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Philadelphia District Attorney Implements New Policies To "End Mass Incarceration"

Philadelphia has the highest incarceration rate in the Northeast, but DA Larry Krasner is aiming to change that. 

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has spent a lifetime seeking justice as a civil rights attorney, and after being elected last November, promised to completely redesign the current system. Last week, he formalized new policies designed "to end mass incarceration and bring back balance to sentencing."

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, Philadelphia currently has the highest incarceration rate in the Northeast and an arrest rate double that of other big cities. Despite the over-incarceration, the city is still not safe due to "wasting resources in corrections rather than investing in other measures that reduce crime."

Krasner rejected the death penalty, stop-and-frisk, cash bail, and other methods used that disproportionately affect black and poor people as a candidate. Three days after he was sworn in, he fired 31 prosecutors who weren't committed to the changes he hopes to make.

His 300 assistant district attorneys have been directed not to charge possession of marijuana, regardless of weight, and also not to charge sex workers with two or fewer arrests with prostitution. Prosecutors also must now calculate the amount of money a sentence would cost before recommending it to a judge and argue why the cost is justified.

“If you are seeking a sentence of 3 years incarceration, state on the record that the cost to the taxpayer will be $126,000.00 (3 x $42,000.00) if not more and explain why you believe the cost is justified," wrote Krasner in the memo.

Since January, Krasner has dropped 51 marijuana charges and has been a strong proponent of the mayor's wishes to be the first U.S. city to open a safe injection site. He's also suing 10 pharmaceutical companies who have helped fuel the opioid crisis.

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Stephen Maturen

A Florida Deputy Was Reassigned, Not Fired, After Video Shows Him Punching A Teen

A Florida deputy was reassigned, not fired after cellphone footage showed him throwing a teen to the ground and punching him in the head.

Broward County Sheriff's deputies were responding to a fight that occurred between a large group of students in the Tamarac shopping plaza. According to reports, after the group was told to leave, one male teen wearing a tank top was trespassing and arrested.

The violent interaction between the black minor and white officer was caught on cellphone footage and showed Deputy Christopher Krickovich pepper spraying the boy before he was shoved to the ground and punched in the head.

Krickovich said in his statement that he saw the teen in the tank pick up the cellphone of the teen arrested and take an "aggressive stance" toward another member of law enforcement. He claimed he feared the boy would grab one of his weapons from his belt or vest after he was pushed to the ground.

“At this point, his left arm was free and next to him, while he placed his arm under his face," Krickovich's report said. "I struck the male in the right side of his head with a closed fist as a distractionary technique to free his right hand."

Since the video went viral, Krickovich was placed on administrative assignment. Many after seeing the violent encounter took to social media demanding the officer be terminated.

This is police brutality. https://t.co/ldG7rnTVA3

— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) April 20, 2019

https://twitter.com/itsgabrielleu/status/1119721327466668032

Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen released a statement condemning the actions and calling for his termination.

"After being sprayed, the teen held his face and walked away," Bogen said. "If the deputy wanted to arrest the student, he could have easily done so without throwing him to the ground."

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Nuccio DiNuzzo

Jussie Smollett's Brother Pens Op-Ed Questioning "What If Jussie Is Telling The Truth"

Jussie Smollet's older brother, JoJo penned an op-ed letter defending his sibling and begged the question: what if Jussie is telling the truth?

The essay, written exclusively for BET.com tackles the holes of the case, the Chicago Police Department and its years of corruption, the statement from the Osundarios brothers, as well as the role media played in helping to "convict Jussie in the court of public opinion before he even entered a courtroom."

"The fact that these two brothers, who in the final hour confessed to attacking my brother yet say it was Jussie who told them to, is all the evidence that the police and the general public needed to be convinced, should be frightening to everyone," Jojo wrote.

JoJo, who owns a nonprofit aimed at helping disabled people enter the workforce, noted that it was underreported the brothers were arrested for attempted murder but secured a plea deal of aggravated battery.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor was leaving a Subway fast-food restaurant at about 2 AM when he said he was attacked by two MAGA hat-wearing men. They allegedly beat, kicked him shouted racial and homophobic slurs while trying to tie a noose around his neck and pour bleach on him.

Initially, many of the entertainer's friends took to social media to show support. The Chicago PD alleged the former Empire actor staged the attack because of a financial dispute on the show. JoJo said his brother wasn't strapped for cash.

"Jussie had actually begun directing episodes of Empire, which brought additional compensation. He worked out a deal with Fox to own 100% of his music masters, released an album, which lead to a sold-out world tour and he donated every cent of ticket sales to charity. He even signed the group, June’s Diary, to his label...To suggest that he staged his own attack to boost a sagging career is ludicrous"

JoJo, who's the oldest of the Smollett clan, ended his lengthy essay hoping there are some who are willing to give his brother the benefit of the doubt.

"I am simply hoping there are some conscious-minded people out there who, instead of carelessly victim blaming and shaming, want to loudly ask the simple question: “What if Jussie is telling the truth?”

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Christopher Polk

Writer And Director John Singleton Hospitalized After A Stroke

Writer and director John Singleton, famous for his classic 90s films Boyz n The Hood and Poetic Justice reportedly suffered a stroke and is recovering in ICU at an undisclosed hospital.

In a statement from Singleton's family, the 51-year-old director was already at the hospital Wednesday (April 17) when he had the stroke. The statement didn't offer many details but asked for privacy.

Just received a statement from John Singleton’s family: pic.twitter.com/FzKlESvhMe

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 20, 2019

After learning of Singleton's health, many celebrities and fans took to Twitter to offer their support, including Mark Wahlberg, who starred in Singleton's 4 Brothers and Luke Cage's Mike Colter.

https://twitter.com/markwahlberg/status/1119719037284618242?

https://twitter.com/realmikecolter/status/1119672242445537280

In 1991, Singleton's Boyz n The Hood starred an All-star cast of Hollywood actors including Cuba Gooding Jr, Moris Chestnut, Nia Long, and Ice Cube. Famed film critic Roger Ebert referred to Singleton's work as "human drama of rare power."

"Singleton is a director who brings together two attributes not always found in the same film: He has a subject, and he has a style," Ebert wrote. "The film is not only important but also a joy to watch because his camera is so confident and he wins such natural performances from his actors."

The film earned Singleton an Oscar nomination for best director, the first given to an African-American filmmaker.

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