DJ-Broadus
Family Of DJ Broadus

Family Of Florida Man Killed In Execution-Style Shooting Demands "Honest" Police Investigation

Dominic "DJ" Broadus was shot in the back of the head three times. 

The family of an unarmed Florida man who died in an execution-style shooting earlier in the month, are demanding that authorities arrest the person who pulled the trigger.

On the afternoon of Feb. 3, Dominic Jerome “D.J.” Broadus II, a 31-year-old Jacksonville native described as a “storyteller” who was “loved”, “loyal”, and a “great dad,” was found dead in the back of a home located at Southern States Nursery Road outside of Macclenny, Fla.

Although Broadus’ family isn’t “100 percent” sure of what happened to him, the fact remains that he was unarmed and shot “three times” in the head, “at close range.”

“Initially they told us nothing,” Chioma Iwuoha, Broadus’ cousin, shared with VIBE of how authorities in Baker County handled the investigation. “That’s why we made a call to the community, because police weren’t answering our questions.”

Broadus’ father, Dominic Jerome Broadus Sr., identified his son via a photo shown to him by authorities. The family didn’t physically see his body until three days after he was killed, Iwuoha said. She also pointed out that Broadus’ car was towed after he was killed, and that his father had to pay $330 to get it back.

At approximately 3:45 p.m., officers responded to a call of a shooting at the home where they found Broadus' body in the back of the residence, according to reports from police and the medical examiner.

Also at the home was Gardner Kent Fraser, the son of a former Florida sheriff’s deputy. Fraser was  “escorted” to the sheriff’s office where he was questioned and released.

While Broadus was considered an “outsider” in Baker County, Fraser is a longtime “well-connected” resident, a message on the “Justice 4 DJ Broadus” Facebook page reads.

“The fact that our son was an outsider in Baker County and the suspect is a longtime, well-connected, Baker County resident, gives us great concerns about the fairness of the process,” the message, which was posted on Feb. 13, explains. “As parents, our hopes are that a thorough, honest, and unbiased investigation will be conducted.”

At least one other person was at the home where Broadus died, but according to The Root, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office redacted the person's name from the police report, as well as further details about the crime scene. Broadus' cell phone was also never recovered.

Last week, Broadus' family held a town hall meeting regarding the case.

Founded in 1861, and named after a Confederate senator, Baker County is a community with a legacy of  racial disparity. A mural featuring KKK members still hangs inside the Baker County Courthouse, despite a 2015 petition to have it removed. Last May, Baker County made national headlines after a photo of black students at Baker County High School with nooses drawn around their necks, began circulating on social media.

And when it comes to gun violence and unarmed black victims, the Fraser family has it’s own history. In 2009, Fraser’s father, deputy Ryan T. Fraser, was fired for shooting an unarmed black man while responding to a robbery call. Although Ryan claimed he thought the alleged suspect had a gun, former Jacksonville sheriff John Rutherford, concluded that the officer’s actions were “unacceptable.”

Ryan became the third Jacksonville officer involved in a shooting that Rutherford fired when he took office in 2003. Meanwhile,  Ryan found another job working in law enforcement in Macclenny, and retired in 2017.

Amid talk of a conflict of interest, and to maintain transparency, the Baker County Sheriff’s department turned over the Broadus case to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But authorities have yet to make an arrest, and the family says that they’re not being updated on the status of the investigation.

In the meantime, Broadus’ loved ones have launched a You Caring account aimed at raising $100,000 to pay for an independent autopsy and legal expenses.

Iwuoha believes that Broadus will become a “catalyst” for change in the legal system within Baker County.

“A lot of people in the community are tired of the nepotism.”

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Government Shutdown Prompts Hunger Strike Inside Manhattan Jail

As the country enters its 26th day since the partial government shutdown, some inmates inside a Manhattan detention center have decided to partake in a hunger strike after family visits were canceled for the second week due to a lack of staffing.

According to the New York Times, inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, or M.C.C have denied their breakfast and lunch meals. The facility, which holds about 800, is one of the most important in the federal prison system and has housed few infamous names including Mexican drug leader El Chapo and terrorists.

Federal public defender Sarah Baumgartel said she learned of the hunger strike from a detainee she represents. Baumgartel declined to identify the inmate out of fear he'd be singled out. "They have already refused a meal — I believe they refused breakfast and lunch.”

Along with canceled family visits, the dispensing of medication to inmates in need has also been affected. The New York Times reports a prosecutor inside a federal court was "informed" that because of the shutdown, there are issues with prescribing medication.”

On Monday (Jan. 16) Bureau of Prisons lawyer Adam Johnson emailed  defense lawyers stating “due to staff shortages,” attorneys would not be able to speak with their clients at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. "We regret the inconvenience and will notify you immediately once visiting resumes.”

The partial government shutdown is a stand off between Donald Trump's demands for funding to construct a wall along the U.S- Mexican border and a newly elected Democratic Congress refusing to acquiesce.

Since then, more than 800,000 employees have gone without pay.

 

 

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Man Leaves Marijuana In An Uber And Tries To Retrieve It From Cops

A 21-year-old Pennsylvania man is in police custody after attempting to retrieve two pounds of marijuana from a state trooper he believed was his Uber driver.

According to reports, the driver received an email Dec. 29 from Uber about the previous rider Malik Mollett, who left something in the backseat of the vehicle. In the email was Mollett's phone number.

On Jan. 9, a state trooper posed as an Uber driver and called Mollett. Police said Mollett answered the phone, explained he left something in the Uber. The trooper and Mollett then agreed to meet, Mollett said the bag he left was black, the trooper texted Mollett a picture of the black bag and he confirmed that it was indeed his.

TWO pounds of marijuana left behind in an Uber — police say Malik Mollett thought he was meeting up with the driver to get it back, but it was actually state troopers. I’ll have more on this story tonight on #WPXI pic.twitter.com/ZJGP7kU29Z

— Melanie Marsalko (@WPXIMelanie) January 11, 2019

The trooper than coordinated a time to meet with Mollett at a local McDonald's. It was there, the trooper gave Mollett the bag. Another trooper reportedly then entered the McDonalds and took Mollett into police custody.

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Florida Pardons Four Black Men Wrongfully Convicted Of Rape In 1949

The state of Florida is attempting to make amends.

Gov. Ron DeSantis posthumously pardoned Samuel Shepherd, Walter Irvin, Earnest Thomas and Charles Greenlee Friday (Jan. 11), decades after the court system destroyed their lives

On July 16, 1949, Shepherd, Irvin, Greenlee and Thomas, known as “The Groveland Four,” were convicted of gang raping a 17-year-old married white woman who claimed that she was attacked on the side of a road in Groveland, Fla.

“For seventy years, these four men have had their history wrongly written for crimes they did not commit,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“As I have said before, while that is a long time to wait, it is never too late to do the right thing,” he continued. “I believe the rule of law is society’s sacred bond. When it is trampled, we all suffer. For the Groveland Four, the truth was buried. The Perpetrators celebrated. But justice has cried out from that day until this.”

The accuser, Norma Padgett, and her husband, Willie, claimed that she had been gang raped after their car broke down. There was no evidence to prove that a sexual assault occurred, and prosecutors were accused of manipulating and withholding crucial information in the case.

Irvin and Shepherd, both 22, were friends and World War II veterans. They acknowledged asking the couple if they needed help after spotting them on the side of the road. Greenlee, a 16-year-old newlywed, was “being detained 20 miles away” from the location where the Padgetts claimed the rape occurred. He was at a train station waiting to go job hunting with Thomas when police arrested him. The teen denied that he and Thomas were involved in the alleged rape.

Nonetheless, Irvin, Shepherd and Greenlee were all charged with rape. Thomas, also a newlywed at the time, was “presumed guilty” but fled before police could arrest him. A violent posse of more than 1,000 men went out to search for him. They caught up with Thomas and killed him in a “hail of gunfire” as he slept next to a tree. His death was ruled a justifiable homicide.

The others were arrested and severely beaten by police, subsequently forcing them into false confessions, with the exception of Irvin who maintained his innocence. Another member of the group had his home burned down by an angry mob.

An all-white jury convicted the men of rape and sentenced Irvin and Shepherd to death. Greenlee was sentenced to life in prison because he was a minor.

Thurgood Marshall, then an Executive Director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, appealed the ruling. A retrial was ordered in April of 1951. Seven months later, Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall shot Shepherd and Irvin during a prison transfer. McCall claimed that he gunned them down because they were attempting to escape. Shepherd died instantly.

Irvin survived after being shot in the neck while laying on the ground, handcuffed to Shepherd.

Irvin was refused medical attention because of his race. He was later retried in court, reconvicted and sentenced to death. The sentence was eventually commuted to life in prison. Irvin was paroled in 1969. He was found dead in his car a year after his release.

Greenlee, the last living member of the four, was paroled in 1960. He died in 2012, at age 78.

Norma Padgett, now 86 years old, opposed the men receiving pardons and maintains her story.

The pardons were approved nearly a year after state legislators issued a resolution urging the governor to move forward with the process. Lawmakers also offered a “heartfelt apology” to the families of Greenlee,  Irvin, Shepherd and Thomas “for the enduring sorrow caused by the criminal justice system’s failure to protect their basic constitutional rights.”

See more on the case below.

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