Newswire : DeSantis suspends Florida’s only Black Woman State’s Attorney

Governor DeSantis locked State’s Attorney  Monique Worrell out of her office

By: BlackmansStreet Today

Last Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended State’s Attorney Monique Worrell.

Worrell was based in the 9th judicial district, which is located in Central Florida and covers Orange and Osceola Counties. Worrell is the only Black woman state’s attorney and she is being replaced with Orlando judge Andrew Bain, a conservative Black judge.

“I guess Ron DeSantis thinks if he swaps out one Black person for another, then that will make voters happy,” she said, adding that she was told not to go into the office and to return all state property.

It is the second time in less than 14 months that the governor has removed a duly elected prosecutor — the first was State’s Attorney Andrew Warren of the 13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, Florida.

Worrell’s policies do not align with DeSantis’ aims, but her policies since taking office have remained consistent with the mandate she received from voters and with decades of research on what does and does not work in criminal justice.

Based on data from the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators project, out of the more than 11,000 felony cases referred to and filed by Worrell’s office in 2022, 91% were disposed of as felonies, i.e., only 8% were reduced to misdemeanors. 

This means that the office is making good filing decisions upfront to avoid the waste of limited prosecutorial resources. 

The office declined to file approximately half of the felonies in 2021. However, by doing so, prosecutors were able to focus on violent offenses, which is reflected in falling crime rates across Orlando

Newswire : Riots in France were fed by racism, police brutality and the law, after North African teenager was shot

July 3, 2023 (GIN) – Tens of thousands of police clashed with young protestors after a teenager of North African descent was shot and killed at point blank range by officers during a traffic stop.

A funeral was held for Nahel M., age 17, in the Paris suburb of Nanterre as police made more than 700 arrests nationwide. It was the worst social upheaval in France in years.  

The protest ended with police firing tear gas and cars being set on fire.

The teen’s murder was caught on videos and contradicted the initial police report. The videos shared online show two police officers leaning into the driver-side window of a yellow car before the vehicle pulls away as one officer fires into the window. The videos show the car later crashed into a post nearby.

The driver died at the scene, the prosecutor’s office said. This led the prosecutor, Pascal Prache, to conclude that “the conditions for the legal use of the weapon were not met” in the shooting.

The police officer has been placed in provisional detention, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The incident provoked the headline: ‘France faces a George Floyd moment’ – “as if we were suddenly waking up to the issue of racist police violence,” observed writer Rokhaya Diallo. “This naive comparison itself reflects a denial of the systemic racist violence that for decades has been inherent to French policing.”

Meanwhile, continued Diallo, “the number of cases of police brutality grows relentlessly every year. In France, young men perceived to be black or of North African origin are 20 times more likely to be subjected to police identity checks than the rest of the population… Why would we not feel scared of the police?

“In 1999,” continued Diallo, “our country, the supposed birthplace of human rights, was condemned by the European court of human rights for torture, following the sexual abuse by police of a young man of North African origin.  Now, after the death of Nahel, a UN rights body has urged France to address “profound problems of racism and racial discrimination” within its law enforcement agencies.

More recently, in December 2022, the UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination denounced both the racist discourse of politicians and police ID checks “disproportionately targeting certain minorities”.

Despite such overwhelming findings, our president, Emmanuel Macron, still considers the use of the term “police violence” to be unacceptable… Yet I fear that the focus is being placed on an individual police officer instead of questioning entrenched attitudes and structures within the police that are perpetuating racism. And not a single one of the damning reports and rulings has led to any meaningful reform of the police as an institution.

Worse, a law passed in 2017 has made it easier for police to shoot to kill without even having to justify it on the grounds of self-defense. Since this change in the law, the number of fatal shootings against moving vehicles has increased fivefold. Last year, 13 people were shot dead in their vehicles.

“Whatever our age, many of us French who are descended from postcolonial immigration carry within us this fear combined with rage, the result of decades of accumulated injustice.

“This year, we mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of Toumi Djaïdja, a 19-year-old from a Lyon slum, who became the victim of police violence that left him in a coma for two weeks. This was the genesis of the March for Equality and Against Racism, the first antiracist demonstration on a national scale, in which 100,000 people took part.

“The crimes of the police are at the root of many of the uprisings in France’s most impoverished urban areas”, said Diallo said, “and it is these crimes that must be condemned first.”

Newswire: Mass shooting at Louisville bank heightens gun control issue

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire

In the wake of still another mass shooting in America, this time at an Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky, the nation is left reeling.
At least five people were killed, and eight others were injured, two of whom are in critical condition.
The shooter, who police believe had a connection to the bank, is dead, and authorities are working to establish the motive behind the shooting.
Police responded quickly to the call this morning, arriving within three minutes of the first reports. They encountered the shooter almost immediately and exchanged gunfire, which ultimately led to the shooter’s death. Police are still investigating whether the shooter died from the gunfire or a self-inflicted wound.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear expressed grief over losing two close friends in the shooting and having another friend injured. The bank where the shooting occurred is also his bank, making the tragedy even more personal for him.
The mayor of Louisville, Craig Greenberg, asked people to pray for those fighting for their lives. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said he was heartbroken when he heard the news.
The shooting comes as a Nashville City Council is expected to decide whether to reinstate former Tennessee Democratic state Rep. Justin Jones, whom Republican majority leaders ousted after he urged them to act on gun control. Later this week, Jones’ former colleague, Democrat Justin Pearson, could also be re-seated after the GOP ousted him.
The pair protested the lack of action by the Republican-led body on gun control following a school shooting in Nashville that left three elementary school students and three adults dead.
The Louisville shooting is just the latest in a string of mass shootings that have rocked the nation in recent years, with gun violence continuing to be a divisive and contentious issue.
Some politicians and interest groups have pushed back against calls for stricter gun control. They say that doing so would violate their rights under the Second Amendment.
As the nation mourns the victims of the Louisville shooting and grapples with the ongoing issue of gun violence, many are left wondering when, if ever, meaningful action will be taken to address the issue.

Civil Rights leaders say keep ‘Bloody Sunday March’ sacred at all costs 

“We have received a number of calls from around the country with people saying they are being told the Bloody Sunday March is going to be on Saturday. We want to assure those tens of thousands of people who come to Selma because of Bloody Sunday that the Bloody Sunday March will be on Sunday, March 5th.

“We have been told that certain people are trying to move it to Saturday, but we strongly oppose that. We must do whatever is necessary to protect, maintain and lift the sacredness of Selma’s Bloody Sunday,” said Hank Sanders, former Alabama State Senator, and co-founder, with his wife, Faya Rose Toure (Sanders) of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

“Bloody Sunday is sacred now. Bloody Sunday has been sacred for 58 years. We must keep Selma’s Bloody Sunday sacred now and into the future. We cannot allow anybody or anything to reduce or limit or change the sacredness of Bloody Sunday,” said SCLC National President and CEO Dr. Charles Steele Jr.
“The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organized the 1965 Bloody Sunday March in Selma as well as the Selma to Montgomery March, and we know firsthand the sacredness of Bloody Sunday. That is why every year SCLC is in Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery March. SCLC is also a key sponsor of the Bloody Sunday March and the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.” Dr. Steele has been the National President and CEO of SCLC for nearly 20 years, before that he operated a funeral home business in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and was a member of the Alabama Legislature.
Bridge Crossing Jubilee Co-Founder and former 35-year Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders said: “Bloody Sunday is sacred. We have commemorated the Bloody Sunday March on the first Sunday in March for 50 consecutive years. It has been the heart of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee for 30 years. People all over the world recognize Selma’s Bloody Sunday and the Bloody Sunday March as sacred even though there were many places of struggle in the Voting Rights Movement and a number of lives lost. Selma’s Bloody Sunday March is sacred to millions of people across the country and beyond.”

 Dr. Joe Reed, Chair of the Alabama Democratic Conference, said: “We cannot compromise that which is sacred, and Selma’s Bloody Sunday is sacred. I was at the organizing of SNCC on the campus of North Carolina’s Shaw University in 1960, and I have seen firsthand the power of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. I know the sacrifices that were made, the blood that was shed and the lives that were lost to get the Voting Rights Act. We must do whatever is necessary to ensure Selma’s Bloody Sunday March remains sacred and on Sunday.” 
The Bloody Sunday March occurs because of the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was murdered by an Alabama State Trooper in Marion, Alabama, and people decided to march from Selma to Montgomery as a result and were beaten bloody on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma by law enforcement. A number of national Civil Rights Leaders and Voting Rights Leaders insist that Selma’s Bloody Sunday March is sacred and cannot be compromised. The leaders spoke at a 10:00 am. press conference in the Auditorium at 424 South Decatur Street in Montgomery last week.

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee including workshops, a parade, Freedom Flame Dinner, Foot soldiers Breakfast, golf tournament. mock trial, Martin and Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast, music festival on Water Street, church services and the commemorative march for ‘Bloody Sunday’ on Sunday, will be held from March 2 to 5, 2023, in Selma, Alabama.

Greene County Delta Chapter sponsors Virtual Voter Registration Drive

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is sponsoring a Virtual Registration Drive, beginning with the observation of National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, September  20, 2022.  According to Chapter President Dr. Florence Williams, “Our Chapter wants to empower our service area and surrounding communities to register to vote.   We encourage our local communities to join us in our Virtual Voter Registration Drive.  We welcome all who need to register to vote to use the link below.  The Voter Registration Process is straightforward and will take less than 15 minutes with a valid Alabama Driver’s License or Non-Driver’s Identification card.”
 President Williams noted that if someone does not have a valid AL Driver’s License or Non-Driver’s Identification Card the Office of the Secretary of State will have Mobile ID Units in Greene and Hale Counties on Friday, September 23, 2022.
Greene County-
Forkland Town Hall, Forkland, AL,
 9 am-11 am.
Hale County- Moundville Public
Library, Moundville, AL, 2 pm-4 pm.
   “We encourage sharing this information with family, friends and communities.  This message is also on the chapter’s facebook page” she stated.

A letter from Uvalde, Texas about the school shooting

By: Sarah Hidalgo-Cook

Editors note: I have visited Uvalde, Texas some years ago with the Rural Development Leadership Network (RDLN), a non-traditional leadership education and certification program for rural leaders. One of the leaders sent this statement about the school shooting and gave us permission to print it.


 It rained all night in Uvalde (we really needed).  I have decided that Jesus wept with us last night.  He washed away the sadness and ugliness of our day yesterday.  We at my agency, Southwest Area Rural Transit -SWART, are all well and very lucky, as we had one of our staff whose son attended Robb Elementary and was in the 4th grade.  He was safe but I pray that the after effects of this tragedy is something he can overcome in time. 

My husband, Kevin, is very sad this morning as I am.  His grand-great nephew’s daughter Ellie was one that was killed yesterday.  She was in the classroom in which the shooter entered.  It took over 8 hours before he had confirmation of her death as DNA had to be used to determine who she was, as was the same with other victims.  

I was born and raised in Uvalde, Texas. My home growing up, where my father still lives, is three blocks from Robb School. I walked home from Robb every day with my childhood friends. At that time, the 70’s, the school did not have security fencing or even enclosed classrooms. The classrooms were open to outside. If you walked out the door, you were stepping into the elements.

As I sat at my desk that Tuesday dealing with normal SWART issues, I heard the sirens. Our community has daily car chases and bailouts because of the illegal activity stemming from the influx of immigration, since we are thirty miles from the border with Mexico. When the realization of an active shooter at one of the schools became a reality, our minds were reeling.

The chaos continues. We are bombarded by media, state and national politicians, Hollywood, and others who do not really share our heartache. I knew only one victim personally. — Ellie Garcia, our great-grand niece. We would run into her and her family in the grocery store or see her on her parents’ Facebook videos and picture. We are heartbroken and feel so much sadness for her parents Steven & Jen, and her four sisters. I also know an aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather, or extended family member of the other beautiful souls who were taken too soon.

As recently as a week ago, we saw many of these young girls playing softball. We love to watch the sport, which reminds me of when our girls played. My heart aches for what they must have endured in those last moments and for what their parents and families must endure from now on. I am also angry!

“Not in my town. Not in my elementary school. Not to my people.” That is what my heart is telling me. I know that we are in for years of anguish. This is a wake-up call for our community and other rural communities everywhere. When the media is gone and we are left alone to face this nightmare, we will need to lean on each other more than ever. We will need to lean on our faith in God. Uvaldeans are my people. This is my home. We have always been resilient, but we will never, ever be the same.

Sarah Hidalgo-Cook MSCD, CCTM
General Manager
Southwest Area Regional Transit District

Newswire : Draft opinion leaked that Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade

The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021 Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

By: David Smith/Guardian UK

The US Supreme Court has provisionally voted to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide in America, according to a draft opinion reported on by Politico.
In what appeared to be a stunning and unprecedented leak, Politico said on Monday evening it had obtained an initial majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated in the court on 10 February.
The opinion strikes down Roe v Wade, the court’s 1973 ruling that enshrined the constitutional right to abortion, and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v Casey – that largely upheld that right.
Politico quoted Alito as saying: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
The justice adds: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices, the article added.
After an initial vote among the justices following the oral argument, one is assigned the majority opinion and writes a draft. It is then circulated among the justices. At times, in between the initial vote and the ruling being released, the vote alignment can change. A ruling is only final when it is published by the court.
But if, as expected, it is adopted, the decision would rule in favor of Mississippi in a highly consequential case about that state’s attempt to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That would sound the death knell for the half-century guarantee of nationwide protection of reproductive rights and allow each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.
Several Republican-led states have already passed highly restrictive abortion laws in anticipation of such a ruling by the supreme court which, thanks to three appointments by Donald Trump, now has a 6-3 conservative majority.
Politico said it received a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case. The draft opinion runs to 98 pages, including a 31-page appendix of historical state abortion laws, and includes 118 footnotes.
Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed that the document was authentic and said it was worst security breach in the history of the Supreme Court – regarding one of its most consequential rulings in decades that is sure to enflame America’s deep political divisions. After the Politico story broke, footage posted to social media showed a crowd of protesters gathering outside the supreme court late on Monday night, waving signs and chanting “my body, my choice.”
Democrats condemned the leaked ruling. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, issued a statement saying overturning Roe v Wade would be “an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history”.
“If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years – not just on women but on all Americans,” they said.
“Every Republican senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people.”
Christie Roberts, Democratic senatorial campaign executive director, said: “If this report is true, this Republican attack on abortion access, birth control and women’s health care has dramatically escalated the stakes of the 2022 election.
“At this critical moment, we must protect and expand Democrats’ Senate majority with the power to confirm or reject supreme court justices.”
“I am horrified by the apparent draft supreme court opinion leaked this evening … this should not be the supreme court’s final opinion when it comes to abortion rights,” said New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul in a statement. The governor later added on Twitter: “I refuse to let my new granddaughter have to fight for the rights that generations have fought for … won, rights that she should be guaranteed.”
“This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, … lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law,” said the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. “It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace.”
Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted the news showed “Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW”.
Reproductive rights and civil rights advocates also weighed in. Naral Pro-Choice America’s president, Mini Timmaraju, called it “the most ominous and alarming sign yet that our nation’s highest court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade”.
“If the supreme court does indeed issue a majority opinion along the lines of the leaked draft authored by Justice Alito, the shift in the tectonic plates of abortion rights will be as significant as any opinion the court has ever issued,” the ACLU said in a statement.
Republicans, however, were exultant. Madison Cawthorn, a congressman from North Carolina, wrote on Twitter: “Because of Donald J Trump, Roe v Wade will be overturned.”
The Republican senator Tom Cotton condemned the apparent leak but applauded the vote, saying: “The Supreme Court … the DOJ must get to the bottom of this leak immediately using every investigative tool necessary. In the meantime, Roe was egregiously wrong from the beginning … I pray the Court follows the Constitution … allows the states to once again protect unborn life.”
Polling has shown that relatively few Americans want to see Roe overturned. In 2020, AP VoteCast found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the supreme court should leave the Roe v Wade decision as is; just 29% said the court should overturn the decision.
Alito said the court can’t predict how the public might react and shouldn’t try. “We cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work,” Alito wrote in the draft opinion, according to Politico.

Bingo distributions for March total $504,251.31; sheriff’s supplemental fund totals $62,181.20

On Wednesday,  April 15, 2022, Greene County Sheriff Department issued a listing of the bingo distributions for March, totaling $504,251.31 from four of the five licensed bingo gaming facilities.  The March  distribution reported by the sheriff includes $24,000 from Greenetrack, Inc. and $51,000 from the Sheriff’s Supplemental Fund distributed to Greene County Commission.
The bingo facilities regularly distributing through the sheriff include Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace and Bama Bingo.  The recipients of the March distributions from bingo gaming include Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, and Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children’s Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Housing Authority of Greene County (Branch Heights), Department of Human Resources, the Greene County Library, Eutaw Housing Authority. Newly added  sub charities include the Historical Society, REACH, Inc., Headstart  Community Service and This Belong To US.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $114,995.03 to the following: Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $48,070; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System,  $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,026.89, including REACH.  Community Service received $466.77 and This Belong to Us received $93.35.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,995.03 to the following: Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $48,070; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board  of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,026.89, including the Historical Society and REACH.  Community Service received $466.77and This Belong to Us $93.35.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of  $118,328 to the following:  Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $48,070; City of Eutaw, $12,543; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee  each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,027, including the Historical Society and REACH.  Community Service received $467 and This Belong to Us received $92.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $155.933.25 to the following: Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $65,182.92; City of Eutaw, $12,543; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5,254.50; Greene County Board of Education, $14,238 and the Greene County Health System, $16,950; Sub Charities received $1,392.46, including the Historical Society and REACH $1,392.46. Community Service received $632.94 and This Belong to Us received $126.59.
In the Sheriff’s March distribution report, supplemental funds, totaling $62,181.20, were provided by the four licensed facilities.  Bama Bingo contributed $14,274.79; Frontier contributed $14,274.79; River’s Edge contributed $14,275 and Palace contributed $19,356.62 as sheriff’s supplemental funds.

Newswire: Univ. of Alabama renames building for first Black student, drops name of KKK member

Autherine Lucy in 1956


By: Chauncey Alcorn, The Grio

The name of Autherine Lucy Foster, the first Black student at the University of Alabama, will no longer be honored alongside that of a former Ku Klux Klan leader after the school’s trustees voted Friday to remove his name from a campus building.
The vote came a week after university leaders decided to jointly rename the building, Graves Hall, as Lucy-Graves Hall. The academic building was once named after two-term Gov. Bibb Graves, who also was Grand Cyclops of the KKK before leaving the group in the late 1920s.
It will now be known simply as Autherine Lucy Hall, the Washington Post reported. Foster first enrolled at the university in 1956.
On Feb. 3, the university’s trustees voted to change the building’s name to Lucy-Graves Hall to pay homage to Foster. Retired judge and former University of Alabama trustee John England Jr. recently told the New York Times that the building’s previous paired name was meant “to generate educational moments and help us learn from our complex and rich history.”

“Well, somehow or another, the honoring of Autherine Lucy Foster sort of took the background,” England said. “That’s not what we wanted.”
The trustees revisited the issue on Friday deciding to only include Foster’s name.

The school said the decision was made “in honor of Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster’s leadership and to recognize her life as a dedicated educator,” according to a statement reported by New York Times.
Foster was the first Black American to attend a white school or university in Alabama, according to the home of the Crimson Tide. She previously applied to attend in 1952, but was rejected because she wasn’t white, according to the school.
A federal judge eventually overturned that decision prior to Foster being admitted to Alabama in 1956. She was only on campus three days that year before an angry white mob forced her to flee home with a police escort, according to Biography. She hid in an underground room at Graves Hall to avoid an angry and racially motivated mob, during her first few days at the University.
University administrators suspended Foster the same night and later expelled her for making up “rumors” that the school’s leaders were responsible for the mob that chased her off campus.
Foster’s expulsion was revoked in 1988. She enrolled at the school, along with her daughter, Grazia, once more a year later and earned a master’s degree in education in 1991, according to the university.
In 2019, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alabama for her contributions to education and integration in the state.
“I am so grateful to all who think that this naming opportunity has the potential to motivate and encourage others to embrace the importance of education, and to have the courage to commit to things that seek to make a difference in the lives of others,” Foster said in a statement.