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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

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For Christmas tree farms to survive, shoppers will need to be more flexible

November Holiday Travel at PDX Brings More Comfort, Convenience and Furry Friends

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NEWS BRIEFS

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Artist Talk with 13-year-old Local to be Held This Tuesday, Nov. 26

Hobbs Waters will be discussing his solo exhibit “Thirteen” at The Armory in Portland ...

Commercial ocean crabbing further delayed in Oregon

NEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — State shellfish managers say the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season will be further delayed until at least Dec. 31 along the entire Oregon coast as testing shows crab are still too low in meat yield in half of the areas along the coast.The World reports the...

2 businesses sue pipeline company over 2016 explosion

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two businesses whose Northwest Portland storefronts were destroyed by a 2016 gas explosion have filed new lawsuits against the company that was digging at the time.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Portland Bagelworks owners Kim and Rik Bartel are suing Loy Clark...

Missouri fires football coach Barry Odom after 4 seasons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom on Saturday, ending the four-year stay of a respected former player who took over a program in disarray but could never get the Tigers over the hump in the brutal SEC.The Tigers finished 6-6 and 3-5 in the conference after...

Powell, Missouri snap 5-game skid with win over Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In a game started by third- and fifth-string quarterbacks, the outcome was decided by one of their backups. It was appropriate enough for Arkansas and Missouri, two teams facing their longest losing streaks in decades.Fayetteville High School graduate Taylor Powell...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

NFL At 100: Rooney Rule has its positives and its faults

In 2003, the NFL had three minority head coaches: future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy, Herman Edwards and Marvin Lewis. In the 12 previous seasons, there had been six. Total. Considering that the majority of the players in the league 16 years ago were minorities, that imbalance was...

Voting site reopened in Georgia after grassroots fight

HAZLEHURST, Ga. (AP) — When local election officials shut down a polling site in a predominantly black area of a rural Georgia county, displaced voters couldn’t look to the federal government to intervene as it once did in areas with a history of racial disenfranchisement.So residents...

Haley: Killer 'hijacked' Confederate flag meaning for some

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said in an interview that a man who gunned down nine worshipers at an African American church in 2015 “hijacked” the ideals many connected to the Confederate battle flag.Haley told conservative political commentator and Blaze TV host Glenn Beck...

ENTERTAINMENT

R. Kelly charged with paying bribe before marrying Aaliyah

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors are accusing singer R. Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a secret ceremony in 1994.The revised indictment, filed Thursday in New York, accuses...

Bloomberg: His news reporters need to accept restrictions

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheck, including the ban on investigating their boss.Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about...

Billy Joel, Kardashians Diplo descend on Miami for Art Basel

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — As gallerists and collectors descend on Miami's most prestigious art fair by day, the Hollywood crowd knows it's all about the exclusive after parties. Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Pharrell were in town while DJ Khaled and rappers Travis Scott and Gucci Mane held...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP Exclusive: 629 Pakistani girls sold as brides to China

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who...

Chicago chief's firing again rattles confidence in force

CHICAGO (AP) — The unceremonious firing of Chicago's police superintendent just weeks before his retirement...

Tensions as yellow vests join French retirement protests

PARIS (AP) — Paris police skirmished Saturday with yellow vest activists joining a wave of protest actions...

AP Exclusive: 629 Pakistani girls sold as brides to China

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who...

Venice tide barriers pass another test, but skeptics remain

VENICE, Italy (AP) — Floated along by barge , one of the 10-ton barriers designed to relieve...

AP PHOTOS: Ukraine war prisoners struggle to rebuild lives

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — For Anna Sergeyeva, rebuilding her life after surviving a week of captivity and...

McMenamins
Karen Hawkins Associated Press


Jon Burge

CHICAGO (AP) -- Fifteen incarcerated men who claim they were sent to prison by confessions that were beaten, burned and tortured out of them by convicted Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge and his officers are getting some high-profile help - including from a former Illinois governor.

In a friend-of-the-court brief to be filed Wednesday with the Illinois Supreme Court, ex-Gov. Jim Thompson and more than 60 current and former prosecutors, judges and lawmakers are asking for new evidentiary hearings for inmates who say their convictions were based on coerced confessions.

The brief marks the first effort on behalf of alleged Burge victims as a group and not separate individual cases, attorneys said.

Burge's name has become synonymous with police abuse in the nation's third-largest city, and more than 100 men - most of them African-American and Latino- have alleged Burge and his men tortured them from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Burge was convicted last year of lying about whether he ever witnessed or participated in the torture of suspects. He's serving a 4 1/2-year sentence at Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

Burge never has faced criminal charges for abuse. He was fired from the police department in 1993 over the 1982 beating and burning of Andrew Wilson, a suspect later convicted of killing two police officers.

The brief "gives the Illinois Supreme Court the opportunity to finally and firmly repudiate the Burge era of the Chicago Police Department," said Thompson, a former Republican Illinois governor and U.S. attorney.

Lawyers are filing the brief in the case of Stanley Wrice, an inmate who has been claiming since 1982 that he falsely confessed to a brutal sexual assault only after Burge's officers beat him in the face and groin with a flashlight and a piece of rubber.

Wrice, 57, is serving a 100-year sentence. Attorneys say he's one of the longest-serving inmates with a Burge torture claim.

Each of Wrice's attempts for a new hearing had been turned down until December, when the appellate court granted him a new evidentiary hearing. Prosecutors looking to block the hearing asked the Illinois Supreme Court to take the case, and the justices agreed.

At issue before the high court is whether a coerced confession can ever be considered "harmless error" in a criminal trial, attorneys said. The special prosecutor's office that's handling Wrice's case has argued that a conviction could stand - even if it involved a coerced confession - if the person could have been proven guilty without the confession.

Wrice's case has gone farther than any other current claim involving Burge, and other inmates are either awaiting decisions or have given up, attorneys say. The brief to be filed Wednesday asks the high court to: order prosecutors to identify each inmate who claims their confession was coerced by Burge or his men; appoint lawyers to inmates who need them; order evidentiary hearings in the cases; and to order the Cook County Circuit Court to vacate the convictions of inmates whose convictions it was determined were based on coerced confessions.

Justices "have an opportunity to take control of this problem and to fix it," said attorney Locke Bowman, who plans to file the brief. He's represented several alleged torture victims who have been freed from prison and have civil suits pending against Burge.

The brief's signers include both attorneys and advocates who have represented alleged Burge victims as well as former prosecutors, judges and politicians who have rarely, if ever, publicly weighed in on the Burge case.

"This brief is a group of non-usual suspects coming forward to implore the court to seize the opportunity to declare emphatically that torture has no place in our criminal justice system," said Bowman, legal director of the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University.

Former U.S. Attorney Thomas Sullivan said he signed on to stop the piecemeal approach the Burge cases have taken in the past.

"I feel that it's important that there be a full judicial examination of what went on...not case by case," Sullivan said.

Heidi Lambros, one of Wrice's attorneys, said the friend-of-the-court brief was signed by "some heavy hitters" to help demonstrate an outside perspective on the case.

She said she is also pleased with a brief filed Tuesday by students working with the Chicago Innocence Project, who got affidavits from witnesses in the Wrice case who say they were tortured into implicating him.

Thompson said that while the hearings will take time and money, "the end is worth it."

The Supreme Court could hear oral arguments in Wrice's case as early as mid-September.

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Karen Hawkins can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/khawkinsAP .

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