Category: Law and Order

Nia Wilson Had Big Plans. Then She Was Killed in a BART Station.

24stabbing5Nia Wilson was the youngest of six sisters and two brothers, but she knew how to stand out. She jumped at the chance to help others, one of her sisters said, offering pep talks to her sisters when they were down and performing the Heimlich maneuver on her aunt as she was choking at a recent family party. She loved to look pretty, even if it meant holding up everyone else until she picked out the perfect outfit for a late-night run to the grocery store.

At 18, Nia still had the bulk of her life ahead her and she had big plans — joining the Army or becoming a paramedic, or maybe a music producer would see her rap videos on YouTube and offer a record deal. But on Sunday night, Nia was attacked and killed by a man with a knife after stepping off a train with two of her sisters at an Oakland, Calif., transit station. One of her sisters, Lahtifa Wilson, 26, was also stabbed. She was taken to a hospital but later released. Three days after Nia’s death, her sister Malika Harris said that her family was struggling to process what had happened and to accept that she was gone. In any other situation, her sister said, they would be turning to Nia for comfort.

“She was always there and motivating you and telling you to stay positive,” Ms. Harris, who was not with her on the train, said in an interview on Wednesday.

As her family finalized funeral plans for Nia on Wednesday, the man accused of stabbing her, John Lee Cowell, was formally charged with murder and attempted murder. Mr. Cowell, 27, made his first appearance in an Oakland court at an arraignment hearing on Wednesday afternoon. He did not enter a plea.

Nia’s father, Ansar Muhammad, went to the courthouse to attend the hearing.

“My daughter was everything to me,” Mr. Muhammad told reporters outside a courtroom. “She was so beautiful, so inspirational, had dreams. I’m supposed to be planning her graduation, not her funeral.”

The Bay Area Rapid Transit police arrested Mr. Cowell, who they said was homeless and had a lengthy criminal record, on Monday evening after a nearly 24-hour, citywide manhunt. His family released a statement to a local TV station that said Mr. Cowell had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and had not received recent proper mental health treatment.

Ms. Harris said she believed that the fatal attack on Nia, who was black, should be classified as a hate crime. “They are trying to say that he was sick and crazy,” she said. “It was an act of racism.”

After the arrest on Monday of Mr. Cowell, who is white, the police said that they were still searching for a motive and had not ruled out race as a factor.

SOURCE https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/25/us/nia-wilson-bart-stabbing

Tyranny of the Minority

26goldbergWeb-master768Since Donald Trump’s cataclysmic election, the unthinkable has become ordinary. We’ve grown used to naked profiteering off the presidency, an administration that calls for the firing of private citizens for political dissent and nuclear diplomacy conducted via Twitter taunts. Here, in my debut as a New York Times columnist, I want to discuss a structural problem that both underlies and transcends our current political nightmare: We have entered a period of minority rule.

I don’t just mean the fact that Trump became president despite his decisive loss in the popular vote, though that shouldn’t be forgotten. Worse, the majority of voters who disapprove of Trump have little power to force Congress to curb him.

A combination of gerrymandering and the tight clustering of Democrats in urban areas means that even if Democrats get significantly more overall votes than Republicans in the midterms — which polls show is probable — they may not take back the House of Representatives. (According to a Brookings Institution analysis, in 2016, Republicans won 55.2 percent of seats with just under 50 percent of votes cast for Congress.)

And because of the quirks of the 2018 Senate map, Democrats are extremely unlikely to reclaim that chamber, even if most voters would prefer Democratic control. Some analysts have even suggested that Republicans could emerge from 2018 with a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority.

Our Constitution has always had a small-state bias, but the effects have become more pronounced as the population discrepancy between the smallest states and the largest states has grown. “Given contemporary demography, a little bit less than 50 percent of the country lives in 40 of the 50 states,” Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law scholar at the University of Texas, told me. “Roughly half the country gets 80 percent of the votes in the Senate, and the other half of the country gets 20 percent.”

Nancy Dorner Statement: Chris Dorner’s Mother Offers Sympathies & Condolences To Victims

crimesceneThe mother of Christopher Dorner expressed her sympathies for his victims and the families they left behind. She released this statement to Fox 11: It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to anyone that suffered losses or injuries resulting from Christopher’s actions. We do not condone Christopher’s actions.The family has no further comments and ask that our privacy be respected during this difficult time. – Nancy Dorner

In a phone interview with Fox 11, Nancy Dorner also said there could be some validity to the claims her son made in his manifesto, but stressed that she didn’t condone his crimes. Police have linked Christopher Dorner to the murders of Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence, as well as Riverside police officer Michael Crain and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah McKay. Instead of going on a murderous rampage, Nancy Dorner wishes her son had simply contacted a journalist about the allegations of Los Angeles Police Department racism and corruption in his manifesto. Nancy Dorner was reportedly spotted at a Mexican restaurant near her home in La Palma, Calif. watching news coverage of a man believed to be Christopher Dorner engaging in an hours-long standoff with police in a cabin in Big Bear. She and her daughter have been cooperating with authorities in the investigation against Christopher Dorner, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

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An Open Letter to the NRA..Guns, Guns & More Guns Is that the Solution?

crimesceneDear NRA: (National Rifle Association) we peeped your press conference this afternoon and lemme make sure I understand the main premise.. What we need in this society as follows; Guns, Guns and More Guns.. We need a cop on every corner and armed guard in every school..We also got from the NRA, that the reason the school kids died tragically in Newtown at Sandy Hook elementary was because the Principal, Dawn Hochsprung who courageously gave her life didn’t have a gun.. If only she had a gun, then the school kids would’ve been saved..That’s the type nonsense you guys always say, but when push comes to shove, it never rally pans out..Most folks unless they been trained gun or not are thinking about getting out the line of fire, not running around like they in a James Bond movie shooting down assailants packing military style assault weapons.. Sure you NRA types like so-called neighborhood watch George Zimmerman or gun collector Michael Dunn are quick to kill an unarmed Trayvon Martin or a shoot into a car of unarmed teens and kill an unarmed Jordan Davis for playing his music loud or be like Shawna Forde who shot unarmed Raul “Junior” Flores, 29, and his daughter, Brisenia, 9 because she thought they were here ‘illegally’ (they weren’t). Forde and her colleagues in the Minutemen were supposedly ‘protecting the border’. In these instances and many like them its easy to shoot unarmed folks, but when others are strapped like you are and willing to bust back, you’re doing like everyone else running for cover and then talking smack days later about what you would’ve and could’ve done with a gun.. As the NY Times recently pointed out, there’s been over 60 mass shootings in past 30 years and not one has been stopped by the NRA or armed civilians. You can’t shoot your way out of a problem NRA..So Please Stop all that noise.

Also you all went  and blamed the media and video games for mass shootings. You basically said we need to crack down on that…I’m wondering if you were including the games that your fine organization helped develop like ‘NRA Gun Club‘ or the newest the ‘Medal to Honor‘ video game that our esteemed Navy Seals worked on? CONTINUE READING

Urban Lives Saved by Suburban Gun Mayhem

crimescene(The Root) — Shortly after the Jovan Belcher tragedy I was asked on a television program whether or not theNFL player’s high-profile murder-suicide and sports announcer Bob Costas’ courageous comments about gun violence in the incident’s aftermath would have any impact on gun control in America. I answered that they would not. The reason? Because as I noted during that interview, historically our country has only addressed the issue of gun violence when it touches the lives of those with whom our leaders are most likely to identify. Rarely are those likely to be incidents involving people of color suffering domestic violence or teens of color from low-income communities who are victims of urban gun violence.

Instead the gun tragedies that have actually moved our elected officials to significant action on gun control have been those incidents in which victims are most likely to remind our leaders of their own friends, families and communities, incidents like the 1993 shooting on a Long Island Rail Road train, which killed commuters from New York’s professional class or the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which made gun control the cause célèbre of white suburban moms, culminating in the Million Mom March in 2000.

Now it appears another incident is poised to finally move our leaders to action once again, 13 years after Columbine. The murder of 20 children and six adults in the quiet and normally safe enclave of Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 is forcing a conversation about gun control that the shooting of 26 residents in one night inChicago this summer — resulting in the deaths of two teens and injury of 24 others — could not. As previously noted in an analysis by the now-defunct the Daily, more Chicago residents, many of them urban youth, were killed by gun violence in the first half of 2012 than American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan during the same period.

Just think about those numbers for a moment.

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