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New York Daily News

Former Harlem Drug Dealer Earns Bachelor's Degree From Columbia University

After being arrested more times than he can remember, coupled with a 35 year drug addiction, David Norman, 67, earned his Bachelor's degree from Columbia University.

David Norman shed the last of his dark past for an even brighter future when the former Harlem drug dealer walked across the Columbia University stage and received his bachelor's degree in philosophy. During the ceremony, the 67 year old sat in the front row and cried tears of joy, reflecting on his arduous life up until graduation day.

“It was a great feeling,” Norman said to the New York Daily News “I’m just now starting to come down from my little high. I had to wash my clothes yesterday. That brought me back down.”

Norman's drug and alcohol addiction began early. He had his first drink before 11, and by the time he was 15 years old he was using heroin. Norman's high school career lasted 24 hours before he started selling drugs in Harlem to support his habit.

His 35 year addiction included a rap sheet full of robbery and drug trafficking. Norman said he was arrested so many times, he's lost count. However it was his six year jail stint for manslaughter after fatally stabbing a man during a street fight that was Norman's turing point.

"I had a moment of clarity in which I was able to recognize everything I had done at that point was fairly counter-productive and I needed to engage in some new activities and some new behaviors,” Norman said.

While in prison he found joy in books, learned Hebrew, and ran a program that taught life skills to inmates approaching release. When it came time for Norman to walk out of prison, he secured a job in Mount Vernon Hospital helping substance abusers access the help they need.

That job led to work at Columbia University which put him on course to receiving his degree. Norman was 40 years old when he took his first class-- nearly 20 years old then other students--but he said the age difference wasn't a hinderance.

Norman now works as a research assistant at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and his spare time still pays it forward by volunteering with ex- convicts with the Coming Home Program.

Norman says he plans to write a book chronicling his life, with a working title of "You Don’t Have to Wait as Long as I Did.”

Congrats Norman.

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Justice Department Will Not Charge Officer Who Killed Eric Garner

The day before the five year anniversary of Eric Garner’s death, it was reported by multiple outlets that a federal prosecutor would not charge the police officer responsible for his death.

Per USA Today, The Justice Department will not bring federal charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who held Garner in a chokehold outside of a store in Staten Island in an attempt to arrest him for allegedly selling cigarettes. Garner’s last words “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“In 2017, the city's Civilian Complaints Review Board determined that Pantaleo used excessive force,” USA Today reports. “Federal authorities have been conducting a separate, years-long civil rights inquiry into Garner's death. Pantaleo also is awaiting a verdict in a NYPD disciplinary proceeding.”

During Pantaleo’s trial this past May, Stuart London– the police union lawyer who represented the officer– argued that Mr. Garner died from being “morbidly obese.”

“Those who have been able to not come to a rushed judgment, but have looked at the video in explicit detail, see Pantaleo’s intent and objective was to take him down pursuant to how he was taught by NYPD, control him when they got on the ground, and then have him cuffed,”  London said in an interview with the New York Times. “There was never any intent for him to exert pressure on his neck and choke him out the way the case has been portrayed.”

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Charlottesville Killer Receives Life Sentence Plus 419 Years

James Alex Fields Jr will spend the rest of his life behind bars for driving his car into a crowd of counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Va., which injured many and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

According to reports, Judge Richard Moore sentenced the 22-year-old white supremacist to life in prison plus 419 years. Fields, who reportedly had a picture of Adolf Hitler framed by his bed, drove from Ohio to attend the 2017 Unite The Right Rally with fellow racists and neo-Nazi's to protest the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue.

The event also drew Heyer and other counter-protestors who marched against white nationalism. The violence forced local authorities to declare an unlawful assembly and begin the process of demobilizing everyone. Later on the same day, Fields drove his car into a crowd killing Heyer and hurting others.

The event caused already bubbling racial tensions in America to spill over when during a press conference Donald Trump blamed "both sides" for the turmoil.

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A Texas Woman Lived With Her Mother's Dead Body For Three Years

A Texas woman is facing two to 20 years in prison for living with her dead mother's body for three years.

According to CNN, Delissa Navonne Crayton's 71-year-old mother's corpse was found inside a room, while Crayton and her daughter dwelled in another room inside the home.

Investigators said Crayton's mother fell, hit her head and died a few days later. It appears as if the fall was accidental, however, Crayton's refusal to have her be seen by a doctor, assisted in her mother's death. A coroner's report

"From 2016 until July 7, 2019, approximately 3 years, Delissa Crayton resided in the residence with her daughter who was at the time under the age of 15," the Seguin Police Department said.

Crayton was arrested and charged with "Injury to a Child under the age of 15 through recklessly, by omission, causing to a child, serious mental deficiency, impairment or injury."

The second-degree felony also carries a $10,000 fine.

"This is an ongoing and active investigation being conducted by Seguin Police Department, the Texas Rangers, and the Guadalupe County Attorney's Office," the department said.

Police are expecting to level more charges against Crayton within the week.

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