2 Women Arrested for Helping Man Wanted in Orlando, Fla., Police Shooting



Markeith Loyd, who is wanted in connection with the slaying of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, as well as the fatal shooting death of Orlando, Fla., Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton
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Two women were arrested in Florida on Wednesday for helping a man wanted in the fatal shooting of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando, Fla., police officer, officials announced, according to Reuters. The women reportedly helped the man on separate occasions over the last month.

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Jameis Slaughter, 25, an ex-girlfriend of murder suspect Markeith Loyd, was taken into custody Wednesday on a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder, an arrest affidavit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office showed.

Slaughter is accused of collecting money for and being in contact with Loyd over the past month.

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“Approximately 1 1/2 hours after Sergeant Clayton was murdered, Jameis Slaughter’s vehicle drove to the Walmart and circled the area where Markeith Loyd escaped,” the affidavit read.

Loyd, 41, is wanted in the slaying of his ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon, 24, who was pregnant at the time of her death. Dixon’s brother, Ronald Stewart, was also injured in the Dec. 13 incident. On Monday, Loyd allegedly gunned down Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton after she spotted him at a local Wal-Mart.

A massive manhunt is still underway for Loyd, and authorities are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

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Loyd’s niece Lakensha Smith Loyd was also taken into custody Wednesday on a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. The niece is accused of going to a restaurant where her uncle once worked to collect money for him.

On Tuesday a manager at the restaurant, Zarghee Mayan, was also arrested for allegedly helping Loyd.

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Read more at Reuters

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Trump Logic: Ben Carson Grew Up Poor, so He Understands Poverty



Ben Carson arrives for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 12, 2016, in New York City.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Updated Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, 12:48 p.m. EST: Ben Carson sat before a Senate committee Thursday morning to make the case that he should be confirmed to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson leaned on his upbringing growing up in inner-city Detroit and his family’s need for public assistance, although they never lived in public housing, to make up for his lack of experience related to running the $47 billion agency.

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“I have actually in my life understood what housing insecurity was,” Carson said, CNN reports. Carson added that his family was forced to move from Detroit to Boston because they had “no place to live.”

As such, Carson assured the committee that he understands issues facing the millions of people dependent on HUD programs. Carson also included four letters from past HUD secretaries supporting his confirmation, CNN reports.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) challenged Carson’s nomination.

“Although you have many accomplishments in the medical field, there is relatively little in the public record that reveals how you would further HUD’s mission,” Warren wrote in a letter to Carson questioning the former GOP presidential candidate’s qualifications.

Earlier:

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It’s Ben Carson’s turn in the hot seat as the former neurosurgeon and onetime opponent of President-elect Donald Trump sits before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Thursday morning in hopes of being voted head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson’s nomination was a bit of a shock after the former GOP presidential candidate noted that he didn’t have experience to be considered for a Cabinet seat. According to CNN, Carson has “no government experience or expertise in housing and urban development policy, and Democrats on the Senate Banking committee are expected to question his qualifications to lead the $47 billion agency, which is charged with helping millions of poor Americans secure affordable housing.”

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Because Carson’s area of expertise is outside the realm of what’s needed to do this job effectively (a trend among the majority of Trump’s Cabinet selections), Carson is expected to highlight his time growing up in Detroit. Somehow, Carson believes that his Dickensian ascension from the inner city to becoming a renowned neurosurgeon will be enough to sway the committee that he can handle HUD. CNN notes that although Carson’s family received food stamps, he never lived in public housing.

An early release of his opening statement viewed by CNN shows that Carson plans to argue that because he grew up poor, he understands the needs of those relying on HUD programs.

“I understand housing insecurity—we were forced to move from Detroit to Boston to live with relatives because she couldn’t afford our house,” Carson says in the written statement.

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If Carson is confirmed, he would be the only African American in Trump’s Cabinet.

Read more at CNN.

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Fla. High School Students Protest to Make African-American History a Full-Year Course



Terry Parker High School
Action Jax News screenshot

Students at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, Fla., staged a sit-in earlier this week demanding a change in the way African-American history is taught in Duval County Public Schools, Action News Jax reports.

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The organizer of the sit-in, Angelina Roque, said that she and her other classmates wanted to protest because they believed that African-American history is a topic that deserves a full year of class time, which will in turn benefit all of their classmates. Students and their parents met with administrators Tuesday to discuss the topic.

According to Action News Jax, the course is currently offered only as a semester-long, or half-year, course.

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Roque, a 10th-grader, told the news station that the protest was to “make them hear us, make them see us, make them listen to us.”

She was one of about 10 or so other students who called for a change.

“[The other students] risked being in trouble over a cause that we all truly think more people should be concerned about,” Roque said.

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Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said that the students who raised the issue of the way the class is being taught will not be disciplined.

“Historically, Terry Parker and other high schools in Duval County has offered the course, but as a half-credit, not as a full credit … we will, and are certainly willing to offer it as a full-year course starting in the fall,” Vitti said. “I respect that students demonstrated self-advocacy ‎and used their voice to signal concerns about their education. If there is student demand for a full-credit and yearlong African-American-history course, then we should and will provide it to students. We will work through the process of developing and offering that course.”

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Action News Jax investigated how other neighboring school districts taught African-American history to compare. In Clay County, African-American history is currently offered as a half-credit, semester-long elective, the same as in Duval. In St. Johns County, schools offer a different course, African-American literature, which is a yearlong elective course.

“Being able to have a full course of African-American history … that will honestly make a big difference. It will help the cultural gap,” Roque said.

In order to have African-American history as a full-year course available to all students, school officials will have to work with the state and make sure that state standards, as well as staffing needs and costs, are being met.

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However, first students have to put their request in writing, which Terry Parker’s are currently working on doing, according to Action News Jax.

Read more at Action News Jax

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The Art Speaks for Itself



David Pulphus

Every year, our congressional representatives hold an art contest for students in their districts, with the prize being a yearlong exhibition at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It typically does not cause a murmur. This year’s unanimous winner in Missouri’s 1st District was my friend David Pulphus, a quiet, gentle, unassuming student. David’s painting hung for six months in peace.

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In December 2016, his painting became troublesome for law enforcement, conservative publications and some politicians. The painting featured two officers with boar heads and human bodies drawing their firearms. The other officers in the painting were fully human. There was also an African-American male being crucified in a cap and gown. It portrayed police and community relations as David and I saw during the Ferguson crisis.

On Jan. 6, in the ultimate expression of privilege, disrespect and free-speech suppression, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) removed the painting. Four days later, the Congressional Black Caucus ceremoniously reinstalled it. That day, Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) removed the painting, declaring it “flagrantly” disrespectful to police officers “across the country.”

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Their actions challenge democracy’s essence and highlight the privilege that white people in positions of power wield: immunity. It is unimaginable that either David or I could enter the Capitol and remove the statue of slavery advocate John C. Calhoun without being accosted and likely arrested. The representatives are demonstrating that rules and laws apply only to certain citizens. The misplaced anger of these “authorities” fails to address critical issues pertinent to conditions in African-American communities, police-community relations and constitutional rights.

Art imitates life, but no critic has asked the fundamental question the painting raises: Why would a young student with hope, promise and purpose perceive our community and the police in such a manner?

The officials did not take into account the role that militarization of policing has played in African-American communities (including Ferguson, Mo., and St. Louis), or the way that stop and frisk and pretext stops invade the privacy of African-American citizens. These are things that I have personally experienced. The police-involved shootings of unarmed and legally armed African Americans also have apparently not pricked the consciousness of the “art critics.”

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The depiction in the painting is implicitly understood among African Americans, but less so by whites. A 2015 Pew Research Group poll showed a wide chasm between blacks and whites in the perception of whether police treat people equally. The chasm between these two perspectives is caused by a long, brutal and oppressive history. David’s painting meticulously illustrates that gulf.

David’s expression is not the serene setting one might observe in a Monet. There are no sunscapes and lily pads but, rather, an accurate portrayal of this young, achieving American’s experiences with police. His work is a constitutionally protected expression of free speech. Recent incidents send a message to African-American youths not to bother with pursuing excellence because even if their work is recognized, it will be removed by those who cannot understand it and who see themselves as the exclusive arbiters of Americanism. This is sad because history has proved that the mark of a declining civilization is the persecution of intellectualism and art (see Sparta).

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When Duncan Hunter, Doug Lamborn and their colleagues removed David’s painting, they illegally and dangerously silenced free speech for their own comfort. They should be arrested by the same police whom the painting offended. Furthermore, Congress should censure the uncivilized representatives for their un-American acts in the Capitol. They placed their feelings above what makes America great: the freedom of expression.

In the United States, certain groups have achieved untouchable status when it comes to criticism. Citizens may not suggest that policing needs reform without their love of country being questioned. There has been a public shift from constructive analysis of police action to the shaming of anyone who dares to share his or her human experience.

These elected officials’ behavior is a clear display of privilege. African Americans get the message: Freedom of expression is only for police-worshipping, privileged citizens. The representatives will likely not be punished because law enforcement and elected officials have far more restraint for white “protesters” than for black resisters.

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David’s only comment is, “The art speaks for itself.” It has spoken loudly. Now, who will protect American civilization, including our Constitution and democracy?

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Miss. Newspaper Announces Plans for ‘Gangbangers’ Rodeo’: ‘Bang, Bang, You’re Dead’



Peter Rinaldi, Rinaldi Report – Miss-Lou Magazine

Peter Rinaldi, owner and publisher of Miss-Lou Magazine and the Natchez Sun, has caused wide-spread anger with a racist column calling for black youth in Natchez, Miss. who may be involved in gang activity to go to a local park and murder each other for the amusement of observers.

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In Miss-Lou Magazine’s January 11-24, 2017 print edition, Rinaldi called for a “Gangbangers’ Rodeo” to bleed out what he considers to be the dredges of the community.

“As the population becomes more demographically poor, uneducated, unskilled, and dominantly African-American, the number of shootings have gone through the roof,” Rinaldi wrote.

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And by “through the roof,” Rinaldi means “three shootings, two wounded, and unfortunately two deaths.” But Rinaldi doesn’t consider these deaths to be a bad thing. In fact, he thinks more murders may be helpful.

So, he suggests that the city sponsor a “Gangbangers’ Rodeo,” where Black youth who may be involved in gang activity get their guns and murder each other until there are none are left standing.

This is not such a bad thing, as one cynic remarked more criminals who shoot each other and are “taken out,” the safer it is for the rest of us, so the logic goes. Three shootings, three bad guys eliminated. Fifty shootings, fifty bad guys eliminated.

Open to all gang-bangers with a .45 or 9mm handgun. Limited to 20 rounds per person. Entry fee $100. Must be paid in cash in advance. No checks. Limited to the first 100 people who sign up. The 100 people will be drawn up in a circle. When the referee’s starter pistol goes off, then the gang-bangers can start shooting each other. Last man standing (or alive) wins the $10,000. If only a few people are left after rounds are fired, the judges will give each remaining contestant another five rounds to finish the job.

Note, in addition to the inhumane assumption that all victims of gun violence deserve to die, he doesn’t even mention the criminality of white youth.

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Rinaldi goes on to write that “rap music will be provided by DJ Medical Mortem Medical Attention” and says that children must be 13-years-old or older to participate.



Rinaldi Report, Miss-Lou Magazine

It is clear that Rinaldi thinks he’s clever as so many mediocre, racist white men do. In fact, he’s typical—a typical hate-monger trafficking in white hysteria and pathologizing black youth and the black community at-large in an attempt to be seen as rejecting political correctness in the hopes of making America great again.

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He’s a cliche, a pathetic cliche using his media real estate to plant seeds of bigotry, hatred, and fear.

He has conflated poverty, education level, unemployment, and blackness with violence without once pointing out the violent systemic racism that locks these things in place to secure whiteness and its last-ditch efforts at supremacy. Poverty is violent. Failing schools are violent. Substandard healthcare is violent. All of these things are issues that Natchez, Miss. faces as a thriving tourism industry built on the backs and bones of our ancestors feeds the mint-julep and Mammy fantasies of white people from around the world.

Rinaldi’s words are violent and just the sort of filth city officials have come to expect from him.

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“I’m highly upset by this and I’ll be addressing it in our board meeting,” Ricky Gray, Supervisor, District 4, told The Root. “This is something that you would expect from the Ku Klux Klan, but I’ve been here a long time and have never seen anything like this.”

“People in the community need to show him how disgusted they are by not putting an ad in his newspaper,” Gray added. “When people show you who they are, believe them. Because he’s certainly shown me.”

Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, Alderwoman, Ward 1, was not surprised by what she called Rinaldi’s stupidity and said he’s been card-carrying racist for a long time.

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“Rinaldi has been race-baiting over the years consistently in his paper,” Arceneaux-Mathis told The Root. “Even when I haven’t liked how he portrayed black people, I supported his freedom of press. But he’s always been a divisive race-baiter in this community. He just goes on and on, and now this particular bit of stupidity.”

Arceneaux-Mathis says she does believe that crime needs to be addressed in the community, but makes it clear that the issues are systemic.

“All lives matter when black lives matter,” she said. “There needs to be more recreation, more education and employment opportunities. We need to listen to our young people and bring them fully into the community. Too many of them don’t think they’re going to have a long life and when I was younger, I was prepared to live a long time. Our young people don’t feel that security.

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“I think it’s time that we had a summit between law enforcement officers and the community at-large, that’s what Rinaldi should have been talking about,” Arceneaux-Mathis continued. “I attended a Hip-Hop Summit last month and I learned so much. That’s what Rinaldi should have been talking about.

“We have to start at the root of the problem that’s been building up over time,” she emphasized. “Our children are underserved and Rinaldi is serving a race-baiting agenda when he circulates such dangerous stupidity in a community that needs healing from systemic issues that have left some of our youth lashing out.”

Be clear: There is great work being done in the City of Natchez by committed community leaders and elected officials who understand the toxic and pervasive racism that threatens black youth. Peter Rinaldi purposely frames his racist propaganda as a black issue, a poor issue, an uneducated issue. As if the increase in black citizens threatens white fragility and the customs that white people hold dear.

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His transparent and disingenuous attempts at criminalizing the very existence of blackness should be called out for the dangerous, racist rhetoric that it is.

Editor’s Note: The Root reached out to Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell, but he was unavailable at the time this article was published. We will update with his response.

Also on The Root:

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Parchman Ordeal: Natchez, Miss., Apologizes for Shipping Hundreds of Innocent Black People to State Penitentiary

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