Top 5 Live-WURD Tuesday April 7
1. FBI investigates possible hate crime cases in St. Louis
The FBI is investigating whether hate crimes were committed during two St. Louis area attacks where suspects allegedly made reference to Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where a white police officer in August fatally shot black unarmed teen Michael Brown.
FBI spokeswoman Rebecca Wu said the agency is looking into both cases for possible hate crimes, which carry up to 10 years in prison.
Investigators allege that Curt Ford, 54, was punched by James Street at a convenience store on March 25 in Fenton. Police said James Street, who is white, shouted racial slurs and told Ford, who is black, “Go back to Ferguson” before punching him without warning.
The 37-year-old Street is charged with third-degree assault motivated by discrimination.
2. UVA frat says it will sue Rolling Stone
The Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, portrayed in a now-discredited Rolling Stone story as the site of a brutal gang rape, said Monday it “plans to pursue all available legal action against the magazine,” on the heels of a Columbia Journalism School report on the magazine’s missteps.
“Rolling Stone Magazine admits its staff engaged in reckless behavior while covering this story, yet the magazine refuses to take any action against those involved in reporting the story or address needed changes to its editorial process,” the fraternity said in a statement
Monday, apparently referring to an interview by publisher Jann Wenner published in The New York Times Sunday evening where he said no one would be fired and the author of the story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, would keep writing for the magazine.
3. An officer on trial: Reports of corruption, lies, oversight, and handfuls of cash
Years before he was one of Philadelphia’s dirtiest cops, Jeffrey Walker was a hero. In fall 1998, Walker specialized in drug busts for West Philadelphia’s 16th Police District. Drug dealers called him Batman.
Walker and his partner Brian Reynolds were celebrated as good guys who worked to make the poverty-stricken neighborhood a better place.
Fifteen years later, an FBI case revealed a different Jeffrey Walker, then a member of the Narcotics Field Unit. Busted in a sting in May 2013 – the FBI caught him stealing money from a drug dealer – Walker pleaded guilty and began cooperating with federal investigators.
Walker, who is in federal custody awaiting sentencing for his February 2014 guilty plea in federal court, faces a maximum of life behind bars.
4. Man charged with killing 3 Muslims can face death penalty
Craig Stephen Hicks is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 10 killings of 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat; his wife, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.
Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson Jr. said prosecutors had two aggravating factors and that is “death penalty qualified.”
Prosecutors said Hicks confessed, and that he was arrested with the murder weapon. Ballistics matched the handgun to shell casings recovered at the apartment and there was gunshot residue on his hands and one of the victim’s blood was on his pants, prosecutors said.
Police say Hicks, 46, appears to have been motivated by a long-running dispute over parking spaces at the Chapel Hill condominium complex where he lived in the same building as Barakat and his wife.
5. Dwight Evans, coalition of African American leaders, endorse Kenney
A coalition of prominent African American elected officials, led by state Rep. Dwight Evans, endorsed Jim Kenney for the Democratic nomination for mayor on Monday.
The group backing Kenney included City Councilmembers Marian Tasco and Cindy Bass, state Reps. Cherelle Parker and Stephen Kinsey, as well as a number of African American ward leaders from the city’s Northwest section.
The endorsement by what is known as the Northwest Coalition should give Kenney a significant boost in the African American community. That can be critical for Kenney in a campaign in which his chief opponent is increasingly seen as state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, himself a prominent African American elected official.
Evans and Tasco, in particular, have a reputation of being able to deliver votes for candidates they endorse. Evans, for instance, was an early and prominent backer of Gov. Tom Wolf.
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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