Top 5 Live-WURD Friday May 22
1. Grand Jury Indicts 6 Baltimore Officers In Freddie Gray’s Death
A grand jury has returned indictments against all six Baltimore Police Department officers charged in connection with the death last month of Freddie Gray, the state’s attorney in Baltimore says.
Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby said at a news conference that the officers will be arraigned July 2. The charges against them range from one count of second-degree murder and four counts of involuntary manslaughter to assault and misconduct in office.
The most severe charges are leveled against Officer Caesar Goodson, identified as the driver of the police van. They include second-degree depraved heart murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
While the most serious charges against the officers still stand, there is “one change — charges of false imprisonment have been dropped
2. Loretta Lynch vows to investigate John Crawford’s death
Loretta Lynch will investigate the death of John Crawford III, 22, who was shot last summer as he held an air rifle inside a Walmart in Ohio, according to WLWT TV.
Lynch, who was confirmed as the U.S. Attorney earlier this month, met with Crawford’s familyTuesday during a visit to Cincinnati to discuss police reform, reports the television news station.
Crawford’s parents tell the station that Lynch met with them for about 15 minutes, and pledged to investigate the shooting, which drew protests over the killing of young Black men by police around the country.
The family has filed a suit against the city of Beavercreek, the two Beavercreek officers involved, the police chief, and Walmart Stores Inc., charging negligence and violation of Crawford’s civil rights.
The officer who shot Crawford claims he failed to respond to repeated orders to drop the weapon and allegedly turned towards him in an aggressive manner.
3. Clinton Foundation reveals up to $26 million in additional payments
The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups, despite an ethics agreement in which the charity promised to annually disclose its donors.
The money was collected as fees from speeches by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and was tallied internally as “revenue” rather than donations, which is why the funds had not been included in the foundation’s past public listings of its contributors, according to foundation officials.
The foundation said Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton have delivered 97 speeches to benefit the charity since 2002.
The payments were disclosed late Thursday on the organization’s Web site, with speech payments listed in ranges rather than specific amounts. In total, the new dollars ranged between $12 million and $26.4 million
4. Nutter official pitches property-tax hike. Council not swinging
A top Nutter administration official Thursday pitched the mayor’s proposed property-tax hike is the clearest way to get city schools the $105 million they desperately need.
“Without additional funding, the schools will have another bleak year,” Finance Director Rob Dubow said at a Council hearing.
Mayor Nutter wants a 9.3 percent jump in the city’s property-tax rate to generate $105 million for the beleaguered Philadelphia School District, but skeptical Council members have said that’s going to be a tough sell.
Dubow outlined why the administration felt the tax was necessary: the district “has made unavoidable cuts that have seen the services it provides deteriorate to a level that no one thinks is acceptable.”
That has happened despite a $360 million increase in city-provided revenues for the schools since 2009.
5. City Council postpones plan to buy land for new prison
A bill that would pave the way for a new prison along the Delaware River to replace the aging House of Corrections was put on hold Thursday after push-back from the city Planning Commission and residents.
Councilman Bobby Henon held his bill, which would have authorized City Council to spend up to $7.2 million to purchase 58 acres just south of the current facility at 8001 State Rd. near the House of Corrections in the city’s prison complex.
On Wednesday, the Planning Commission voted, 5-0, against the proposal after impassioned speeches by residents.
Henon said he wanted to give Council members and the public more time to discuss the proposal, which he stressed would only allow the city to buy the land and would not dedicate funding to a new prison.
“This is part of doing our due diligence …” Henon said
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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