Top 5 Live-WURD Thursday June 18
1. Charleston church shooting: 9 killed in what officials call a hate crime
A white man walked into a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and opened fire during a Bible study class, killing nine people Wednesday evening.
The suspect is still at large. And the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the South, is being investigated as a hate crime.
“The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate,” said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
Eight churchgoers died at the scene; a ninth at a hospital, police said. Among them is the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, according to CNN affiliate WCSC.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has been a presence in Charleston since 1816. It was burned to the ground at one point, but rebuilt. Over and over throughout its history, it overcame obstacle after obstacle – destroyed by an earthquake, banned by the state. But its church members persevered, making it the largest African-American church in terms of seating space in Charleston today.
2. Brian Williams to Stay at NBC, but Not ‘Nightly News’
NBC and Williams have come to a tentative agreement that will keep Williams at the network after his six-month suspension ends in August.
The decision, described by people with knowledge of the plan, ends months of speculation that Williams could leave NBC altogether.
Williams will not be returning to the “NBC Nightly News” anchor chair, the people said. Instead he will have a new role; the details of it are unknown to all but a very small number of executives.
“No one knows anything,” one anchor at the network complained Wednesday.
But that may change very soon: NBC could make an announcement about Williams’ future on Thursday, the people with knowledge of the plan said.
The options for Williams are numerous, given that NBC News is an arm of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.
3. Lawsuit: Curbside cuss-out ended in police brutality
Frederick Smith used some unpleasant language on that hazy May 19 afternoon at 12th and Chestnut in Center City. The Philadelphia Parking Authority ticket-writer, no doubt used to foul-mouthed freak-outs, calmly explained that the ticket was for expired inspection stickers, rather than any parking offense.
But a bicycle cop nearby was not nearly so unruffled, Smith said, and a back-and-forth, increasingly profane barrage of insults erupted between Smith and the cop. Passers-by slowed, as eager to watch as kids gathering around a schoolyard brawl.
Officer Allen Marsh Jr. demanded Smith, 55, a West Philly grandfather of six, put his hands behind his back – and then slammed Smith into his own car so hard Smith’s body dented the metal and his head cracked a cobweb of splintered glass in the windshield, according to witnesses.
As Smith swayed on his feet, disoriented, Marsh then handcuffed and arrested him for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and failure to disperse. Smith, who is diabetic, spent nearly a full day in police custody, including two handcuffed trips to the hospital for health issues.
4. Haitians In Dominican Republic Fear Deportation As Deadline Looms
Hundreds of thousands of Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent faced the risk of deportation from the Dominican Republic on Wednesday as a deadline for enforcement of a new immigration law approached.
Dominican officials say anyone lacking identity documents or who has not registered for a so-called “regularization” program before the Wednesday night deadline could face deportation.
The Dominican government says the changes to its nationality and immigration laws aim to tackle illegal migration from neighboring Haiti. Human rights groups say the move is rooted in longstanding racism and xenophobia in the Dominican Republic towards darker-skinned Haitians.
Over the last century an untold number of Haitians have crossed into the more prosperous Dominican Republic to escape political violence or seek a better life, many working as sugar cane cutters, house cleaners or babysitters.
5. Henon pulls prison bill, calls critics uninformed
A controversial bill that would have let the city buy land being eyed for a new prison is being held, on the eve of its last chance of being passed before City Council’s three-month recess.
Councilman Bobby Henon, in a letter to Mayor Nutter, said the debate over the bill was distorted by “uninformed and politically motivated critics” who said the purchase would come at the expense of the city’s schools. Henon, who introduced the bill, said Council would reconsider it in September.
“This is not a choice between school desks and prison beds,” Henon said. “It is easy to play on public fears and to spread information to fuel a culture of inaction. It is much more difficult to make tough decisions, particularly when those decisions most directly affect the least powerful among us.”
Henon introduced the legislation on behalf of the Nutter administration. The bill would have allowed the city to purchase 7777 State Road for up to $7.26 million.
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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