Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday August 5
1. Family of Sandra Bland sues arresting officer
The family of Sandra Bland – the 28-year-old black woman found dead in her jail cell last month – is suing the Texas state trooper who arrested her in what started as a routine traffic stop, but took a tragic turn.
Bland’s family filed the suit in Houston on Tuesday, alleging wrongful death and also seeking damages from officer Brian Encinia,
Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith, two jailers and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
“Candidly we were unable to get many of the answers that we have been asking for for weeks,” the family’s attorney, Cannon Lambert, said at a press conference. “We are looking for Waller County and individuals involved in this situation to take accountability.”
Waller County officials did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
2. Feds answer Baltimore’s SOS on violence
Baltimore is turning to the federal government for help in stemming a dramatic uptick in violence over the last several months.
Ten federal agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals Service will embed with the police department’s homicide unit for the next 60 days, city leaders announced Monday.
They join the 20 ATF agents who were sent in last week to form BFED, a joint task force that “is the next step of an all-hands-on-deck movement addressing violence in our community,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday.
The loaning of law enforcement officials is a common practice between local police departments and federal agencies for a particular investigation, but what makes this move unusual is that this isn’t for any one specific investigation, and the loaning is typically done the other way around — local detectives are usually plucked to assist a federal investigation, according to interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
3. Democrat McGinty announces run for US Senate
Democrat Katie McGinty, the former chief of staff for Gov. Wolf, announced her campaign for Senate Tuesday, entering a Pennsylvania Democratic primary against former Congressman Joe Sestak and taking aim at the Republican incumbent, Sen. Pat Toomey.
McGinty, who had been expected to enter the race since recently resigning her position with Wolf, made her announcement in a web video and press release, pledging to help middle-class Pennsylvanians and touting her blue-collar back story as the daughter of a Philadelphia police officer and restaurant hostess.
“I am running for Senate to stand up for middle class and hard-working families who deserve a shot at the American Dream,” said McGinty, a Wayne resident.
Her entry changes the dynamic of the Democratic primary and, potentially, the general election next year, in which Democrats see beating Toomey as a key to re-taking control of the Senate.
4. Fox announces debate roster, Perry left out
The wait is over to find out who will grace Fox News’ prime-time debate stage on Thursday – but for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the outcome wasn’t what he’d hoped.
Fox News said Tuesday that Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich will all appear on the dais Thursday for the first prime-time debate of the primary season.
That leaves Perry and the six other major declared candidates – Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore – to appear together during a debate earlier Thursday evening.
The debates — which gave new life to presidential candidates like Newt Gingrich in 2012 – are now only open to the heavily splintered party’s favorites.
5. Philadelphia police-related deaths plunge, but is reform enough?
When a SWAT officer shot Devon Guisherd, who was wanted on murder charges, Guisherd’s death marked the first time this year a person shot by an on-duty Philadelphia police officer died from their injuries.
In 2012, 15 people died after being shot by Philadelphia police. In 2013, 13 people died.
But in 2014, this number plunged to four, and in 2015, the city is on pace for even fewer. Police commissioner Charles Ramsey, who has been with the department since 2008, attributes this dramatic reduction to better training, new policies, and a department-wide emphasis on de-escalation.
“Our officers come into very volatile situations,” Ramsey told the Guardian. “How do you de-escalate those situations so you don’t have to use not just deadly force, but force in general?”
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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