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California Police Kill 26-Year-Old Father In Walmart Parking Lot

“They saw a car full of black people sitting in front of a Walmart, and they decided that was suspicious.”

Police in Barstow, Calif. shot and killed a young father of three in a Walmart parking lot, and injured a woman as dozens of bullets were fired into a car that the victim was driving, The Guardian reports. Diante “Butchie” Yarber, 26, was unarmed when he was killed, and while authorities claim that he was “wanted for questioning over an allegedly stolen vehicle and “accelerated” towards officers, his family says he was the victim of unjustified deadly force.

According to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the April 5 incident unfolded when officers responded to “a call of a suspicious vehicle” in the Walmart parking lot. In the release, the Barstow Police Officers are listed as the  “victim,” while Yarber is listed as a “suspect.”

“Officers believed the driver was a subject wanted for questioning in a recent crime involving a stolen vehicle,” reads the news release. “Officers attempted a traffic stop of the Mustang when the driver suddenly reversed the vehicle and struck one of the patrol cars. When the driver again accelerated toward the officers and struck a second patrol car, the officer involved shooting occurred. Two of the four occupants were struck by gunfire.

“The driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. A female passenger suffered gunshot wounds and was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center,” the report continues. “The two male passengers exited the vehicle during the incident and one of them sustained minor injuries to his lower extremities in the process. Both injured passengers are expected to recover from their injuries.”

As has been the case with many black victims of police shootings, Yarber’s past criminal record has been brought to surface as if to somehow justify the shooting. However, Brittany Chandler, mother of Yarber’s 19-month-old daughter maintains that police “took him away for no reason,” and that officers should be held accountable for his death.  “They are sick people for them to be able to shoot someone down in broad daylight,” she said.

Yarber’s older sister, Ruby Hawkins, said that local police constantly harassed her brother. “They are the biggest criminals,” she said. “They are bullies with badges … I don’t know how you can fear for your life with a person that is moving away from you.”

“You see this all the time, but you never in a million years think you’ll be the one crying about a loved one killed at the hands of police,” Hawkins added.

Yarber’s aunt, Aleta Yarber, confirmed that the vehicle in question belonged to her son and had not been reported stolen. She also said that her son hasn’t been able to talk much about the shooting because he’s traumatized.

“They saw a car full of black people sitting in front of a Walmart, and they decided that was suspicious,” said Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family. “They just began pouring bullets … It’s irresponsible. It’s dangerous. It’s mind-boggling, the use of force.”

A crowdfunding page launched to raise money for Yarber's three young daughter says that he "maneuvered his car around the police vehicles" after being profiled and boxed in by cops "without reasonable suspicion" for stopping him. "Video footage of his car reversing slowly away from law enforcement was captured by a a pedestrian, just before officers began to shoot into the vehicle," the statement reads.

Yarber is the latest black California man gunned down by police whose story has drawn national attention, after the shooting death of Stephon Clark a 22-year-old father of two who was unarmed when he was shot to death in his grandmother’s backyard in March.

Earlier in the month, California legislators introduced a bill that would bar police officers from using deadly force unless absolutely necessary. The measure has been widely rejected by police chiefs in the state.

In the video below, police can be heard unloading several rounds into the vehicle that Yarber was driving.

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Illinois Man Awarded $1.25 Million After Cops Tackled Him For Stealing His Own Car

A former Northwestern University doctoral student was awarded $1.25 million after police tackled the then 25-year old assuming he was trying to steal a car that was actually his own.

The Associated Press reports Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz confirmed the settlement amount had been reached Wednesday. (Jan. 23) Crosby was an engineering major in 2015 when the incident occurred.

Crosby’s attorney Timothy Touhy said his client was attempting to repair something with his car when a white woman watching called local police to report what she thought was a robbery.

The unidentified woman then followed Crosby in his car as he left his apartment and headed to a science building on Northwestern's campus, giving police his location.

Crosby reportedly exited his vehicle with his hands up but was immediately tackled by law enforcement when he didn't obey orders to get on the ground. Cops later determined Crosby was the owner of the vehicle but charged him with resisting arrest.

A spokesman for the Evanston police said the use of force was justified at the time because officers assumed a theft was in progress. Crosby was the victim of knee strikes and open-handed strikes.

A judge threw out the charges.

“It’s his hope that as a result of this case, that all of us begin a discussion on implicit bias and begin to recognize it and begin to discuss it between yourselves and your friends,” said Steven Yonover, who represented Crosby in the case.

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Scott Olson

Chicago Man Has Wrongful Murder Conviction Overturned After Serving 17 Years

A Chicago man who accused a retired cop of framing him for a murder he didn't commit has finally had the conviction overturned after spending 17 years in prison.

According to Buzzfeed News, Geraldo Iglesias was released from prison in 2010 for the 1993 murder of Monica Roman, who was shot and killed while sitting inside her car in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. However, Iglesias spent the last nine years fighting to have the conviction removed from his record because it prohibited his ability to get a job or find housing.

Iglesias is the 10th man to have a conviction overturned after being investigated by Reynaldo Guevara. Buzzfeed invested the former detective and found 50 men accused him of framing them for murders they allege they didn't commit.

At Iglesias' 1995 sentencing, he spoke directly to the victim's family and expressed his condolences while maintaining his innocence.

"I would like to say that I apologize and I’m sorry for what happened to the young lady and I send my condolences to the family but I would like to say I had nothing to do with it and the Lord knows I had nothing to do with it.”

Iglesias' conviction was sealed on the testimony of a jailhouse informant Francisco Vicente who alleged Islesias confessed to him about killing Roman. Vicente said Iglesias said, "I shot the bitch in the head.”

In the past Guevara and his partner, Ernest Halvorsen have used the 5th Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination. Buzzfeed reports at least 17 defendants who allege Guevara framed them are still behind bars.

 

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Martin H. Simon

Donald Trump Doesn't Have Any MLK Day Activities Planned

President Donald Trump has no public events scheduled for Dr. Martin Luther King day.

On Friday (Jan. 18) the president signed a proclamation in which encouraged “all Americans to recommit themselves to Dr. King’s dream by engaging in acts of service to others, to their community, and to our Nation.” The Daily Beast reports. However, Trump may not have included himself in the proclamation.

NEW: @realDonaldTrump won't be participating in any Martin Luther King Jr. Day service activities tomorrow. According to the White House schedule, he "has no public events scheduled."

— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 21, 2019

While the president's plans on the national day of service are unclear, Vice President Mike Pence compared Dr. King's legacy of peace to the current U.S. partial government shutdown. On CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday (Jan. 20) Pence quoted the late civil rights leader.

"One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,’” Pence said. "You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union...That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on Congress to do: Come to the table in the spirit of good faith.

We’ll secure our border. We’ll reopen the government and we’ll move our nation forward as the president said yesterday to even a broader discussion about immigration reform in the months ahead.”

As of Jan. 21, the United States government has been shut down for 31 days. More than 800,000 federal employees have gone without pay due to an impasse between the Democratic Congress and the White House. Donald Trump has asked for $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico wall, while the Democrats are refusing to budge.

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