Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday December 2
1. Chicago mayor fires police chief in wake of video release
Rahm Emanuel sought for months to keep the public from seeing a video that shows a white police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times. Now, a week after the video’s release, the Chicago mayor has fired the police superintendent, created a new task force for police accountability and expanded the use of body cameras.
But Emanuel’s effort to keep the video secret has stirred skepticism among protesters. Many activists are incensed by the fact that the video first surfaced during a re-election campaign, when the mayor was seeking African-American votes.
“In our community, everyone is saying it (the video) was not released because of the election,’ said Corey Brooks, a prominent black minister.
Had it emerged earlier, the video “could have buried” Emanuel’s chances for re-election, Columbia Law School professor Bernard E. Harcourt wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece published Monday.
The mayor defended the decision to withhold the video from the public until the investigation was finished and the officer charged with murder.
2. Few details as Pa. budget impasse lingers
Pennsylvania’s budget impasse entered its sixth month Tuesday, with scant new details about what shape a final deal might take.
Frustrated lawmakers emerged from closed-door meetings with few revelations. Some rank-and-file House members wondered aloud what they might eventually vote on.
“You feel like you’re left in the dark,” said Scott Petri, a Bucks County Republican, noting that he was not even certain if the briefing memos he was given by caucus leaders matched those distributed to Senate colleagues.
The frustration stood in contrast to the optimism that Gov. Wolf and Republican leaders have sought to project. After rescuing their so-called framework from collapse last week, the two sides touted an agreement that would boost school spending by $350 million and reform the state’s pension and liquor systems.
But key details remained unanswered Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Dave Reed said lawmakers were weighing an expansion to the sales tax.
3. In ‘Porngate,’ Kane appoints special prosecutor
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has appointed the former top law enforcement officer in Maryland to head a wide-ranging investigation into the chain of pornographic emails exchanged among state prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials on government computers.
Standing at a dais inside the National Constitution Center, Kane said Douglas Gansler, Maryland’s former attorney general, will lead a team of special prosecutors to review the emails and decide whether those who circulated them violated any criminal, civil or ethics laws.
Gansler and the prosecutors who will work with him will have “the sword of prosecutorial powers” to carry out the investigation, Kane said. She said there were “thousands” of offensive emails, a sampling of which she displayed on a jumbotron before she began speaking.
The images, she said, exposed a “constitutional crisis” in state government because they ridicule and demean women, minorities, gays and lesbians.
4. Race and Reality: The scourge of segregation
Reginald Jackson drove along the desolate streets of a once-vibrant African-American neighborhood, laying out long-established racial codes.
“People are afraid of each other. Black people are afraid of the white parts of town. White people are afraid of the black and Latino parts of town.”
Swaths of the former cultural and business hub of Bronzeville succumbed to bulldozers nearly a half a century ago, leaving a wasteland of abandoned homes, shuttered storefronts and vacant, hulking factories.
A freeway was needed to ease travel to the city from the mostly white suburbs in what experts say has become one of America’s most segregated metropolises.
Milwaukee isn’t unique. Segregation thrives in neighborhoods, schools and social circles across an America many believed was becoming more integrated.
Nationally, two-thirds of whites ages 18 to 34 say the people they socialize with are all or mostly white, according to a new poll by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Just over a third of younger blacks say the people they socialize with are all or mostly black. For Hispanics in the same age group, 37% say the people they socialize with are all or mostly Latino.
5. Tamir Rice shooting: Officer says threat was ‘real and active’
The police officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice is speaking out for the first time, more than a year after the shooting.
In a signed statement given to investigators and released by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday, Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann doesn’t mention Tamir by name.
He says he saw a suspect “pick up an object and stick it down in his waistband” as he arrived outside a Cleveland recreation center with his partner on November 22, 2014. He says he yelled “show me your hands” as loudly as he could. And he says he thought the suspect “appeared to be over 18 years old and about 185 pounds” and was pulling out a real gun.
“With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out. I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active,” Loehmann wrote in the statement, which was dated Monday.
The officer says he fired two shots toward the gun, based on his training.
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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