Newswire : Cops in two cities not charged in shooting deaths of unarmed Black men

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

Stephon Clark

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said yesterday that he will not charge two Sacramento, California, police officers who shot to death an unarmed black man in the backyard of his grandmother’s home.
An independent investigation into the shooting death of Stephon Clark found that no criminal charges against the officers involved in the shooting can be sustained, Becerra said in a statement.

Sacramento police officers Jared Robinet and Terrence Mercadal, who is black, shot to death the 22-year-old Clark in March of 2018. The cops said they believed Clark was armed with a gun. They were wrong. He held only a cell phone in his hand.
An independent autopsy found that Clark was shot eight times —- six times in the back, once in the side and once in one arm.
Becerra announced his decision two days after Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said she would not charge the two cops.

During the same time period, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday that it would not pursue civil rights charges against former Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer Betty Joe Shelby, who shot to death Terrence Crutcher, 40, on September 16, 2016. Crutcher’s car was disabled. Crutcher had his hands raised in the air to surrender when Shelby murdered him.

Newswire : Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores for racial-bias training

By Frederick H. Lowe, NorthStar News

Starbucks in Philadelphia.jpg
Police surround Starbucks in Philadelphia

Starbucks will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores affecting 175,000 employees in the United States on May 29th to address implicit racial bias, following arrests of two black-male customers last week at its Center City store in Philadelphia.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to fix it,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks. ” All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesda Newsy, May 29. During that time, partners (employees) will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.”
Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General; Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and Heather McGhee, president of Demos, a think tank and research policy center, are assisting in developing Starbucks’ curriculum.
Johnson made his announcement after he met with two black men police arrested when the manager of a Center City, Philadelphia, Starbucks complained they wouldn’t leave the coffee shop after they weren’t allowed to use the restroom because they hadn’t purchased anything.
Spokespersons for Seattle-based Starbucks did not disclose what was discussed between the two men, who were not identified. Earlier, Johnson called the incident “reprehensible” and publicly apologized to the men involved.
Six Philadelphia police officers arrested the men Thursday afternoon for trespassing. The men were waiting to meet another man, who is white and who had scheduled a meeting with them in the Starbucks.
The arrests, which were captured on cell phone video, sparked demonstrations inside and outside the Starbucks, which is located on swanky Rittenhouse Square, and more national and international conversations over social media about the state of race in the era of President Donald Trump.
Richard Ross, Philadelphia’s police chief, who is black, defended his men, arguing they did not do anything wrong in making the arrests.
But the arrests caused hand wringing among others. The Philadelphia district attorney later released the two men because Starbucks refused to press charges. Jim Kenny, Philadelphia’s mayor, wasn’t happy about the arrests.
The woman manager who called the police has either left the store or the company, according to various news reports.
Facebook released a video showing a black man being ordered to leave a Starbucks in Torrance, California, after complaining employees gave a white make customer the numerical code to open the door of the men’s restroom before he ordered food. The black man was not given the same code. Starbucks officials said they are aware of the video.
The Rittenhouse Square arrests angered the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
“The arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks represents another ominous signal on the increasingly dangerous environment for African Americans,” wrote Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “Every day people of color find themselves at the mercy of stereotypes and embedded fears of others…Racism and biases that make simply breathing while black so dangerous will not just go away without our society committing more resources to discussion, education and training on implicit bias and racism.”
“We know if two Black men in Philadelphia require six police officers to handcuff and arrest them for waiting to order coffee, then we begin to understand the mind state that allows for such overzealous and reactionary use of deadly force by those who are paid to serve and protect.
“Every day people of color find themselves at the mercy of the stereotypes and embedded fears of others. How else can we explain why 14-year-old Brennan Walker who missed his bus on his way to school would be shot at by a homeowner just outside Detroit? Or explain Saheed Vassell, a mentally-ill man in Brooklyn fired at ten times and shot dead by police officers. Or why Stephon Clark was shot at 20 times and hit 8 times, mainly in the back, by police officers in Sacramento, based on the assumption that he was the culprit responsible for breaking into cars. We are at least glad in the case of Starbucks that no one mistook a wallet for a gun.

Newswire : Clark autopsy reveals he was shot in the back six times

Clark

Renowned pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu reveals his findings of the independent autopsy he performed on the body of Stephon Clark. Dr. Omalu said Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police officers, was shot six times in the back. PHOTO/Robert Maryland

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Sacramento Observer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Trice Edney News Wire) – The eight bullets that struck unarmed Stephon Clark hit him in the back or side, and none came from the front, clearly refuting the contention by police that Clark was moving toward them when they gunned him down. Those are the findings of an independent autopsy performed at the request of Stephon’s family by internationally renowned pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu.

“These findings from the independent autopsy contradict the police narrative that we’ve been told,” said attorney Benjamin Crump, who has been retained by members of the Clark family to obtain justice.

“From the time this investigation began, statements provided by the Sacramento Police Department have proven to be self-serving, untrustworthy, and unreliable. This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances,” Crump continued.
“The children lost their father and deserve justice. We are conducting a thorough investigation to determine how this happened,” co-counsel Attorney Brian Panish said.
Crump said the Clark family requested the independent autopsy after Stephon’s body was released to them by the medical examiner. Dr. Omalu has been widely hailed as the man who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and its relationship to brain damage in football players. His story was illustrated in the theatrical film “Concussion,” in which he was portrayed by Will Smith.
According to Dr. Omalu’s findings, Clark was shot eight times with no front entry wounds. His independent autopsy identified four entry wounds in the lower part of Clark’s back; one in the side of his neck, with an exit wound elsewhere in his neck; one in the back of his neck; one under an armpit entering from the side, with an exit wound on the other side of his body; and one in the outside of a leg.
Crump said this information shows that Clark clearly was not moving toward officers in a threatening manner and they could have given him time to comply with their commands to show them his hands at the time they opened fire.
“Beyond the fact that police at first said Stephon’s cellphone was mistaken for a gun, but then changed their story to say they thought it was a crowbar, our autopsy has shown that he was shot repeatedly in the back – which is certainly not characteristic of someone menacing officers or preparing an imminent attack,” Crump said.
Crump said he expects that authorities will try to dispute or minimize Dr. Omalu’s findings because they directly contradict the official story of this unjustifiable shooting.
“When Dr. Omalu said football players were suffering brain damage, the NFL tried to dismiss his findings as completely wrong, but later had to reverse themselves. I’m sure the police will similarly try to discredit his findings about Stephon Clark, but once again the truth will win out.”