Florida Police Officers Who Slammed A 15 Year-Old Black Boy’s Head To The Ground In Viral Arrest Video Said He Was Acting “Aggressive 4/24/2019

A Florida police deputy has been placed on restricted duty after cellphone video footage surfaced of two white officers slamming the head of a pepper-sprayed black teenager against the ground while placing him under arrest on Thursday.

Thousands of people shared videos of the incident on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend, tagging them “#JusticeForLucca,” and demanding that the officers be fired or prosecuted.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a statement Friday that the department would conduct a “thorough investigation” into the incident and said that Deputy Christopher Krickovich, one of the officers pictured in the video, had been placed on restricted duty.

In the affidavit, Krickovich said that he and his partner, Sgt. Greg LaCerra, responded to a call from a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Florida, at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday after employees reported a large group of teenagers gathering for a fight outside the restaurant. He wrote that the McDonald’s was a popular after-school gathering place for students from a nearby high school and the scene of frequent fights — including an incident the day before that had caused damage to a bystander’s car.

Krickovich and LaCerra arrived after the fight had ended, per the affidavit. As they ordered the crowd of teens to disperse, they identified one of the perpetrators from Wednesday’s fight who had been warned not to trespass in the area again and took him into custody.

“While I was dealing with the male on the ground, I observed his phone slide to the right of me and then behind me. I observed a teen wearing a red tank top reach down and attempt to grab the male student’s phone,” Krickovich wrote.

When LaCerra ordered the other boy to stay back, he said, the teenager “took an aggressive stance” toward the officer and “bladed his body and began clenching his fists.”

LaCerra pepper-sprayed the teen in the face and forced him to the ground, Krickovich wrote. There were more than 200 students in the crowd, according to Krickovich, and this is when many of them started recording the incident on their phones.

Per the affidavit, the officers feared for their safety and worked to restrain the teenager on the ground in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. Krickovich said that he hit the 15-year-old with a closed fist on the right side of his head as “a distractionary technique” to get the teen to release his right hand from under his head. “This technique was successful and I was able to place him into handcuffs without further incident.”

Additional videos of the incident taken by other students surfaced on social media throughout the weekend.

The original video and others that emerged were shared across Twitter and Facebook on Saturday, with many calling for the officers in question to be fired or prosecuted for brutality.

In a preplanned meeting with black leaders Saturday, Broward County Sheriff Tony said that he was taking the investigation into the matter seriously but emphasized the importance of following the appropriate procedures.

“That’s the most electrifying and dangerous situation for a law enforcement administrator to handle. Any time a white deputy is involved in contact with using force on a black youth, this thing blows up,” he said. “How we handle that from an administrative standpoint has to be very tactful.”

“I’m not going to sit and try to brush anything under the table,” he said. “The facts are what they are.”

THE WHITE PEOPLE THAT KILLED BY DRAGGING HIM BEHIND THERE TRUCK IS EXCUTED 4/24/2019

JASPER, Texas (AP) — A technology company was almost ready to bring up to 300 new jobs to Jasper, Texas, but in the final stages of recent negotiations, a potential deal-breaker emerged: the community’s history as the place where three white men dragged a black man behind a pickup, killing him.

The 1998 death of James Byrd Jr. was one of the most gruesome hate crimes in U.S. history, and it gave the company president pause in the discussions about where to locate his firm’s newest facility. Local clergy and community leaders made their case that the town of 7,600 people is not defined by a murder that happened almost 21 years ago.

They were able to convince the executive “that we are a lot different than what the world sees us as,” said Eddie Hopkins, head of the Jasper Economic Development Corporation.

The town’s past will be revisited this coming week, when the convicted ringleader in Byrd’s slaying is scheduled to be executed. Local leaders insist Jasper is a welcoming place that punished Byrd’s killers and will never forget what happened to him. But other townspeople, as well as members of Byrd’s family, believe Jasper has never fully accepted the crime’s place in its history. They say some tensions between the white and black communities remain unresolved.

“I think, quite frankly, people in Jasper are tired of talking about it. They want to forget it,” said Mylinda Washington, 66, one of Byrd’s sisters. “It happened here, and we need to always have that in front of us.”

In the early morning hours of June 7, 1998, three white men beat Byrd after offering him a ride. They then chained the 49-year-old to the back of a truck and dragged his body for nearly 3 miles along a secluded road in the piney woods outside Jasper. Byrd was alive for at least two miles before his body was ripped to pieces. Prosecutors said he was targeted because he was black.

John William King, 44, an avowed racist who orchestrated the attack, is slated to be put to death Wednesday. He will be the second man executed in the case. Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in 2011. The third participant, Shawn Allen Berry, was sentenced to life in prison.

Before Byrd’s death, the community about 140 miles northeast of Houston, near the Texas-Louisiana border, was known more for the timber industry and for tourism at nearby Sam Rayburn Lake.

Back in 1998, the city was “incredibly progressive” as it was led by an African American mayor and had other African Americans in local leadership positions, said Cassy Burleson, a researcher at Baylor University who has been studying Jasper since the dragging.

The current interim mayor, Gary Gatlin, recalled how community leaders of all races came together and helped the town heal. “It certainly doesn’t go away, and we certainly remember what happened,” Gatlin said.

But racial tension resurfaced after Jasper’s first black police chief was fired in 2012, and two of the three black city council members who hired the chief were ousted in a recall election. The recall effort was marred by racial slurs.

City council member Rashad Lewis, who is black, was 12 when Byrd was killed. He said the dragging death unearthed racial hostility in his hometown. He remembers classmates wearing Confederate belt buckles and shirts right after Byrd was killed.

When he moved back to Jasper several years ago, Lewis said he ran for office because of a lack of minority representation. He is the only African American on the five-member council, which runs a community that is more than half African American. About 34 percent of the African American population lives below the poverty line.

Lewis, 33, is now running against Gatlin, hoping to become the second African American mayor in Jasper history. The election is May 4.

“As long as we keep a blindfold to the incident, we will never be able to move forward,” he said.

During his mayoral campaign, Lewis said, he’s had at least one online racial slur directed at him.

One of Jasper’s religious leaders, the Rev. Ronald Foshage, acknowledges that there is some prejudice in the town. But he said “you are going to find that anywhere.”

“It’s not the majority of our people, and it’s not who we are,” Foshage said.

Lewis said he proposed an annual day to come together in honor of Byrd, but his idea was rejected. While a park was named for Byrd and a bench in his honor was placed outside the courthouse where two of his killers were tried, nothing in Jasper memorializes the dragging death itself.

Gatlin said Jasper has not minimized Byrd’s death but “we’ve just tried to move on.”

In the years since the dragging, Byrd’s relatives created the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing . Louvon Byrd Harris, 61, another of Byrd’s sisters, said her family still hopes to build a multicultural center and museum in Jasper to promote diversity and education.

Both sisters, who live in Houston, said they hope their brother’s death continues to spur people to combat hate, wherever it may occur.

“Hate has not gone away,” Washington said. “Every week in the news, we’re reminded of that.”

A BLACKWOMAN WHO COMPLAINED ABOUT A BLUE LIVES MATTER FLAG GOT PAID!!! AN AMAZING 100,000 SETTLEMENT 4/29/2019

A Black corrections employee has settled her lawsuit with Multnomah County, Oregon for $100,000, following complaints about stress and racial harassment that she endured over a coworker’s “Blue Lives Matter” flag, and after she put up an “equity” wall herself.

Karimah Guion-Pledgure, who was a corrections technician with the county Department of Community Justice up until Friday, agreed to resign from her job as part of the settlement, although she will be able to reapply for other positions, her attorney Ashlee Albies told CNN.

Guion-Pledgure filed the lawsuit in January 2019, but noted that she and other Black coworkers had complained about a probation officer hanging the “Blue Lives Matter” flag in the workplace when it first went up in 2017.

In the lawsuit, Guion-Pledgure argued that the Blue Lives Matter flag “co-opts” the Black Lives Matter movement’s well-known slogan and “repurposes it to shift focus to law enforcement — a chosen profession, not a racial identity — and thus denigrates, dilutes, and demeans the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

The complaint notes that Guion-Pledgure went to supervisors in late 2017 and early 2018 to complain about the flag, and also took it up to the Multnomah County chief operating officer in 2018.

By July 2018, Guion-Pledgure decided to build an “equity wall” in her workplace, showing photos of people of color killed by police in the U.S., as well as immigrant children separated from their parents at the border as a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

That same month, Guion-Pledgure took leave due to health issues that she said was a result of the harassment she faced. The lawsuit initially sought $20,000 in lost wages and $400,000 for emotional distress and suffering, CNN notes.

As part of the settlement, Guion-Pledgure will have to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, at which point the settlement will be filed with Multnomah County Circuit Court.