Tag Archives: murder

Officer convicted in killing of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare outcome in police shootings

A former police officer in Texas has been found guilty of murder in the high-profile shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare victory for civil rights activists seeking justice for the dozens of unarmed African American men and boys who have been killed by police officers in recent years.

As Judge Brandon Birmingham read the verdict Tuesday against Roy Oliver, who worked in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs, sobs came from the gallery of the packed courtroom. The last time an on-duty police officer in Dallas County was convicted of murder was in 1973. Oliver could be sentenced to life in prison.

“I’m just so thankful,” Jordan’s father, Odell Edwards, told reporters. “Thankful, thankful.”

Daryl Washington, an attorney representing the family, said the verdict meant more than justice for Jordan.

“It’s about Tamir Rice. It’s about Walter Scott. It’s about Alton Sterling,” he said, naming victims of police shootings in recent years. “It’s about every, every African American, unarmed African American, who has been killed and who has not gotten justice.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a link to a news story about the conviction, saying that Jordan’s “life should never have been lost.”

On the night of April 29, 2017, Oliver fired an MC5 rifle into a Chevrolet Impala carrying Jordan and two of his brothers as it pulled away from a high school house party. Jordan, who was struck in the head, died later at a hospital.

Police initially said the vehicle had backed up toward Oliver “in an aggressive manner,” but body camera video showed the car was moving away from him and his partner. Days after the shooting, Oliver, who had served in the department for six years, was fired.

Jordan’s stepbrother, Vidal Allen, was driving the car the night of the shooting.

“I was very scared,” Allen testified. “I just wanted to get home and get everyone safe.”

Oliver, 38, has said he feared for his life and his partner’s safety.

“I had to make a decision. This car is about to hit my partner,” Oliver testified in the trial. “I had no other option.”

After a weeklong trial, it took the jury one day to reach a verdict.

Jordan’s death echoes other police shootings involving black boys and men. But no convictions were handed down in most of those cases.

In November 2014, Cleveland police got a 911 call about someone brandishing a pistol near a park — the weapon, the caller said, was “probably fake.” But in an incident captured on camera, a police cruiser pulled into the park and Officer Timothy Loehmann jumped out and opened fire. Within seconds, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had a toy gun, was dead.

Even before Tamir’s death, the U.S. Department of Justice had been investigating the Cleveland Police Department. A month after his shooting, it released a report saying Cleveland police displayed a pattern of using unnecessary force.

A year later, a grand jury decided not to indict Loehmann in Tamir’s death, saying he had reason to fear for his life.

In September 2016, in Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed Tyre King, 13, who was carrying a BB gun while running from police. A grand jury declined to file criminal charges against the officer who killed him.

And in May 2017, an Oklahoma jury acquitted an officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, 40, as he stood with his hands above his head along a rural highway.

Those cases and others illustrate the difficulty of convicting police officers. The law in most places gives them the benefit of the doubt.

Prosecutors usually must show that an officer knowingly and intentionally killed without justification or provocation. A fear of harm has been successfully used as the justification for many shootings, even when the victim turned out to be unarmed.

The most recent case that ended in a conviction came last year when Michael Slager, a former officer in North Charleston, S.C., was first tried on murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was stopped for a driving with a broken taillight. But after those proceedings ended in a mistrial, Slager pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The last Dallas County police officer convicted for murder while on duty was Darrell Cain, who shot and killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez after forcing him to endure a version of Russian roulette while handcuffed inside a patrol car.

There was no immediate reaction to Thursday’s verdict from local or national police groups.

John Fullinwider, a longtime Dallas activist and co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, said Oliver’s conviction came as a surprise.

“I expected to see an angel fly over City Hall before I saw this murder conviction,” he said. “This is a victory, but we really need independent federal prosecutors in all fatal police shootings.”

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represents the Edwards family, said the conviction was justice for the country.

“We’ve seen time and time again, no charges, let alone convictions, in these high-profile shootings,” he said. “It is my hope that this is a turning point in the fight against police brutality against blacks.”

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Third XXXTentacion Murder Suspect Arrested in Georgia

Police have arrested a third suspect in XXXTentacion’s murder case.

According to reports, Robert Allen was arrested in rural Georgia after members of the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force closed in on him Wednesday (July 25). The Marshals got word that Allen was staying with his sister in Eastman, Georgia, and when they questioned her about his whereabouts, she cooperated with them.

Allen joins Michael Boatwright and Dedrick Williams as the third suspect in the case. Boatwright was named as one of the gunmen in the case, along with Trayvon Newsome, who is still at large. Williams is accused of driving the getaway car, while Allen’s role in the situation is unknown.

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Chinx’s Accused Killer Reportedly Talks Plea Deal With Prosecutors

Jamar Hill, one of two men accused of gunning down Chinx in Brooklyn in 2015, appeared in court on Monday (July 16), where it was revealed that he’s working on a plea deal with prosecutors. Queens prosecutor Brian Hughes revealed in court that they are still working on a disposition.

Chinx's Accused Killer Reportedly Talks Plea Deal With Prosecutors

Hill and Quincy Homere are accused of killing Chinx after he left a performance at Red Wolf nightclub in Brooklyn on May 17, 2015. The two men followed Chinx and opened fire on his new Porsche Panamera 4, hitting the rapper 15 times and his passenger, Antar Alziadi, twice in the back. Alziadi survived the shooting.

Hill is due back in court on September 12, and he, along with Homere, is facing 25 years to life if convicted of the murder.

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George Zimmerman Threatens Jay-Z Over Trayvon Martin Documentary

George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder, after he fatally shot a then 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012.

 

The case would become highly publicized as the incident highlighted racial disparities within many communities, and how Black children are often perceived as threatening and dangerous.

At the beginning of this year, Jay-Z and The Weinstein Company announced they would be creating a 6-part docuseries, “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” that would chronicle the life of Trayvon through his shooting by Zimmerman and the eventual acquittal. The documentary is set up in the same way they covered the life, arrest, jail time, and suicide of Kalief Browder.

During the shooting of the production, Zimmerman alleged to The Blast that a production team showed up unexpectedly to his home and “harassed” members of his family for on-camera interviews. His ex-wife was also paid to partake in the documentary, due to all of this, Zimmerman has threatened to “beat Jay-Z” and feed him to “an alligator.”

He told the publication, “I know how to handle people who f**k with me, and I have since February 2012,” morbidly referencing the night he fought and killed Trayvon.

The overall fate of the docuseries is currently in limbo due to the scandal with Harvey Weinstein.

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Sammy “The Bull” Gravano Released from Prison

Infamous mafia turncoat Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano was set free after serving 17 1/2 years behind bars, on Monday, September 18. The release comes nearly five years short of the full 20-year sentence he received for pleading guilty to running a $500,000-a-week drug ring in 2001. Gravano’s lengthy detention is not to be confused with the five-year sentence he was handed – of which he served less than a year – after helping to bring down Gotti and the New York mob in the early 1990’s.

Following Gravano’s historic plea deal, which virtually did away with the fate he would otherwise be facing for admitting to 19 murders, he lived under the witness protection program for a time, before relocating to Arizona. Gravano was a marked man as it was, considering his testimony as an informant on the witness stand in Gotti’s murder and racketeering trial led to the conviction of the Gambino Family boss and 39 other high-profile mobsters across the city’s five-family Cosa Nostra syndicate. But he’d draw an even larger target on his back by organizing a nearly 50-member team of ecstasy drug dealers to work for him, while under the watchful eye of the FBI.

Gravano will remain under federal parole for the rest of his life, per the orders of federal Judge Allyne Ross during his sentencing in 2002.

SOURCE: VLADTV

NFL Will Smith’s Killer Found Guilty

Cardell Hayes, the man who shot and killed New Orleans Saints star, Will Smith, was found guilty of manslaughter.

NFL Will Smith's Killer Found Guilty

Hayes argued that he was acting in self-defense in the road rage incident; however, the claim was rejected by a 12-person jury after a weeklong trial, and now faces up to 20-40 years in prison.

NFL Will Smith's Killer Found Guilty

According to NFL.com, the 29-year-old former tow truck driver and semi-pro football player was also convicted of attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith and will be sentenced in February. In a statement, Racquel’s attorney said, “Because of the upcoming sentencing hearing, in which Racquel will provide a victim impact statement, she does not feel it is appropriate to comment on the facts of the case at this time.” Her attorney continued, “The main focus of Will Smith’s family is to see Mr. Hayes justly sentenced for the murder he so callously committed.”

SOURCE: VLADTV

Tulsa Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter

Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer Betty Shelby has been charged with felony manslaughter in the first degree, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told reporters Thursday.

Shelby fatally shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher after his SUV stopped in a roadway last week.

Tulsa Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter
“We reviewed the facts of the allegations. It is our responsibility to determine if the filing of a criminal charge is justified under the law,” Kurnzweiler said.

An arrest warrant was issued for Shelby and arrangements have been made for her surrender, he said. It was not clear when she would turn herself in.

The criminal complaint against Shelby said her “fear resulted in her unreasonable actions which led her to shooting” Crutcher. She is accused of “unlawfully and unnecessarily” shooting Crutcher after he did not comply with her “lawful orders.”

Tulsa Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter
Attorneys for Crutcher’s family said they were “happy charges have been brought” against the officer and they will be seeking a “vigorous prosecution” of this case that results in a conviction.
The attorneys also expressed gratitude to the Tulsa Police Department.
“Today, we are thankful to TPD, we are thankful to (police) Chief (Chuck) Jordan for providing information to the District Attorney’s office, and we are happy that charges were brought,” attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons said during a news conference.
“This is a small victory,” Crutcher’s twin sister Tiffany told reporters.
“The chain breaks here. We’re going to break the chains of police brutality,” she added. “We know the history.”

Tulsa Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter
The possible penalty for conviction on first-degree manslaughter in Oklahoma is four years to life, according to Susan Witt, the public information officer for the district attorney’s office.
CNN reached out to Scott Wood, the attorney for Shelby, but has not received a response.
Earlier this week, Wood said his client thought Crutcher was behaving strangely and ignored her commands, and that she was afraid that he might be reaching for a weapon.

Tulsa Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter
Multiple police cameras, including ones mounted in squad cars and in a helicopter, captured the Crutcher shooting on tape. In the video, Crutcher can be seen with his hands raised above his head prior to his death. He walks away from Shelby towards his car.
None of the videos showed whether the vehicle window was open or closed.
There was no weapon found in the car. Activists planned a rally Thursday night in Tulsa. In a tweet the group WethePeopleOkalhoma said, “There is still work to be done.”
“There is currently no credible information that any of the gatherings, protests, or rallies will be anything other than peaceful,” according to a statement on the Tusla Police Department Facebook page.
The department was aware of several demonstrations in the Tulsa area, it said.

Tulsa Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter
It all started after a 911 call Friday from a woman said an abandoned car was blocking the street and a man was running away. The man warned that it was going to blow up, the caller said.
Shelby was the first officer to arrive on the scene, though she was not responding to the 911 call. Her attorney said she was on her way to a domestic violence call when she saw Crutcher.

//cdnapisec.kaltura.com/p/591531/sp/59153100/embedIframeJs/uiconf_id/6740162/partner_id/591531?iframeembed=true&playerId=kaltura_player_1413478522&entry_id=0_vejnmuslSOURCE: CNN