05-23-2018  3:48 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...

Juliet Linderman, Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) — Jury selection for the first police officer to go to trial in Freddie Gray' s death began Monday with a judge questioning potential jurors about their knowledge of the explosive case, which led to widespread protests and rioting and added fuel to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams conducted initial questioning in a courtroom but planned to interview 66 prospective jurors in a private conference room — an indication of how difficult the selection process could be for the high-profile trial.

William Porter is one of six officers charged in the death of Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a severe spinal injury he suffered while in police custody.

Porter, who is also black, is accused of failing to get medical help for Gray during several stops made by the police van that carried Gray on a 45-minute trip. At the end, officers found Gray unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital and died a week later, on April 19.

The officer is being tried first in part because prosecutors want to use him as a witness in the trials of several other officers. He is charged with manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

The judge asked 75 potential jurors on Monday whether anyone had not heard about the case, the citywide curfew imposed after Gray's death or the settlement paid to his family. No one responded.

Twelve jurors said they had family members in law enforcement. Thirty-seven said they had been a victim or a suspect in a crime, had been to jail or had charges pending against them.

Twenty-six people said they had strong feelings about the charges against Porter.

Williams read aloud more than 200 names of possible witnesses that included more than 100 Baltimore police officers, lawyers and prosecutors.

A small group of protesters gathered outside the courtroom. Their chants of "All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray," could be heard throughout the proceedings.

A verdict is likely to set the tone for the city. If Porter is acquitted, there could be protests and possibly more unrest. A conviction could send shockwaves through the city's troubled police department.

"Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake," Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has said.

The judge said he expects the trial to wrap up by Dec. 17.

Two other officers are black and the three additional officers are white. They will be tried separately beginning in January. Their trials are expected to last until the spring.

For several days after Gray died, the demonstrations were mostly peaceful. But on the day he was buried, looting and rioting started, and businesses were burned down. The unrest resulted in millions of dollars in property damage.

The turmoil forced an incumbent mayor to drop out of a re-election campaign and toppled the career of a reform-minded police chief who was unceremoniously fired. The homicide rate soared, and the blood continues to spill on Baltimore's streets at a pace unseen in decades.

Davis stepped in as police chief in July, after a crime spike that saw 45 homicides in a single month.

Gray was initially handcuffed. Later during his van ride, his legs were shackled and he was placed back in the van without a seatbelt, a violation of department policy, prosecutors have said.

Porter told police investigators that arresting Gray "was always a big scene," according to a pretrial filing by defense attorneys. Porter indicated that he knew of a previous arrest in which Gray allegedly tried to kick out windows of a police vehicle.

"You know, so he was always, always, like, banging around," Porter said in the statement excerpted in the filing. "It was always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray."

Defense attorneys say that helps explain Porter's actions during Gray's arrest.

An independent review of the police response revealed "major shortcomings," and painted a portrait of an overwhelmed and under-prepared department that made tactical errors and endangered officers.

Hours before Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired in July, the police union issued its own scathing report. Its president called for Batts to "step up."

The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a probe into the department stemming from allegations that officers hassled people and used excessive force.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that Maryland has been preparing for any disturbances related to the trials ever since he called in the National Guard to help restore order in April. He said his administration's security team has been meeting on an almost on a weekly basis.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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