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Tennessee Judge Says Black-On-Black Crime Worse Than Klan Killings

"I grew up in a time where people wore white robes and they shot at black people, And now we see young black men wearing black hoodies shooting at black men."

A Tennessee judge has made headlines for alleging black men are doing a better job at killing one another than the Klu Klux Klan.

Montgomery County Judge Wayne Shelton went on a lengthy rant Friday (Jan. 4) while presiding over a preliminary hearing involving Vincent Bryan Merriweather accused of gunning down another black man.

"I grew up in a time where people wore white robes and they shot at black people," Shelton said. "And now we see young black men wearing black hoodies shooting at black men — and doing a much more effective job than the Klan ever thought about doing."

According to witness testimony, Merriweather, 26 and the victim, Antorius Gallion 22, exchanged gunfire between their cars on Nov. 19. The two attended a local high school game and their feet supposedly brushed against one another in the stands, which led to a stare down. Gallion was shot in the head.

Along with Merriweather, Cedrick Stacker, 23, and Marques Lamarr Kelly, 25 have all been charged with homicide. Merriweather turned himself into police without incident

This isn't the first time Shelton has spoken against the violence within the black community. In May 2015, Shelton lamented over two recent high school graduates who shot and killed another young black man following a high school graduation.

“That’s the absolute tragedy,” Shelton said of the 2015 crime.“It’s black men killing black men. The Klan doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “Who doesn’t care about black lives now? I’ll let you answer that. I’m tired of black men killing black men. If I offended anyone ... I can’t help it.”

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Alberto Pezzali

Targeting Someone Based On Their Hair In NYC Can Result In A $250K Penalty

New York City's Commission on Human Rights will reveal guidelines later this week for the legal recourse a person can take if they've been targeted at work, school or a public space based on their hair.

According to the New York Times, the law applies to anyone in New York City but is aimed at helping African-Americans who are disproportionately victimized based on the texture or style of their hair. The guidelines specifically read "natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

When enacted, individuals who have been harassed, demoted or fired, the city's commission can issue a penalty for up to $250,000 and there is no cap on damages. The commission can also force an internal policy changes and rehirings at companies in question.

News of the guidelines comes just two months after a New Jersey teen was forced to cut his locs in order to continue participating in a wrestling match. The decision sparked outrage by many who found the choices discriminatory.

The guidelines obtained by the Times are considered the first in the country and are based on the argument one's hair is intrinsic to one's race and is protected under the city's human rights laws.

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Nylah Lightfoot Go Fund Me

Texas Teen Sentenced To 25 Years After Stabbing Best Friend To Death

A Texas teen was convicted of murdering her best friend last year after an argument transpired during a sleepover. The teen, whose name has not been released because she's a minor, is 14-year-old and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing Nylah Lightfoot in the chest and neck with a kitchen knife.

“I stabbed her and I made the worst mistake of my life,” the convicted girl said. "I wish I had been thinking clearly at the time. I pulled it out instantly and tried to stop her from running.”

According to reports, the accused girl said she and Nylah met at school and quickly became close, stating they were like sisters, but they also fought like siblings.

On the night in question, the girl said she went home after a pool party because there wasn't enough room in the bed at Nylah's apartment. The two began to argue via text message about a slamming door and then about returning clothes that each borrowed.

The teen then claims Nylah showed up at her apartment at 2:30 AM and then began arguing again. The girl says she retrieved a knife from her kitchen. Realizing what she did, the teen said she tried to help Nylah and stop the bleeding with a towel.

Nylah died at John Peter Smith Hospital May 29. Nylah's mother, Antoinette Carter made a victim's impact statement after sentencing and expressed grief her daughter's death came at the hands of her best friend.

“When they told me it was you, it hurt,” Carter told the girl. “You was at my house every day.”

The prosecution, however, didn't buy into the girl's versions of events and stated her anger problems is what caused Nylah's death.

"When she came outside with the knife, she was still in control. But not even her friend could stop her. She was only following through with what she had threatened twice,” Tarrant County prosecutor Jim Hudson said.

The girl faced 40 years in prison but was sentenced to 25. She will serve her time in a juvenile facility until her 19th  birthday.

The girl's stepfather said the verdict was unfair and cited Ethan Couch, the white teen who received no jail time, for driving drunk in 2013 and killed four people.

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Maryland Judge Overturns Jury's Decision To Award Korryn Gaines Family $37 Million

A Maryland judge has overturned a jury's decision to award the surviving family of Korryn Gaines $37 million. The 23-year-old was shot twice, along with her 5-year-old son Kodi, during an hour-long standoff in August 2016. The child survived Gaines did not.

According to CNN, Baltimore County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mickey J. Norman stated in an opinion Cpl Royce Ruby's conduct was "entitled to qualified immunity," which translates as Ruby was well within his rights as a member of law enforcement and is "shielded from liability for civil damages."

Norman's opinion states Ruby acted within the margins of the law. "This court has found that Corporal Ruby is entitled to qualified immunity and therefore, his shooting of Gaines was not unlawful."

However, Norman states the damages Gaines' surviving family was seeking were "excessive and shocks the conscience."

The jury awarded $32.85 million to Gaines' son Kodi, $23, 542 for his medical bills and $4.53 million to Gaines' daughter Karsyn Courtney. The jury also found it fit to award Gaines' mother Rhanda Dormeus $307,000 and $300,000 to her father Ryan Gaines.

Judge Norman said the court would grant a new civil trial on account of this new opinion.

J. Wyndal Gordon, Gaines' family lawyer said the family is disappointed but not "defeated nor deterred from doing what must be done now."

"We have great appellate issues and an excellent opportunity to have reviewed not just the recent decision but some of the earlier decisions in the case that were disfavorable," Gordon said. "Nobody told us the road would be easy. I don't believe God brought us this far to leave us. This case is by no means over. We will fight to the finish to preserve the jury's verdict and restore justice to the family."

Baltimore County police spokesperson confirmed that Cpl Royce Ruby is still a member of the department.

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