A white Fort Worth police officer fatally shot a black woman in her home early Saturday morning, firing through a bedroom window while responding to a call about an open door at the residence, police said.
Officers were dispatched to the house in the city’s Hillside Morningside neighborhood at 2:25 a.m. Saturday after receiving an “open structure” call, according to a statement from the Fort Worth Police Department. A neighbor told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he dialed a non-emergency line and requested a welfare check when he noticed that the door was ajar and the lights were on.
While searching the outside of the house, police said, an officer saw someone standing near a window. “Perceiving a threat the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” police said.
Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to police, who said the officers provided emergency medical care.
Body camera footage released by police Saturday shows two officers walking quietly around the side of the house and peering through two screen doors, then moving down a driveway into a backyard.
One officer approaches a closed first-floor window and shines a flashlight inside, then swiftly raises his gun. “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” he yells. A split-second later, he fires a shot through the window. He does not identify himself as an officer in the footage.
Along with the video, police released images of a firearm officers said they found at the scene, but did not indicate whether Jefferson was holding the weapon or positioned near it when the officer opened fire. Officials did not release the officer’s name, describing him only as a white male who has been with the department since April 2018. He will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, according to the department.
The shooting comes at a time when relations between law enforcement and black residents in the Dallas and Fort Worth area are already under strain following the recent trial of Amber Guyger, a white former police officer who shot and killed her unarmed black neighbor, Botham Jean, in 2018.
Earlier this month, following an emotionally-charged courtroom saga that drew nationwide attention, a Dallas jury convicted Guyger of murder and sentenced her to 10 years in prison for killing Jean, whom she shot after mistaking his apartment for her own. Days after the sentencing, Joshua Brown, a key witness in the case, was shot and killed, stoking rumors that he was targeted because of his testimony. Police attributed Brown’s death to a drug deal gone bad and emphatically denied a connection to the Guyger case, but that has not quelled concerns from some local officials and activists, who have called for an independent investigation, as The Washington Post has reported.
It is not clear yet whether the officer who shot Jefferson will face criminal charges. Police said they will turn over body camera footage and other evidence from the scene to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether to prosecute.
Lee Merritt, a prominent civil rights attorney in the Dallas area who said he is representing Jefferson’s family, said the officer never should have opened fire. Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she heard what she thought was a prowler outside the bedroom window, Merritt wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. When Jefferson went to the window to see what was happening, he wrote, the officer shot her.
Merritt described Jefferson as a “beautiful peaceful woman” who had graduated from Xavier University and worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales. He said her mother had recently fallen ill and that Jefferson was taking care of the house while she was in the hospital. “There was no reason for her to be murdered. None,” he said. “We must have justice.”
Merritt is also currently representing the families of Jean and Brown in Dallas.
Jefferson’s neighbor, 62-year-old James Smith, said he called police to the house in the early hours of Saturday because he thought it was unusual that the doors were open and the lights were on at that time of night. He told the Star-Telegram that he knew Jefferson and her nephew were home alone and wanted to make sure they were all right.
When officers arrived, Smith said, they parked around the corner, out of view. Shortly after, he heard the gunshot and watched several more officers run in, he told the Star-Telegram.
“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” Smith said. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”
Source: The Washington Post
Tyler Perry is the creative force behind 22 movies, 20 plays, and eight TV shows. But that’s not all: the 50-year-old writer, director, and actorin Atlanta, featuring a dozen sound stages named after black Hollywood icons.
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King visited the studio with Perry, where he discussed the “poetic justice” of building the studio on a former confederate Army base.
“Think about the poetic justice in that,” he said. “The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Perry opened up about his, his relationship with his son, and his plans to use the studio to help disadvantaged youth.
“There was a moment that happened in 2005 at [Oprah’s] Legends Ball… ” Perry recalled. “My movie had just come out, ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’ had just come out, first movie. Not a lot of people knew me in the room. And I’m sitting there wondering, ‘What am I doing in this room?'”
“Yolanda Adams is sitting next to me,” Perry added. “I think I said it out loud, ’cause she goes, ‘You belong in the room.’ Leaving there, seeing it, touching it, tasting it, feeling it, the excitement of what it meant to see a woman, a black woman, be able to do that, spoke to me in so many ways. And I’m on video saying … ‘Leaving here, I’m going to dream bigger…'”
“In many ways it seems to me like you’re just getting started,” King said.
“At 28 I went into the shell, ’cause I started touring, doing 300-something shows a year,” Perry said. “So somewhere around 44, 45 I came out of it, and I go, ‘Wait a minute, where did all those years go?’ So now I feel like I’m still 35. So I feel like I’m just getting started. There’s nothing about me that feels like 50, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”
“You were homeless, you literally slept in your car,” King said. “You’re 6-foot-5. What kinda car was it?”
“Geo Metro,” Perry said with a laugh. “Pretty tough.”
“This entire journey of telling stories was born out of of pain, born out of heartache, born out of being an abused kid who could go inside of his head and create a world and imagination,” Perry added. “Also that same abused kid watching his mother … getting beat and there’s nothing he can do, my desire and heart to make her laugh and feel better was so strong. And you know, if I could make a joke or if I could imitate her or my aunt and make her laugh, or some of the women she played cards with on Friday nights, all of that was so powerful and so important to me.”
Perry’s past made seeing his studio’s name on a highway sign all the more meaningful.
“The first time I saw it, it was next to Sylvan Road, which I remember when I moved to Atlanta I moved off of Sylvan Road with my cousin and got put outta house, had no money, that kinda thing…” he said. “Then to see my name next to that moment, I just — it took my breath away. I’m like, ‘Okay, you’re on the highway so you can’t stop. You don’t wanna get killed here in this moment,’ but it was really powerful.”
“You have called [Aman] a healer for you,” King said. “What do you mean by that?”
“I look at him and I’m looking at myself at that age,” Perry said. “And I’m wondering how anybody could be cruel and unkind to this level of pure innocence and beauty and love.”
“I had to discipline him one day because was having a problem with the nanny … And he’s just in the bathroom, he doesn’t wanna brush his teeth…” Perry recalled. “So I open the door, and he just freezes and looks at me. I asked the nanny to leave and I sat down with him, got down eye to eye and I’m talking to him. And as I’m talking to him, I’m realizing that I really need to run out of the room because I’m about to start crying. I’m talking to him, I’m telling him how I much I love mom and I love him and how disrespectful this is, and how disappointed I am that he’s behaving this way. ‘You’re such a smart kid. Why are you doing this? You can’t behave this way ’cause other kids do that. This is not what you do…'”
“So I’m trying to finish and he’s just crying…'” Perry said. “He said, ‘Papa, I’m so sorry’ … I run outta the room without him noticing it, because it broke me. I realized that nobody had ever talked to me like a person as a child … Nobody had ever talked to me like a human being. Right? So that’s what I mean when I say my healer.”
“Every time I talk to him, every time I hug him, every time I love him, let him know he’s special, there’s something in me that’s being healed,” Perry said through tears.
When asked what he wants his legacy to be, Perry highlighted the studio — but said there’s also more to come.
“You know, the studio’s gonna be what it is,” Perry said. “I’ll tell you what I’m most excited about next is pulling this next phase off, is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced … somewhere on these 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient. They live in nice apartments. There’s daycare. There’s all of these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society. And then pay it forward again. So that’s what I hope to do soon.”
Source: CBS News
Deandre Somerville spent 10 days in a Florida jail after he overslept and didn’t show up for jury duty, but the judge now says he won’t have a criminal record.
Inside the courtroom, many observers cried as Botham Jean’s brother forgave and hugged former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who had been convicted of murder in Jean’s death. Outside, protesters denounced the 10-year sentence Guyger got as too lenient.
This story is being continuously updated.
A Dallas County jury on Tuesday convicted fired police officer Amber Guyger of murder for fatally shooting Botham Jean in his apartment last year.
Cheers broke out in the hallway outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced shortly after 10:30 a.m.
Testimony in the punishment phase of Guyger’s trial will proceed this afternoon, with another round of jury deliberations to come after that. In Texas, murder carries a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison. The charge is not eligible for probation.
Guyger, 31, fatally shot 26-year-old Jean in his apartment last year. She had said she mistook his apartment for her own and thought Jean was a burglar. She is the first Dallas officer convicted of murder since the 1970s.
Jurors began deliberating Monday afternoon after the prosecution and Guyger’s defense presented closing arguments. They delivered their verdict after about five hours of deliberations.
After hearing the verdict, Guyger stood still until the jury left. Then, she sank into her chair.
As state District Judge Tammy Kemp read the verdict, Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, leaned her head back. Her daughter, Allisa Findley, slumped in her seat, put her face in her hands and wept.
Midway into the verdict, a woman in a red dress in the gallery cheered and clapped her hands. A bailiff immediately yelled “no” and she was quiet.
Once the judge was done and called a recess, Allison Jean’s face crumpled as she stood and put both hands in the air. Walking out of the courtroom, she said, “God is good. Trust him.”
Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the Jeans, said the family would testify during the punishment phase of the trial.
Jean’s grandmother raised her right fist in the air as she left the courtroom.
More than two dozen bailiffs lined the courtroom and the hallway outside. Patches on some of their uniforms indicated they were with the tactical unit, though they had no extra gear.
At one point, one bailiff asked another whether they had enough people to handle the crowd. “No,” another responded.
The crowd in the hallway after the verdict was boisterous but not unruly. When prosecutors walked out, people gave them a round of raucous applause and cheers.
In the hallway, Guyger’s mother was shaking.
Guyger left the courtroom about 15 minutes after the verdict. She’ll be back when the sentencing phase of her trial begins about 1 p.m.
After the verdict, Ben Crump, an attorney for the Jean family, said 26-year-old Jean was a “near perfect” person.
“This jury had to make history in America today, because Botham was the best that we had to offer,” Crump said. “Twenty-six year old, college-educated black man, certified public accountant, working for one of the big three accounting firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers.”
“But it shouldn’t take all of that for unarmed black and brown people in America to get justice,” Crump said.
Crump said the verdict wasn’t just for Jean and his family.
“This verdict is for Trayvon Martin,” he said, “it’s for Michael Brown, it’s for Sandra Bland, it’s for Tamir Rice, it’s for Eric Garner, it’s for Antwon Rose, it’s for Jemel Roberson, for EJ Bradford, for Stephon Clark, for Jeffrey Dennis, Genevieve Dawes, for Pamela Turner.”
“O’Shae Terry,” interjected Merritt, who also represents the Jeans.
“For so many black and brown unarmed human beings all across America,” Crump continued, holding Allison Jean’s hand in the air, “this verdict today is for them. Everybody can raise their hands — this verdict is for them. This verdict is for them.”
Outside, on the steps of the courthouse, activists began celebrating shortly after the verdict was read.
Safiya Paul, a St. Lucian immigrant like Jean, was wrapped in the blue, yellow and black flag of the Caribbean nation.
Paul and another activist, Tamara Neil, were in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Neil said the hallway after was “full of joyous energy.”
“This is how you celebrate a black life,” Neil said. “Can you imagine how big Botham is smiling right now? Like, his life really mattered. … At last we can stand in the same room as justice.”
“God, it feels good,” Neil said. “If he was here what do you think Botham would be saying right now?”
“He would be singing,” Paul said.
Before the verdict, as their deliberations entered a second day, jurors were given the option to consider the “castle doctrine,” known as Texas’ “Stand Your Ground” law. The law was clearly on their minds first thing Tuesday morning.
An attorney for the Jean family, Daryl K. Washington, told reporters that the jury sent two notes to state District Judge Tammy Kemp, asking for clarification on the charge of manslaughter — they had a choice of murder, manslaughter or outright acquittal — and for more information about the castle doctrine.
“If Amber Guyger is allowed to use that defense … what would’ve happened if Botham would’ve shot her for coming into his home?” Washington said, citing the jury’s question. “Would he have been able to use the castle doctrine?”
Testimony stretched across six days after the trial began Sept. 23. Jurors had heard from officers who responded first to the scene the night of the shooting and watched how they frantically tried to save Jean’s life.
They also heard from people who lived at the apartment complex where Guyger and Jean lived, as well as testimony from a medical examiner, a crime scene analyst and the Texas Rangers’ lead investigator for the shooting.
Guyger’s defense team had urged the jury to think “coolly and calmly” about the case, which they cast as a tragic mistake. They have said Guyger made a “series of horrible mistakes” that led to her shooting Jean out of fear for her life.
But the prosecution said arguments of self-defense don’t apply to Guyger because Jean was not a threat. They said Guyger had other options besides killing Jean and that she acted unreasonably by failing to notice she wasn’t at her apartment.
Source: Dallas News
Dash doesn’t regularly find her way onto the HNHH pages but today, she’s earned herself a spot in the headlines because of her arrest over the weekend. According to numerous sources, including TMZ, Stacey Dash was arrested this weekend for domestic violence. The entertainer married her husband Jeffrey Marty one year ago and she apparently got into a fight with him, putting her hands on the man and prompting the police to be called over. Stacey reportedly pushed and slapped her husband, leaving a few scratches on his arm before she was taken into police custody.
The actress is presently being held on $500 bond. Little is known about what may have triggered the physical fight.
Source: Hot New Hip Hop
Well #Roommates, you now have even more of a reason to get one of Amazon’s popular Alexa devices—and you have none other than the legendary Samuel L. Jackson to thank.
We’ve all seen the commercials advertising the Amazon Alexa and the phrase “Alexa, play…” has become extremely popular on social media, so to give buyers even more incentive to try it out, Alexa will now feature celebrity voices. The first celebrity to provide their vocal stylings is the great Samuel L. Jackson who is well-known for making his profanity usage in numerous film roles something of an art form.
As reported by @deadline, the celebrity voices are part of Alexa’s new feature that will be available to purchase for a .99 cent upgrade. The company revealed a few more details about what to expect when Samuel takes over your Alexa:
“Jackson can tell you jokes, let you know if it’s raining, set timers and alarms, play music and more – all with a bit of his own personality. [There will also be] two versions of his voice — explicit and non-explicit.”
Other celebrity voices are set to be announced sometime next year, as Amazon continues its competition in the voiced device market with Apple and Google. The company also announced updates to its Echo Show video-enabled devices, as well as a $59 version of the Echo Dot featuring a clock and designed for bed-stands.
Additionally, there is a crop of new Echo units such as Studio, Glow, Flex and Echo Buds, which are Bose-powered wireless earbuds. Currently, 100 million devices are equipped with Echo speakers, since their debut five years ago.
Roommates, are you here for Samuel L. Jackson as Alexa?