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Former Georgia Cop Acquitted of Manslaughter in Shooting Death of Unarmed Black Man

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WOODBINE, GA. (AP) — A former Georgia police officer who fatally shot a fleeing, unarmed black man was acquitted Saturday of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

The jury, however, found Zechariah Presley guilty of violating his oath of office in the 2018 shooting of Tony Green, 33, in coastal Camden County near the Georgia-Florida state line.

Presley was ordered to be jailed pending sentencing Oct. 18. He faces a prison term of one to five years.

Presley sat silently at the defense table. Green’s relatives wiped away tears after the verdict was read.

Pastor Mack De’Von Knight, whose church Green attended, denounced the acquittals outside the courthouse, saying the evidence was “open and shut.”

“He admitted that he killed Tony Green in cold blood,” Knight said. “To me, it’s hunting season for the young black man and we’re being gunned down in the streets and there’s no repercussions, there’s no consequences for these officers.”

Though Presley’s body camera recorded his fatal encounter with Green, darkness and something covering the camera lens obscured the shooting and the moments leading up to it. That left the jury to weigh Presley’s court testimony recalling what had occurred with a sometimes conflicting account by prosecutors and investigators.

Presley said he followed Green’s car on the night of June 20, 2018, because he believed Green was driving with a suspended license. Dash camera video showed Green drive the car off the road, then open the door and run. He briefly returned to the vehicle to grab an unseen object, then fled again.

Presley chased Green on foot down a darkened street. A short struggle followed that’s not visible on the video. The recording picked up the electrified clicking sound from Presley’s Taser, followed by eight gunshots.

Another officer arrives afterward to find Presley lying on the ground. Presley says Green had been on top of him, trying to grab his Taser. Presley then says: “And then I was going for my gun, and he started taking off. And I fired.”

An autopsy found Green was struck by eight bullets — one to his chest, the rest to his back and hips. Green also had small amounts of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and a tranquilizer in his system.

On the witness stand Wednesday, Presley added details he had not mentioned previously. He said he opened fire after Green turned back to face him and extended an arm, saying he feared Green had a gun. Investigators determined the object in his hand was a cellphone.

Presley’s attorneys argued the shooting was justified because Presley believed his life was in danger.

“Tony Green was not shot because of misdemeanor offenses,” defense attorney Adrienne Browning said in her closing argument Thursday. “He was shot because of bad decision after bad decision, until the threat was overwhelming and Zech feared for his life.”

Prosecutors said jurors shouldn’t believe the revised account of the shooting Presley gave in court.

“He made a fatal mistake and it was a mistake that cost a man his life,” prosecutor Rocky Bridges said of Presley in his closing argument. “You don’t have to like Tony Green. … He ran from the police, not a good decision. But he was not armed. He did not turn on officer Presley. He did not deserve to die.”

The shooting of a black man by a white officer sparked protests by Green’s relatives and other black residents of Kingsland. They argued a manslaughter charge wasn’t severe enough for Presley, who was fired after the shooting. The grand jury that indicted Presley rejected charging him with murder.

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Petition wants NFL to remove Mike Vick as honorary 2020 Pro Bowl captain

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PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is expected to be honored by the NFL as one of the four “legends captains” at the 2020 Pro Bowl.

Arguably one of the most talented former NFL players known for his speed and elusive style of play, he arrived to Philadelphia on a second chance after serving a federal prison sentence for dogfighting.

A Change.org petition is now circulating calling on the NFL to revoke the honor. Over 380,000 people have signed the petition. Other petitions have also surfaced online since the news spread.

The petition cites the cruel and inhumane killing of dogs that led to Vick’s conviction.

Fans are split.

Vick did do a lot of work with animal organizations after he served his time to redeem himself.

Some fans say that is not enough for them.

“Certain things you learn to forgive and forget, but to be a great person is to be all-inclusive and I don’t think that’s who he is. He had a lot of shortfalls,” said Rabbi Barry Blum.

“I am a Michael Vick fan and I do believe if you served your time and paid your dues you should get what you deserve. What he did off the field–he paid for, and what he did on the field he should be rewarded for,” said Eugene Stevens.

The Pro Bowl is set for January 26, 2020.

If you disagree with removal – Stand with Vick – 2020 Pro Bowl Captain – Sign Petition

The NFL has not commented on the petition.

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Cheerleader Reaches $145,000 Settlement Over Backlash to Her Kneeling During Anthem at Football Game

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According to local reports, Kennesaw State University senior Tommia Dean has reached a $145,000 settlement from the Georgia Department of Administrative Services more than a year after filing a suit alleging her First Amendment rights had been violated when she and four other football cheerleaders were said they were punished for kneeling during the national anthem in September 2017.

“I didn’t think it was right for minorities to have to walk around and be terrified every day, and to see a police officer and to not know how should I act, what should I do,” Dean explained in September 2018 about her motivation to kneel while speaking to hosts at “The View.”

Tommia Dean and her fellow cheerleaders sparked backlash when they began kneeling in protest during the national anthem at a September 2017 Kennesaw State University football game. (Photo: “The View” video screenshot)

Tommia Dean and her fellow cheerleaders sparked backlash when they began kneeling in protest during the national anthem at a September 2017 Kennesaw State University football game. (Photo: “The View” video screenshot)

At the following football game on Oct. 3, the entire cheerleading team was kept in the stadium tunnel until the end of the anthem.

In her suit, Dean alleged cheerleaders were always on the field during the singing of the anthem prior to the kneeling incident on Sept. 28.

Kennesaw State officials told local outlets 26 months ago the decision to keep the cheerleaders off the field during the national anthem was prompted by changes in how the university handles games and was unrelated to the protest.

The decision was made just days after cheerleaders took a knee on the field. Dean and the other cheerleaders, who became known as the Kennesaw Five, believe the decision was motivated by the university disagreeing with their choice to kneel, an act of protest that was emulating that of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

They were only let back on the sidelines after the University System of Georgia interfered, saying the students have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, which includes their right to peaceful protest.

The cheerleaders’ quiet protest of injustice and police brutality was met with backlash from Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren and Republican state Rep. Earl Ehrhart — both were named in Dean’s suit filed Sep. 5, 2018, a filing that included Kennesaw State President Sam Olens, deputy athletics director Matt Griffin, and senior associate athletics director Scott Whitlock as defendants.

Text messages from Warren, who publicly spoke out against the cheerleaders “disrespecting the flag,” and Ehrhart showed both demanding the now-former President Olens take action against the Kennesaw Five. The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Dean’s settlement ends her case against four of the defendants. Warren was dropped from the suit by a court, a decision Dean’s attorneys say they will appeal.

Dean believes she and three of the other cheerleaders were not brought back to the team due to the kneeling protest. Of the Kennesaw Five, only Shlondra Young, who is the oldest of the group, was brought back the following year.

Keith Boykin interviews the Kennesaw Five (Video: Keith Boykin/Youtube)

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Community activist shot to death hours after speaking out at city council meeting

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PORT ALLEN – An outspoken member of the Port Allen community was found shot dead less than 24 hours after speaking out against violence at a city council meeting.

Police Chief Esdron Brown pleaded for the community to come forward with any information that could catch his killer.

“He was a good guy,” Brown said. “He talked to us all the time, just a good guy, was against violence. Me and him talked two or three days ago. He supported the police.”

Authorities say they first got a call in reference to a death on Avenue A in Port Allen around 8 a.m. Thursday. Both the Port Allen Police Department and West Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies were called to investigate.

The Port Allen police chief identified the victim as Larry Profit, a longtime activist in the community. Witnesses say Profit was seen at a city council meeting just last night, where he spoke out about violent crime in the area. Those who attended council meetings would routinely see him, and he was not afraid to stand up for causes whether they were popular in the community.

The shooting left people like Michelle Wilson in utter shock. Wilson was Profit’s goddaughter.

“He was a quiet guy…a good guy would give you the shirt off of his back,” Wilson said. “He was just a real great guy.”

No details about a potential suspect or motive have been made available at this time.

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