Jacob Blake -- TOPSHOT-US-POLICE-SHOOTING-RACISM
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Jacob Blake: Black Father Left Paralyzed After Being Shot In Back By Police

The father of three was shot numerous times at close range.

Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old father who was shot several times by police in Kenosha Wisconsin last Sunday (Aug. 23) has been left paralyzed from the waist down. Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who was hired to represent Blake’s family, said that it would take “a miracle” for him to walk again.

Blake was trying to deescalate a domestic altercation when Kenosha police drew their weapons and shot him in the back at point blank range. He was hit at least seven times. Blake was unarmed and not breaking the law. His three sons, ages 3,5, and 8, were in the backseat of his SUV and witnessed their father being shot.

“These three little boys are going to have psychological problems for the rest of their lives. Can you imagine what his 8-year-old son is going to think about every time he has a birthday? This is real America. This is what we [Black people] have to endure every day: being profiled by the people who are supposed to protect and serve us.”

The horrific shooting was captured on video by witness Raysean White, who said that he saw officers scuffling with Blake. According to 22-year-old White, police yelled “Drop the knife!” at Blake, even though there was no knife in his hand. Witnesses said cops taser Blake before shooting him. In 2017, Wisconsin became the first state to make it mandatory for police to wear body cams, yet none of the officers involved in Blake's shooting were wearing body cameras.

Blake was walking back to his SUV to check on his children with police officers trailing him before drawing their weapons. As Blake opened his car door, a cop is seen pulling at his shirt while shooting him in the back as his children watch in horror.

Blake’s family spoke out in an emotional press conference on Tuesday (Aug. 25). “They shot my son seven times, seven times like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He’s a human being and he matters,” said Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr.

Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, spoke about her son’s condition as he continues healing from his injuries. She said that he was unaware that protest erupted in wake of the shooting and that he would want supporters to remain non-violent. Jackson also said that his first words after the accident were that he was “sorry.”

“He said, ‘I don’t want to be a burden on your guys. I want to be with my children, and I don’t think I’ll walk again,’” said Jackson.

Blake's sister shared a powerful message on the affects of police brutality. “I am my brother’s keeper,” she began. “And when you say the name Jacob Blake make sure you say father, cousin, son, uncle, but most importantly make sure you say human. Human life. Let it marinate in your mouth, in your mind. A human life just like every single one of y’all. We’re human and his life matters.

“So many people have reached out to me telling me they’re sorry that this happened to my family,” she continued. “Well don’t be sorry because this has been happening to my family for a long time. Longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till, Emmett Till is my family. Philando [Castile], Mike Brown, Sandra [Bland], this has been happening to my family and I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that this has happened to. This is nothing new. I’m not sad, I’m not sorry, I’m angry and I’m tried. I haven’t cried one time. I stop crying years ago. I am numb I have been watching police murder people that look like me for year.”

An Change.org petition demanding charges against the cops who shot Blake has already received more than 500,000 signatures. In addition, a Go Fund Me campaign created to help Blake’s children has so far received more than $1.2 million in donations.

Watch the full press conference below.

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Louisville Cop Involved In Breonna Taylor’s Death Defends Actions, Calls Protestors “Thugs”

In an email sent to fellow officers on Tuesday (Sept. 22), Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly of the Louisville Metro Police Department, defended the events that led to the death of Breonna Taylor and called out the city’s treatment of officers, amid Black Lives Matter protests. Mattingly blasted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, former Louisville FBI agent Amy Hess, and LMPD police chief Steve Conrad, and brazenly referred to protestors as “thugs” who “get in your face and yell, curse and degrade you.”

He went on to claim that demonstrators have thrown bricks and urine at police, and that officers are expected to “do nothing.” The authenticity of the email was confirmed by Mattingyl’s attorney, CNN reports

“It goes against EVERYTHING we were all taught in the academy. The position that if you make a mistake during one of the most stressful times in your career, the department and FBI (who aren’t cops and would piss their pants if they had to hold the line) go after you for civil rights violations,” Mattingly wrote in seeming reference to Taylor’s death, which is being investigated by the FBI. “Your civil rights mean nothing, but the criminal has total autonomy.

“We all signed up to be police officers. We knew the risks and are willing to take them, but we always assumed the city had our back,” he continued. “We wanted to do the right thing in the midst of an evil world to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

Taylor was killed during a March 13 raid led by Mattingly. The 26-year-old EMT was sleeping in bed when officers began firing into her residence without warning. The incident stemmed from an alleged drug investigation involving Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. Taylor was hit at least eight times. Her current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was unaware that police were raiding the home and fired back at officers reportedly wounding Mattingly. Walker was indicted for attempted murder of a cop, but the charges were later dropped.

Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove, and fired LMPD officer Brett Hankison, are under investigation over Taylor’s death. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has yet to announced whether or not charges will be brought against them, but it appears that they may not face criminal reprimand as the city of Louisville issued a state of emergency ahead of an announcement on the case, which could come as early as Wednesday (Sept. 23).

Later in the rant, Mattingly claimed that police aren’t racist. “We as police DO NOT CARE if you are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, what you identify as…this week. We aren’t better than anyone. This is not an us against society, but it is good versus evil.”

Speaking of the pending investigation over Taylor’s death he added, “I don’t know a lot of you guys/gals but I’ve felt the love. Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night. It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized.

“Put that aside for a while, keep your focus and do your jobs that you are trained and capable of doing,” he advised. “Don’t put up with their sh*t, and go home to those lovely families and relationships.”

Read the full email below.

New: LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly (who is being investigated as part of Breonna Taylor’s case) sent an email to around 1,000 officers at 2am that calls protestors thugs, complains about the government enforcing civil rights violations, and claims this is "good versus evil” pic.twitter.com/VcuyPDP790

— Roberto Aram Ferdman (@robferdman) September 22, 2020

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WNBA Player Maya Moore Marries Wrongfully Convicted Man She Helped Get Out Of Prison

When WNBA star Maya Moore first met her now husband, Jonathan Irons, their relationship was strictly platonic. Things changed after she helped to get his wrongful conviction overturned, and the happy couple recently tied the knot.

“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we are doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore told Good Morning America on Wednesday (Sept. 16). “We got married a couple months ago and we're excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.”

Catch us tomorrow on @GMA with @RobinRoberts! #winwithjustice pic.twitter.com/0z1B1RRS2b

— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) July 2, 2020

Irons was 16 years old when he was tried as an adult and falsely convicted by an all white jury and sentenced to 50 years for a burglary and shooting. He maintained his innocence throughout, but he would have never been convicted had the case been handled properly. Aside from being wrongfully identified in a lineup, fingerprint evidence that could have proved his innocence was withheld from his lawyers. After serving 23 years for a crime he did not commit, Irons' conviction was overturned in March.

Moore, 31, has known Irons, 40, since she was 18 years old. The two met through a prison ministry program and their relationship slowly transitioned from a friendship to romance. Irons confessed his love for Moore while incarcerated at Missouri's Jefferson City Correctional Center. “I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it's extremely difficult and painful. And I didn't want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.”

He popped the question in their hotel room following his prison release. “It was just me and her in the room and I got down on my knees and I looked up at her and she kind of knew what was going on and I said, ‘will you marry me,’ she said, ‘yes.’”

Moore, a small forward for the Minnesota Lynx, is taking a break from basketball and has been working alongside her husband to encourage people to vote. The newlyweds also plant to advocate for others who have been wrongfully convicted.

See more on their love story in the video below.

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Louisville Reaches $12 Million Settlement With Family Of Breonna Taylor

It’s been six months since Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police officers while sleeping in her own home. The officers involved in her death, Jonathon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, have yet to be arrested, but a monetary agreement has been reached to settle a civil lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family.

The city will pay Taylor’s family $12 million in addition to implementing policy reform measures, Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Tuesday (Sept. 15).

“I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain,” Fischer said of Taylor’s mother, Tameka Palmer. “And I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death. Although these steps, including policy changes, do not change the past, I hope this brings some measure of peace.”

Fischer noted that Taylor’s death “ignited” a local and national movement “for racial justice sending thousands into our streets and in cities all across the country and the world — all crying for justice for Breonna.” Taylor’s death has “triggered a renewed commitment to addressing structural and systematic racism” in Louisville and around the country, said Fischer.

“Justice for Breonna means that we will continue to save lives in her honor,” said Taylor’s mother, Tameka Palmer. “No amount of money accomplishes that, but the police reform measures that we were able to get passed as a part of this settlement mean so much more to my family, our community, and to Breonna’s legacy. We know that there is much work still to be done and we look forward to continuing to work with community leaders, the mayor’s office, and other elected leaders to implement long-term sustainable change to fight systemic racism that is plaguing our communities.”

The multi-million dollar settlement is the latest step that Louisville has taken in wake of Taylor being killed by police. In June, the Louisville city council passed “Breonna’s Law” banning no-knock warrants, like the one used to violently raid Taylor’s home on March 13. Police claim that the raid stemmed from a drug investigation that reportedly involved Taylor’s ex-boyfriend who did not live at the residence and had already been arrested.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing Taylor’s family, called the $12 million settlement a step in the right direction. “This will bring progress and reform out of this tragedy to protect other Black lives,” he tweeted.

Today, we got some #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor! Along with a $12 million civil settlement, we secured comprehensive police reform in Louisville. This will bring progress and reform out of this tragedy to protect other Black lives. pic.twitter.com/DyilAkmWag

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 15, 2020

As part of the settlement, Louisville Metro Government agreed to a list of changes including community related policy programs, search warrant reforms, and police accountability reforms.

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