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Council names intersection after Nipsey Hussle

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — The City Council adjourned its regular meeting April 12 in memory of Nipsey Hussle after approving a motion to rename the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard in the slain rapper’s honor. The 33-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper — whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom — was fatally shot March 31 in front of the Marathon Clothing store he owned at Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. 

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By Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The City Council adjourned its regular meeting April 12 in memory of Nipsey Hussle after approving a motion to rename the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard in the slain rapper’s honor.

The 33-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper — whose real name was Ermias Joseph Asghedom — was fatally shot March 31 in front of the Marathon Clothing store he owned at Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.

He was honored during a Staples Center memorial April 11 featuring a performance by Stevie Wonder and remarks from rapper Snoop Dogg, followed by a procession through South Los Angeles.

The council fast-tracked a motion that had just been introduced by Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price and Council President Herb Wesson to officially brand the intersection where he was killed after Hussle.

Fans of the performer filled the chamber and took turns for over an hour voicing support for the motion. Members of Hussle’s family also were present, including his father, Dawit Asghedom.

After the motion was approved, Harris-Dawson, who said he first met Hussle several years ago at a rally at Crenshaw High School against gun violence, adjourned the meeting in his memory and spoke at length about the positive things he had done for the South L.A. community.

“Nipsey was a Grammy-nominated music icon and hip hop artist. He was a West Coast hero who spent his resources and his life giving back to the community,” Harris-Dawson said.

A private burial was held April 12 at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, according to the Glendale Police Department.

Eric Ronald Holder Jr., 29, an aspiring rapper and acquaintance of Hussle, has pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with two counts of attempted murder.

Holder is being represented by attorney Christopher Darden, who was a prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Since accepting the Holder case, Darden has been on the receiving end of numerous threats, the Blast website reported.

“Shame on you for taking on the Nipsey Killer’s case,” said one. “You doing the entire culture a disservice.”

Darden’s daughter, Jenee, went on social media last week to say she was “receiving vile comments and messages” since her father took the job.

“Like many of you,” she wrote, “I found out about my father’s involvement in the case while scrolling through social media. I was not prepared for this backlash that has triggered bad memories from the O.J. Simpson trial.”

She added in a reference to her father that she has “no say in the cases he takes on.”

Hussle transformed himself from a South Los Angeles gang member to a rap musician and channeled his success into efforts to help others stay out of gangs. He bought shoes for students, re-paved basketball courts and provided jobs and shelter for the homeless.

Hussle helped renovate a Mid-City roller rink and redeveloped the strip mall that housed his Marathon Clothing shop where he was fatally wounded after an argument with Holder. The subject has not been disclosed.

Wave Wire Services

This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers. 

Activism

Bay Area Officials and Leaders React to the George Floyd Verdict

Almost 11 months ago, the world watched as Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. He kept it there for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The systemic injustice from hundreds of years of racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was put into plain view on video, and the country and the world erupted in protest.

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Photo Credit: Christy Price

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann issued statements in reaction to Tuesday’s triple guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, ex-Minneapolis police officer for killing George Floyd in May, 2020.

Mayor London Breed’s statement:

“This verdict does not bring back the life of George Floyd. It can’t replace the years of his life that were robbed from him, nor the life experiences and memories that would have been made with his friends and family. What this verdict does reflect is that the tide is turning in this country, although still too slowly, toward accountability and justice.

Almost 11 months ago, the world watched as Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. He kept it there for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The systemic injustice from hundreds of years of racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was put into plain view on video, and the country and the world erupted in protest.

While we’re now months removed from the height of those protests, the need for action is as critical as ever. This is about more than prosecuting the officer who killed George Floyd, though that is an important step. It’s about fundamentally restructuring how policing is done to move away from the use of excessive force. It’s about shifting responses to non-violent calls away from an automatic police response to something better equipped to handle the situation. It’s about reinvesting in communities in which years of systematic disinvestment has made it nearly impossible for people to thrive. It’s about changing who we are as a country.

That’s what we’re trying to do in San Francisco. Our Street Crisis Response Teams, consisting of paramedics and behavioral health specialists, are now often the first responders to non-violent 911 calls relating to mental health and substance use. 

Our Dream Keeper Initiative is redirecting $120 million to improve the lives of Black youth and their families through investments in everything from housing, to healthcare, to workforce training and guaranteed income. And our sustained, multi-year efforts to reform our police department has resulted in a 57% reduction in instances of use of force and a 45% decrease in officer-involved shootings since 2016.

While this tragedy can never be undone, what we can do is finally make real change in the name of George Floyd. Nothing we can do will bring him back, but we can do the work to prevent others from facing his fate in the future. That is the work we need to do. It’s ongoing, it’s challenging, but if we are committed, we can make a real and lasting difference in this country.”

OPD Statement 

We all must recognize that this moment is about accountability, justice, and reform. We must be compassionate, empathic, and forgiving, the Oakland Police Department declared in a statement released on Tuesday. 

All sides must unite as one community to effectively communicate. Together we will work towards rethinking policing in America. 

In unity, we will move towards finding solutions for the safety of all people, notwithstanding your age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. 

We stand as one community grieving and healing as we move towards finding real solutions to effect change as we seek to strengthen police and community relations. 

We extend our deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family and all communities. 

Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann:

“Today, we experienced a small measure of justice as Derek Chauvin was convicted and the killing of George Floyd was recognized as the criminal act it was. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that one conviction of one cop for a killing the whole world witnessed on video will change a fundamentally racist and dysfunctional system. The whole law enforcement system must be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up so that there are no more George Floyds, Daunte Wrights and Adam Toledos. But even that is just a start.

“Policing doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Systemic racism exists in policing because systemic racism exists in America. We must fundamentally uproot the disease of racism in our society and create a transformative path forward.” 

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Activism

Nation’s First Bill to Extend Victim Services to Survivors of Police Brutality

This would ensure that survivors of police violence and loved ones of those killed by police are no longer dependent on either a police report documenting the victimization, which is often elusive, or the opinion of involved police when assessing a victim’s responsibility. 

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The California Senate’s Committee on Public Safety this week unanimously passed SB 299. Authored by Senator Connie Leyva (SD-20), which would extend services to victims of police violence and expand eligibility for survivors of homicide victims.

“It is unacceptable that in order to receive assistance through the Victim Compensation program, police reports and the opinion of police would carry such heavy weight in the application for compensation when the injuries were sustained as a result of police actions,” Senator Leyva said.

 “SB 299 will improve access to vital resources for victims of police violence as they recover from the physical and emotional injuries caused due to the actions of police or—in the cases of individuals killed by police—be able to bury their loved ones with dignity and respect,” he said. 

“Just as the state’s Victims Compensation program can use evidence beyond police reports for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking, so too do victims of police violence deserve similar recognition of their circumstances so that they can get fair access to the help they need.”

Police reports and opinion can also prevent families of homicide victims from obtaining compensation, without any recourse or due process. Families in shock at a violent loss then struggle to bury their loved ones. SB 299 would, for the first time, expand eligibility to make sure survivors of homicide victims are not denied based on the contents of inaccurate, unfair or biased police reports.

“We cannot continue to let the police decide who is a ‘deserving’ victim,” says Youth ALIVE! Director of Programs, Kyndra Simmons. “This has prevented many survivors and victims, including victims of police violence, from accessing the resources and support meant to help them heal.”

“Qualifying for victim compensation was life-changing for me after my son Jordan was killed,” says Tonya Lancaster, trauma survivor and Youth ALIVE! client. “I want to see that support for everybody who needs it.”

Under existing law, victims of limited types of crimes are eligible to receive compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board’s Restitution Fund. That compensation can cover a range of needs spanning medical expenses, burial expenses, wage and income loss and much more. 

SB 299 would extend this eligibility to include incidents in which an individual sustains serious bodily injury or death as a result of a law enforcement officer’s use of force, regardless of whether the law enforcement officer is arrested for, charged with, or convicted of committing a crime. 

This would ensure that survivors of police violence and loved ones of those killed by police are no longer dependent on either a police report documenting the victimization, which is often elusive, or the opinion of involved police when assessing a victim’s responsibility. 

“We cannot tolerate treating victims of police violence with any less care and compassion than we extend to other crime victims,” said Controller Betty Yee, California’s chief fiscal officer. “We must work toward a just, fair, and peaceful society, and this expansion of victim compensation is one small step in that work.”

“”Advocacy for victims must include all victims and survivors, regardless of who caused the harm. That’s why my office started a first-in-the-state program in 2020 to ensure that our Victim Services Division compensates victims of police violence like any other victim,” said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.  

“Unlike victims of other crimes, victims of police brutality are commonly denied access to victims compensation funds to cover burial costs, medical expenses, lost income, therapy and more,” said Prosecutors Alliance Executive Director Cristine Soto DeBerry. “No one should have to start a GoFundMe page to cover the costs of burying a loved one lost to violence.”

SB299 is co-sponsored by California Controller Betty Yee, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, Californians for Safety and Justice, the Prosecutors Alliance of California, and Youth ALIVE! It will be heard next by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

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Barbara Lee

Why Barbara Lee Wore Tennis Shoes on January 6

Lee said she was thankful for the NAACP and the civil rights lawyers for bringing the lawsuit forward with members of Congress as plaintiffs.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined a federal lawsuit on April 7 filed by the NAACP and Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson accusing Donald J. Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers of conspiring to incite a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, with the goal of preventing Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election.

The lawsuit, initially filed in February, alleges that by preventing Congress from carrying out its official duties, Trump, Giuliani and the hate groups directly violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act.

NAACP president, Derrick Johnson says of Trump that he “ . . . meticulously organized [a] coup . . . that place[d] members of Congress and the integrity of our democracy in peril.”

A federal statute was passed after the Civil war to  “combat violence from the Ku Klux Klan.”  The law allows civil actions to be brought against people who use “force, intimidation, or threat” to prevent anyone from upholding the duties of their office” according to a CNN report,

Nine other members of Congress joined the suit: Karen Bass (D-CA); Steve Cohen (D-TN); Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ); Veronica Escobar (D-TX); Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH);  Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Pramila Jayapal (D-WA); and Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Lee spoke to the Post on April 14 via phone from D.C., as she was headed to see HR 40, the Reparations bill, pass committee.

Lee said she was thankful for the NAACP and the civil rights lawyers for bringing the lawsuit forward with members of Congress as plaintiffs.

She spoke of the 401-year history of violence against Blacks in this country and the importance of the lawsuit to hold people accountable for the coup d’état.

Lee was on the floor of Congress when the riots took place.  “We have to ensure that this never happens again, to protect our democracy, to protect people from dealing with violence, it’s something we are moving forward through the judiciary.”

Lee said that there were four parts of the relief sought in the civil lawsuit:  “accountability, punitive damages, redress, and injunctive relief to prevent from happening in the future.”

The lawsuit is not about Lee and others personally, it is about the attack on the democratic process, she said.

Lee has been through many near misses and close calls (she was evacuated from the House on 9/11, barely missed being blown up by a cluster bomb in the Middle East, to name just a couple) so she knew intuitively something was going to happen on January 6.  So, she wore tennis shoes to work.  “You just put two and two together, you connect the dots and you know something is going to hit the fan.  So be prepared, right?”

She applauds the Capitol police for protecting her, other members of Congress and the  country’ democracy.  “These people came in not only to stop us from doing our jobs, but they were calling the Capitol police the N word, they were fighting with them, they were trying to kill them.  It was like a war; it went on for hours.  Domestic terrorism is the highest National threat, we need to sound the alarm.  We have to fight to end the country of these insurrectionist, these traitors.”

“On Jan. 6, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani trampled our democracy, inciting a violent mob of white supremacists to overturn a free and fair election. Though he failed in his ultimate goal, the very foundation of our democracy was shaken. We cannot just let this shameful moment in our history pass because next time, the consequences will be even graver. I am proud to stand with my colleagues and hold Donald Trump accountable for his attempt to destroy the fabric of this nation,” said Congresswoman Lee.

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