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Trooper Who Faced Firing in Black Man’s Death Dies in Crash

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Family members of Ronald Greene listen to speakers during a protest in Washington, DC. (Michael M. Santiago/Pool via AP)
Family members of Ronald Greene listen to speakers during a protest in Washington, DC. (Michael M. Santiago/Pool via AP)

A Louisiana state trooper, known for his role in an in-custody death of a Black man earlier last year, has died. The death was caused by a single-vehicle highway crash and happened a brief time before he would have been fired.

What We Know:

  • Chief investigator for the Ouachita Parish Coroner’s Office Warren Lee stated that Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth was the fatal victim. He was pronounced dead on Tuesday after a short hospitalization. Hollingsworth was reportedly airlifted to Shreveport early Monday immediately following the crash on Interstate 20 near Monroe. No further details have been given on the accident.

  • Hours prior to the fatal crash, Hollingsworth was notified that State Police had the intention to terminate his position as a result of his involvement in the death of Ronald Greene. An internal investigation on the May 2019 death of the 49-year-old Black man drew a considerable amount of criticism and developed into a federal civil rights investigation.
  • Authorities initially noted that Greene’s death was caused by a high-speed chase in rural northern Louisiana, which allegedly began over a traffic violation and ended with his vehicle impacting a tree. Greene’s family accuses troopers of using excessive force while taking him into custody.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday that he had not seen footage of the incident himself, but pledged to make it public once investigations conclude. “When that happens,” he said, “the videos will be shown”. Greene’s family has also called for “the immediate arrest of the remaining men responsible for this tragic and unnecessary death”.

“Trooper Hollingsworth’s family has the finality of knowing exactly how he died as their community mourns his loss,” said Lee Merritt, a prominent civil rights attorney representing the family. “The family of Ronald Greene, however, is still being denied the same finality by the State of Louisiana.”

  • Greene’s family added another federal wrongful-death lawsuit last May to what seems to be a growing list of similar cases this year. They accuse troopers of brutalizing Greene, using a stun gun on him three times, and beating him before covering up details on his death.
  • The controversial case reawakened over the past week when Greene’s family released graphic photographs of the aftermath, and photos showing his car with little damage. This immediately sparked new questions on whether Greene received those injuries during the crash, as authorities told the family, or were inflicted by the troopers when arresting him.

The only considerable remark by State Police on Greene’s death was citing that he was resisting arrest and a struggle went down with troopers. The agency recently opened an internal investigation into the case last month. Before Hollingsworth’s death, he was placed on paid leave earlier this month and no word has been given on the other five troopers involved.

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Javier Garay is a digital intern with Unmutedco. He graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor of Science (B.S) in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. He is a contributor and editor for Black News Alerts (BNA), a BNA and BossFM social media contributor, and is the lead of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

Headlines

Black Women Lead Initiative to Raise $100M for Black Girls and Women in the South

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The Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium is looking to raise $100 million in the next 10 years.

What We Know:

  • LaTosha Brown is one of the notable activists responsible for having a hand in turning Georgia into a blue state last election cycle. Brown is the co-founder of Black Votes Matter, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. Another community that is joining this effort is Margo Miller. Miller is a Tennessee native is the executive director of the Appalachian Community Fund.
  • The Appalachian Community Fund is a non-profit looking to counter poverty and improve the lives of residents of Central Appalachia. Both Brown and Miller want to empower others to continue in their footsteps. Another member of the Southern Black Girls and Women Consortium is Felecia Lucky, who is the president of the Black Belt Community Foundation. Executive director of the Fund for Southern Communities, Alice Jenkins, is also a member.
  • The consortium has given itself the task of raising $100 million for Black women and girls over the next decade. As of today, they have already raised $10 million of that total and are in the process of raising more. Some of the funds have already been distributed to organizations in the form of grants. The group hosted a chat via their Twitter account, @Blackgirlsdream, on March 31st to discuss the state of women of color.
  • In an interview with theGrio, Brown expressed that their focus was on the South because the majority of Black people live in the South. The group of women designed listening sessions to learn Black Girl’s perceptions about themselves, their needs, their dreams, and the resources they need. The group then used this information to design funding approaches that ensure a fair distribution of funds.

The group hopes that their work will result in a shift in how Black girls in the South see themselves.

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Headlines

Kansas Coach Fired for Using N-Word Toward Black Player

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The head baseball coach at Olathe North Highschool in Kansas has now been fired after using the N-word toward a Black player.

What We Know:

  • The father of student Tony Banks commented that he believes head coach Pete Flood was attempting to “derail” his son’s successful athletic career. Flood is now officially terminated from teaching in Olathe Public Schools after being suspended for a time period. The District recommended Flood’s termination on Friday. On Monday, the District board voted to fire him unanimously.
  • Banks’ son is the only Black player on Olathe North Highschools’ baseball team. His son was allegedly playing rap music during practice when Flood said to him, “We don’t play that N– music over here. We only play country and rock music.”
  • The coach claimed he was only referring to the music’s lyrics and not the student’s race. He goes on to say that he has never called anyone a racial slur in his 25 years of teaching nor in his personal life.
  • Flood has expressed regret in saying the N-word aloud but doesn’t regret telling the student to change the music. Banks expressed, “We really wanted to move beyond this. We’re not attention seekers.”
  • Olathe School Board President Joe Beveridge called Flood’s actions “inexcusable.” The Board of Education met in a special board meeting on Monday morning to discuss the situation. The conversation that took place wasn’t in doubt because there is no justification for a coach to talk to any student in that manner. Banks called other parents to contact Principal Janson Hermanon and Athletic Director Josh Price for Flood’s removal. Flood had been employed in the school district since 1996.

Pete Flood started as Olathe North’s head baseball coach at the beginning of this school year.

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Crime

7 People Dead In Colorado Birthday Party Shooting

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According to authorities, a lone gunman opened fire at a birthday party on Sunday, killing six before killing himself.

What We Know:

  • Shortly after midnight, the shooting took place in a mobile home park on the east side of Colorado Springs. Officers responded to a call at 12:18 a.m. and arrived at the trailer to find six adults dead, according to NPR. Another man with serious injuries was found who later died at the hospital.
  • In what Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called “a senseless act of violence,” the shooter entered the mobile home and opened fire. Family friends and children were gathered inside the trailer, but no children were hurt in the shooting. Police say the suspected shooter was the boyfriend of one of the female guests at the party.
  • Gladis Bustos, who lives near where the shooting happened, described the night as quiet before the commotion happened. Bustos said the incident was “a bad, traumatic experience for everyone.” Another neighbor, Denise Knoll, was left speechless by the events. “There’s not really any words, you know? Why people do things like this, I just don’t get it,” said Knoll to NBC.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the Mother’s Day shooting “devastating,” offering his condolences to the victims’ families. Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement a shooting of this kind is something you hope never happens in your community and that the police department would do everything in its power to investigate what happened.
  • The tragic incident in Colorado Springs is the first mass shooting in the state since March. During that incident, ten people were killed when a gunman walked into a grocery store and opened fire. The 1999 shooting at Columbine High School remains one of the most notable mass shootings in the state and nation’s history.

The identities of those killed in the shooting have not yet been released, and the investigation is ongoing. Colorado Springs is the second-largest city in the state after Denver.

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