October 01, 2020
LAWT News Service
Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1196 (Gipson) today, a bill that makes it illegal for law enforcement statewide to use chokehold and carotid restraints to forcibly detain a suspect.
Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) authored AB 1196 in response to the tragic death of George Floyd and hundreds of other suspects subjected to dangerous chokeholds and carotid restraints used by law enforcement.
“California has again led the nation by passing some of the strictest police use-of-force standards while also mandating de-escalation and use-of-force training. The people have made it clear that now is the time to rise up and recognize that changes must be made so that law enforcement can do what they were sworn to do – protect and serve,” said Assemblymember Gipson.
“This bill clearly defines some of the substantive changes that are needed. It’s a beginning.”
Gipson stated, “AB 1196 will not bring back George Floyd, Eric Garner, Fermin Vincent Valenzuela or any of the other victims who have died from these restraints but it will prevent more unnecessary fatalities.
It’s a step towards healing and repairing trust between the community and law enforcement. I applaud Governor Newsom for signing AB 1196 and the other police reform bills. Having the incredible support of Speaker Anthony Rendon gave this bill the support need to get it across the finish line and I’m very grateful.”
Last week, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D- Lakewood) appointed Gipson to chair the inaugural Assembly Select Committee on Police Reform. "I am honored by the solemn responsibility of the Speaker's appointment,” said Gipson. “The committee will continue California’s leadership in police reform and seek measures to ensure public safety. We can and will do more.”
October 01, 2020
By City News Service
An ex-con arrested earlier this month in connection with a carjacking was charged today with trying to kill two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, who were wounded in an ambush shooting while sitting in their patrol car outside a transit center in Compton.
Deonte Lee Murray, 36, pleaded not guilty to two counts each of attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the Sept. 12 attack on the deputies, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
He had already been charged Sept. 17 with one felony count each of carjacking, second-degree robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm – along with gang and gun allegations – involving a Sept. 1 carjacking in Compton, in which he allegedly shot a man in the leg with a high-powered rifle and stole his black Mercedes-Benz. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and has remained behind bars since his Sept. 15 arrest.
Two additional charges stemming from the earlier crime – attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon – have since been added, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Murray, who is due back in a Compton courtroom Nov. 17, was ordered to remain behind bars. His bail was increased from just over $1 million to $6.15 million as a result of the new charges.
The Compton resident could face a potential life prison term if convicted as charged, District Attorney Jackie Lacey told reporters.
“We've all seen the shocking surveillance video of the shooting and the heroic actions of the wounded female deputy as she drags her partner to safety,” the county's top prosecutor said. “That video, plus other compelling forensic evidence, are the basis of charges for this prosecution.”
Surveillance video showed the suspect approaching the patrol vehicle from behind, walking up to the passenger side of the SUV, pulling out a handgun and firing through the passenger side window before running away about 7 p.m. The Transit Service Bureau deputies were parked outside the Metro A (Blue Line) Station at Willowbrook Avenue and Palmer Street.
Murray allegedly fled in a black Mercedes-Benz – the type of vehicle that had been stolen in the carjacking – and was driving a Toyota Solara when he discarded a pistol while being pursued by sheriff's investigators prior to a standoff in Lynwood three days after the deputies were shot, according to sheriff's homicide Capt. Kent Wegener.
Ballistics testing subsequently determined that the .40-caliber pistol was the same one that had been used to shoot the sheriff's deputies in Compton and it was “conclusively linked through forensic testing” to Murray, the sheriff's homicide captain said.
The pistol was five rounds short of its full capacity, according to Wegener, who said five rounds had been fired at the deputies.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva had earlier told multiple media outlets that there was no connection between the ambush of the deputies and the carjacking suspect, who was arrested after a chase and standoff that ended in Lynwood.
“We're not going to tell you everything we suspect,” the sheriff said, in defending his earlier remarks. “We would not be doing our job. We had no evidence at the time to tie him to anything else. Did we have suspicions? Yes ... We have to be very careful and responsible with what we put out there.”
Investigators initially had no evidence that Murray – who has prior convictions for sales and possession of narcotics, firearm possession by a felon or addict, receiving stolen property, burglary and terrorist threats – was responsible for the attack on the deputies, according to Wegener.
“We knew that he was a violent offender, was accused of stealing a black Mercedes-Benz and lived in the area. However, there was insufficient evidence to support an arrest, much less a criminal filing for the charge of attempted murder on a peace officer and to label him in the media as the person responsible,” the sheriff's homicide captain said.
“Additionally, bringing the public focus on him at that point of the investigation may have influenced the pending witness interviews and further compromised the mission of solving the attempted murder of the deputies,” he said. “As the investigation progressed, we gathered sufficient evidence to substantiate not only the arrest but the filing of criminal charges in this case.”
The sheriff's homicide captain said the black Mercedes-Benz that had been taken when the carjacking victim was shot was located “a short distance” from the containment scene that had been set up by sheriff's deputies during the standoff.
Investigators have also collected dozens of video clips from throughout the area near where the deputies were shot that “document the suspect's travels prior to the shooting, during the assault and through the time that the Mercedes-Benz was abandoned in the city of Lynwood,” according to Wegener, who said investigators believe Murray acted alone.
When asked to comment on a motive for the attack on the deputies, Wegener said, “He obviously hates policeman and he wants them dead.”
The sheriff said “we saw the worst of humanity – a cowardly act where a suspect ambushed and shot and attempted to kill two of our deputies.”
“This cowardly ambush was followed by bystanders celebrating and cheering that the deputies had been shot, and that followed at the hospital – the sanctity, the quiet sanctity of the hospital – with protesters cheering and chanting for the deputies to die,” Villanueva said. “These acts and that day, I will not forget it, and it represents the worst in humanity and it shocked the whole nation. And that evening, I said we will find this man. And I can report today, we have found our suspect.”
He said was heartened by an “outpouring of support” from across the nation by people from all walks of life, along with both presidential candidates.
“Sometimes from the worst comes the best and this is an example of that,” the sheriff said. “We have a suspect in custody and justice will be served.”
One of the deputies, a 24-year-old man, was released from the hospital Sept. 16, and the other deputy, a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy, was released from the hospital just over a week ago.
Both deputies, who were sworn in 14 months earlier, are recovering at home, Villanueva said. They face reconstructive surgeries and that it's “going to be a lengthy process,” he said. “But, fortunately, they're doing O.K.”
October 01, 2020
By Antonio Ray Harvey
California Black Media
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed the state’s historic reparations bill into law.
Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 moves descendants of enslaved Americans one step closer to getting restitution for centuries of free labor and legal discrimination that followed it, supporters say. But Black Californians who may qualify for reparations payments, should not expect a check any time soon for the ills of slavery.
AB 3121, titled “The Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans,” would create a nine-member commission to investigate the history of slavery in the United States, the extent of California’s involvement in slavery, segregation and the denial of Black citizens their constitutional rights — and how much the state benefited from those activities and policies.
Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who is chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, authored the bill.
Between both houses of the Legislature, 93 lawmakers voted in favor of AB 3121 while 15, all Republicans, opposed it. Ten legislators abstained from voting on the bill.
The bill would require the task force to identify, compile, and synthesize the relevant corpus of evidentiary documentation of the institution of slavery that existed within the United States and the colonies.
The bill would also require the Task Force to recommend the form of compensation that should be awarded, the apparatus through which it should be awarded, and who should be eligible for this compensation. The recommendation must be submitted to the legislature no later than 2023.
American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS), an organization that advocates economic empowerment and reparations for Black Americans, praised the efforts of its organizers, activists, and allies throughout the state of California “to see this bill through to its successful end.”
ADOS California comprises chapters in Los Angeles, Sacramento, the Inland Empire, Fresno, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Senate passage of AB 3121 brings our great state of California one step closer to finally confronting its legacy of supporting the institution of Slavery, Jim Crow, and ongoing racial exclusion,” Chris Lodgson of ADOS said in the written statement. “The fight is not over. We look forward to the opportunity for follow-up in the upcoming legislative session where AB 3121 can be enhanced to ensure it meets this historic moment in our nation’s history.”
Reparations are compensation to amend for a wrong that was committed. In the case of African Americans, reparations would apply to the production and free labor from the enslaved.
At certain points in America’s history, reparations for historic injustices have been settled. Native Americans have been provided land grants and billions of dollars in various parts of the United States because they were killed and robbed of their ancestral territories.
Japanese Americans received billions and some of their property was returned because they were placed in incarceration camps during World War II. Those injustices happened under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, shortly after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
The United States made amends through the Marshall Plan to help Jewish people obtain compensation for the Holocaust. The plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was enacted in 1948 and paid out over $15 billion to help the continent rebuild.
African Americans, with all the atrocities they faced during and after slavery, are the only group that has not been awarded any compensation for state-sanctioned racial discrimination.
“This can be accomplished by ensuring Black American Descendants of U.S. Slavery and Jim Crow are the sole and exclusive focus, that Task Force membership is expanded to include leading reparationists and reparations scholars, and requiring the California legislature to consider the Task Force’s proposals for redress,” Lodgson said.
September 24, 2020
By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
More than half of voters 50-years and older in crucial battleground states are worried about contracting the novel coronavirus.
At the same time, African Americans are particularly opposed to how President Donald Trump has handled the pandemic, according to extensive polling commissioned by AARP.
In Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group surveyed 1,200 to 1,600 likely voters from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 by landline and cellphone.
The margin of error for each was between plus or minus 2.5 percent and 2.8 percent.
In Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, and Montana, the bipartisan polling firms of Fabrizio Ward and Hart Research did telephone interviews by landline and cellphone of likely voters from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5.
The firms surveyed 800 likely voters, oversampling voters 50-plus in each state. The error margin varied among the states, but each was less than plus or minus 4 percent.
AARP launched the poll on Tuesday, Sept. 15, one week before National Voter Education Day which falls on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Officials said AARP’s robust Protect Voters 50+ campaign is designed to reach these voters in each state to make sure they know how to cast a safe and secure ballot.
Even though 90 percent of older Americans believe that the country has become too divided, AARP’s battleground state polls show that the support of voters age 65-plus is very much up for grabs.
For the polling, voters were asked where they stand on a range of concerns — from the coronavirus to the U.S. Postal Service and cuts to Social Security, to the debate over racial justice and law-and-order priorities.
The most significant concern expressed by voters about the virus was from Florida and Michigan, where 58 percent of respondents said they were worried about contracting the coronavirus.
Fifty-five percent of voters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina noted that they were concerned about catching the illness, and 54 percent of those in Arizona and 53 percent of individuals in Wisconsin voiced the same worry.
More than 80 percent of voters in all six states declared that they would more likely vote for a candidate who increased protections for nursing home residents during the pandemic.
The poll also revealed that African Americans are standing firmly behind Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, whom many Black voters said they oppose how the Republican president has managed the coronavirus pandemic.
Many African Americans expressed that they were more likely to have known someone who died from the virus.
Black respondents relayed concerns that they would catch the virus and related severe reservations about a potential vaccine.
A majority said they’d still refuse to accept a vaccine shot even if offered free of charge.
With the continued debate over voter protections, those in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, and Montana are divided between those who believe votes that are cast in person at a polling place and those that are mailed will all be counted accurately, according to the poll.
For example, while 51 percent of voters in Georgia believe the count of votes cast in person will be more accurate, 48 percent of voters in Colorado and Montana say mail and in-person ballots will be counted accurately.
Voters also have varying views on whether the expansion of mail voting will lead to voter fraud.
For example, in Georgia, 61 percent of voters 50-plus believe more mail voting will mean more fraud, while voters in Maine are evenly split — 50 percent to 50 percent — on that question.
Black Americans expressed concern about the U.S. Postal Service and that the reduction of funding would prevent election ballots from being counted.
While African Americans were also troubled by the prospects of in-person voting and wary of early voting, they were less bothered by potential voter fraud, according to the poll.
By overwhelming margins, older voters in 11 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) with competitive races for president and the U.S. Senate declared that they are more likely to vote for candidates who promise to protect Social Security benefits and strengthen Medicare.
With President Trump declaring a platform of law and order, voters in five key states -- Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine and Montana – were asked whether they were more likely to vote for a candidate focused on maintaining law and order and preventing looting and rioting in America’s cities, or a nominee who is focused on increasing racial justice and reducing police violence against unarmed African Americans.
In four of the five states, more than 50 percent were more concerned with maintaining law in order.
In Maine, 46 percent would support a candidate focused on law and order, while 44 percent prefer a candidate focused on racial justice.
In the six battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the presidential race is tight among voters 50 and older.
Biden holds leads in Arizona (49 percent to 48 percent), Pennsylvania (50 percent to 46 percent), and Wisconsin (50 percent to 46 percent). While Trump has the edge in Florida (50 percent to 47 percent), the two are in a dead heat in North Carolina, tied at 48 percent.
Biden does enjoy a commanding lead in Michigan by a margin of 54 percent to 40 percent.
In all those states, the presidential race is within the surveys’ margins of error.
“Now more than ever, there are critical issues on the line in this election and AARP is working hard to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” stated Shani Hosten, AARP’s vice president of Multicultural Leadership.
“Our campaign is providing trusted information to African American voters through our communications channels, including our website, publications, media outreach and advertising to ensure the African American Community knows their voting options and where candidates stand on the issues we care about.”