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The Myth And Reality Of “Black On Black” Crime

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Kenosha, Wisconsin demonstrators peacefully protesting.

Following the wrongful shooting of Jacob Blake, conversations regarding police brutality permeate social media, news cycles, and dinner tables. Routinely the idea of “Black on Black” crime always manages to enter these spaces of discussion. “Black on Black” crime is dually a myth and a reality, here is why.

What We Know:

  • “Black on Black” crime is a subset of the statistical data that quantifies crime as a whole. Therefore alongside “Black on Black” crime, there is “White on White” crime or even “Asian on Asian” crime. So statistically, “black on black” crime is a very real tool to measure crime.
  • According to The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2019, crime victimization statistics report those who commit violent acts tend to commit them against members of the same race as the offender. The report noted that 62% of violent incidents committed against white victims were perpetrated by white offenders and 70% of violent incidents committed against Black victims were perpetrated by Black offenders. The data from the BJS report shows that crime has more to do with proximity and likeness than any other variable.
  • A similar concept used to deflect from issues of police brutality and white supremacy is the idea that there is a disproportionate amount of crime perpetrated by Black people in comparison to any other race. While this trope carries weight, crime is more closely related to poverty than race. In order to break the cycles of violence within a given community, it is imperative to dismantle the systems of white supremacy that keep a community in poverty.
  • The emphasis of “Black on Black” crime is intentional. There is an agenda behind constantly reducing a community to being violent. The concept stirs conversations of police brutality away from white supremacy which is ultimately the most pressing enemy of Black people in America.
  • The narrative of “Black on Black” crime will continue to plague dialogue regarding race across America; however, unarmed Jacob Blake was shot in the back by Wisconsin law enforcement seven times in front of his children all under the age of 8-years-old for attempting to break up a fight. Whereas Kenosha shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse safely remains in custody after parading an assault-style weapon around a peaceful protest and ultimately murdering two Wisconsin protestors.

The treatment of White, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, in comparison to 29-year-old, African American Jacob Blake proves “Black on Black” crime is not the enemy of black people – law enforcement is.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Crime

New Orleans 911 Operator Wanted After Allegedly Disconnecting Calls on Purpose

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A New Orleans 911 operator deliberately disconnected emergency calls without obtaining necessary information or relaying the callers’ emergencies to other dispatchers, and she is now facing arrest, according to authorities.

What We Know:

  • Precious Stephens, 25, is wanted on a count of malfeasance in office, and she remained at large Thursday, police said. She has been fired from her job as a 911 operator, officials said.

“(The district) has and will continue to cooperate with the … investigation into this matter and dedicated to providing any and all assistance to aid in (the) efforts.”

  • Stephens worked for the Orleans Parish Communication District, which dispatches first responders to 911 calls. On Aug. 24, the district reported to police that Stephens had deliberately disconnected 911 calls without obtaining vital information or informing other dispatchers about the callers who were in need of help.  The district conducted an investigation into the quality of a random set of calls when they detected the problems with Stephens during her shifts Aug. 20 and Aug. 21, officials said.  A statement from the district highlighted how its own internal protocols identified the issues with Stephens, who was immediately turned over to police and dismissed from her post.

Police asked anyone who knows where Stephens is to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.

Louisiana law defines malfeasance in office as unlawfully performing a job in public service. It can carry up to five years in prison.

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Crime

R&B Star R. Kelly Jurors Summoned for Sex Trafficking Trial

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The first phase of R. Kelly‘s trial began on Aug. 9 with a jury selection after several delays.

What We Know:

  • U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly asked potential jurors if they could keep an open mind about Kelly as he faces charges for abusing women and girls for nearly two decades. Donnelly also reminded jurors that Kelly was presumed innocent, so they should not feel influenced by any bad publicity the singer experienced because of the accusations.
  • Due to pandemic restrictions, the event took place online. Because of this, Kelly and the jurors faced difficulty popping up on the screen and the audio cut off at times.
  • During the trial, jurors will expect to hear testimonies from several of Kelly’s accusers. In addition, a judge ruled that officials may only use the women’s first names. Currently, Kelly faces sex trafficking charges. Scrutiny around Kelly’s sexual behavior has followed him for decades. These include charges for child pornography. Alongside the sex-trafficking case in New York, Kelly also faces sex-related charges against him in Illinois and Minnesota.
  • In addition, prosecutors might provide evidence that Kelly schemed with others to buy a fake ID for late R&B singer Aaliyah. In 1994, when Aaliyah was only 15, Kelly married and began a sexual relationship with her; it is also speculated he impregnated her. Prosecutors believe he married her so that she could not testify against him.
  • In regards to his sex-trafficking trial, Kelly denies any wrongdoing; he has pleaded not guilty to leading a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards, and other employees who recruited women and girls for sex. Concerning the criminal enterprise, federal prosecutors reported the group found victims at concerts and other venues. After recruiting the women and children, they would make travel arrangements so they could meet with Kelly. Kelly’s lawyers claimed the victims were “groupies” who showed up at his concerts and “were dying to be with” Kelly.

The case is scheduled to officially begin on Aug. 18 with opening statements.

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