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Murder Indictment for Officer Who Shot Fleeing Black Man

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Walter Scott's parents, Judy Scott and Walter Scott Sr., gather with attorneys for Scott’s family outside the Charleston County Courthouse, Monday, June 8, 2015, after a Charleston County grand jury handed down an indictment for murder against North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager in the April 4 shooting death of Walter Scott in Charleston, S.C. Slager fatally shot Scott, who was unarmed, as he was trying to run from a traffic stop. (Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier via AP)

Walter Scott’s parents, Judy Scott and Walter Scott Sr., gather with attorneys for Scott’ family outside the Charleston County Courthouse, Monday, June 8, 2015, after a Charleston County grand jury handed down an indictment for murder against North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager in the April 4 shooting death of Walter Scott in Charleston, S.C. Slager fatally shot Scott, who was unarmed, as he was trying to run from a traffic stop. (Grace Beahm/The Post and Courier via AP)

BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — It didn’t take long for a grand jury in South Carolina to indict a white former city policeman for murder in the shooting death of a black man who tried to flee from a traffic stop.

State investigators presented the case against former North Charleston officer Michael Slager to a Charleston County grand jury on Monday and prosecutor Scarlett Wilson announced the indictment a few hours later.

A bystander’s cellphone video shows Slager firing eight times as 50-year-old Walter Scott tried to run away on April 4. The killing enflamed a national debate about how black people are treated by white police officers.

But it caused no unrest in North Charleston, where community leaders and Scott’s family praised the government’s swift response. Slager was charged with murder by state law enforcement agents and fired from the police force immediately after Scott’s family released the video.

The indictment of Slager is the fourth in less than six months in which a grand jury in South Carolina has agreed that white officers should stand trial in the shootings of black men.

The grand jury that reviewed the shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, met weekly for three months, hearing from 60 witnesses. Saint Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch then spoke nearly 45 minutes, describing how jurors “poured their hearts and souls into this process” before deciding not to indict anyone in Brown’s death. Angry protests and riots ensued.

When riots in Baltimore followed the death in police custody of another young black man, Freddie Gray, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six officers with crimes and then spent two weeks presenting evidence to a grand jury that affirmed nearly all the charges. “To the youth of this city, I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment. This is your moment,” Mosby said in a passionate speech.

Wilson, by contrast, made no speeches. She called reporters to her office to announce the indictment, and made very few comments.

Asked about the importance of the cellphone video of Scott’s death, she acknowledged that it’s helpful to have evidence that “depicts the crime, and we aren’t having to rely just on people’s perceptions.”

That said, “just because you have video in a case doesn’t mean it’s the be-all and end-all and the case is over,” she said. “The jury will be able to make up their own mind after seeing the video and hearing the testimony.”

Slager said he initially tried to stun Scott with his Taser when both men scuffled over the stun gun and he fired his handgun at Scott in self-defense. The video shows the men briefly scuffling before Scott runs away and the officer fires at Scott’s back.

Slager, 33, faces 30 years to life without parole if convicted. Wilson said the death penalty doesn’t apply because there are no aggravating circumstances such as robbery or kidnapping.

His defense lawyer, Andy Savage, said he won’t comment “until we have an opportunity to fully evaluate the state’s case and to compare it with our own investigation.”

Walter Scott’s brother Rodney Scott said the family is “very happy and pleased” with the indictment.

“This is just an example of if you keep the faith, even in the darkest times, you will see the light,” said Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Scott’s family who is preparing to file wrongful death civil suit against the city.

“We are going to patiently wait for the criminal trial in this case and we are going to patiently wait to see if the city, the police department and the chief are going to take responsibility in the civil suit,” Stewart added.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

#NNPA BlackPress

IN MEMORIAM: Cheryl Hickmon: National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dies

NNPA NEWSWIRE — THE BURTON WIRE — Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows, in part: “It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

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Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority.

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor

The nation is mourning the passing of Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority. Hickmon was elected president of the organization dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship and service  November 21, 2021 at the 55th national convention held in Atlanta, GA.

Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows:

“It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

President Hickmon was a devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta since 1982 and served in various capacities at the chapter, region, and national level before being elected National President. She is remembered not only for her role as a leader but for being a colleague, friend, and most of all, sister.

The entire sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated mourns the loss of President Hickmon. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect her family’s privacy and keep them in your prayers.”

In addition to serving as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cheryl was employed at Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health in Hartsdale, NY where she supervised the In Vitro Fertilization Laboratories for Andrology and Endocrinology. A licensed Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Hickmon worked in the Reproductive Medical Laboratory for more than 30 years.
Members and supporters have been offering remembrances and calling for prayers in response to Hickmon’s death. Florida representative Val Demings,  who is a member of the sorority, shared her thoughts via Twitter:
Organizations including the NAACP and fellow Black Greek Letter Organizations like Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Alpha Kappa Alpha have issued statements about Hickmon’s passing.

Cheryl Hickmon is the daughter of the late Dr. Ned Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Bishopville, South Carolina and the late Consuella Anderson Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Cincinnati, Ohio. She is survived by her two older brothers Ned and David Hickmon.

Hickmon’s bio reads, “Cheryl lives her life by the motto … ‘Don’t measure life by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.’” She was 60.

This obituary was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Instagram or Twitter @TheBurtonWire. 

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Activism

Zoom Town Hall Meeting to Stop State Takeover of Oakland Schools

The Zoom Town Hall, sponsored by the Oakland Post Salon & Oakland Education Association (OEA), will take place Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S. and Canada)

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Students, parents and teachers protested in January 2019 against the closure of Roots International Academy in East Oakland as the school board voted to permanently close the school - under the guidance of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team(FCMAT) and Karen Monroe of Alameda County Office of Education. Photo courtesy of ABC7.
Students, parents and teachers protested in January 2019 against the closure of Roots International Academy in East Oakland as the school board voted to permanently close the school - under the guidance of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team(FCMAT) and Karen Monroe of Alameda County Office of Education. Photo courtesy of ABC7.

By Post Staff

There will be a Zoom town hall meeting to learn about and take action to stop the takeover of the Oakland Unified School District by superintendent L. K. Monroe of the Alameda County Office of Education and the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) on behalf of the State of California.

The Zoom Town Hall, sponsored by the Oakland Post Salon & Oakland Education Association (OEA), will take place Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S. and Canada)

Join the discussion as we seek answers to the following questions:

  • How did this happen?
  • Why is L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County office of Education, doing this?
  • What is the role of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT)?
  • Why are they trying to force us to close more schools?
  • Why do they demand massive budget cuts when schools are awash in billions of dollars of state and federal funding?
  • What can we do to stop this?

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://bit.ly/saveOUSD

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

A short video that explains the issue can be viewed at https://bit.ly/noFCMAT

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Bay Area

IN MEMORIAM: Kituria Littlejohn McConnell, 71

Kit was born July 16, 1950, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to Horace and Esther Littlejohn. She was raised in Washington, D.C., where she married Attorney Gregory (Greg) R. McConnell in 1973. The couple first met at Backus Junior High School in 1963. They attended Coolidge High School and Howard University where Kit graduated in 1972 with a degree in English.

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Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell
Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell

July 16, 1950 – Jan. 16, 2022

Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell passed away peacefully at her home in Danville, California, surrounded by her family, on Jan. 16, 2022 at the age of 71, following a two-year battle with cancer.

Kit was born July 16, 1950, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to Horace and Esther Littlejohn. She was raised in Washington, D.C., where she married Attorney Gregory (Greg) R. McConnell in 1973.

The couple first met at Backus Junior High School in 1963. They attended Coolidge High School and Howard University where Kit graduated in 1972 with a degree in English.

It was during their time together at Howard University that they dated, and Kit honored Greg by agreeing to be his lifelong partner. Their marriage extended for 48 years until Kit’s passing.

After graduation from Howard, Kit excelled as a teacher at Eastern High School. Due to her exceptional teaching and interpersonal skills, she was tapped to teach a range of students with various achievement levels.

Kit and Greg lived in the Washington, D.C., area until they moved to Hercules, California, in 1985. Her hobbies included reading, decorating, and traveling. Kit is regarded as a loving and kind woman who was thoroughly devoted to her family and friends. She was truly a good person that no one ever said an unkind word about. She was the spiritual leader of her family, firmly grounded in decency, compassion and sharing her goodwill toward all.

Kit is survived by her husband, Gregory R. McConnell; her three devoted children, Kalela Washington and husband Spencer of Olney, MD; Gregory (JR) McConnell Jr. of Oakland, CA, and Kimberley Riberdy and husband Jason of Dublin, CA; grandchildren Aliya G. Washington and Kituria J. Riberdy; sisters Phyllis Palm and Montressa Fisher; brother Horace G. Littlejohn, III; a host of loving in-laws, nieces, and nephews; and a score of lifelong devoted friends.

Kit is now reunited with her parents, Horace and Esther Littlejohn, and her sister, Millicent Littlejohn Wheeler who preceded her in death.

The family will convene a memorial service in the Washington, D.C., area this spring that will also be available for remote viewing. In lieu of flowers or other sentiments, the family requests that you go to your loved ones, hug them, and tell them you love them.

Thank you, Kit, for a love supreme.

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