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Across Black America



On Nov. 16, Talladega City Manager Patrick Bryant reported that a police officer had been fired after posting racist posts to Facebook. The posts were allegedly captured in screen grabs from Officer Joel Husk’s account, with one from Last American Patriots and the other from Donald Trump, the Political Movement, reports The Grio. The post from Last American Patriots showed a picture, in black and white of the bloody aftermath of a battle, with White bodies strewn across the field, and the caption: “Over 620,000 White people died to free Black slaves and still to this day not even 1 thank you.” As for the post from Donald Trump, the Political Movement, the post contained side-by-side images of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama. Beside Mrs. Trump was the caption, “Fluent in Slovenian, English, French, Serbian and German,” while Mrs. Obama’s image had the caption, “Fluent In Ghetto.” Said Bryant: “We will not tolerate that kind of conduct by any employees. We take very seriously our responsibility to treat everyone equally and equitably … We have to make sure we take steps for the community to trust us.”

District of Columbia

Howard University has received a number of offers of assistance to help Haiti following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, as well as an appeal by Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., for support and contributions. Last week, the school announced the start of the coordinated #huHaiti Hurricane Relief Drive to support the people of Haiti. “Howard University has long-standing and steadfast connections with Haiti and we remain a pillar of support in the country’s time of need,” Dr. Frederick said.  “We appreciate all of the contributions that our community is providing in support of the University’s global service mission.” Representatives of several academic units have volunteered support.

An autopsy has concluded that former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry’s son died of an accidental PCP overdose. According to a spokeswoman for the D.C. Medical Examiner, Marion Christopher Barry, who went by Christopher, died of acute phencyclidine toxicity. He was 36 years old at the time of his death. In the past, Christopher had struggled with drug abuse. In 2011, he was given 18 months of probation for PCP possession. His father was once famously arrested in 1990 during an FBI sting operation in which he was caught smoking crack cocaine.


A disgruntled White customer got so upset at how long his order was taking at a Miami Starbucks that he began screaming “Trump!” at a Black employee. The man then claimed “anti-White discrimination” was to blame for his delayed coffee, called another employee “garbage” and threatened to punch somebody. Witness Juan de Cárdenas says, “so he started disparaging the staff.  Cárdenas whipped out his phone to take a video just as the man called the Black employee “trash,” demanded his money back and started shouting, “I voted for Trump! Trump! You lost, now give me my money back,” at the staff. The man then walks up to the Black Starbucks employee and calls her “trash” yet again before asking for her name so he can report her to Starbucks management. Two men then engaged in a war of words for a full minute in the middle of the store. Cárdenas says the two men “almost came to blows.” The angry White man threatened to “punch out” the other guy before storming out.



A judge in Atlanta ordered Bobbi Kristina Brown’s longtime boyfriend Nick Gordon to pay $36 million in damages to the Brown family estate more than a year after her tragic death, the Associated Press reported on Nov. 17. In September, Gordon was found legally responsible for Bobbi Kristina’s death after the estate filed a $50 million wrongful death suit against him when he failed to appear in court. Bobbi Kristina was singer Whitney Houston’s only daughter with singer Bobby Brown. She died at age 22 after being placed in a medically induced coma after being found unresponsive in a bathtub. The $36 million in damages includes $15 million for loss of life and potential future earnings, $13.8 million for pain and suffering, and various other charges relating to Gordon’s alleged intoxication and abusive behavior at the time of the incident, according to TMZ.


On Nov. 18, Rep. Danny Davis’s 15-year-old grandson was shot and killed in Chicago after a dispute that police believe might have started over gym shoes. Davis, who is African American, is the representative of the state’s 7th Disrict and has served since 1997. “That dispute escalated and turned physical and one of the offenders pulled out a gun and shot the victim in the head,” said Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. The teen was at home when two people broke in and then allegedly got into an argument with him. While no one is in custody for the shooting, Guglielmi said that authorities have “very good leads.”


A Baltimore city teacher has been fired a day after a video surfaced showing the educator call a room full of Black students a racial slur. The video, uploaded to Facebook on Nov. 16 by a distraught parent, shows a science teacher at Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School escorting a student out of her classroom. “Get out of my class.” The teacher who has not been identified can be heard yelling to the student. Less than a minute later, she begins berating her other students, threatening to give them zeros on their assignments and using racist language. “You’re idiots!” the teacher shouts. “You have the chance to get an education, but you want to be a punk-ass nr who’s gonna get shot.” Students in the classroom react audibly, and one asks the teacher to “stop saying that.” The teacher replies, “You’re stupid, you’re stupid. Learn something… be a man.” The video amassed more than 1 million views on Facebook. On Nov. 17, Baltimore City Public Schools released a statement saying the teacher had lost her job.


Lauren Podell, a local TV reporter in Detroit, resigned from her position at the WDIV on Nov. 16 after news surfaced that she allegedly used a racial slur during an off-air conversation. The news station’s vice president and general manager, Marla Drutz, confirmed Podell’s departure in a company-wide email.  Podell, who started working at the station in 2007, reportedly told a colleague in March that “I’m tired of reporting on these n*s killing each other in Detroit.” Drutz disputed the exact wording of the quote, but confirmed that a “situation” did occur, according to The Detroit Free Press. Podell’s alleged use of the racial slur gained public attention after Detroit activist Sam Riddle tweeted about the incident last week. He and Rev. W.J. Rideout, a local pastor and fellow activist, also called for an apology from the station during a news conference on Mov. 16, which was followed by a demonstration in Detroit the next day that demanded a boycott of the news station.



A police officer has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Philando Castile during a July traffic stop in a Saint Paul suburb. Officer Jeronimo Yanez of the St. Anthony Police Department faces a total of three felony charges: one charge of second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Nov. 16.  “Based upon our thorough and exhaustive review of the facts of this case, it is my conclusion that the use of deadly force by Officer Yanez was not justified,” Choi told reporters. “No reasonable officer knowing, seeing and hearing what Officer Yanez did at the time would have used deadly force under these circumstances. Philando Castile was not resisting or fleeing. He was respectful and compliant. He volunteered, in good faith, that he had a firearm  beyond what the law requires. His dying words were in protest that he wasn’t reaching for his gun.” Choi noted that Yanez’s statements to police immediately after the shooting conflicted with statements he later made to investigators with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Yanez shot Castile, 32, at point-blank range on July 6 during a traffic stop in the suburb of Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the car along with her 4-year-old daughter. Castile, who was licensed for concealed carry, notified Yanez that he had a weapon and was licensed for it.


South Carolina

Prosecutors in the trial of a former white North Charleston police officer charged with the murder of an unarmed Black motorist rested their case on Nov. 16. Michael Slager, 34, is on trial for the April 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. Scott was running from a traffic stop in North Charleston when Slager shot him five times in the back. In addition to the state murder charge, Slager faces three federal charges, including a civil rights violation. The state rested its case against Slager after 32 witnesses and nine days of testimony. Immediately after the prosecution rested, attorneys for the defense asked the judge to dismiss the case stating the prosecution could not prove evidence of malice, which is a requirement of a murder charge. The trial is expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday with the defense spending at least four days on testimony.


A Houston news anchor was summarily dismissed for a Facebook post blaming President Barack Obama for racism. According to the Daily News, Scarlett Fakhar, 25, said she was fired on Thursday from KRIV Fox 26 for expressing her “conservative views” on the social media platform. Fakhar said that our current POTUS has made the country more “violent and racist” although the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that more than 700 hate crimes have been logged since Trump’s election, with most of them occurring in the first three days. Fakhar also blamed the Obama administration for the murder of police officers-“by both Blacks and Whites.” After she was fired, Fakhar apologized and said that she had breached her journalistic responsibility to be objective. She also claimed she was not racist because she is herself multiracial – though she stressed that immigrants must “do it the right way” like her Iranian father.