05-24-2018  4:08 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

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

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — An "unlikely" string of events prompted Amazon's Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle, the company said Thursday.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an...

Portland streetcar derails in crash; 1 injury

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland streetcar derailed during an accident involving several vehicles.No major injuries have been reported, but police say one person was taken to a hospital.The crash happened early Thursday afternoon in the Central Eastside Industrial District.The streetcar's "B...

Suspect in 1986 Washington murder case pleads not guilty

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A man arrested in the killing of a 13-year-old Tacoma, Washington girl over three decades ago has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.The News Tribune reports 60-year-old Robert Washburn pleaded not guilty Thursday in Tacoma, Washington, to murder with aggravated...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — An "unlikely" string of events prompted Amazon's Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle, the company said Thursday.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an...


Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

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 ...


Staley settles lawsuit against Missouri athletic director

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley has reached a ,000 settlement in her lawsuit against Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk.Missouri is paying the ,000. One half of the settlement will go to INNERSOLE, a nonprofit foundation co-founded by Staley. The other half will...

San Francisco police not charged in black man's 2015 killing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco prosecutors said Thursday that they will not charge officers in two shooting deaths, including the killing of a black man that led to citywide protests three years ago and federally recommended police reforms.District Attorney George Gascon declined to...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking violation is just the latest setback for efforts to improve relations between Milwaukee officers and the city's black population.The confrontation involving Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee...


Scenes cut from 'Show Dogs' over resemblance to sexual abuse

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two scenes are being cut from the family movie "Show Dogs" after complaints that they resemble real-life sexual abuse, the movie's distributor has announced.In the movie, a police dog goes undercover at a dog show to catch animal smugglers.In one scene, the dog is told to...

Tommy Chong reflects on pot's evolution as he turns 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they...

Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct.The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands...


MLB panel says baseballs getting extra lift, cause unknown

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseballs really have been getting extra lift since 2015, and it's not from the exaggerated...

Tommy Chong reflects on pot's evolution as he turns 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana...

Bus driver charged in crash that killed student, teacher

A school bus driver with a history of driver's license suspensions caused a fatal crash on a New Jersey highway...

Israel defense chief plans 2,500 new West Bank settler homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister said Thursday he will seek approval next week to fast-track...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

SALALAH, Oman (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu roared over the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on its way...

Saudi Arabia releases 3 women as other activists still held

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi authorities have released three prominent women's rights...

Trudy Nan Boyce
BY HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — In "Underground Airlines," an upcoming novel by Ben Winters, a Black bounty hunter rides through a poor neighborhood in Indianapolis alongside a white policeman.

"As we crossed Broad Ripple Avenue," Winters writes, "we passed a small knot of black kids, laughing and walking together on the narrow sidewalk; one of them, a short kid pushing a bike, wore a hoodie pulled low over his eyes. Cook slowed down and gave a blurp of the siren, gestured at the kid to make sure his face was showing. I caught the kid in the mirror with his middle finger aloft, a miniature of impotent rage frozen in the side-view as we drove away."

Winters could imagine the scene simply by following the news. The wave of police killings that helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement is also influencing a genre that captured tensions between police and non-white communities well before the rise of social media and cellphone videos. Publishers and writers say that story lines known to readers of Gary Phillips or Walter Mosley or Eleanor Taylor Bland will likely become more common and intense.

"When you're writing a book, you're not in an isolation chamber," said Winters, who in "Underground Airlines" depicts slavery still being legal in the U.S.

"This particular issue has long and faithfully been represented in crime fiction," said Joshua Kendall, editor-in-chief of the crime fiction imprint Mulholland Books, Winters' publisher. "It's simply that much of the fiction has been overlooked, just as the actual rate of abuse overlooked by media until now. That said, we need and want more fiction about it. The curiosity, concern and appetite seem to have finally grown."

David Baldacci's novel "The Last Mile," scheduled for April, tells of a black man on death row and the likelihood he was wrongly convicted. Mosley, best known for "Devil in the Blue Dress" and other novels featuring the black detective Easy Rawlins, says he has been working on a book about a former New York City policeman investigating the shooting of two officers by a black man and learning that the officers had tried to kill the man first.

"In the end he realizes that he has to come to some kind of understanding about how the system works, that his own sense of law and justice is never going to work for him," says Mosley, who is calling the novel "Detective, Heal Thyself."

Louise Penny's "The Great Reckoning," coming out in August, focuses on a corrupt police academy in Quebec and how trainees absorb a hostile mentality toward non-whites. In one passage, a white cadet confronts a black woman, Myrna Landers, and glares at her as he tells her not to advance any further.

"Myrna Landers had seen that look many times," Penny writes. "When stopped for traffic tickets. While walking in civil rights marches through Montreal. She'd seen it in reports of riots and police shootings. She'd seen it in color and in black and white. In recent news reports and in old newsreels. And archival photographs. Of the deep South. And the enlightened North."

But crime fiction is no more diverse than much of the book world and, at least in the near future, many narratives that take on race will likely come from white authors such as Baldacci, Winters and Trudy Nan Boyce. Kendall is trying to change that. He has agreed to a multibook deal with Attica Locke and says he is looking to sign up other black writers.

Phillips, who set his 1994 novel "Violent Spring" in the aftermath of the Los Angeles police beating of Rodney King, said he was hoping that such younger authors as Aaron Philip Clark and Desiree Zamorano would tell stories reflecting more recent events.

"The old days of the PI with just a file and an address and a sexy secretary are long dead," said the 60-year-old author. "Back in the 1980s and '90s writers like me and Walter Mosley and Paula Woods pushed the envelope forward and looked at different issues. I think the younger folks will do even better pushing it forward more. You have writers in this field who are going to be able to use things like Ferguson and what's happening on college campuses."

"Everyone knows of Walter Mosley, and there have been other excellent black crime writers published in recent years, such as Paula Woods," says Mark Tavani, vice president and executive editor of G.P. Putnam's Sons. "But in my experience these writers are a small percentage of those I see. As the larger discussion about race and justice engages more people, I can see that changing."

Boyce is a former Atlanta police officer whose debut novel, "Out of the Blues," came out last month. She said she is currently working on a book about the murder of students at Spelman College, a prominent black liberal arts school in Atlanta, and the protests that follow when the suspects are not identified. Boyce added that the new novel, currently untitled, was inspired in part by the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"As in many cases where there's a violent confrontation between the police and citizens, that incident did not begin with the encounter between the officer (Darren Wilson) and Mr. Brown. That incident had its roots in the systemic racism and the legacy of slavery that survives today," she said.

"So the next novel I have written has an even stronger thread exploring some of the issues between the police in Atlanta and citizens who are confronting a justice system that they do not trust."

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