Suspects Brooklyn Gang Rape
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All Five Suspects Of Brooklyn Gang Rape Have Been Charged

The NYPD has charged each of the five suspects in a horrendous gang rape that took place in Brooklyn last Thursday (Jan. 7).

The NYPD has arrested each of the five suspects in a horrendous gang rape story that took place in Brooklyn last Thursday (Jan. 7). An 18-year-old woman was reportedly sexually abused by five boys in Brownsville’s Osborn Playground. The final suspect, 17-year-old Travis Beckford, was taken into custody on Tuesday (Jan. 12). The other four suspects, Denzel Murray, 14; Shaquell Cooper, 15; Ethan Phillip, 15; and Onandi Brown, 17, appeared in court for arraignment. All five offenders are being charged as adults with rape, sex abuse and committing a criminal sex act, the New York Daily News reports.

According to multiple accounts, the victim, who has not been identified, was seen with her father at the playground and approached by the suspects. One of the young teens drew a gun on her father, who retreated to a nearby store to attempt and make a call to the police. Witnesses at the store claim he was intoxicated, and bystanders were unable to understand his predicament. The suspect suffered cuts to her arms, neck and knees, officers reported. Two of the boys have claimed that the sexual acts were consensual, and that the victim was engaging in sexual intercourse with her father before their alleged attack.

“The case is getting weaker by the day,” Spencer Leeds, a lawyer for one of the suspects told the Daily News. "This case is on its way to disappearing. There's a belief in the neighborhood in the Brownsville community that the complaining witness and the father have had sexual intercourse."

The victim was reportedly in and out of foster care, and has not been in her father's custody since she was three years old. Two of the offenders have had run-ins with the law prior to this incident; Beckford was previously arrested for marijuana possession, and Cooper was arrested in October for hitting a robbery victim in the head with a baseball bat. Brown was held on $25,000 bail, Cooper was held on $50,000 bail and Phillip and Murray were held on $10,000 bail. Two of the suspects were brought into police custody by their parents, WABC News reports.

The weapon pulled in the attack has not been recovered, and the results in the victim’s rap kit is still pending.

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Shaquille O’Neal Tears Up While Honoring His “Little Brother” Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O’Neal didn’t hold back his tears while reflecting on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant during a special edition of Inside the NBA. The hourlong tribute episode, filmed from the Los Angeles Staples Center on Tuesday (Jan. 28), was dedicated to the late NBA legend.

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while,” said Shaq after revealing that he hadn't been sleeping since his sister died from cancer last year. “I’m 47 years old, lost two grandmothers, [my father], lost my sister, and now I lost a little brother.”

Shaq re-lived the moment that he found out about Bryant's death, and the "final blow" of learning that the retired Lakers player's 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, died with her father. Making matters that more emotional, Bryant reached out to Shaq's son, Shakir, via text message, hour before he passed away in a helicopter crash.

“In life, sometimes instead of holding back certain things, we should just do. We up here, we work a lot, and I think a lot of times we take stuff for granted. I don’t talk to you guys as much as I need to,” Shaq told his co-hosts Earnie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Dwyane Wade.

Later in the emotional moment, Shaq reminisced about some of his final conversations with Bryant, and all of the things that he’ll miss the most about him.

“With the loss of my father, my sister and [Kobe] that’s the only thing I wish, [that] I could just say something to him again.”

Shaq admitted that Bryant’s death has rocked him to the core. “It definitely changes me because I work a lot. I work probably more than the average guy, but I just really have to now take time and call and say ‘I love you.’ Rick Fox called and said ‘Man I love you.’ [Brian] Shaw called me, so I’m going to try and do a better job of reaching out and talking to people instead of procrastinating, because you never know. Life is too short. I could never imagine nothing like this. I’ve never seen anything like this.

“The fact that we lost probably the world’s greatest Laker, the world’s greatest basketball player,” he continued as tears streamed down his face. “People are gonna say ‘take your time’ and get better but it’s gonna' be hard for me. I already don’t sleep anyway…but I’ll figure it out.”

Shaq went on to extend condolences to Bryant’s family, and the families of the other seven victims of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the NBA legend and his young daughter

“It hit all of us out of nowhere. I didn’t want to believe it,” he said of first learning of Bryant’s death. “I just wish I could be able to say one last thing to the people that we lost because once your’e gone, you’re gone forever, and we should never take stuff like that for granted.”

Hear more on Shaq and Kobe's bond in the videos below.

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while.. it definitely changes me.”’@SHAQ on the loss of his brother, Kobe. pic.twitter.com/dM5i0DDgGK

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020

“This man knows our true relationship.”@SHAQ on the mutual respect between him and Kobe. pic.twitter.com/SGGGpsoTiz

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020

Kobe had big plans from the start. pic.twitter.com/MqFdyPVQnj

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020

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Filmmaker Kobe Bryant, winner of the Best Animated Short Film award for 'Dear Basketball,' poses in the press room during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Oscars To Pay Tribute To Kobe Bryant

In 2018, Kobe Bryant became the first pro-athlete to win an Oscar Award for his short animated film, Dear Basketball. Now, the annual ceremony will honor the late figure during Sunday’s showcase (Feb. 9), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

On Monday (Jan. 27), the Oscar Nominees Luncheon took a moment of silence in memory of Bryant and the other seven passengers on the helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. In a recap by Deadline, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) president David Rubin noted that Bryant sat in that very same room two years ago.

During his Oscars acceptance speech, Bryant thanked his family and said he’s excited to know that athletes in his profession don’t just “shut up and dribble” but explore other mediums of inspiration. “This is not supposed to happen,” he said during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. “I’m supposed to play basketball. Not write something that wins an Oscar.”

Throughout the interview, the Los Angeles Lakers legend said his win unlocked a new realm of responsibility to usher in diverse minds to the animation world. “How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry? In the animation business it’s a serious lack of diversity," he continued. "When I won that award the other night, I was the first African-American to ever win that award in that category.”

Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane and narrated by Bryant, tells the story of his road to retirement from the NBA in 2015. The short film also won the Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject and a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Post-Produced Graphic Design.

On Sunday (Jan. 26), Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers aboard a helicopter died after the aircraft crashed in Calabasas, California. Investigators are still piecing together the exact cause of the incident.

They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.

They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong.

They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar.

Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.

Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/1fYnKHbnt7

— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 26, 2020

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Kobe Bryant smiles at halftime as both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California
Harry How/Getty Images

Petition To Redesign NBA Logo After Kobe Bryant Gains Over A Million Signatures

On Sunday (Jan. 26), a helicopter carrying families, which included Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, crashed in Calabasas, California. All nine people onboard were pronounced dead. As investigators continue to decipher the exact cause of the tragic incident, the sports legend’s supporters are pushing for his likeness to always remain a part of the sport he dominated.

A change.org petition has received over a million signatures to encourage the National Basketball Association (NBA) to change its logo to feature Bryant. Currently, former professional basketball player Jerry West remains as the league’s logo. West was also a Los Angeles Laker.

Michael Jones, the organization’s managing director, shared that the petition has grounds to memorialize Bryant in a sport he changed forever. "Nick's petition is not only the fastest-growing on Change.org, it's also the first petition of 2020 to top 1 million signatures anywhere in the globe," Jones said in a statement. "As the world comes to terms with the death of someone as famous and well-known as Kobe Bryant, Nick has given basketball fans an outlet to create a permanent memory of someone who made history in the NBA."

As noted by The Undefeated, today also marks 23 years since Bryant, at age 18, became the youngest player to start a game.

Jan. 28, 1997

Kobe Bryant becomes the youngest player -- at 18 years, five months and five days -- to start an NBA game. pic.twitter.com/wA9mCqNORm

— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) January 28, 2020

According to CNN, the pilot received Special VFR Clearance (SVFR) to fly the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter due to weather conditions. The helicopter left from John Wayne Airport near Irvine, Calif., on its destination to Thousand Oaks where Gianna and her two teammates were expected to play a basketball game.

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