NYC Medical Examiner Says Muslim Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam Drowned Herself

Her death has officially been ruled a suicide. 

The death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam has been ruled a suicide. Abdus-Salaam -- the first female muslim judge to be appointed to New York’s highest court -- drowned herself, the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner announced in a press release Wednesday (July 26).

Abdus-Salaam’s body was found floating in the Hudson River on April 12. Though her death was once deemed “suspicious,” the NYPD closed and transferred the investigation over the city’s coroner’s office in May.

According to the New York Daily News, Abdus-Salaam was rumored to have battled with depression prior to her death. A CNN report claims her brother died from suicide in 2014.

Surveillance footage reportedly captured Abdus-Salaam seven times in the hours leading up to her death. The apparent footage shows the 65-year-old judge walking around Harlem between W. 131st and W. 145th streets.

A final recording of Abdus-Salaam allegedly shows her headed to the Hudson River by way of the W. 145th street entrance at Riverbank State Park, the Daily News reports.

A week after her death, Abdu-Salaam’s husband, Rev. Gregory Jacobs, denied suicide claims and urged the media to “refrain from baseless commentary” without “conclusive evidence.”

“Despite the ongoing investigation, some media outlets and others have conjectured that Sheila was the victim of a ‘probable suicide.’ These reports have frequently included unsubstantiated comments concerning my wife’s possible mental and emotional state of mind at the time of her death,” Jacobs wrote in a statement. “Those of us who loved Sheila and knew her well do not believe that these unfounded conclusions have any basis in reality. And in the absence of any conclusive evidence, we believe such speculations to be unwarranted and irresponsible.”

“We therefore call upon the media and responsible public officials to refrain from any baseless commentary and conjecture concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of our beloved Sheila.”

Jacobs did not speak out on the medical examiner’s findings.

Abdus-Salaam, a Washington D.C. native and Columbia Law School graduate, began her 40-year legal career as an attorney with Brooklyn Legal Services. From there, she became an assistant attorney general for the New York State Department of Law in civil rights and real estate financing, and would go on to join the New York City Civil Court. She also served as a New York Supreme Court Justice for more than a decade before becoming associate justice in the court’s appellate division.

In 2013, Abdus-Salaam became the first black woman to be appointed to the New York Court of Appeals.

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Man Who Recorded Murder Of Ahmaud Arbery Arrested

A third man has been arrested in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who recorded Arbery’s murder, was taken into custody on Thursday (May 21), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced.

“The family is extremely relieved,” attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Arbery’s mother, said in response to Bryan’s arrest. “We didn’t know if this was going to happen, but we all knew that it should happen.”

Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, while out for a jog. It wasn't until two months later that his story went viral prompting an investigation by the GBI after the local D.A., who was previously over the case, declined to make any arrests.

According to jail records, 50-year-old Bryan was booked into the Glynn County Jail on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Bryan made his first court appearance on Friday (May 22) where his lawyer filed a motion for a speedy trial.

Bryan accompanied father and son, Gregory McMichael, 64 and Travis McMichael, 34, as they followed and cornered 25-year-old Arbery before the younger McMichael shot him to death. The McMichaels claim the shooting was self-defense.

Father and son were arrested for aggravated assault and felony murder earlier in the month. All three men are being held at the same jail.

The mugshots of Gregory and Travis McMichael, who have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) May 8, 2020

Merrit noted that Arbery's family hopes the men will be convicted. “Well obviously we want to see the arrests lead to a formal indictment then a vigorous prosecution and conviction. But there are other people we believe were involved. We spoke with the DOJ earlier today about their investigation into the corruption that delayed these arrests in the first place.”

An attorney for the elder McMichael claimed that the pair are victims of a  “narrative driven by an incomplete set of facts.”

“While the death of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragedy, causing deep grief to his family -- a tragedy that at first appears to many to fit into a terrible pattern in American life -- this case does not fit that pattern,” attorney Frank Hogue said. “The full story, to be revealed in time, will tell the truth about this case.”

The murder remains under investigation by GBI in partnership with the District Attorney Joyette Holmes of the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.

See more on Bryan's arrest in the video below.

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Breonna Taylor: Family Files Lawsuit After Kentucky Police Kill 26-Year-Old Black EMT

The family of Breonna Taylor have filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the 26-year-old EMT was shot to death by Kentucky police officers who raided the wrong home, NBC News reports.

The incident took place in the early hours of March 13. According to the lawsuit filed against three Louisville Metro Police Department officers last month, police were dressed in plain clothes and unmarked vehicles forced their way into the residence without announcing themselves, multiple neighbors confirmed. Police were met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who assumed the cops were robbers and fired in self-defense.

Taylor’s legal team includes attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, and previously represented Trayvon Martin’s family. “Breonna Taylor was sleeping while black in the sanctity of our own home,” attorney Benjamin Crump said on Wednesday (May 13).

“They thought they were being burglarized,” Crump told CBS This Morning. “Does the 2nd Amendment not apply to African Americans? This was a completely unnecessary and justifiable killing of an innocent woman.”

LPD raided #BreonnaTaylor's bf's apt w/o notice, fatally shooting her 8 times. The apt's address wasn't on the search warrant & LPD's suspect was already in custody. 2 months later & the only person arrested is Bre's bf. This makes no sense! #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor #SayHerName

— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) May 13, 2020

The LMPD disputed allegations that officers did not “announce their presence as police who were there with a warrant.” Police obtained a “no-knock” search warrant for an alleged “trap house” more than 10 miles away from Taylor’s apartment. Taylor’s address was a part of the search warrant but police had already arrested a suspect prior to reaching the location. And despite the “no-knock” warrant, the LMPD insists that officers knocked on Taylor’s doors and announced themselves.

Per the Courier Journal, police supposedly believed that one of the two men at the center of the narcotics investigation received mail at Taylor’s residence and potentially stashed drugs. No drugs were found in the apartment.

Sam Aguilar, another attorney for the family, said that the warrant was “another wild goose chase to try to get drug dealers” and that Taylor got “lumped right into the middle of it.”

"If they really thought that Breonna (Taylor's apartment) was a place for him to pick up packages and that these packages contain things that they shouldn't, why in the world are they waiting until the middle of March to execute a no-knock drug raid?" added Aguilar.

Officer reportedly fired 20 rounds into the apartment, shooting Taylor eight times. Walker was arrested for assault and attempted murder on a police officers. The officers were not required to wear body cams because they are apart of LMPD’s Criminal Interdiction Division. Taylor did not have a criminal record and neither did Walker before being slapped with charges for shooting at officers.

Taylor became an EMT in 2017 and worked as an emergency room technician at the University of Louisville Health’s Jewish Hospital East.

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Sean Reed: Black Man Killed By Indianapolis Police During Live Stream

Another Black man’s murder at the hands of police has been captured online. Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, 21, was gunned down by Indianapolis police during a pursuit that he streamed on Facebook Live on Tuesday (May 6).

In the footage, Reed can be heard telling someone to “Please come get me!” before parking his vehicle and running on foot while being chased by police as several gun shots ring out.

Reed’s phone continued recording after he was killed. An officer can be heard saying, “I think it's going to be a closed casket, homie” in regards to Reed’s dead body. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department called the officer’s comments “unacceptable.”

@IMPDnews TRIGGER WARNING: The aftermath of Sean Reed running for his LIFE and being gunned down. the cops were UNAWARE he was filming. in utter disbelief that the first words out of the IMPD officer was “looks like it’s gonna be a closed casket HOMIE” SPREAD THIS. RT RT.

— REST IN GLORY DREASJON (@_jermajo) May 7, 2020

Police claim that they used a taser on Reed before firing several shots at him. It’s unclear what led to the chase, but police reportedly fired at least 13 shots at Reed.

Because you know the picture they’ll paint. Rest In Peace young king. #SeanReed ❤️

— Mason Archie, II (@MasonArchie2) May 7, 2020

IMPD Police Chief Randal Taylor said that he has “no reason” to believe that the shooting officer “acted inappropriately,” but was waiting to see “how the investigation plays out.”

The fatal shooting was one of three shootings involving the IMPD in less than 8 hours, the Indy Star reports.

“Last night was a difficult night for our entire community filled with tragedy,” Taylor said in another statement on Thursday. “I know to many in the community, they say talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. So that is my commitment to the city. … We will act with transparency, we will act with fairness, we will act with compassion.”

On Thursday (May 7), a candlelight vigil was held where the shooting occurred. Several people also gathered outside of the IMPD headquarters to protest Reed's shooting.

NEW VIDEO: Dozens of protestors outside the City County Building with is also IMPD’s Headquarters. They are here for Sean Reed.

— Darius Johnson (@DariusJohnsonTV) May 7, 2020

Reed graduated from the U.S. Air Force basic training in 2018. His sister said that he was “loved by so many people.”

“No, he didn’t make the best choice,” said Reed’s aunt Temesha Crockett. “He probably could have pulled over. He probably could have stayed in the car. That does not mean it was okay for the police to shoot him 12 -15 times.”

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