Archives March 2022

Robberies and homicides on the rise in Baltimore

City officials in Baltimore are expressing concern about a spike in robberies as police continue to battle an escalating rate of violent crime. The Baltimore Sun report that the city has recorded 714 robberies so far this year, an increase of almost 25% from 573 robberies recorded for the same period last year. Officials report that robberies of convenience stores have jumped 300%, with more than 80 so far this year. The spike in robberies comes as Baltimore police also face an increase in the city’s homicide rate.

Source: AP News

Will Smith Apologizes for Slapping Chris Rock in Tearful Victory Speech

Will Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow best actor nominees in his winning acceptance speech, shortly after he went on stage and slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. He did not address Rock in his speech.

“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people. Tim and Trevor and Zack and Saniyya and Demi and Aunjanue and the entire cast and crew of ‘King Richard,’ Venus and Serena, the entire Williams family. Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams,”

Smith said in his tearful acceptance speech.

Rock had earlier made a joke about Pinkett Smith being in “G.I. Jane” because of her shaved head. After smacking Rock in the face, Smith yelled at him, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” The Oscar audience, and viewers on social media, were stunned by Smith’s slap, which appeared like a comedic skit at first. The incident took place during best documentary feature, which was a few categories before best actor. Smith addressed the slap immediately upon taking the stage to accept the award.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. Making this film, I got to protect Aunjanue Ellis, who is one of the strongest, most delicate people I’ve ever met. I got to protect Saniyya and Demi, the two actresses that played Venus and Serena,” he said, as he began to tear up. “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s okay.”

After the incident with Rock, Smith’s publicist Meredith O. Sullivan, Oscar producer Will Packer and best actor nominee Denzel Washington came by to talk to Smith during the commercial breaks. In his speech, Smith revealed what Washington said to him. “Thank you, Dee. Denzel said a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you,’” Smith said.

Source: Variety

Hip-Hop Pioneer Kidd Creole’s Murder Trial Begins in New York

In 2017, legendary hip-hop pioneer Kidd Creole of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was arrested for the murder of a homeless man. Kidd Creole, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, was taken into custody by NYPD after allegedly giving a man multiple stab wounds to the chest. Now, news surfaced noting the murder trial for Glover is now underway. 

Glover’s trial started this past Friday, and the pioneer is claiming self-defense in the matter. The hip-hop pioneer was reportedly on his way to his security job around midnight on August 1, 2017, when he was approached by a man named John Jolly approached him and said “what’s up?” Creole’s lawyer—Scottie Celestin spoke to the jury and said “Ladies and gentlemen, this is New York City. It’s 12 o’clock at night. Who’s saying ‘What’s up?’ to you with good intentions? His fear for his life was reasonable.” Along with that, Creole’s lawyer argued that Jolly didn’t pass away from stab wounds, but rather he passed away from a dose of a sedative called benzodiazepine given to him at the hospital. Stay tuned for more updates.

source: Deadline

Maryland judge rules new congressional map unconstitutional

A Maryland judge ruled Friday that the state’s new congressional map is unconstitutional, preventing the map from taking effect.

Judge Lynne Battaglia issued the ruling after a trial last week in which Republican lawmakers contended that Maryland’s congressional map approved by the General Assembly in December violates the constitution by drawing districts that favor Democrats, who control the legislature.

Read the judge’s order

“The limitation of the undue extension of power by any branch of government must be exercised to ensure that the will of the people is heard, no matter under which political placard those governing reside. The 2021 Congressional Plan is unconstitutional, and subverts that will of those governed,” Battaglia wrote.

The judge added that she was entering a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs to reject the map and “permanently enjoining its operation, and giving the General Assembly an opportunity to develop new Congressional Plan that is constitutional.”

In Maryland, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 and Democrats hold a strong majority in both chambers of the legislature, the GOP has long criticized the map as one of the most gerrymandered in the nation.

“Judge Battaglia’s ruling confirms what we have all known for years – Maryland is ground zero for gerrymandering, our districts and political reality reek of it, and there is abundant proof that it is occurring,” said Doug Mayer, a spokesman for Fair Maps Maryland. “Marylanders have been fighting for free and fair elections for decades and for the first time in our state’s shameful history of gerrymandering, we are at the precipice of ending it.”

The ruling comes under the unusual circumstances of Maryland having a Republican governor in a redistricting year. Gov. Larry Hogan, who has long sought reforms to the way the state draws political boundaries, created a separate commission to draw maps for the state’s congressional seats and state legislative districts in hopes of taking politicians out of the process of drawing districts.

If the case comes before the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, all but one of the serving judges have been appointed by Hogan.

Source: WBAL

Supreme Court Justice Thomas released from hospital

Justice Clarence Thomas was discharged from the hospital Friday after a stay of nearly a week, the Supreme Court said.

Thomas, 73, had entered the hospital last Friday evening after experiencing “flu-like symptoms.” He was treated for an infection with intravenous antibiotics, the court said Sunday in announcing his hospitalization. He had been expected to be released from the hospital Monday or Tuesday.

The court did not say why he remained in the hospital longer than initially thought or what kind of infection he was treated for.

Thomas did not have COVID-19, the court said. He has been vaccinated and boosted, like the rest of the court.

The justice missed arguments at the high court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but Chief Justice John Roberts said he would participate in the cases using briefs the parties filed and the transcript of the arguments.

Thomas, a conservative and appointee of former President George H.W. Bush, has been on the court since 1991.

Source: WBAL

Wisconsin dad wants cop charged for restraint of daughter

A Wisconsin father wants prosecutors to charge an off-duty police officer who appears to have briefly pressed his knee into his 12-year-old daughter’s neck similar to how Derek Chauvin fatally restrained George Floyd. The hold may have violated the officer’s department’s policies and a new Wisconsin law banning police chokeholds in most cases, but the ban doesn’t provide any penalties and several legal experts say charges are unlikely.

Kenosha police Officer Shawn Guetschow was working his off-duty job as a security guard at Lincoln Middle School on March 4 when Jerrel Perez’s daughter got into a lunchtime fight with another student. Surveillance video shows Guetschow rush over and separate the two.

He scuffles with Perez’s daughter, who appears to throw a punch at him. He falls to the floor and takes her down as other students crowd around. He gets on top of the girl and appears to press his knee into the back of her neck for about 25 seconds while he handcuffs her. He then hauls her to her feet and leads her off-camera.

Perez has threatened to sue. He posted on Facebook a screengrab from the surveillance video next to a photo of Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck on a Minneapolis street; Chauvin was convicted last year of murdering Floyd.

“TELL ME WHATS THE DIFFERENCE LUCKILY HE AINT KILL MY BABIE,” Perez wrote alongside the photos.

He told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Guetschow “needs to be charged.”

“This is a grown man we are talking about,” he said.

Perez’s daughter is Black and Guetschow is white.

Source: AP News

Cruz presses Jackson on critical race theory in tense questioning

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) repeatedly pressed Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, about critical race theory and whether it might influence her work as a justice during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

During the most dramatic part of the questioning, Cruz singled out a book titled “Antiracist Baby,” which argues that babies are taught to be racist or anti-racist and there is no neutrality.  

He said the “stunning” book was being taught at the school and asked Jackson if she agreed “with this book that’s being taught to kids that baby are racist?” Jackson, who had been taking notes as Cruz talked, took a long pause before answering as Cruz took a drink from a plastic soda bottle on the split-screen shown on cable television.

“Senator,” said Jackson, “I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less than their victims, that they are oppressors. I don’t believe in any of that.”

Jackson explained that Georgetown Day School has a “special history” as a private school that was founded by three White families and three Black families at time when racial segregation was mandated by law in the nation’s capital.

Psaki tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Biden trip to Brussels

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, though she said she is not considered a close contact of President Biden.

“Today, in preparation for travel to Europe, I took a PCR test this morning. That test came back positive, which means I will be adhering to CDC guidance and no longer be traveling on the President’s trip to Europe,” Psaki said in a statement.

Source: The Hill

‘Maury’ ends a 30-year-run, marking the closure of an era

After 30 years of talking about teen pregnancies, rare phobias and sexual infidelities as well as revealing who is or is not the father, daytime talk show host Maury Povich is saying goodbye to audiences. An NBCUniversal executive told Deadline it is canceling Maury at the end of the 2021-22 season, when Povich plans to retire. The media company did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment. Povich himself told Deadline he had been ready to retire six years ago but NBCUniversal asked him to continue.

“I’m so proud of my relationship with NBCUniversal and all those who worked on the Maury show but as I occasionally tell my guests on Maury, ‘Enough, already!'”

he said. But it’s not entirely the end for fans – reruns will live on in syndication.

The end of Maury is part of a larger shake-up in daytime programming

The show first launched in 1991 as The Maury Povich Show before shortening the name to Maury in 1998. It quickly became a success in an era when tabloid-y talk shows reigned supreme on the airwaves. (Think Jerry Springer and Sally Jesse Rafael.) Audiences reveled in the wild antics of show guests, often booing or egging on their behavior.

Source: NPR