Archives September 2021

Dre, Snoop, Eminem, Blige, Lamar to perform at Super Bowl

Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will perform for the first time on stage together at the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show.

The NFL, Pepsi and Roc Nation announced Thursday that the five music icons will perform on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Lamar are Southern California natives.

“The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career,” Dr. Dre said in a statement. The seven-time Grammy winner added that their halftime performance will an “unforgettable cultural moment.”

The Super Bowl returns to the Los Angeles area for the first time since 1993. It’s the third year of collaboration between the NFL, Pepsi and Roc Nation.

Roc Nation and Emmy-nominated producer Jesse Collins will serve as co-producers of the halftime show. The game and halftime show will air live on NBC.

Source: AP News

7 Students Arrested After 2 Stabbed In Fight At Annapolis High School

Seven students were arrested after two boys were stabbed in a fight Wednesday morning at Annapolis High School. The school was placed on lockdown for about two hours after the fight.

The two students hurt in the fight were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. All involved were minors.

An Anne Arundel County Police spokesperson said two school resource officers responded to a fight at the top of a stairwell between a group of people. As officers approached, a teacher reportedly yelled, “He has a knife!”

The spokesperson said the officers quickly disarmed and detained the armed student, and they then noticed two students had been stabbed.

The spokesperson said they believe the root of the fight originated off school property. The spokesperson noted there is a potential for more arrests as the investigation continues.

The following email was sent to parents by Anne Arundel County Public Schools:

Hello Annapolis High School families. This update message is to let you know that the lockdown at the school has been lifted and students are now in their third period classes. All students remain safe and supervised. Two people have been transported to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries. We will provide more details later today when we have them. Thank you.

Jarrod Ramos sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

The man who plead guilty to killing five people in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis has been sentenced to five counts of life in prison without the possibility of parole, life in prison, 125 years in prison and 220 years in prison, all of them to run consecutively.

The sentencing hearing ended after 12 survivors, victims and family members addressed the court with victim impact testimony.

Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said, “He was not sorry, not remorseful. It was the only option he had. He felt he was justified. It was premeditated murder. He admitted that he failed in only killing five people, not the 11 in the newsroom.”

The judge in the case said, “The impact of this case is just immense. To my shock, he stated planning this attack were the best years of his life.”

In October of 2019, Jarrod Ramos plead guilty to killing Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters. He also attempted, but failed, to kill an additional six people. The second phase of his trial was delayed multiple times, most recently because of the pandemic. That part of his trial finally began this past July and was largely a battle between mental health experts called by defense attorneys and prosecutors.

The prosecution repeatedly pointed to shortcomings in the mental health evaluations done by the defense, which relied mostly on interviews with Ramos and his sister.

He was found criminally responsible for his actions despite his attorney’s assertion that he was insane during that mass shooting on June 28th, 2018.

The jury took only two hours after 12 days of testimony to deliver that verdict, ruling that Ramos understood the illegality of his actions. That means he will be sentenced to prison, not a maximum-security mental health facility.

Maryland law dictates some sort of life sentence for first-degree murder. Prosecutors sought five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

This story will be updated.

Cherry Hill Elementary-Middle School has COVID-19 outbreak

City School officials have confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak at Cherry Hill Elementary-Middle School.

Students were sent home Monday with a letter informing parents that testing last week confirmed six positive pools affecting 14 people.

Some parents believe the school should not be open right now.

One of those with the virus is a 12-year-old who is hospitalized. The school system says it’s aware of the hospitalized student and is hoping for a swift and full recovery.

Source: WBAL

Joint Chiefs chairman calls Afghan war a “strategic failure”

In his first congressional testimony on the tumultuous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the top U.S. military officer called the 20-year war a “strategic failure” and said he believes the U.S. should have kept several thousand troops in the country to prevent the Taliban takeover that happened faster than forecast.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to say what advice he gave President Joe Biden last spring when Biden was considering whether to keep any troops in Afghanistan. But he told the Senate Armed Services Committee it was his personal opinion that at least 2,500 were needed to guard against a collapse of the Kabul government and a return to Taliban rule.

In a blunt assessment of the outcome to a war that cost 2,461 American lives, Milley called it a strategic failure.

“The enemy is in charge in Kabul,” he noted, referring to the Taliban having taken control of the capital on Aug. 15. “There’s no way else to describe that,” he said, adding that it’s possible the U.S. military’s biggest failure was to make the Afghan military overly dependent on an American presence and technology.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

Gen. Frank McKenzie, who as head of Central Command had overseen the final months of the U.S. war, said he agreed with Milley’s assessment. He also declined to say what he had recommended to Biden.

The Senate hearing was at times contentious, as Republicans sought to portray Biden as having ignored advice from military officers and mischaracterized the military options the president was presented last spring and summer.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., asked Milley why he did not choose to resign after his advice was rejected.

Milley, who was appointed to his position as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Donald Trump and retained by Biden, said it was his responsibility to provide the commander in chief with his best advice.

“The president doesn’t have to agree with that advice,” Milley said. “He doesn’t have to make those decisions just because we are generals. And it would be an incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to resign just because my advice was not taken.”

Source: AP News

In R. Kelly verdict, Black women see long-overdue justice

For years, decades even, allegations swirled that R&B superstar R. Kelly was abusing young women and girls, with seeming impunity.

They were mostly young Black women. And Black girls.

And that, say accusers and others who have called for him to face accountability, is part of what took the wheels of the criminal justice system so long to turn, finally leading to his conviction Monday in his sex trafficking trial. That it did at all, they say, is also due to the efforts of Black women, unwilling to be forgotten.

Speaking out against sexual assault and violence is fraught for anyone who attempts it. Those who work in the field say the hurdles facing Black women and girls are raised even higher by a society that hypersexualizes them from a young age, stereotyping them as promiscuous and judging their physiques, and in a country with a history of racism and sexism that has long denied their autonomy over their own bodies.

“Black women have been in this country for a long time and … our bodies were never ours to begin with,” said Kalimah Johnson, executive director of the SASHA Center in Detroit, which provides services to sexual assault survivors.

“No one allows us to be something worthy of protection,” she said. “A human that needs love, and sacredness.” It’s as if, she said, “there’s nothing sacred about a Black woman’s body.”

At all ages, Black girls were perceived as more adult than white girls, needing less protection and knowing more about sex. The gap was widest between Black and white for girls between the ages of 10 and 14, followed by girls between the ages of 5 and 9.

“We don’t value Black girls, and they are dehumanized, and they are also blamed for the sexual violence that they experienced to a greater extent than white girls are,” said Rebecca Epstein, executive director of the center and one of the study’s authors.

Source: AP News

6 new speed cameras to be activated today in Baltimore County

Six new speed cameras will be activated Monday in three Baltimore County school zones, police announced.

For the first 30 days, motorists exceeding the speed limit by 12 mph or more will receive warnings. All speed camera zones are marked with signage.

The new speed camera locations include:

– McDonogh School, 8600 block of McDonogh Road (both east and westbound)

– Harbour School, 11200 block of Dolfield Boulevard (both east and westbound)

– Randallstown Elementary School, 8900 block Greens Lane (both north and southbound)

In compliance with state law, police said Baltimore County’s speed cameras operate weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., including summer months and on weekdays when school in not in session.

See a full list of speed cameras in Baltimore County here.

Deliberations continue in the federal trial of R. Kelly

On Friday, jurors began deliberations in singer R. Kelly’s federal trial, where he faces charges relating to the alleged sexual exploitation and physical abuse of children. The jury sat through 23 days of trial starting on August 18, which included 50 witnesses overall, according to CNN. The R&B star has been the subject of accusations of sexual abuse for decades, according to The New York Times, but this is his first criminal trial since he was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008. Kelly has been in federal custody since 2019 and denies any wrongdoing.

Tucker’s NFL-record FG lifts Ravens to 19-17 win over Lions

Justin Tucker ended the game as if he was starting it, backing up an extra step or two and kicking the football with every bit of force he had in his right foot.

Tucker set an NFL record with a 66-yard field goal, bouncing it through off the crossbar as time expired to lift the Baltimore Ravens to a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

“That one was more like a kickoff,” he said. “It’s like you’re a competitor in a long-drive contest. You just let it rip and hope it stays straight.”

The kick topped the 64-yard field goal Matt Prater made for Denver against Tennessee on Dec. 8, 2013. Prater’s attempt at a 68-yard kick for Arizona on Sunday fell short and was returned 109 yards for a touchdown by Jacksonville’s Jamal Agnew, a former teammate in Detroit.