07-09-2020  11:01 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle Urged to See a 'World Without Law Enforcement'

Proposals include removal of 911 dispatch from Seattle Police control, budget cuts of 50%

Oregon DOJ to Hold Listening Sessions on Institutional Racism; Leaders Wary

DOJ will hold 11 virtual listening sessions for underserved Oregonians.

Portland Black Community Frustrated as Violence Mars Protests

Black leaders condemn violence from small group of mostly-white activists as Rose City Justice suspends nightly marches

Protester Dies After Car Hits Two on Closed Freeway

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died and Taylor and Diaz Love of Portland were injured. The driver, Dawit Kelete has been arrested

NEWS BRIEFS

Adams Joins Lawmakers in Move to Repeal Trump’s Birth Control Rule

Without action, SCOTUS decision clears way for Trump Admin rule to take effect ...

Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center Announce Artist Fund

The fund will help support artists during COVID crisis and beyond ...

The OHS Museum Reopens Saturday, July 11

The Oregon Historical Society museum will reopen with new hours and new safety protocols ...

Meyer Memorial Trust Announces New Trustee

Amy C. Tykeson of Bend, will oversee management of the 38-year-old Oregon-serving foundation. ...

African American Alliance for Home Ownership Announces New Board Member

AAAH has announced the appointment of Carl Anderson, M.D., a staff physician specializing in occupational medicine with Northwest...

Seattle urged to see a 'world without law enforcement'

SEATTLE (AP) — Representatives from a new coalition urged the Seattle City Council to immediately begin redirecting millions of dollars in funding from the Police Department to community-based solutions, affordable housing and a new approach to public safety.“I really, truly do not...

Oregon Appeals Court affirms Portland renter relocation law

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed a Portland ordinance requiring landlords to pay tenants’ relocation fees if their rent is increased by at least 10% or if they’re evicted without cause.Presiding Judge Darleen Ortega said she agreed with a...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

Recent Protests Show Need For More Government Collective Bargaining Transparency

Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process ...

The Language of Vote Suppression

A specific kind of narrative framing is used to justify voter suppression methods and to cover up the racism that motivates their use. ...

Letter to the Community From Eckhart Tolle Foundation

The Eckhart Tolle Foundation is donating more than 250,000 dollars to organizations that are fighting racism ...

Editorial From the Publisher: Vote as Your Life Depends on It

The Republican-controlled Senate won’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, no matter how hard Oregon’s senators and others work to push for change. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Mayor helps paint 'Black Lives Matter' outside Trump Tower

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio grabbed a roller Thursday to paint “Black Lives Matter" in front of the namesake Manhattan tower of President Donald Trump, who tweeted last week that the street mural would be “a symbol of hate.”De Blasio was flanked...

Trump faced issues with Asian Americans even before virus

SEATTLE (AP) — Sonny Vinuya hasn’t decided if he’ll vote again for Donald Trump in the battleground state of Nevada.The Filipino American businessman in Las Vegas is personally offended by the president's use of a racist slur at recent re-election rallies, where he mocked China...

US sanctions Chinese officials over repression of minorities

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on three senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party, including a member of the ruling Politburo, for alleged human rights abuses targeting ethnic and religious minorities that China has detained in the western part of the...

ENTERTAINMENT

MSNBC appoints Joy Reid as Chris Matthews' replacement

NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC says Joy Reid will move into the early evening time slot vacated in March by former “Hardball” host Chris Matthew's retirement in March.Reid, who has been a weekend anchor at the cable news network and lately has subbed in the 7 p.m. Eastern time slot, now...

Rolling Stones to release unheard tracks from 1973 album

The Rolling Stones will release a new version of their 1973 album “Goats Head Soup” featuring three unheard tracks, including one featuring Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.The band announced on Thursday that the release on Sept. 4 will include a four-disc CD and vinyl box set editions that...

Family re-imagines Bob Marley classic for COVID-19 relief

NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Marley’s Grammy-winning children and chart-topping grandson have re-imagined one of his biggest hits to assist children affected by the coronavirus pandemic.Stephen Marley, Cedella Marley and her son, Skip Marley, have joined forces to produce a new version of...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Rolling Stones to release unheard tracks from 1973 album

The Rolling Stones will release a new version of their 1973 album “Goats Head Soup” featuring three...

Police: 5 arrested in Los Angeles death of rapper Pop Smoke

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three men and two juveniles have been arrested in connection with the February...

Trump faced issues with Asian Americans even before virus

SEATTLE (AP) — Sonny Vinuya hasn’t decided if he’ll vote again for Donald Trump in the...

VIRUS DIARY: In Saudi Arabia, a photographer finds new focus

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — I moved to Saudi Arabia from Egypt last year, eager to photograph a national...

COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is now reaching 'full speed'

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is reaching “full speed,” the Africa...

25 years on, Srebrenica dead still being identified, buried

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A quarter of a century after they were killed in Europe’s...

McMenamins
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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