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White Former Starbucks Employee Sues Company For Racial Discrimination

A white former Starbucks regional manager is suing for racial discrimination that she claims occurred after two black men were wrongfully arrested at a Philadelphia store last year.

in a lawsuit filed in New Jersey on Monday (Oct. 28), Shannon Phillips accuses Starbucks of trying to “convince the community that it had properly responded to the incident,” by punishing white employees who had “no involvement in the arrest.”

Phillips, a former regional manager and 13-year employee overseeing stores in Southern New Jersey, parts of Philadelphia, Delaware and parts of Maryland, was terminated a month after the men were racially profiled, NBC News reports.

The complaint alleges that Starbucks punished white employees, but did nothing to penalize the black manager who oversaw the store where two black men were arrested in April 2018, after a Starbucks employee called 911 on them for asking to use the bathroom without buying anything. Video of the incident went viral, sparking boycotts against the company. Starbucks released an apology and shut down its U.S. stores for a daylong racial sensitivity employee training course.

Phillips meanwhile, worked to “ensure” that the Starbucks locations in her area offered a “safe and welcoming environment for all customers, regardless of race,” according to her lawsuit. She was fired a day after refusing to suspend a white district manager amid claims of discriminatory conduct that she “knew to be false,” and “factually impossible.” The manager, a 15-year employee who was not involved in the racial profiling incident, had complaints against him from nonwhite employees who alleged that they were paid less than their white counterparts. Phillips refused to discipline the manager, noting that she had no jurisdiction over employee salaries.

Phillips claims that race was a motivating factor in her firing, and that she suffered ”irreparable injury.” She is suing for compensatory and punitive damages.

"We do not believe there is any merit to it and we’re prepared to present our case in court,” the company said in a statement responding to the lawsuit. In an additional statement to ABC News Starbucks said that the company is “fully prepared” to defend itself in court.

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Tashonna Ward: 25-Year-Old Woman Dies After Waiting Hours In ER

The family of the 25-year-old Wisconsin woman are seeking answers following her tragic death earlier in the month. Tashonna Ward, a daycare worker whose newborn daughter died last year, passed away after waiting nearly three hours in the emergency room at Wisconsin's Froedtert Hospital where she sought treatment for chest pains and shortness of breath.

Ward checked into the ER at 4:58 p.m on Jan. 2, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. During the wait, hospital staff checked Ward’s heartbeat and she underwent an x-ray, the latter of which showed that she had an enlarged heart.

She was sent back to the waiting room.

"I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a [doctor]. Like that is really f***ing ridiculous,” Ward reportedly wrote on Facebook according to NBC News.

Ward left Froedtert to go to another hospital at around 7:30 p.m., but never made it. She collapsed soon after and was rushed back to Froedtert where she was pronounced dead.

“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain, and stick them in the lobby?" Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward, said according to the Journal Sentinel. Andrea launched a Go Fund Me  account to raise funds for her cousin’s funeral.

A rep for Froedtert expressed condolences over Ward's death . “The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy,” a rep for the hospital said in a statement. “We cannot comment further at this time.”

Ward had previously been told that she developed an enlarged heart during her pregnancy. Her baby died last March after the baby’s umbilical chord wrapped around the its neck.

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death among men women in the U.S., the risks are even higher for black women. According to 2017 statistics, nearly half of black women over the age of 20 battle some type of heart disease.

Black women are also at higher risk of dying from pregnancy complications. While there are several variables at play (like a lack of access to proper health care), the larger issue is that black women are often “undervalued,” noted Dr. Ana Langer, director of the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in an interview with the American Heart Association.

“[Black women] are not monitored as carefully as white women are,” said Langer. “When they do present with symptoms, they are often dismissed.”

Ward’s family are reportedly scheduled to meet with the hospital next week. The hospital has received numerous online complaints over the years, many of which involve billing issues but also treatment and long wait periods.

A Yelp review  posted last year warned patients not to believe the 23-minute wait time touted at the hospital. The woman and her ailing child left the hospital after waiting for six hours “without being evaluated other than a [five-minute] ‘triage.’”

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Atatiana Jefferson’s Mother Dies In House Where Daughter Was Killed

Yolanda Carr, the mother of Atatiana Jefferson, died in the same house where a Texas cop killed her daughter. A family lawyer announced Carr’s passing on Thursday (Jan. 9).

“We just learned Yolanda Carr, the mother of #AtatianaJefferson, passed away in her home early Thursday morning,” attorney S. Lee Merritt tweeted adding that Jefferson, 28, was killed by a Fort Worth officer “while serving as the caregiver for Ms. Carr who had recently taken ill.”

The family has been left “devastated” by the loss. Further details surrounding Carr's death were unavailable at press time.

“This is why we call police brutality genocide,” Merritt tweeted. “It is akin to a public lynching. It impacts the entire community. It is domestic terrorism under the color of state authority.”

Yolanda’s family is devastated. This is why we call police brutality genocide. It is akin to a public lynching. It impacts the entire community. It is domestic terrorism under the color of state authority. https://t.co/KyRtR7aG6X

— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 10, 2020

Jefferson, who would've celebrated her 29th birthday this past Thanksgiving, was killed last October by Ft. Worth Sheriff's deputy Aaron Dean. Dean shot Jefferson through the window of her home while she was playing video games with her nephew. Police were responding to a neighbor’s call about a door being open at the location when Dean opened fire on Jefferson. Dean resigned from the department after the fatal shooting. He has since been charged with murder.

A month after Jefferson was killed, her father Marquise Jefferson died of a heart attack, which his spokesperson said was a result of the death of his only child. “I can only sum it up as a broken heart,” said Bruce Carter. “He had to go through so much just to get through the services as a father, and continually doing good to make sure that who he was in their relationship was something he could honor.”

Carr, who was hospitalized after Jefferson was killed, responded to Dean's murder charge in an emotional video recorded from her hospital bed. “We’re going to miss her this Christmas, but I’m so glad that they finally indicted that man on murder because he murdered my baby in my home,” Carr said. “She wasn’t doing anything wrong. My thought was 'Thank you Jesus,' even though I know we have a long way to go at least we got the charge on him.”

 

Watch Carr's full message below.

The mother of #AtatianaJefferson has died in her home. This is her let public statement from her hospital bed after learning of Aaron Dean’s indictment on the charge of murder. pic.twitter.com/UQg00Te48v

— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 9, 2020

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Harvey Weinstein Charged With Four Counts Of Sexual Assault In Los Angeles

Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein was indicted Monday (Jan. 6) for raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in Los Angeles. This indictment came the same day that his sex assault trial commenced in New York City, reports the Los Angeles Times. 

TMZ also reported that Weinstein was charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint.

Weinstein faces five felony charges in New York, based on claims by two women, one of whom remains anonymous. However, six women with sexual encounters with Weinstein will testify, according to the New York Times. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Tuesday. One of those witnesses in the case is expected to be The Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra, who alleges Weinstein raped her inside her Manhattan apartment in 1993, according to the New York Times.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and his defense team is expected to try and undermine the women's testimony. His attorneys have also long denied that any non-consensual sex happened.

The former film producer became tied to the MeToo movement after the New York Times and The New Yorker published reports detailing the stories women who said he had sexually assaulted or harassed them. More than 80 women all have since come forward, although many of their allegations fall outside the statute of limitations.

If convicted of all charges, Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison.

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