (4 for 6 from 3-point range) and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line for the Braves (15-8, 8-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Malevy Leons added 19...

OPINION

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

A Letter to Residents of N. and N.E. Portland from Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner for District 2, North and Northeast Portland, reviews her first four-year term and looks forward to her second term ...

Are Black Individuals Like Kanye West, Van Jones, and Stephen A. Smith ‘Perpetrating a Fraud,’ or is Self-Hate a Primary Motivator for Anti-Blackness

“So, you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery he was called ‘Uncle Tom.’ He was the House Negro.”-Malcolm X ...

We Need Not Forgive

We need not forgive racial injustices in America’s past, and we must never forget them. But as a nation, we can reconcile. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Trustees picked by DeSantis may change progressive college

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — “Your education. Your way. Be original. Be you.” That's how New College of Florida describes its approach to higher education in an admission brochure. The state school of fewer than 1,000 students nestled along Sarasota Bay has long been known for its...

State of emergency declared over Atlanta 'Cop City' protest

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday, giving him the option of calling in the Georgia National Guard in response to a violent protest in downtown Atlanta over the killing by authorities of an environmental activist said to have shot a state trooper. ...

Jury rejects lawsuit filed by family of teen killed by cop

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal jury has found that a white Ohio police officer did not violate a Black teenager's civil rights when he shot and killed the boy while responding to a reported armed robbery. Jurors reached their verdict Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Tyre King’s...

ENTERTAINMENT

New this week: Shania, 'Princess Power' and Pamela Anderson

Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music and video game platforms this week. MOVIES — If you haven’t managed to catch “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” yet, the...

Review: Making of 'The Way We Were' is a rich, gossipy tale

“The Way They Were: How Epic Battles and Bruised Egos Brought a Classic Hollywood Love Story to the Screen” by Robert Hofler (Citadel) Most people seem to like their screen romances a little on the sad side. When the American Film Institute listed its top romantic...

Amina Luqman-Dawson’s 'Freewater' wins John Newbery Medal

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, Amina Luqman-Dawson made time to write a children's book she calls her "little quiet project," a historical adventure about a community of escaped slaves that she completed while raising a son and working as a policy consultant and researcher on education and domestic...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Florida GOP leaders want to get rid of gun permits

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Saying gun owners don't need a government permission slip to protect their God-given...

Dems urge Biden to halt aid to Peru over protest crackdown

MIAMI (AP) — A group of House Democrats is urging the Biden administration to suspend all U.S. security...

Trump investigations: Georgia prosecutor ups anticipation

ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Donald Trump and his allies have been put on notice by a prosecutor, but the...

Turkey favors approving Finland's NATO bid before Sweden's

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey could greenlight Finland’s membership in NATO before that of Sweden, if the...

Germany pledges 2 million for Brazil environment, Amazon

SAO PAULO (AP) — German development minister Svenja Schulze announced Monday that her government will make 204...

Dolphins, humans both benefit from fishing collaboration

A fishing community in southern Brazil has an unusual ally: wild dolphins. Accounts of people and...

Mitch Stacy the Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A federal judge sentenced Grammy-winning reggae singer Buju Banton to 10 years in prison Thursday, the lowest sentence legally allowed for his role in a large cocaine trafficking deal in 2009.

The 38-year-old Jamaican recording artist got a break when U.S. District Judge James S. Moody threw out a gun conviction, which would have added another five years to the minimum sentence. Banton's attorney, David Markus, said with time already served and good behavior, he could be out in six years.

In a statement he wrote after the sentencing, Banton - whose given name is Mark Myrie - thanked family, fans and supporters from around the world who flooded the court file with letters of support.

"The days that lie ahead are filled with despair, but I have courage and grace and I'm hopeful, and that is sufficient to carry me through," he said in the statement, which was read by Markus. "The man is not dead. Don't call him a ghost."

Banton, dressed in gray jail scrubs and shackled at the ankles, did not speak in court and did not react when Moody announced the sentence. The tall, thin, dreadlocked singer blew a kiss and waved to his subdued supporters as he was led away.

A jury found him guilty in February of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. Moody threw out the gun charge, acknowledging that Banton had no idea others involved in the conspiracy were carrying guns, which was the basis for the charge. He was not convicted of carrying a weapon himself.

Markus contended that Banton deserved a lower sentence because of his limited participation in the drug buy, his charitable work in Jamaica and his otherwise clean record.

But prosecutor James Preston argued for a longer term, contending that the cocaine deal would not have gone down without Banton's participation. Moody agreed that Banton's participation was key to the deal but declined to increase the sentence.

Preston acknowledged it was a sad day for Banton's fans but noted the distinction between the joyful reggae artist Buju Banton and the drug dealer Mark Myrie.

"He has brought this sadness to these people," Preston said in court, acknowledging Banton's supporters who filled the gallery. Preston declined to comment afterward.

Preston argued during trial that Banton portrayed himself as a broker of drug deals in several conversations with a confidential informant. Preston said Banton thought he was getting involved in a "no-risk" deal in which he would introduce a friend to a confidential informant and then collect money from drug transactions.

Prosecutors acknowledged that Banton did not put any money into the drug deal nor did he ever profit from it. Markus characterized his client as "a big talker" who admitted to trying to impress the confidential informant but wasn't involved in any drug deal.

Much of the case hinged on meetings and phone calls that were video- and audiotaped by the informant, who was working with the Drug Enforcement Administration - and who made $50,000 in commission after the bust.

In one video, Banton could be seen tasting cocaine in a Sarasota warehouse on Dec. 8, 2009. But he was not present during the actual drug deal on Dec. 10 that led two others to be arrested. Those two men later pleaded guilty.

Banton testified that the informant badgered him after they met on a trans-Atlantic flight in July 2009 and insisted they meet to set up a cocaine purchase. He said he was so uninterested in the informant's proposals that after they met twice, Banton didn't return the man's phone calls for months.

Markus said he plans to appeal.

"This fight is not over," Markus said. "We will keep fighting for him. Mark Myrie is my brother, and I'm going to keep fighting until they tell me to stop."

Among the dozens of letters of support in the court file were those from several of Banton's 15 children wrote, a Jamaican government official, an NBA player, other reggae artists and actor Danny Glover, who called Banton a "role model, philanthropist and spiritual leader in the community."

"Your honor, Mark Myrie is not a drug dealer," Glover wrote. "Society would not benefit from his incarceration."

Banton's oldest son, also named Mark Myrie, wrote that his father "puts hard work, sweat and tears into his music and that is what (he) `puts on the table,' it has never been drugs....The situation is just an example of our mere imperfections as people, being at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Banton remains wildly popular in Jamaica, and his trial - his second over the drug accusations - was packed with supporters that included other well-known reggae artists. The first trial ended in a mistrial last year after the jury deadlocked.

Shortly before his conviction in February, he won a Grammy for best reggae album for his work entitled "Before the Dawn."

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MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.