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Ferguson Elects Ella Jones As City’s First Black Mayor

The 65-year-old politician made history twice in one election. 

Ella Jones became Ferguson’s first Black mayor following Tuesday’s (June 2) election. Winning 59.9% percent of the vote, Jones beat out opponent and fellow Ferguson City Councilwoman Heather Robinett. The victory also makes Jones the city’s first female mayor.

“It’s just our time,” Jones, 65, said in a post-election interview with the St. Louis Dispatch. “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”

Ferguson gained worldwide attention in 2014 after Ferguson police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, and the fight for justice hasn't stopped. Most recently, residents took to the streets amid the coronavirus pandemic to protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other police brutality victims.

“In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, our restaurants, our businesses were closed, and now they were trying to open up and we have the protests, so it set a lot of businesses back,” she told the St. Louis American. “So, I am just reaching out to various partners to see how we can best help these businesses recover from the protests and open. We don’t want to lose any of our businesses, because they are the cornerstone of our community, and when we lose one, it just hurts all. My goal is to work, talk to anyone that will listen, to help stabilize these businesses in Ferguson.”

Jones previously ran for mayor in 2017 but lost to incumbent James Knowles III, who served as mayor for three terms.

The former pastor has called Ferguson home for more than 40 years. A graduate from the University of Missouri at St. Louis with a degree in chemistry, Jones obtained a certification a high pressure liquid chromatographer and completed training as a pharmacy technician. Jones' background includes working in Washington University School of Medicine's biochemistry molecular bio-physics department, and as an analytical chemist for KV Pharmaceutical Company, as well as a Mary Kay, where she was a sales director for 30 years before quitting to work in the community full time.

Jones is also the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit community development organization, Community Forward, Inc., and a member of the Boards of the Emerson Family YMCA, and the St. Louis MetroMarket, the latter of which is a decommissioned bus that was retrofitted as a mobile farmers’ market that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities.

Hear more from Jones in the video below.

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Hanging Death Of Robert Fuller Ruled A Suicide

The hanging death of Robert Fuller has been ruled a suicide, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced last Thursday (July 9).

The conclusion was based on evidence at the scene, physical logistics, information from family, lack of evidence ruling out a suicide, and “clinically-documented statements of suicidal intent” made by Fuller years earlier, per a news release from the LASD.

Jason Hicks, an attorney representing Fuller’s family affirmed the results of the investigation. “I don’t have any evidence found to contradict the ruling that his death was a suicide,” Hicks told the press last week.

Members of Fuller’s family  previously alluded to a racist message found beneath his feet, but Hicks reiterated that the incident was not a hate crime. “There were no racist sentiments, no symbols or anything in the area, so we don’t have any information to suggest that it was a hate crime.”

Fuller, 24, was found hanging from a tree outside of City Hall in Palmdale, Calif., last month. His death sparked outrage and protests, and was one of several recent hanging deaths of Black males, including a teen found hanging in front of a Texas elementary school. The Harris County Sheriff's Office said that the death was believed to be a  suicide.

Malcolm Harsch, whose death was confirmed to be a suicide, was found hanging from a tree in Victorville, Calif. in May. Another Black man, 27-year-old Dominique Alexander, was found hanging from a tree in the Bronx on June 9. A petition  has been launched calling for a federal investigation into Alexander's death.

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San Francisco Lawmaker Proposes CAREN Act To Criminalize Racist 911 Calls

A California lawmaker introduced an ordinance that could criminalize racist 911 calls. San Francisco supervisor Shamann Walton presented the CAREN Act during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (July 7).

“Racist calls are unacceptable,” Walton tweeted. “That’s why I’m introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies.

Racist 911 calls are unacceptable that's why I'm introducing the CAREN Act at today’s SF Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the CAREN we need. Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies. #CARENact #sanfrancisco

— Shamann Walton (@shamannwalton) July 7, 2020

The measure is similar to a bill proposed by a New York Senator in 2018, and another proposed by California Assembly member Rob Banta last month to help end “discriminatory 911 calls motivated by an individual’s race, religion, sex, or any other protected class by designating such reports as a hate crime.”

Making a false police report is a criminal misdemeanor offense under California law, but there is currently no legislation criminalizing discriminatory 911 calls.

In related news, a white New Yorker named Amy Cooper could face criminal charges for calling 911 on a birdwatching Black man in Central Park after he informed her that her dog needed to be leashed. Chris Cooper, who has no relation to Amy Cooper, filmed the viral video in May. However, Chris has refused to cooperate with the District Attorney efforts to bring charges against Amy because she “already paid a steep price,” and “Bringing her more misery just seems liking pilling on.”

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Kentucky AG Criticized For Celebrating Engagement While Breonna Taylor Case Stalls

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron continues to garner criticism over the investigation into Breonna Taylor’s death. The most recent round of backlash came after photos of Cameron’s engagement party surfaced online over the weekend.

Cameron, a Louisville native, was slammed for celebrating his engagement while the cops who killed Taylor remain free. Beyonce’s mother, Tina Lawson, joined the chorus of criticism.

“I was shocked to learn that the attorney general for Kentucky is a 34 year old black man. A republican. When Breonna’s Mother Tamika asked to speak with him, he had someone else call her,” Lawson wrote in part on Monday (June 28).

According to TMZ, Taylor’s family agreed with Lawson’s  reaction.

 

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I was shocked to learn that the attorney general for Kentucky is a 34 year old black man. A republican . When Breonna’s Mother Tamika asked to speak with him , he had someone else call her. ! 💔💔 When he ran for office there are a lot of Black people that were excited and thought oh my God maybe we have a fair chance now because it will be a black man in this position ! He will be fair and unbiased towards Black people. They voted for him. Well That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on people who are running for office . I have no problem with who he marries , that is his personal business. That is not what this post is about ! I just don’t understand his actions !!! And where are their masks ?

A post shared by Tina Knowles (@mstinalawson) on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:39pm PDT

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot and killed inside her apartment in March. Protests continued in Kentucky this past weekend, amid continued demands for justice in the case.

Last month, Beyonce penned an open letter urging Cameron to arrest Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officer Myles Cosgrove and former LMPD officer Brett Hankison.

On Monday, several LMPD officers walked out of a meeting with LMPD Interim Chief Robert Schroeder after he refused to discuss whether or not he agreed with the mayor’s assertion that the tree officers should be fired for killing Taylor.

Meanwhile, Cameron has asked the public for patience. “My heart is heavy concerning the fear and unrest in our city following the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor,” reads a statement posted on his Instagram account on May 29. “It weighs on me, as I know it does for many of my fellow Kentuckians who are grappling with the tragic events here and in other cities across the country.”

The post goes on to state that Cameron’s office isn’t handling the full LMPD probe, and that the investigation will take time in order to be “done correctly.” The office is awaiting the conclusion of the LMPD report, Cameron said.

The FBI opened an independent investigation into the shooting in May. “At the conclusion of this investigation, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division will determine if the officers’ actions violated federal law,” the statement continues. “Our office will determine if any state laws were violated. We will continue to work with our federal colleagues in our effort to find the truth.”

Cameron’s Instagram post has received more than 18,000 comments, many of which are lambasting him for the engagement photos and the slow pace of the investigation. “Shame on you,” read one comment while another added, “Stop protecting these officers.”

Read the full post below.

 

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Statement from Attorney General Cameron regarding the investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor:

A post shared by Daniel Cameron (@danieljaycameron) on May 29, 2020 at 12:24pm PDT

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