Top 5 Live-WURD Thursday July 23
1. Charleston Shooting Suspect Roof To Be Indicted On Federal Hate Crime Charges
Dylann Roof, who police say carried out a ruthless attack that killed nine black worshipers in a Charleston, S.C., church, will face federal hate crime charges.
A federal law enforcement source confirms to NPR’s Carrie Johnson that the Justice Department will unveil federal charges against Dylann Roof today.
Roof already faces nine counts of murder, along with attempted murder and a weapons charge. His trial on those charges is set to begin next summer.
News of the hate-crimes indictment comes a month after photos and a racist manifesto were found on a website that appears to have been set up by Roof, the 21-year-old who was arrested the day after nine people were slain in a mass shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church.
Reporting on the pending indictment today, the Charleston Post and Courier notes, “South Carolina is one of only five states that does not have a hate crimes law, despite some legislators’ repeated attempts to change that.”
2. In a Switch, Civilians Guard Military
Gun-toting citizens are showing up at military recruiting centers around the country, saying they plan to protect recruiters following last week’s killing of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The citizens, some of them private militia members, said they’re supporting the recruiters, who by military directive are not armed.
“We’re here to serve and protect,” Clint Janney said Tuesday, wearing a Taurus 9mm handgun as he stood in a parking lot across from a recruiting center on the west side of Columbus, Ohio. “What the government won’t do, we will do.”
Similar posts have been set up outside recruitment centers in several cities around the country, including Madison, Wisconsin; Hiram, Georgia; Phoenix; and several sites in Tennessee, including Murfreesboro.
There’s no evidence that such centers are in danger, and the government isn’t changing how they’re staffed, although some governors have temporarily moved National Guard recruiting centers to armories and several have authorized Guard personnel to carry weapons at state facilities.
3. Ferguson, Mo. hires black officer as interim police chief
The City of Ferguson, Mo. announced — almost one year after the police shooting death of Michael Brown — that it has chosen a black officer from Arizona as its interim police chief.
City officials named Andre Anderson, 50, a commander with the Glendale, Ariz. police department, as Ferguson’s new interim chief, giving him control of a 45-officer suburban police department that has faced international scrutiny following the shooting of Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by Darren Wilson, a white officer, in August.
“He is extremely well-qualified,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told Reuters. “He will bring us a fresh perspective coming from outside the St. Louis region.”
The incident and subsequent investigations by the Department of Justice prompted a massive upheaval in Ferguson city government, including the resignations of then-police chief Tom Jackson and city manager John Shaw.
4. Correctional officer stabbed at N.E. Phila. prison
A correctional officer was hospitalized in stable condition Wednesday evening after being stabbed by an inmate at a city prison in Northeast Philadelphia, authorities said.
The attack occurred shortly before 6 p.m. at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, 8101 State Rd., police said.
The officer, a 25-year-old man, was stabbed in the face, head, neck, shoulders, and arms by an inmate armed with a makeshift nail, police said.
Lorenzo North, president of the correctional officers’ union Local 159, identified the officer as Tyree Holmes and said he was stabbed as the prison was conducting a lockdown for an inmate population count.
5. Officials: Sandra Bland told us she had tried to commit suicide
The family of Sandra Bland, whose death in a Texas jail has drawn national attention, expressed anger over a newly released video they say offers proof that her arrest was unnecessary.
“I’m infuriated and everybody else should be infuriated,” said Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper.
Bland, who authorities say hanged herself, was not clinically diagnosed with depression or on any medication and was “ecstatic” at the prospect of starting a new job, said family attorney Cannon Lambert.
But Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith released jail intake forms late Wednesday that appear to show Bland answering “yes” to these questions: Have you ever been very depressed? Do you feel this way now? Have you had thoughts of killing yourself in the last year? Have you ever attempted suicide?
The documents say she attempted suicide last year by taking pills.
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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