Black Lives Matter
+ This news fix, like almost every one we’ve published since we began doing news roundups in this way, contains stories about black Americans being killed by police officers over the past few days. In light of that fact, please take some time to read Gene Demby’s piece on How Black Reporters Report on Black Death at Code Switch, where he talks to a range of reporters to look at the effects the seemingly neverending phenomena of police brutality is having on black journalists who cover it.
“Today, a lot of us occupy desks in national newsrooms at a time when questions about policing and race have become arguably the biggest story in the country. At the same time, many of us are puzzling out what it means to be black reporters reporting on black death in an industry that’s traditionally operated like this: Some people tell the tough stories (white, upper middle class, mostly male), and other people have tough stories happen to them. It’s an industry that’s long boasted a nebulous ideal of “objectivity” without considering that the glaring homogeneity of its ranks helps make that claim believable.”
+ The mayor of Somerville, MA, Joe Curtatone, has hung a Black Lives Matter banner from City Hall. Curtatone has said that he hopes to equip Somerville police officers with body cameras within the next year, and is working with Black Lives Matter organizers to realize “intensive anti-racism training” for police officers and other staff.
+ Detroit prosecutors announced that there will be no charges filed against officers in the death of Terrance Kellom, a 20-year-old who was killed by ICE officers inside his home. Prosecutors claim that Kellom attacked officers, and that blood spatter evidence proves that “Terrance Kellom continued to advance despite being shot already.” Kellom’s family says that he was unarmed, and was reaching out towards his father when he was shot.
+ Mansur Ball-Bey, an 18-year-old black man was killed by St. Louis police today, as a few miles away people gathered to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Kajieme Powell. Ball-Bey is reported by police to have run away, along with another unidentified man, as the police came to execute a search warrant for stolen guns; the two men are alleged to have fired at police as they ran. Ball-Bey had just graduated from high school a few months ago.
Protesters who were already gathered to mark the anniversary of Powell’s death arrived at the scene, along with Jerryl Christmas, the attorney for the family of VonDerrit Myers, also an 18-year-old black man shot by police in St. Louis.
“We need to focus on these areas that are deprived. I mean, look around,” Christmas said, pointing to vacant lots and abandoned buildings.
Some at the scene confronted police and questioned statements by Dotson. Robert Phillips, 30, was angry after hearing the police account that the dead man pointed a gun at officers.
“They always say that,” Phillips said.
Protests are reported to have “erupted” in St. Louis last night, with a reported 150 people gathering. Nine were arrested, and police are reported to have used tear gas, even in quiet residential areas.
+ Radazz Hearns, a Trenton 14-year-old who was shot seven times by police as he was running away, has been released from the hospital. He faces “extensive rehabilitation,” and is being charged with gun possession and assaulting officers. The handgun that officers say Hearns was in possession of wasn’t found until 12 hours after his arrest. His family had created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his medical expenses, but it was removed by GoFundMe after charges were filed against Hearns because “Campaigns in defense of formal charges of violent crimes are not allowed on GoFundMe.”
+ An Ohio police officer, Bryan Lee, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for forcing women to perform sex acts during traffic stops. He was also revealed to have posted on Craigslist using a false name advertising for “traffic stop sex” and trying to find someone whose fantasy was “a cop you must (expletives) to get out of being arrested.” A woman who was a passenger in a car that Lee pulled over also reported that he had later used Facebook to try to get in touch with her, telling her that he had seen her in public and described the outfit she had been wearing.
+ Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, the two top-polling Republican candidates, both held Town Hall meetings this week. The timbre of both events seemed decidedly different, and so were their policies — Trump emphasized his interest in building another, better wall between the US and Mexico, while Bush emphasized Trump’s lack of credentials as a conservative and his own openness to the Latino community in contrast to Trump’s racist remarks.
But Mr. Trump’s freewheeling performance left some voters wanting, with many in the crowd still shopping for a candidate. One man, who told Mr. Trump that he went to his website and found the lack of policy descriptions unsatisfying, wanted more detail. He did not get much.
“Are you a member of the press?” Mr. Trump said jokingly.
“I actually think the press wants the policy, the so-called policy positions more than the people, if you want to know the truth,” he added, eliciting some groans from the crowd.
But he reassured the man that whatever his policy is, it will be a first-rate one.
“When it comes to policy, I’m going to give you wonderful policy positions,” Mr. Trump said.
+ Scott Walker, in what appears to be a last-ditch effort to be taken seriously outside of Wisconsin, seems to be giving himself and his campaign an attempted Trump makeover.
Mr. Walker offered as Exhibit A an exchange he had had with a heckler just hours earlier at the Iowa State Fair: “I’m not intimidated by you, sir, or anyone else out there,” he had shouted, before turning to the crowd and saying: “You want someone who’s tested? I’m right here.”
Mr. Walker’s team was so pleased with the tussle, which may wind up in a television ad, that a top campaign aide joked that he would have paid the heckler to show up.
+ In an ongoing investigation into emails related to her office and their levels of secrecy and security, Hillary Clinton says that emails and other data on her computer were wiped clean before the device was given to federal authorities.
Order in the Courts
+ Chelsea Manning, who was charged with possessing contraband like an expired tube of toothpaste, has been found guilty of the charges. She will not be placed on indefinite solitary confinement, a potential sentence for the charges, but will be given 21 days of recreational restrictions. The conviction occurred in a closed-door hearing without legal representation for Manning, and will be a factor in any future hearings for parole or clemency, potentially adding years and/or heightened security to her sentence.
+ From a press release, we learned that Denicia Macklin, an African-American lesbian, has filed a workplace harassment suit against Dunkin’ Donuts. The suit claims that at both the Union Square and East 14th locations of Dunkin’ Donuts, Macklin was subject to unwanted sexual touching, denied payment of wages, and experienced comments about her appearance being “masculine.”
+ As the conclusion to a long legal battle that brought up questions of when language is offensive and to whom, all-Asian-American band the Slants has won the legal right to trademark their own band name.
Who is making the decisions about the name? Is it a group of people or what?
It’s been the same examining attorney every time. His name is Michael Shriner — a random white attorney. So for the first five years they did not speak to a single Asian about the issue. In fact, we had a governor-appointed board of Asian-American leaders here in Oregon say, “How come you’re not talking to representatives from our community?” They wrote back and said they were committed to diversity and had Asian-Americans who worked at the Trademark Office. That was their response—that they had Asians in the building, not that any of them worked on the case. And the big irony of it can be really prominent when you think about the actual court system itself. When we had the oral hearing first time around in the federal circuit, the courtroom consisted of the attorneys, who are all white, and if I were to go there I wouldn’t be allowed to talk. It would be a bunch of white people debating what’s offensive to Asians. That’s our legal system.
+ In Kentucky, a legal battle continues to rage as Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continues to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs. In a confusing decision, US District Judge David Bunning denied Davis’s request to delay a ruling ordering her to issue marriage licenses, but agreed to delay his own decision about the delay. Until this is resolved definitively, “no new wedding can be legally recognized in Rowan County unless the couple obtain a marriage license somewhere else.”
+ A 25-year-old gay man is filing a lawsuit against the NYPD, claiming that he was beaten and had slurs yelled at him during Pride 2014.
According to the suit, Jacob Alejandro, a health educator from Brooklyn, was leaving the parade with a group of friends around 7:30 p.m. last June 29th, when a police officer “forcefully pushed” him to the ground near the corner of Christopher Street and Weehawken Street. While Alejandro lay on the ground bleeding, one police officer allegedly yelled, “Get the fuck up you faggot.” Multiple officers then allegedly “violently piled on top” of Alejandro and proceeded to arrest him, ignoring his requests for medical attention.
+ A Missouri court of appeals has ruled that a Kansas City lesbian can seek custody and visitation of her twins despite not being the gestational parent.
“Today’s ruling is a great victory for Missouri’s children,” Cathy Sakimura, family law director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a written statement. “Every family deserves legal protection and respect. The court recognized that the law should support families, not destroy them, and that children benefit when they can receive love and support from both parents.”
Law of the Land
+ The death penalty has been ruled unconstitutional in Connecticut, effectively pardoning the 11 people on death row there.
+ California is now the first state in the US where grand juries will no longer be used to decide issues of police violence, due to the fact that they “tend to be secretive, aren’t subject to oversight and rarely indict officers.” Instead, it will be up to prosecutors to pursue charges against police officers accused of excessive force. On the one hand, prosecutors are elected by the public, which in theory means they are more accountable; on the other, 79% of US prosecutors are white men and only 5% are people of color, so.
+ The Missouri House of Representatives tentatively floated an idea that they should have their interns adopt a dress code to keep them from being sexually harassed (as opposed to, you know, having House staffers not sexually harass them). Unsurprisingly, this idea has not been popular, and House Speaker Todd Richardson has 86’d it.
+ Many of us are more familiar than we’d like to be with highly sexualized advertising, very violent advertising, or as a jackpot, advertising that’s both. A new study claims that this kind of advertising is terrible at actually selling things.
The Ohio State University-based researchers knew that sexual and violent emotional cues demanded more cognitive resources than less generally arousing cues, meaning that there was less brain space to process what the ad was selling.
“It never helps to have violence and sex in commercials,” said co-author Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at OSU in an interview with Bloomberg. “It either hurts or has no effect at all.”
+ A man has been arrested in Kansas after carrying a small explosive device into a women’s health clinic.
+ A trial investigating a potential rape at the prestigious St. Paul’s School has spotlighted the school’s many generations-old traditions, many of which seem to revolve around the sexuality of young female students. Owen Labrie, a high school senior already accepted at Harvard, sought out a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old as a “senior salute,” a St. Paul tradition; the female student says that when she wasn’t interested in having sex, Labrie raped her. Labrie had also told police that he was “trying to be No. 1 in the sexual scoring at St. Paul’s School.”
+ The White House has hired its first openly transgender staffer in Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, who will serve as Outreach and Recruitment Director in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Freedman-Gurspan was formerly working at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
+ The NYT looks at the situation for US envoys abroad with same-sex partners, who face complicated international legal situations regarding their spouses and families if they need to live abroad for their jobs.
+ Madame Tussauds has said it will redesign its wax figure of Nicki Minaj after visitors to the museum have posted photos online of themselves posing inappropriately with the figure.
“It is unfortunate that this visitor decided to behave so inappropriately and we apologise for any offence this has caused,” the museum said. “We do have staff monitoring guest behaviour in the attraction and do our utmost to ensure our wax figures are treated respectfully, but on this occasion clearly one of of our hosts was not present.”
+ The new mayor of Venice, Italy has attempted to ban 49 children’s books that he thinks “risk confusing children,” including books about same-sex families. After an outcry, he reduced the list to two books, which both feature same-sex families.
+ Mavis Amponsah, a 41-year-old Ghanian woman, attempted to file for asylum in Israel as soon as she arrived there on a tourist visa on the basis that she was unsafe in her home country due to her longterm relationship with a woman. However, her application was rejected, apparently on the basis that the committee found “contradictions” in her statements, including a previous relationship with a man (although Amponsah says she’s been with her female partner for more than 20 years).
Committee chair Avi Himi noted that Amponsah hadn’t attempted to meet any women or “act on her alleged preference” since arriving in Israel, and that this is “contrary to what might be expected of someone fleeing persecution for a sexual preference,” according to Haaretz.
+ We already know bisexual people are more likely to struggle with poverty, poor mental health, and substance abuse, and that bisexual women are at disproportionately high risk of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Now a new study from the London School of Economics and the University of Melbourne — the same study that finds that more young people than ever are identifying as not straight — says that bisexuals have “lower life satisfaction”.
+ The European Film Industry has adopted a declaration calling for greater gender equity in the film industry, addressing the fact that “women are considerably underrepresented in key job roles in the film industry.”