donnell thompson
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Donnell Thompson's Murder Highlights Police Aggression Against Disabled People

More than half of people killed by police have a disability. 

The L.A. County Sheriff's office, who fatally shot Compton resident Donnell Thompson, admitted that they misidentified him as a car jacking suspect, according to The Washington Post.

Prior to the shooting, police deputies exchanged gunfire with an unidentified carjacker, who then disappeared on foot into the back of houses in the neighborhood.

Instead of finding the suspect, they found 27-year-old Donnell, who was reported to be "asleep in a stranger's yard." According to the Post, Donnell was an adult, but "possessed the mental faculties of a much younger man." Donnell was unarmed, possessed a clean record, and was said to be "gentle and shy."

Up to half of people killed by the US police are disabled, a fact that is most often not mentioned in mainstream American media, in a report by the Ruderman Family Foundation. Almost all well-known and reported cases of police shootings involved someone who was disabled. The end result? Police aggression in regards to how systematic racism intersects with ableism is rarely discussed, leading to the separation of issues by the public.

It was reported that Thompson failed to respond to commands when discovered by the police, "instead remaining motionless with one hand under his head and another concealed under his waist," which may have sealed his fate. "If a person’s ability to communicate is significantly impaired, be it by psychosis, autism or dementia, and responding officers are ill-equipped to identify or adequately engage with and protect those individuals, the outcomes can be disastrous," writes Maya O'Hara for the Guardian. When in encounters with police, many disabled people can fail to comply or make sudden movements that police officers deem to be "dangerous."

The rampant targeting of disabled folks, and particularly, disabled people of color, have led people to push for justice beyond systematic reforms, imagining a world made safer without the police by the community valuing accountability, handling conflict with love and respect, and struggling against other harmful systems. The Let Us Breathe Collective, an artistic group, has managed to envision this world that would eradicate ableism, racism, and other modes of oppressive state violence. "We stumble and sometimes hurt each other on our journey toward braver relationships and visions of liberation," she says. "We stay committed to healing together. We don't call the police."

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Watch Viola Davis And Chadwick Boseman In Trailer For ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Netflix has unveiled the first trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The two-minute clip released on Monday (Oct. 19), gives viewers a sneak peek at Chadwick Boseman’s final film role. The 43-year-old actor portrays the ambitious and outspoken trumpet player, Levee.

Viola Davis transforms into Ma Rainey in the Denzel Washington-produced film, centered around a 1927 Chicago recording sessions of “Mother of the Blues.”

Speaking during Monday’s press preview, Davis praised Boseman’s passion and commitment to his art. “Not to compete with Chadwick’s mother, but he was my baby. Chadwick was an artist. That is just what he was… he loved it, he demanded it in every single way. For someone so young it was incredible to watch,” said Davis.

“We are in the business, that a lot of times people have business conversations that masquerade themselves as artistic conversations. They don’t understand the difference between getting on set and demanding their vegan food being brought to them or their vegetarian dishes, or the dietary concerns, having that car ready,” she added. “ They don’t know the difference between that and making choices as an actor and getting down and dirty and doing the work and leaving your ego and your vanity at the door. He [Boseman] loved it. He demanded it. He demanded it in every single way.”

The film, Davis said, gives a window into “what Black life was like” in the '20s and ”how it was informing our relationships.”

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom debuts on Netflix on Dec. 18.Check above for the trailer.

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Rihanna, Big Sean, Jidenna And More Speak Out Against Violence In Nigeria

Rihanna, Big Sean, Jidenna and more recording artists are using their social media platforms to speak out against the ongoing violence in Nigeria in wake of the #EndSARS movement.

“I can’t bare to see this torture and brutalization that is continuing to affect nations across our planets! It’s such a betrayal to the citizens, the very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by,” Rihanna wrote on Tuesday (Oct. 20). “My heart is broken for Nigeria man!!! It is unbearable to watch! I’m so proud of your strength and not letting up on the fight for what’s rights!”

#ENDSARS 🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/59lrs8JnDA

— Rihanna (@rihanna) October 20, 2020

Several demonstrators were killed protesting against police brutality, while others were left injured after soldiers opened fire at a protest site in the Lekki district of Lagos on Tuesday (Oct. 20). One witness said that soldiers “started firing ammunition toward the crowd.”

Thousands of demonstrators, many of them young people, have taken to the streets of Lagos and surrounding areas to call for an end to the Special Anti-Robber Squad (SARS). The squad was disbanded in early October but the violence against demonstrators and other innocent victims has continued. The civilian death tole is believed to be in the thousands.

A 24-hour curfew is being put in place for Lagos, the BBC reports. Nigeria’s most populous city is home to approximately 20 million residents.

Read more reactions to the massacre below.

Nigeria!!! Y’all on my heart! It’s horrific over there! So many people being murdered for peaceful protesting about being murdered! #EndSARS

— Sean Don (@BigSean) October 21, 2020

THEYRE KILLING OUR PEOPLEEEEEEEEE pic.twitter.com/1iGmoTIllf

— Davido (@davido) October 20, 2020

THEY ARE KILLING OUR PEOPLE. OUR HEARTS ARE HEAVY. #EndSARS

— SANTAN (@Santandave1) October 21, 2020

I’ll be making calls, sending texts, and praying for everyone affected by the #LekkiMassacre #EndSARS These clips are horrific and terrifying to watch. Bless everyone on the ground. I can only imagine what you feel rn.

— Jidenna (@Jidenna) October 21, 2020

people are loosing their lives man, this violence is evil and extremely corrupt #EndSARS

— Aminé (@heyamine) October 21, 2020

#EndSARS is global now, the world is watching, the leaders must listen before it's too late

— Malik Ofori (@malikofori) October 21, 2020

There is a massacre happening in Lekki. Firing squads mass murdering young people in Nigeria. The world needs to engage #endSARS

— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) October 20, 2020

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Chadwick Boseman Died Without Will, Wife Files To Become Administrator Of His Estate

Chadwick Boseman died without having a will in place. On Thursday (Oct. 15), Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed probate documents in a Los Angeles Superior Court to become administrator of his estate, which is reportedly valued at $939,000 in personal property and assets.

Boseman, a resident of California but a native of South Carolina, is survived by Ledward and his parents, who were listed on the documents along with his wife. Per California law, the spouse inherits community property and splits any separate property with the parents of the deceased. Boseman likely had additional assets in a separate trust.

The 43-year-old actor passed away in August, following a four-year battle with colon cancer, which he kept secret from mostly everyone around him with the exception of a few people in his circle. Boseman and Ledward were first linked in 2015, and tied the knot sometime this year.

The Black Panther star thanked Ledward during his acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild last year. “Simone, you're with me every day,” he said at the time. “I have to acknowledge you right now. Love you.”

 

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