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African American Museum Vandalized a Month After Its Founder Was Murdered

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Baton Rouge’s African American museum has been damaged by what appears to have been vandals, a month to the day after its founder was murdered.

Photos posted to Facebook show windows popped out from their frames, benches flipped over, and other signs of destruction. According to the Advocate, police said they’re investigating the incident, though they have not confirmed whether it was an act of vandalism.

In July, beloved community activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph, who founded the museum in 2001, was found dead in the trunk of her car. Police arrested Ronn Jermaine Bell shortly thereafter on charges of first-degree murder. Bell reportedly owed Roberts-Joseph over $1,200 in rent, and is also reportedly a registered sex offender, having pleaded guilty to sexual battery of a 9-year-old girl in 2006, a charge on which he spent seven years in prison. 

In addition to founding the museum, officially called the Odell S. Williams Now And Then African American Museum, Roberts-Joseph is known for having elevated the profile of Juneteenth to a nationally recognized celebration.

Kevin Hayes told WBRZ he visited the museum to pay his respects when he found the destruction, including fountains with crystals torn apart, gardens trampled over and chairs flipped upside down. 

“It’s a historic black museum, and a lot of kids find time to not do harmful things by coming to this place,” he said. “Seeing it vandalized is heartbreaking.”

Sadie Roberts Joseph’s son, Jason, called the alleged vandalism “disrespectful and extremely disappointing.”

“The museum has been there for the community since its inception,” he said.

News Source at Jezebel

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Pittsburgh Gas Station Owners, Employee Charged With Assault After Violent And “Disturbing” Altercation

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The violent assault of two black women at an Exxon Mobil on Brighton Road on Pittsburgh’s North Side Friday night led Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers to file assault charges with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office.

At 6:45 p.m. officers responded to a report of a fight between two male gas station owners and two female customers, according to a news release from the Department of Public Safety. They reviewed multiple videos of the incident, which was described as “particularly disturbing.”

The fight began as a verbal dispute over spilled gas. The women said the pump malfunctioned and demanded a refund which the owners denied; the exchange quickly became violent. A “lengthy physical confrontation” ensued in which the two owners and an employee hit one of the women repeatedly on the back of the head, and the other woman was dragged across pavement by her hair, according to the release.

News of the incident spread quickly through social media, and people gathered to protest at the Brighton Road station on Saturday morning. On Twitter, Democratic State Representative Summer Lee pointed to persistent inequality faced by black women in the Pittsburgh region, while others demanded a boycott and for the station to be shut down. 

The men, two owners and one employee, face assault charges that may be increased to aggravated assault.

Police will continue to investigate, and anyone with information is asked to call the detectives in Zone 1 at (412)-323-7201.

News Source at WESA

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A teen allegedly wanted to ‘shoot 400 people for fun.’ Cops found an AK-47 in her bedroom.

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Alexis Wilson was working an afternoon shift at the local Pizza Inn in McAlester, Okla., on Sunday, when she pulled a co-worker aside to boast about her new gun.

The slight 18-year-old with large brown eyes clutched her iPhone and pressed play on a video of her shooting a newly purchased AK-47, according to an incident report. Then Wilson told the other teenage waitress how much she resented the people at her old school — allegedly adding that she wanted to “shoot 400 people for fun.”

The chilling conversation shook Wilson’s co-worker. She reported it to a manager, who called the McAlester police.

On Monday, the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office said Wilson was charged with a felony for making a terrorist threat against McAlester High School.

“In today’s times, you can’t say stuff like that,” Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris told KTUL. “We’re going to take it serious and investigate it to the fullest extent and make an arrest if possible because we do not want any of our schools getting shot up — nobody does.”

Wilson has pleaded not guilty. Her lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.

The 5-foot-7, baby-faced teenager is an anomaly as a female suspect allegedly plotting a mass shooting, but police described her as a serious threat.

The high school she allegedly targeted had suspended her once for bringing a knife to school and again for displaying swastikas on her personal belongings, a school resource officer told the sheriff’s office. Her booking photo shows Wilson wearing a T-shirt referencing “The Anarchist Cookbook,” a 1971 book advocating for violent civil disobedience that has been found among the belongings of school shooters. On Facebook, Wilson had liked a documentary about the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

“A female can pull the trigger just as easily as a male,” Morris told KTUL Monday. “It’s rare, it’s different. I don’t know that there’s been a female accused of this.”

Female school shooters are far more rare than their male counterparts, but not unheard of. One of the most well-known was 16-year-old Brenda Spencer, who opened fire on an elementary school in 1979 through the window of her home, killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer. Spencer became infamous for the motive she offered a reporter who phoned her during the attack: “I don’t like Mondays,” she reportedly said. “This livens up the day.”

After Wilson’s shift at the pizza shop ended on Monday, Sergeant Micah Stites and Deputy Matthew Jordan knocked on Wilson’s front door. Wilson agreed to talk, police said.

She denied showing her co-worker a video of her shooting the AK-47, but admitted she had talked about the gun and had showed off photos of her posing with it. She played videos of her shooting the rifle for Stites and Jordan, police said. During the interview, Wilson appeared nervous to the sheriff’s officers. Her voice shook and she jumped from topic to topic mid-sentence, they said.

The young woman told Jordan she had “disturbing and criminal-like things” on the phone. She said she was bullied at McAlester High School.

After she had been suspended in her freshman year, she said she completed a program at Thunderbird, a military academy in Oklahoma that advertises itself as an alternative option to public school. She said she tried to re-enroll at McAlester High afterward, but she hadn’t been allowed to start classes this fall. Wilson explained the alleged threat by saying she had been trying to convince her co-worker that “not everyone that owns a gun is a bad person,” the police report said.

“She said that she would never shoot up a school or people,” Jordan wrote in his report, “and that her co-worker must have taken what she said wrong.”

Stites and Jordan collected an iPhone with a purple case, an AK-47 with six magazines and a 12-gauge shotgun with a stock sleeve for extra shells from Wilson’s bedroom.

At the end of the police interview, Wilson told the officers that she used to feel “suicidal and borderline homicidal” toward her classmates at McAlester High because of the bullying she faced. Jordan asked her if she thought about hurting anyone at the school.

“Not recently, but she has in the past,” the report says.

Wilson’s mother, Sonya Smith, said her daughter is innocent at Monday afternoon’s arraignment hearing, the McAlester News-Capital reported. She told sheriff’s deputies that she knew about her daughter’s guns, but “didn’t think anything of it” because Wilson had long been a marksman and hunter.

The school district’s superintendent, Randy Hughes, said McAlester High would be open on Tuesday.

“We’re living in scary times when we have to worry about the safety of our children in school,” Hughes said in a statement.

News Source at The Washington Post

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Meek Mill plea deal ends case with no more time in prison

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Rapper Meek Mill pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in Philadelphia court on Tuesday and won’t serve additional time in prison — bringing an end to a case that’s kept him on probation for most of his adult life and turned him into a high-profile activist for criminal justice reform. The negotiated plea comes a month after an appeals court threw out his 2008 conviction

The 32-year-old rapper, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, had already served about two years in prison in the case, which began with an arrest when he was 19. The judge decided he won’t have to spend any additional time behind bars or on probation.

“I know this has been a long road for you and hopefully this will be the end of it,” Judge Leon Tucker told the rapper.

The negotiated plea came after both sides questioned the credibility of the arresting officer. The defense also accused the trial judge of bias for sending the entertainer back to prison over minor probation violations.

Williams has called the 12-year ordeal “mentally and emotionally challenging,” but said millions of people face the same issues. He has become an activist for criminal justice reform since he was sent back to prison in 2017 for technical violations he blamed on his erratic travel schedule as his career soared. He spent five months locked up before an appeals court granted him bail.

After the hearing, the rapper spoke briefly to cheering supporters who had gathered for a rally outside the courthouse. 

“I just wanted to come up here myself and thank all the supporters because I know y’all probably got family members in jail or people going through the same thing as me and I will continue to do what I do with the reform movement and help the people who helped me,” Williams said.

Last month, a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned the conviction, saying new evidence undermined the credibility of the officer who testified against the rapper at his trial and made it likely he would be acquitted if the case were retried.

District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office had supported Williams’ appeal and said it could not call the former officer to testify after an internal probe found he’d stolen money on duty and lied about it.

“(The state) cannot call a witness whose credibility it mistrusts,” prosecutors wrote in a legal brief this year.

The officer, Reginald Graham, has denied the allegations.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Krasner said the plea deal is not an exoneration “of someone who was completely innocent,” but he said the resolution is a fair one to a case he said involved excessive punishment, unfair procedures and “questionable integrity.”

“I frankly can’t think of the last case I saw where there was a conviction of this nature, and yet the supervision went on in excess of 10 years,” Krasner said.

He said Williams has accepted responsibility for his criminal conduct and noted “profound changes in Mr. Williams since the time of his original conviction.”

Williams has spent a total of about two years in prison over the case, including an initial term of about a year and several later stints over travel violations and painkiller use.

Read More at cbsnews

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