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Chance The Rapper Denounces Chicago's $95 Million Police Training Academy

The "No Problems" rapper/activist attended a city council meeting in Chicago with various activist groups to denounce the city's proposed $95 million police training academy.

Chicago’s proverbial knight in shining armor, Chance the Rapper, arrived at a local city council meeting on Wednesday (Nov. 8), regarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s controversial $95 million proposal for a police training academy. Its construction site will be within the Garfield Park neighborhood.

Chano, born Chancellor Bennett, arrived at the meeting alongside a slew of activists from organizations like Assata’s Daughters, For The People, and the VOYCE Project.

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Though Emanuel reportedly left before Chance expressed his thoughts, he managed to speak to the city’s aldermen to provide alternative ideas to better serve Chicago’s underprivileged south and westside communities, The Chicago Tribune reports.

"I guess the mayor had to step out when I walked in...but it's fine," he said to the aldermen. "I'll just speak to you: what are you doing? I've been asking for money for school for years and now you have $95 [million] for a cop academy?"

The Tribune also reports that the rapper/activist spoke to the aldermen about the urgency of allocating money toward building new schools and mental health clinics, an ongoing fight led by Chicago’s activist community after Emanuel closed a record number of schools and mental health clinics across the city during his tenure.

“Schooling is my big thing,” he tells the aldermen “There’s a lot of ways to transform the city that don’t have anything to do with police training.”

READ: Eminem & Chance The Rapper Are Taking Over ‘SNL’ In November

Chance continued with, “What is y’all doin’? It doesn’t make sense. I’m very confused. But like I said, you guys have a lot of power, and that’s why I showed up at 8 a.m., because I feel like it’s — maybe if you guys just hear me say it. I’ll take pictures with everybody afterward if you want me to.”

Later that afternoon, the aldermen were then expected to vote on spending $10 million worth of “special taxing district money” to purchase 30 acres of land located in the city’s 37th Ward. Emanuel stated that it is part of a mission to “reform the scandal-plagued police department.”

Chance took to Twitter with a light thread to announce his frustrations with the city council’s move to spend $10 million on the land to build the proposed academy.

Watch highlights from the meeting below.

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Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

Texas Appeals Court Grants Stay Of Execution For Rodney Reed Stay

A Texas Criminal Appeals Court granted Rodney Reed a stay of execution on Friday (Nov. 15). The decision came hours after the state’s parole board recommended that Reed’s lethal injection be delayed by 120-days.

Reed was scheduled to be lethally injected on Nov. 20. Although the court decision means that he no longer has an execution date, the parole board failed to approve a request to commute Reed's sentence to life in prison, the Washington Post reports.

The 51-year-old Texas native has spent that last two decades on death row for the1996 rape and murder of Stacey Stites. Reed has filed numerous appeals over the years but his story only recently went viral catching the attention of lawmakers and celebrities including Rihanna, Oprah, Beyonce, T.I., Kim Kardashian West, the latter of whom was visiting with Reed when his execution was delayed.

Reed, who has long maintained his innocence, says Stite's was killed by her fiance, Jimmy Fennell. Fennell’s lawyer Robert Phillips “laughed off” Reed’s allegations, according to numerous reports.

Fennell served 10 years in prison for the attempted kidnapping and rape of another woman while working as a police officer in 2007. He was briefly suspected in Stite’s murder. Authorities turned their attention to Reed after his DNA was found inside Stites, from what he contends was a consensual relationship. Reed, who is black, believes that race played a part in the case because Stites was a white woman. He was convicted by an all-white jury.

Reed’s legal team has also provided evidence to prove his innocence, including new witnesses.

"We’re happy that we’re going to have an opportunity to present the compelling evidence that Rodney Reed didn’t commit the crime," Bryce Benjet of the Innocence Project, who took on Reed’s case, told The Texas Tribune. "The Court of Criminal Appeals recognized the substance of this case and the need for a special hearing where all the evidence can be considered."

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Trailblazers Portrayed In 'Hidden Figures' To Receive Congressional Gold Medals

Engineers Mary Jackson and Christine Darden, mathematician Katherine Johnson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn are being honored with the highest U.S. civilian award.

The four trailblazers, three of whom were depicted in the film Hidden Figures, will receive Congressional Gold Medal, ABC News reports. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) helped introduce the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, a bipartisan bill signed by President Donald Trump last Friday (Nov. 8).

As the highest civilian award in the U.S., the Congressional Gold Medal recognizes those who have performed an achievement that has had a lasting impact on American history and culture.

Johnson, who celebrated her 101st birthday last summer, calculated trajectories for numerous NASA space missions beginning in the early 1950s. Vaughn, who died in 2008, led the West Area Computing unit for nine years, and was the first black supervisors at the national Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which later became NASA.

Jackson, who died in 2005, was NASA’s first black engineer. Darden became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Jackson and went on to “revolutionize aeronautic design.” She was also the first black person to be promoted to Senior Executive at NASA's Langley Research Center, and has also authored more than 50 articles on aeronautics design.

“Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Dr. Christine Darden made monumental contributions to science and our nation,” said Senator Harris. “The groundbreaking accomplishments of these four women, and all of the women who contributed to the success of NASA, helped us win the space race but remained in the dark far too long. I am proud our bill to honor these remarkable women has passed Congress. These pioneers remain a beacon for Black women across the country, both young and old.”

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Courtesy of Crawford Family, WVLT

Authorities Release Grisly Details Of Alexis Crawford’s Murder

Alexis Crawford was strangled to death before her body was thrown in a trash bin, the Fulton Country Superior Court revealed in court documents released on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

Crawford died on Oct. 31, reports the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Four days earlier, the 21-year-old Clark Atlanta University senior filed a police report against her roommate, Jordyn Jones's boyfriend, Barron Bentley, accusing him of sexual assault. Crawford had a rape kit performed on her at a local hospital. Crawford's decision to go to police caused tension between her and Jones, which erupted in a physical fight.

“As a result of the physical altercation, Barron Brantley choked the victim until she was deceased,” the Atlanta Police Department said.

After killing Crawford, Jones and Brantley, both age 21, stuffed her body into a “plastic bin” and transported it to Exchange Park in Decatur, Ga., where they left her remains.

Crawford and Jones knew each other for at least two years, and became close while studying at Clark Atlanta. The Michigan native even visited Crawford’s family’s home during the holidays.

Brantley confessed to Crawford's murder and led police to her body last Friday (Nov. 7). Jones was arrested the following day.

Brantley and Jones are both charged with felony murder and are being held without bond.

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