05-23-2018  3:45 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Lawmakers hold hearing to discuss Oregon dairy's downfall

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers are asking questions about what went wrong with a large dairy that is facing a lawsuit, regulatory problems and bankruptcy in an effort to find ways to prevent a similar situation in the future.The Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural...

Editorials from around Oregon

Selected editorials from Oregon newspapers:_____The Oregonian/OregonLive, May 23, on rebuilding faith in police oversight board:Derek Ashton, an attorney representing former Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea, didn't mince words in criticizing a committee's recommendation that O'Dea lose his police...

Tanker spills 3,500 gallons of liquid asphalt near Cle Elum

CLE ELUM, Wash. (AP) — Officials say a tanker rolled spilling about 3,500 gallons of liquid asphalt as it was taking an exit off Interstate 90 near Cle Elum.KOMO-TV reports the incident happened Wednesday when the tanker took the exit and went off the shoulder.The Washington State Patrol...

Amazon, Starbucks pledge money to repeal Seattle head tax

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon, Starbucks, Vulcan and others have pledged more than 0,000 toward repealing Seattle's newly passed tax on large employers.The Seattle City Council on May 14 unanimously passed the so-called head tax that will charge businesses making at least million in gross...

OPINION

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Milwaukee chief apologizes for arrest of Bucks guard Brown

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized to Bucks guard Sterling Brown on Wednesday for officers' actions during a January arrest that included use of a stun gun, and said some officers had been disciplined.Morales' apology came as the department was set to release...

Offshore worker alleges bias in federal lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An African-American offshore oil worker has filed a federal lawsuit saying he was intimidated on the job by a supervisor who drew a picture of him dangling from a high rig structure while surrounded by co-workers in Ku Klux Klan hats.The lawsuit claims the worker was...

Comedian Josh Denny not sorry about N-word tweets

NEW YORK (AP) — Comedian and Food Network host Josh Denny has called his tweets using the N-word and comparing use of "straight white male" to the racial slur as "very incendiary," but he said he's not sorry.The host of "Ginormous Food" appeared on Van Lathan's podcast "The Red Pill" on...

ENTERTAINMENT

Deadliest Catch' star pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault

SEATTLE (AP) — Celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he spat on an Uber driver last year in Seattle.The Seattle Times reports (https://bit.ly/2s3scWE) the 52-year-old "Deadliest Catch" star pleaded guilty Wednesday.Under the plea deal, a...

Lawyer: Harvey Weinstein targeted by federal prosecutors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Harvey Weinstein's lawyer said in a court filing that federal prosecutors in New York have launched a criminal investigation into the film producer, in addition to a previously disclosed probe by the Manhattan District Attorney.Attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a...

Comedian Josh Denny not sorry about N-word tweets

NEW YORK (AP) — Comedian and Food Network host Josh Denny has called his tweets using the N-word and comparing use of "straight white male" to the racial slur as "very incendiary," but he said he's not sorry.The host of "Ginormous Food" appeared on Van Lathan's podcast "The Red Pill" on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

BE MINE: Maker of candy hearts, Necco Wafers sold at auction

BOSTON (AP) — The bankrupt 171-year-old candy maker known for its chalky Necco Wafers and those little...

Estimated 7,000 bodies may be buried at former asylum

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Some of the boxes stacked inside anthropologist Molly Zuckerman's laboratory...

Stand or stay out of sight: NFL takes on anthem protesters

ATLANTA (AP) — NFL owners approved a new policy Wednesday aimed at quelling the firestorm over national...

French government orders evacuation of Paris migrant camps

PARIS (AP) — Police are preparing to dismantle makeshift camps holding close to 2,500 migrants in the...

2 patients who fled Ebola ward among the dead in Congo

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Two infected patients who fled from an Ebola treatment center in a Congo city of 1.2...

Summits give aged North Korean spies hope of returning home

GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) — He's spent nearly six decades trapped on enemy soil, surviving 29 years in a...

Paul Elias, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The original charges were shocking: Six San Francisco police officers were accused of stealing from drug dealers. Then federal prosecutors released racist and homophobic text messages.

Those texts have now turned a small-time police corruption case into a racially charged scandal, thrusting a diverse and liberal city into the national debate over policing in minority communities.

"We now know this can happen in San Francisco," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said. "We're certainly not immune to the problems that we have seen in Baltimore, Staten Island, South Carolina."

The San Francisco turmoil comes amid growing tensions between police departments and communities of color. Large, sometimes violent protests over police treatment of black suspects have occurred in several cities over the last two years.

That has put police under a microscope. Three Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officers were fired last month and a fourth resigned after they were found to have exchanged racist messages about colleagues and the predominantly black neighborhood they patrolled.

In San Francisco, Police Chief Greg Suhr has moved to fire eight officers, two of whom have since retired. Six others also are facing some kind of discipline.

The district attorney, meanwhile, is looking into whether the department's racial problems run deeper than the officers implicated.

"In the process of looking at the text messages, increasingly I became uneasy that this may not be localized to the 14 officers that were being reported, but that we may have some systemic issues," Gascon said.

San Francisco Police spokesman Albie Esparza says the department supports the district attorney's examination, but disputes any suggestion that the police force of 2,100 sworn officers may suffer from systemic racism.

"This was an isolated incident," Esparza said. "To say it's systemic is unfounded."

The San Francisco police department hasn't faced widespread allegations of discrimination since Officers for Justice, a group of minority officers, sued the department in 1973. After the Department of Justice joined the lawsuit, the department settled the case in 1979 and agreed to hire more minorities and women. Nearly half of the sworn officers are minorities today.

News of the racist texts prompted outrage among community leaders. The Rev. Amos Brown, president of the NAACP's San Francisco chapter and minister at Third Baptist Church, said he wasn't surprised.

"We have seen this. We have lived this. We have breathed this discrimination," he said.

Lawyers for several implicated officers characterized the text messages as "banter" and failed attempts at humor. In one, Sgt. Yulanda Williams was called racist and sexist names by one of the texting officers when she was promoted to sergeant in 2011.

"We really have not moved as forward as we thought," she said. "I'm not prepared to say this was an isolated incident. This is just the tip of the iceberg."

At least one of the accused officers, Michael Robinson, is white and openly gay. Another, Sgt. Ian Furminger, is white. Police officials have so far declined to release the racial composition of the other implicated officers.

Officer Rain Daugherty said in a lawsuit filed Monday to halt his termination that he is "deeply ashamed" of the texts he wrote and that they are "unreflective of his strong commitment to exemplary community policing of all San Francisco's diverse citizens." Daugherty argues that he and the other officers shouldn't be fired because the department obtained the inflammatory texts in December 2012 but didn't start the disciplinary process until two years later.

The department says the texts were part of the corruption investigation and couldn't be disclosed to administrators until the criminal cases concluded.

It all started at the Henry Hotel in San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin neighborhood.

Hotel residents arrested in police raids began complaining in late 2010 to their public defenders that officers had entered their rooms without warrants and, on occasion, stole their valuables.

Public defender Jeff Adachi and his staff then obtained and sifted through 18 months of video surveillance captured by the hotel's security cameras. The videos showed officers entering the building then leaving with bags and other items that were never accounted for in evidence logs or court proceedings. The video also appeared to show officers entering rooms without warrants or permission from the residents.

The public defenders used the videos to confront and contradict officers' testimony, leading to several criminal cases being dismissed. Adachi also called a news conference to announce his findings, releasing the incriminating videos.

Taking note, federal authorities launched an investigation and charged six police officers with corruption and related charges. Investigators twice searched Furminger's cellphone, unearthing numerous offensive and racist texts with fellow officers. They included slurs against blacks, Mexicans, Filipinos and gays, and feature officers repeatedly using the phrase "white power."

Furminger is currently serving a 41-month prison sentence in a Colorado prison. He is appealing his conviction, and his attorney Mark Goldrosen declined comment.

In a court filing, Furminger denied that he was "a virulent racist and homophobe." The court filing said Furminger's "close friends include many persons of different races and different sexual orientation."

7/87/87/8___

AP writer Terence Chea contributed to this report from San Francisco.

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