Federal Court Rules Woman Falsely Accused Of Murder Can Take Legal Action Against LA County

Cherie Townsend was reportedly racially profiled and accused of killing a retired nurse in an affluent area of LA.  

A woman who was falsely accused of the murder of a retired nurse won a legal ruling critics have called "unusual" in federal court. A stay was lifted from Cherie Townsend's wrongful arrest lawsuit against LA County, allowing her to take legal action against Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department after they accused her of the murder of retired nurse Susan Leeds.

According to NBC Los Angeles, Reeds was found stabbed to death in the parking lot of Promenade on the Peninsula Shopping Center in Rolling Hills Estates on May 3, 2018. Townsend, who dropped her phone in the parking lot near the murder, was arrested at gunpoint and considered to be the sole suspect in the case based on evidence that showed her car parked near the murder scene. Police suspected the crime to be a random robbery with Reeds stabbed a dozen times and her throat slit.

Townsend's mugshot was plastered over local news outlets as she maintained her innocence. Townsends's lawyer Nazareth Haysbert told The Advocate her client was racially profiled during the interrogation process. Officers reportedly told Townsend she didn't belong in the neighborhood because she didn't have enough money to shop there. Rolling Hills is an affluent neighborhood with predominately white residents. Townsend is black.

Townsend spent six nights in jail and suffered a fainting spell before being released with no charges. Despite naming her a suspect in a press conference days after the murder, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said she was released due to lack of evidence.

The judge's decision to lift the stay on Townsend civil rights lawsuit can create sweeping changes in how persons of interest are treated after an arrest. The case is a wonder to many because police have yet to find Reeds' killer. The criminal case also still names Townsend as a suspect despite being released from jail.

"It's a major decision," Beverly Hills attorney Pat Harris told NBC Los Angeles "What this judge is ruling is, he is saying, 'Look, law enforcement: You've had an opportunity to investigate this. You arrested her. You released her. You then turned around and have had a year to go out and find any evidence against her. You didn't. Well, we're not going to allow this to drag on forever.'"

McDonnell has defended his decision to publicly name her in the case. “I thought it was what we needed to do to be able to let the community know where we were on the case,” he said in May. "There was a lot of interest in that case, certainly, and a lot of anxiety, and to the degree that we were able to provide some closure, some comfort to that community, we wanted to do that.”

Now suffering from PTSD from the incident, Townsend has stayed true to her story. "I still have this dark cloud over my head because from the moment I was released [from jail] they still went on TV and said, 'We think we have the right person," Townsend said.

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Amber Guyger Appeals Murder Conviction In Botham Jean Case

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger has appealed her murder conviction this week in an effort to receive a shorter sentence, the Star-Telegram reported on Friday (Aug. 7). Guyger is currently serving a 10-year-sentence for fatally shooting Botham Jean inside his apartment in 2018.

Attorneys for Guyger claim that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction. The legal documents reportedly want the murder conviction tossed, or changed to criminally negligent homicide.

“I feel like she received a slap on the wrist for taking my brother’s life,” Botham Jean’s sister Allis Findley. “This tells me that she feels like she didn’t do anything wrong. She did not step on my brother’s toe. She took his life.”

Guyger was found guilty on Oct. 1. She maintains that she entered Jean’s apartment believing that it was her own. Guyger testified that she shot Jean believing that he was an intruder.

“She should have received life, so she should take her 10 years in prison and shut up,” added Findley. “If the court was to do this it would prove that, yes, there is systematic racism and white privilege does prevail over Black life. I’m hoping this appeal gets thrown out and her conviction holds. I’m hoping they overturn the 10 years and give her life instead.”

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Oprah Winfrey Puts Up 26 Billboards Demanding Justice For Breonna Taylor

Oprah Winfrey and the team at O, The Oprah Magazine, erected 26 billboards demanding the arrest of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. The billboards went up all around Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday (Aug. 6).

“Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested an charged,” the billboards reads. The billboard encourages people to visit UntilFreedom.com (the organization co-founded by Tamika D. Mallory, Mysonne Linen, Angela Pintom and Linda Sarsoir) and includes a quote from Oprah, “If you turn a blind eye to racism, you become an accomplice to it.”

🚨Billboard Alert🚨

26 billboards - for every year of life of #BreonnaTaylor erected in Louisville, KY.

Kentucky will not forget her name. We will get justice for Breonna. pic.twitter.com/rOM2bhVdAy

— untilfreedom (@untilfreedom) August 6, 2020

A drawing of Taylor also covers the Sept. 2020 edition of O Magazine, marking the first time that Winfrey wasn’t the publication’s covergirl. Winfrey decided to use the magazine’s 20th anniversary cover to amplify Taylor’s story.

On March 13, Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot to death by former and current Louisville police officers Jonathon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove. None of them have been charged in her murder.

“She was just like me. She was just like you,” Winfrey wrote on Instagram. “And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often.

“The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon.”

See the cover below.


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Breonna Taylor. She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of @oprahmagazine. The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon. Head to OprahMag.com for more—and thank you to @alexis_art, a 24-year-old digital artist, who captured the essence of Breonna. The issue will be available wherever you buy or download magazines on 8/11.

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on Jul 30, 2020 at 5:32am PDT

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Watch The Moment T.I. Learns He’s Going To Be A Grandfather

Congratulations are in order for T.I.’s stepdaughter, Zonnique. The singer is expecting her first child with boyfriend and rapper, Bandhunta Izzy (a.k.a Isreal James).

Zonnique, who will be welcoming a daughter with Izzy, surprised Tip with the baby news during an episode of her Fox Soul show The Mix on Wednesday (Aug. 6).

Needless to say, Tip was shocked. So much so, that it took him a minute to actually process the announcement, even after his wife, Tiny, confirmed that they weren’t pranking him.

Zonnique broke the pregnancy news to PEOPLE earlier in the week, and opened up about the drawbacks of being pregnant during a pandemic.  “It really sucks being pregnant during the coronavirus,” she admitted. “At first, I'm like, 'This is the perfect time, like everybody is locked in. I don't have to worry about going out. So if I want to hide it for however long, I can hide.'

“But when it comes to going to doctor's appointments, I go to all of them by myself. I ask every single time, 'Can I bring my boyfriend?' And they're like, 'No, only you can come.' That's been the worst part," she added.

“I'm hoping by the time I'm ready to have the baby it will be over with. But I'm sure it won't be, so I'll be in there with one person, most likely. I'm just trying not to get my hopes too high anymore.”

Peep the video below to see Tip's hilarious reaction to learning that he's going to be a grandfather.

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