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WNBA Withdraws Fines From Teams And Players In Protest With Black Lives Matter

The WNBA has lifted the $5000 fine against its players and teams. 

The WNBA is withdrawing all fines against its teams and players that showed support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. WNBA President Lisa Borders announced in a statement July 23 that the organization would be rescinding all penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury for wearing T-shirts that violated their uniform policy.

The women began wearing their shirts in protest after Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, two African-American men who were fatally shot multiple times by police officers in Baton Rouge and Minnesota respectively. The T-shirts, which read "change starts with us: justice and accountability" on the front, also named of Alton and Philando, as well as the logo for the Dallas police department, in commemoration of the five police officers who were shot during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Texas.

Each team who participated in the protest, was fined $5,000 and players were given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way, according to USA Today. The hefty penalty the players received for wearing the shirts was $300 more than the normal $200 fine.

"While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues," Borders said. "Given that the league will now be suspending play until Aug. 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public."

The organization's retraction on the fines and penalties, and Border's statement comes only after the players refusal to stop protesting.  Many of the teams affected used their post-game interview sessions to continue to speak on the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement and their displeasure with police brutality. Carmelo Anthony and Al Sharpton also spoke in solitude with the WNBA players for their call to action.

"We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we're living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision," Isiah Thomas, President of the New York Liberty, one of the teams affected by the fines, said. "We are also very proud of our players the world is seeing what we already knew. They're truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players' willingness to enter the political and social activism arena."

The WNBA is yet another group of influencers in the sports world to take a stand. Carmelo, Dwyane Wade, and Lebron James followed behind the women by publicly speaking out during the 2016 ESPYS.

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Michigan Judge Refuses To Release Black Teen Jailed For Not Doing School Work

A Michigan judge has refused to release a 15-year-old Black girl who was jailed for failing to complete her online school work. On Monday (July 20), Judge Mary Brennan denied a motion to release the teen who has been locked up at a juvenile facility since May.

According to Pro Publica, the teen’s lawyer argued that she hasn't received adequate education and proper support while in the facility. Judge Brennan believes that the girl has a ways to go before she can be released.

“I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” Brennan said. “You are blooming there, but there’s more work to be done.”

During the hourlong hearing, the girl and her mother were allowed to embrace for the first time in months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“This morning for you, respectfully, it is going to get worse before it gets better,” Judge Brennan told the high school sophomore before going through her reported history of bad behavior. “Because I am about over all the crap, all the negative, all the prior attempts at helping I am going through it all.”

Judge Brennan’s husband, attorney Ed Lennon, defended her decision. Lennon claims that the public is being “misled” about why the girl is in juvenile detention, and implied that she is a danger to her mother.

The teen, who has ADHD, was previously arrested for assault and theft after reportedly biting her mother and pulling her hair, along with stealing a fellow student’s cell phone. She was taken into custody after it was determined that she violated her probation by not completing her school work.

In March, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order temporarily suspending juvenile confinement unless the person poses a “substantial and immediate” risk to others.

As many students around the globe are adjusting to at-home learning in wake of the pandemic, some are falling behind in their studies. According to a new report, at least 800,000 students lack access to reliable internet, making it difficult to access to learning materials.

 

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Hanging Death Of Robert Fuller Ruled A Suicide

The hanging death of Robert Fuller has been ruled a suicide, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced last Thursday (July 9).

The conclusion was based on evidence at the scene, physical logistics, information from family, lack of evidence ruling out a suicide, and “clinically-documented statements of suicidal intent” made by Fuller years earlier, per a news release from the LASD.

Jason Hicks, an attorney representing Fuller’s family affirmed the results of the investigation. “I don’t have any evidence found to contradict the ruling that his death was a suicide,” Hicks told the press last week.

Members of Fuller’s family  previously alluded to a racist message found beneath his feet, but Hicks reiterated that the incident was not a hate crime. “There were no racist sentiments, no symbols or anything in the area, so we don’t have any information to suggest that it was a hate crime.”

Fuller, 24, was found hanging from a tree outside of City Hall in Palmdale, Calif., last month. His death sparked outrage and protests, and was one of several recent hanging deaths of Black males, including a teen found hanging in front of a Texas elementary school. The Harris County Sheriff's Office said that the death was believed to be a  suicide.

Malcolm Harsch, whose death was confirmed to be a suicide, was found hanging from a tree in Victorville, Calif. in May. Another Black man, 27-year-old Dominique Alexander, was found hanging from a tree in the Bronx on June 9. A petition  has been launched calling for a federal investigation into Alexander's death.

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San Francisco Lawmaker Proposes CAREN Act To Criminalize Racist 911 Calls

A California lawmaker introduced an ordinance that could criminalize racist 911 calls. San Francisco supervisor Shamann Walton presented the CAREN Act during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (July 7).

“Racist calls are unacceptable,” Walton tweeted. “That’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies.

Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that's why I'm introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies. #CARENact #sanfrancisco

— Shamann Walton (@shamannwalton) July 7, 2020

The measure is similar to a bill proposed by a New York Senator in 2018, and another proposed by California Assembly member Rob Banta last month to help end “discriminatory 911 calls motivated by an individual’s race, religion, sex, or any other protected class by designating such reports as a hate crime.”

Making a false police report is a criminal misdemeanor offense under California law, but there is currently no legislation criminalizing discriminatory 911 calls.

In related news, a white New Yorker named Amy Cooper could face criminal charges for calling 911 on a birdwatching Black man in Central Park after he informed her that her dog needed to be leashed. Chris Cooper, who has no relation to Amy Cooper, filmed the viral video in May. However, Chris has refused to cooperate with the District Attorney efforts to bring charges against Amy because she “already paid a steep price,” and “Bringing her more misery just seems liking pilling on.”

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