Top 5 Live-WURD Friday March 20
1. The NAACP called on the Justice Department to investigate after the body of a missing man was likely found hanging in the Mississippi woods Thursday morning.
Sheriff’s deputies and agents of the Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Department discovered the body about 50 miles southeast of Jackson as they were searching for a missing person, said the FBI, which was called in to assist in the investigation.
Jason Pack, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jackson bureau, didn’t identify the man or specify the cause of death. But the bureau noted in a statement that the body was found just a half mile from the residence of Otis James Byrd.
Byrd, 54, who is African-American, was last seen March 2 and was reported missing in Claiborne County six days later.
NBC reported that the Mississippi branch of the NAACP had sent an email asking the Justice Department to “join the current investigation of the suspicious hanging death of Mr. Otis Byrd.”
2. Neff takes SRC helm; Hite vows to act on book stockpile
New Chairwoman Marjorie Neff was installed at Thursday night’s monthly School Reform Commission meeting, and School Superintendent William Hite addressed news that the district allowed thousands of books to pile up in a block-long basement beneath its headquarters.
“I take full responsibility,” Hite said, if usable textbooks are found to have gone ignored. Hite said that would be “totally and wholly unacceptable.”
The district, he said, is focused on addressing the massive stockpile of books and other materials, including musical instruments.
“In December, we laid out a clear plan,” he said. “We were open and transparent about the situation and provided a solution.”
When district officials reviewed the books, Hite said, they found many – gathered from two dozen closed schools and piled high in the basement – to be outdated. He said the district would work with Textbook Warehouse, a Georgia firm, to inventory the textbooks and determine what is usable. The rest will then be donated or sold.
3. Senate fight turns fiery over Loretta Lynch nomination delay
The protracted nomination of would-be Attorney General Loretta Lynch has taken yet another dive into the nasty business of senate politics.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, demanded an apology from Sen. Minority Whip Dick Durbin on Thursday for comments he made relating the GOP’s efforts to stall Lynch’s confirmation to Jim Crow segregation.
Durbin said Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, was being asked to “sit in the back of the bus” as senate Republicans delay her confirmation in lieu of an unpassable and partisan human trafficking bill embedded with a sticky abortion amendment.
“That is unfair. It’s unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate,” Durbin said
On Thursday McCain blasted back, outraged at Durbin’s intimation that race is a factor in the stall.
4. Fresno Vice Principal, Caught On Video Saying ‘I Just Don’t Like The Black Kids’
A California school official has been placed on leave after a video surfaced in which he can be heard saying “I just don’t like the black kids.”
Joe DiFilippo, vice principal of Scandinavian Middle School in Fresno, California, was recorded by a student outside the school cafeteria, said district spokesman Jed Chernabaeff.
The clip was posted on YouTube and shows a man identified as DiFilippo leaning against a pole while several kids speak off camera.
“Who at this school do you not like?” one of the off-camera students asks. Kids continue to talk, with one saying something that sounds like “me… all of us, all of us.”
Seconds later, DiFilippo says, “I just don’t like the black kids.”
The clip ends suddenly and it’s not clear if he was attempting to make a joke. If he was, parents aren’t laughing.
5. No charges in Tate-Brown shooting
No charges will be filed against a police officer in the fatal shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown during a traffic stop in December.
District Attorney Seth Williams said evidence corroborated the officers’ story that the 26-year-old was reaching back into his car for a loaded pistol when an officer shot and killed him.
“The facts show a tragedy, a terrible tragedy, but not a crime,” Williams said at a news conference.
Police say the officer shot Tate-Brown after a struggle when officers pulled him over at about 2:45 a.m. on Dec. 15.
“He broke away from officers three separate times,” Williams said. “He went around the car towards the passenger side where he tried to reach inside to the place where he knew he had put his gun.”
Williams said he spoke with Tate-Brown’s family before announcing his findings. He said his heart
goes out to them.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon