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Ohio Mayor Urges Firing Of Cop Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Black Man

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An Ohio cop was fired after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man. This comes as the second shooting in Ohio in two weeks. Ohio mayor expresses his disappointment. 

What We Know: 

  • Last Tuesday morning, Adam Coy responded to a non-emergency call of a person turning on and off their car. Coy shot 47-year-old Andre Maurice Hill, carrying a cell phone and walking out of a garage. 
  • In a HuffPost report, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther spoke at a press conference Wednesday. “Mr. Hill was known to the residents at the home,” Ginther commented on Hill. “He was expected. He was not an intruder, he had not committed any crimes.” The mayor encouraged the dismissal of officer Coy. 
  • Another officer accompanied Coy during the shooting, but neither had their body cameras turned on. Moments after the shooting, the cameras were turned on. The officers failed to provide first aid to Hill. As part of the camera’s function, they could capture footage 60 seconds before the cameras were on. The shooting was caught on video, but the camera recovered no audio. 
  • Ginther criticized the officers for their lack of concern after the shooting. “There were literally no attempts to render aid to this man who had committed no crime. That is a stunning disregard for life and, in this case, Black life. That is unacceptable,” Ginther said. “It is an officer’s duty to not only summon a medic but to render aid. … We are better than this, and we must make sure that everyone is safe.”  
  • Thomas Quinlan, the Columbus Police Chief, shared his disappointment with the officer’s actions. Quinlan explains the police has “invested millions of dollars in these cameras for the express purpose of creating a video and audio record of these kinds of encounters,” he said. “They provide transparency and accountability, and protect the public, as well as officers, when the facts are in question.”
  • Hill’s death is the second Ohio fatal shooting of the month. About two weeks prior, deputy Jason Meade shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson. Goodson was shot walking home with Subway sandwiches in hand for his family. He had his keys in the door as he was shot, which hung there hours after.
  • Moments before the shooting are unclear. Meade reported seeing an armed man and began investigating. Reports were made that there was a verbal exchange between the two, and Goodson pointed the gun at the deputy. Meade’s attorney added that “his client gave verbal commands for Mr. Goodson to drop the gun.” No eyewitnesses have been identified as well as no body camera footage because officers were not issued them. 
  • Officers were in search of an armed violent offender. Goodson was legally armed at the time of the shoot but had no previous criminal background. According to CNN, the Columbus Division of Police is investigating the incident. A civil rights investigation was opened by the US Attorney’s Office in Southern Ohio. 

These cases are added to the many wrongful fatal shooting of Black Americans this year. As justice is served for Hill, the Goodson is still awaiting justice. 

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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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