Top 5 Live-WURD Thursday May 7
1. Department of Justice to probe Baltimore police at mayor’s request
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has asked the Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department to determine if the department has engaged in a pattern of racially biased policing.
The mayor made the announcement during a press conference on
Wednesday morning — a little more than a week after riots broke out in the city following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a black man who died after allegedly suffering fatal injuries while in police custody on April 12.
Six officers have been charged in Gray’s death. Baltimore City’s State Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said on Friday that Gray, who apparently suffered a severed spine while being transported in the back of a police van, was arrested without probable cause. She added that his death was a result of the officers’ repeated violations of department policy and that they ignored Gray’s pleas for medical attention.
2. L&I’s new take on derelict buildings draws praise from Nutter, scorn from Butkovitz
City officials Wednesday announced a joint initiative between the Department of Licenses and Inspections and the Philadelphia Fire Department to inspect derelict properties.
The idea is to evaluate dangerous, empty structures larger than 15,000 square feet – so-called “mantraps – for the safety of firefighters and the public. Many such buildings, like the one at 3617 N. Eighth St., will be demolished.
But the media event, attended by Mayor Nutter, L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams, and Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer, also appeared to serve as a forum to bolster Williams as his beleaguered department weathers criticism.
The problems on Williams’ watch include: last spring’s demolition of half a block of Fairmount without permits; the inspections of 181 unsafe properties by nine uncertified inspectors in February; the construction of housing for Temple University students between 2013 and 2014 without permits, and more.
3. LeSean McCoy: Chip got rid of ‘the good black players’
Bills running back LeSean McCoy said in April that he didn’t believe his former coach “likes or respects the stars” on Philly’s roster. Shady took it a step further in an interview with ESPN The Magazine.
“The relationship was never really great,” McCoy said of Kelly. “I feel like I always respected him as a coach. I think that’s the way he runs his team. He wants the full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That’s the truth. There’s a reason.”
The Eagles declined to comment on McCoy’s statements.
“Stephen A. Smith has talked about it. Other players have talked about it … When he let DeSean go last year, I was like: ‘C’mon. DeSean Jackson?’ So it is what it is.”
4. Montgomery County GOP revokes Methacton school board candidate endorsement over alleged racist posts
The Montgomery County Republican Committee has revoked its endorsement of Methacton school board candidate Scott Misus because of alleged racist and anti-Semitic Internet postings, according to a press release from Montgomery County Republican Committee Chairman Mike Vereb issued on Tuesday.
“The Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) has revoked the endorsement of Methacton School Board candidate Scott Misus. The facts alleged in recent media reports related to Mr. Misus’ postings on social media are repugnant and offensive. They do not reflect the values of the Montgomery County Republican Committee or any of its endorsed candidates,” Vereb said in the release.
The postings were sent to various media outlets, including The Times Herald, by concerned residents of the Methacton School District. The statements allegedly came from a “Scott Misus” Facebook account and were in response to various news articles varying from crime involving black individuals to history lessons concerning Nazis and Jewish people.
5. Officers’ legal attack begins in Freddie Gray case
One of the Baltimore police officers who arrested Freddie Gray has challenged police and a top prosecutor to produce a knife that prompted the arrest, arguing in a court motion that it is an illegal weapon.
Attorneys filed the motion in Baltimore District Court for Officer Edward Nero, who is charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment. The motion appeared to challenge the basis for charges Nero faces after the arrest of Gray, a black man who died a week after suffering a severe spinal injury in police custody.
Last Friday, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged Nero and the others just a day after receiving the investigative report from the police department. Mosby said the officers had unlawfully arrested Gray because the knife he had in his pocket is considered legal under Maryland state law.
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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