Top 5 Live-WURD Friday May 8
1. Sources: Baltimore police investigation doesn’t support some of prosecution’s charges
The Baltimore police investigation into the death of Freddie Gray doesn’t support some of the charges, including the most serious, filed by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney, potentially allowing lawyers representing the police officers the opportunity to undercut the prosecution, according to officials briefed on the separate probes conducted by the State’s Attorney and police. Already, defense attorneys are filing motions seeking to exploit differences between the separate state attorney and police investigations. Lawyers for two officers have challenged a key finding of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s case: that a knife found on Freddie Gray was legal in Maryland and therefore the officers didn’t have a right to arrest Gray.
The police investigation found that the knife is illegal under Baltimore city code. Officials familiar with the probes also say the homicide investigation run by police investigators at most contemplated a manslaughter charge, not second degree murder as Mosby charged one of the officers, Caesar Goodson. To win conviction for murder, prosecutors must prove intent to kill. Manslaughter relates to unintentional killings.
2. Four black parole officers file civil suit against white police officers
The dashcam video shows a police officer driving his vehicle in the wrong lane, then swerving sharply before stopping in the middle of the road in Upstate New York. The officer exits the car and draws his weapon. The ensuing moments are when parole officer Mario Alexandre said the police officers participating in the Rockland County stop violated his civil rights, along with those of three of his fellow parole officers.
“I was violently pulled out of the vehicle, and I was slammed against the vehicle,” Alexandre told CNN’s Jason Carroll. Alexandre and his colleagues — Sheila Penister, Annette Thomas-Prince and Samuel Washington — are all black New York State Parole officers. The parole officers have filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that they were racially profiled by the white officers and that their detainment was unnecessarily malicious and reckless.
3. Tom Brady’s agent blasts ‘Deflategate’ report
Flawed. Biased. Terribly disappointing. That is the assessment Thursday of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s agent about a report released by the NFL on the “Deflategate” scandal — one that many say significantly taints the football superstar’s image. Specifically, the report — prepared by attorney Ted Wells — found that “it is more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” of locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski, who has been with the team since 2001.
It also said that Brady, who answered questions from investigators, did not turn over personal information like texts and emails. Furthermore, the report doubted the quarterback’s claim that he didn’t know the name of McNally, the part-time Patriots employee who investigators think most likely improperly deflated footballs just before the team faced off in January’s AFC Championship game. In a statement Thursday, Brady’s agent Don Yee characterized the Wells report as “a significant and terrible disappointment.”
4. Jeb: George W. Bush is a top foreign policy adviser
Jeb Bush cited his brother, former President George W. Bush, as one of his main advisers on the Middle East in a private meeting in Manhattan on Tuesday, according to three people who attended the off-the-record event. The comment came as a shock to some who were in the room because Jeb, a likely presidential contender, has taken pains to publicly distance himself from his brother and his controversial policies, particularly in that area of the world. In a national security speech in February, Bush said, “I am my own man,” and he has insisted he would develop his own policies on foreign affairs if he decides to run for president. His comments behind closed doors indicate a closer connection to his brother.
The Washington Post reported that Jeb cited his brother as an adviser on Israel, however, four sources confirmed to CNN that the comments were focused on foreign policy more broadly. Three of them said Jeb noted his brother was an adviser on the Middle East.
5. NSA’s phone spying program ruled illegal by appeals court
A U.S. spying program that systematically collects millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday, putting pressure on Congress to quickly decide whether to replace or end the controversial anti-terrorism surveillance. Ruling on a program revealed by former government security contractor Edward Snowden, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Patriot Act did not authorize the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ calling records in bulk.
Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for a three-judge panel that Section 215, which addresses the FBI’s ability to gather business records, could not be interpreted to have permitted the NSA to collect a “staggering” amount of phone records, contrary to claims by the Bush and Obama administrations. “Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans,” Lynch wrote in a 97-page decision.
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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