All charges dismissed against police in Freddie Gray case
Those remaining will walk before seeing courtroom
4:00 PMAccording to the state of Maryland, Freddie Gray deserved to die for looking at a police officer a certain way.
If you want a basic explanation of how white privilege, police brutality and injustice work, look no further than Gray’s case. An officer didn’t care for the look Gray gave him. So he initiated an arrest, illegally, mind you, and threw him in the back of a police van. There, no one bothered to secure him to anything while in the van. He sustained an injury, then died. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide. The city paid off his family. Then, multiple officers walked, before all charges were eventually dismissed Wednesday.
The development marked the end of what’s been an interesting rise and fall for Marilyn Mosby, state’s attorney for Baltimore City. She came out with force last year when she made clear her intentions to charge the six officers involved. Now that she’s clashed with both protestors of the police and law enforcement as well, she’s in a tough spot politically. But that didn’t stop her from taking on a borderline preacher-like tone when she addressed the media Wednesday.
“We do not believe that Freddie Gray killed himself," prosecutor on charges being dropped against Baltimore officers https://t.co/fYfSY1J0tf
— ABC News (@ABC) July 27, 2016
Standing in front of the mural dedicated to Gray in Baltimore where he lived — and his father, wearing a green New York Jets hats and matching dashiki, by her side — Mosby spoke for 15 minutes about what she considered to be the obvious injustice in the outcome.
“Baltimore finds itself at the epicenter of a national conflict between urban and rural populations of color and the law enforcement agencies that are sworn to protect and serve them,” she said. “It is a struggle that strikes at the basic ideas of self-determination, justice, equality and sadly, humanity in America.”
She then proceeded to call the Baltimore Police Department out for seemingly doing everything it could to prevent the state from ever building a case against one of their own. In effect, Mosby described exactly how the “blue wall” works in practice, rather than concept.
“As the world has witnessed over the past 14 months, the prosecution of on-duty police officers in this country is unsurprisingly rare and blatantly fraught with systemic and inherent complications. Unlike with other cases, where prosecutors work closely with the police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized very early on in this case was that police investigating police, whether they’re friends or merely their colleagues, was problematic,” she said. “There was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation, which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials. Although Commissioner [Kevin] Davis was and has been extremely accommodating, there were individual police officers that were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team. Interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions. Lead detectives that were completely uncooperative and started a counter investigation to disprove the state’s case.”
The system did not fail #FreddieGray. It was never set up to protect people like him or us. In that sense it all went according to plan.
— Blocked by AIPAC (@Delo_Taylor) July 27, 2016
If "law enforcement" isn't accountable for the easily verifiable homicide of #FreddieGray, then what's the point of "law" or a constitution?
— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 27, 2016
Mosby grew up in a law enforcement family and her husband happens to be a city council member. More importantly, as an elected official in Baltimore, her role as someone that’s taken an oath to protect all citizens is one she takes extremely seriously. Yet, there are people who want her disbarred for how she’s handled this case.
She ended her news conference not with questions (as there is pending litigation involving lawsuits from the officers) but with a concession that there are lessons to be learned from Gray, courtroom decisions aside. As Mosby sees it, a corrupt system will beget unjust rulings, but if you can nip the problematic interactions in the bud, things will never get this far, so senselessly.
“Never again should there be a question as to why someone is being stopped, detained or arrested, due to the fact that there will now soon be full implementation of body-worn cameras on all officers. Never again should someone be placed unsecured and defenseless in a metal wagon, head first, feet shackled and handcuffed, due to the fact that officers are now required to secure and seatbelt all prisoners,” she said, her voice rising each time she repeated the refrain. “Never again should there be a need to rely on circumstantial evidence to observe what takes place inside police wagons, due to the fact that cameras are now equipped in every one of them. Never again should an officer ignore or neglect a prisoner’s request for medical attention to no avail, due to the fact that it is now mandatory for officers to call a medic when requested. Never again should a commanding officer or a rank and file officer be able to assert that they are unaware of departmental policies general orders or procedures due to the fact that there is now a software verification and accountability system to ensure their adherence. Never again should an officer exhibit a blatant or reckless disregard for human life, due to the fact that there are now use-of-force policies that emphasize the sanctity of life, accentuates de-escalation and requires that officers intervene if fellow officers cross the line.”
Alas. Never say never.
Ka(i)ne is in the building
Hillary Clinton’s vice president pick has an unintentionally built-in hip-hop connection
3:30 PMWhen the Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine would be her running mate on the Democratic ticket in the 2016 presidential race, you couldn’t help but think of Daniel Johnson. Better known by his stage name Kane Beatz, his popular producer drop “Kane is in the building” has adorned various hits in the past.
Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj’s “Bottoms Up” (triple platinum) and Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On” (also, triple platinum) are just a couple that you might be familiar with and maybe didn’t even know it. The line is particularly funny because it’s not the sultry voice of a woman a la “Mike Will Made It” or “Maybach Music,” nor is it the innocent voice of a child like say, “Cooking Soul” or “Zaytoven.”
The voice on Beatz’s drop is so cartoonishly robotic that it almost feels like something suited for a politician. And though Beatz, who’s from Orlando, and Kaine, who was born in Minnesota, don’t have a whole lot in common on the surface, they do share a name that sounds the same. It’s time that whomever is in charge of productions for the Clinton campaign gets on that.
If they’re looking for the perfect song for Kaine to hit that Philadelphia stage at the Democratic National Convention with, and make his debut on the ticket, look no further than Cash Money Records. “Right Above It” by Drake and Lil Wayne couldn’t possibly be more perfect for his entrance.
We can make this happen, America. Yes, we can.
Daily Dose: 7/25/16
Los Angeles basketball fans are being very petty
9:48 AMHappy Monday, folks. If you’re in Philadelphia, make sure you’re staying hydrated. The East Coast is about as hot as it gets these days. I love it.
Right when you thought the Republican National Convention was a mess, here come the Democrats. Their national convention has likewise started off with a disaster, as chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she’ll be stepping down. The scope of those leaked emails is pretty wide and we have no idea what’s going to come of Bernie Sanders supporters who are still upset about the Hillary Clinton situation. Anyways, here are five things to watch from the DNC this week.
Gucci Mane is out of jail, slimmed down and looking healthy. His new album dropped on Friday, which is tremendous, by the way, if you haven’t gotten to listen yet. But perhaps more importantly, he hit the stage again in Atlanta, and it was a staggering show of stars. The fact is that nearly every artist that matters in the rap game these days is a big Gucci fan. So when you can bring out Drake, Future, 2 Chainz and Fetty Wap, you know you’re doing something right. VICE‘s Richposlim says it was like a revival.
It’s about that time when we’ve got to start thinking about the NFL. Training camp is around the corner and I’m already hearing about people gearing up for their fantasy drafts. I’m not the biggest football fan in the world, but I do recognize how it makes all boats rise when it comes to the tide of sports news. That and the fact that I root for a franchise most people can’t stand means I’m still at least six weeks away from caring. However, FiveThirtyEight’s Chase Stuart breaks down who might get a hot start due to their schedules.
The USA Basketball men’s national team is gearing up for Rio. Team USA is playing warmup matches across the country, beating up on teams that have no chance. On Sunday, the team opened up its summer tour with a game in Los Angeles against China. Kevin Durant is on the team, and since Staples Center fans are apparently extremely petty, he got booed along with his Golden State Warriors teammate Draymond Green by the sellout crowd. I’m all for booing when guys play poorly, but booing a countryman over a matter of club is stupid. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports.
Coffee Break: Getting dunked on in a summer league game is never cool. Getting dunked on in a summer league game by an amateur when you’re a pro is even more problematic. And when it happens twice? Well, then your name is Andre Drummond.
Snack Time: If you didn’t know that Alfonso Ribeiro and Justin Timberlake had an annual tradition of dancing at his golf tournament, now you do. This year, however, Stephen Curry joined in, too!
Dessert: Congrats, Bill Rhoden on a tremendous career. What an inspiration.
Let’s build a wall!
Except, this one around the man whose idea it was?
We all know about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. He wants to keep out people trying to immigrate illegally and has no bones about sharing that opinion with the whole world. If you watched last week’s Republican National Convention, you know as much.
However, while the GOP was going at it with each other in Cleveland, an artist by the name of Plastic Jesus was in these Hollywood streets building a wall of his own. Specifically, one around Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Why he has one? Who knows.
This wall is genius, however.
Get familiar with the Milk Squad
Because they’re taking Baltimore by storm
8:00 AMThey call it “Bodymore” for obvious reasons. It’s a term I’ve been hearing for years, and it refers to Baltimore, Maryland’s disastrous crime situation, which unfortunately includes a murder rate that in many ways defines the city. With the unrest of the last year under the national spotlight, stories of hope out of Charm City aren’t necessarily few and far between, but they are at a premium.
Freddie Gray might not be able to get justice, but kids are still skating. And that’s a good thing. A recent Baltimore Sun story highlights a crew called the Milk Squad, which embodies the latest generation of the city’s black skate scene.
“They are from different neighborhoods; many of them are from the parts of Baltimore crippled by violence and poverty, while a few are relatively privileged. Some feel overlooked by the city and the mainstream skating community, while others say their skills aren’t at the level that would earn acknowledgement. But the bond that connects this disparate group is the love of the skateboard, and it’s through the skateboard that their differences are subsumed,” Christiana Amarachi Mbakwe writes.
Skating as a means of urban escape is basically the ethos of the sport and the culture. This feature perfectly embodies why, in many cities, building a skate park probably makes more sense than say, building more jails. And if you want more of the Bodymore Skate Company, you can check them on Instagram here. Also, you might want to spend some time with the homey Jamone Mckenzie.
Riding is a much more fun way to get noticed than rioting.
Dennis Green dies
The charismatic former NFL head coach was 67
12:44 PMDennis Green, the second black head coach in the history of the NFL, died Friday at the age of 67. Green, a colorful character who at his peak led the Minnesota Vikings to a 15-1 record in 1998, died from cardiac arrest. He succeeded at both the college and pro levels, once leading Stanford University to a win on the road against the top-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana.
Former Vikings and Cardinals coach Dennis Green died at the age of 67. A look at his NFL coaching career: pic.twitter.com/XksjBDEx4p
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 22, 2016
His career record in the NFL was 113-64. He was known as a no-nonsense type of coach, the type of guy who could both resurrect a quarterback like Randall Cunningham’s career at the same time that he was able to maximize the talents of wide receiver Randy Moss as a rookie. And of course, he had his quotables.
Back in 2006, as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Green let loose in a postgame news conference one of the best tirades you’ll ever hear. It was forceful without being profane, and confident without being arrogant. He made a great point about what it takes to not lose the psychological battle in a league like the NFL. Watch below.
Also, when he decided to leave the Minnesota Vikings in 2001, he made a statement that no one who followed at the time will soon forget. “If you’re looking for Denny Green, look on the high road, because that is where I’ll be,” he said.
He is survived by his wife, Marie, and two sons.
Daily Dose: 7/22/16
Donald Trump lays it all out there
Kevin Durant has a new tattoo
It features a hip-hop legend … and more
We try not to pass judgment on people’s ink choices around here, but we do have some questions. The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant is freshly done, to the point that he’s still rocking the plastic while at USA Basketball practice. A leg tat, no less.
Number one, why gets a tattoo so close to having to actually play in a tournament in a place where communicable diseases are legit a reason for athletes not to go at all? Forget how it may affect your performance, that just seems rife for some type of infection once you get to Rio.
Secondly, though, props on going with “Brenda’s Got A Baby” Tupac Shakur, and not, say Gridlock’d Tupac. That would not have been good. If you may recall, Tupac was rocking a very dope UNLV Runnin’ Rebels hat/jacket combo in that 1991 video. So, maybe he’s leaving Golden State to play for … nevermind.
KD getting a tattoo of Pac on his leg vaults him up to #3 on my favorite NBA player behind JR Smith and of course, KAT.
— Adam Neuharth (@Adam_Neuharth) July 21, 2016
KD should have went to my tattoo artist not to a cast member of Black Ink
— Call me Rickye (@Under6ftNoBeard) July 21, 2016
The last and most important question is obvious: WHY IS THERE A WU-TANG CLAN LOGO BENEATH TUPAC?! The streets need to know, Mr. Durant.
Lil Yachty’s having a great summer
His brand isn’t going anywhere as long as it’s hot outside
3:33 PMLil Yachty is having a tremendous summer. First, his song “1 Night” took off. His mixtape Lil Boat is fire in the streets and he landed a very wavy Puma campaign with Pink+Dolphin while he was at it. This week, he hit the streets again with his Summer Songs 2 project on Apple Music (“King of Teens” is the banger). Now, along with that great day party soundtrack, he’s dropped an extremely thoughtful, not to mention funny 14-minute short film called Keep Sailing.
To catch you up, Lil Yachty, who often goes by Lil Boat as well, was just a kid in college when he decided that his true passion music is what he wanted to pursue. This movie serves as sort of a dreamy retrospective on what his coming of age was like, completely with mockumentary style clips of his part-time job spliced in with what appears to be real footage of him while a student at Alabama State University. Depressed and derided, he dropped out after just a couple of months.
“I was probably like the popularest kid on campus, in the worst way though,” he says in voiceover. “Man, I was like the laughingstock. A joke, because of my hair. That was the first time that had ever happened to me in my life. Never been laughed at. I was the s—. I knew I was the s—. Mind you, while all this was going, I still had a plan, you know? I knew that this wasn’t forever. I still knew that my hair was going to get me to where I needed to go. … They laughing, they joking, but I’m not cutting my hair. I don’t give a f—.”
While the Atlanta native tells his story, we’re treated with images of him getting his patented red hair done in a salon and regaling us with tales of how he met his homey JBan$2Turnt of his squad The Sailing Team. The scene: guys with barettes, playing Nintendo GameCube and drinking Cheerwine. They’re having a good time.
“He was a good kid, he was a great kid, I can’t complain at all,” his mom “Mama Boat” says in the film. “He would always be back in that room, doing something, with his friends. What he was doing, I never knew. I just, I always knew there were a lot of kids at my house, and they were back there doing something. I had no idea they were doing music.”
Overall, this whimsical look at the short career of an 18-year-old with a birthday coming up in a month is amusing, touching and ultimately just plain entertaining. Just ask his “uncle” Darnell Boat, who is a character we hopefully see more of for many summers to come.
The Last Supper
Like you’ve never seen it before
If you don’t know the homey @WeNotSocks, you will after this. His Twitter bio reads “I can’t give you what you want from me.” His avi is a can of Four Loko and a bowl of ramen with some cheese on it. As far as I can tell, he’s a real one, as the kids say. His steez is in the stead of guys like Desus and Mero (who shoot the moon on Twitter fame) or a guy like @DragonflyJonez.
Earlier this week, the Buttered Noodle Papio unleashed a fire thread of tweets that perfectly parodied what is the most iconic image in the history of Christianity. Leonardo da Vinci’s late 15th century mural is one of the most recognizable in the world. It’s not easy to make fun of The Last Supper with any success, but @WeNotSocks nails it. Check it.
This is a question we’ve asked so many times, in so many situations.
I mean, it’s vital to know before you decide to indulge. Many of us have serious personal policies on this matter.
The only thing funnier than the concept of a Spades game happening among the apostles is the possibility of one of them cheating. And getting caught.
There’s always the one homey who gets too lit at the function, and the reason you know it is because he can’t stop telling everyone about it. Might have been obvious before, but he needs to keep letting people know just in case.
I mean, he right tho.
You never want to be this person at the party, but sometimes you have to. You let fam hold a couple hundred one week, next thing you know they’re splurging on Hennessy and bushels of crabs for the block? Inquiries will be made.
Alright, my dude. Fair enough.
Bartholomew and ’em always showing up empty-handed.
Meanwhile, we’re weeks away from training camp and some Dallas Cowboys fan is still worried about this at the cookout.
Lastly, the most important question of all, from the gawd himself.
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Nike ad celebrates Indian female athletes
It’s the best commercial the company has made in years
12:57 PMRani Rampal, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shubhlakshmi Sharma, Shweta Hakke, Tanvie Hans, Jyoti Ann Burrett and Ishita Malaviya are not household names in the United States. Deepika Padukone is now known for her acting as much as her badminton skills.
Rampal will be leading the Indian field hockey team in Rio this summer — the first time the women’s team has qualified for the Olympics in 36 years. She burst onto the scene at the age of 15 in the 2010 World Cup, leading the tournament in goals with 7. Kaur has been captain of India’s national women’s cricket team. Mandhana and Sharma play with her on said squad.
Hakke runs track. Hans and Burrett both play soccer. Malaviya is India’s first professional female surfer. Padukone decided to leave her national-level badminton career to pursue modeling. Now she’s a famous Bollywood actress.
This video dropped just over 10 days ago, and I haven’t stopped watching it since it first crossed my desk. Titled “Da Da Ding,” a song by producer Gener8ion (who’s collaborated with musical artist M.I.A. in the past, in a video worth watching, along similar lines) and Los Angeles rapper Gizzle (more on her later), it’s the most visually incredible thing the athletic apparel company has dropped in a very long while.
As of this writing, it’s nearing three million views. The messages sent are so powerful, so fun, so exciting coming from Indian women that are so routinely subjugated to household roles in common society because of traditional values. We’re talking about a place where even after being gang raped, a woman can be forced to undergo “purification rituals,” an obviously barbaric and grotesque measure.
The imagery of female athletes, training, playing, excelling and emoting is just not one we get on a regular basis on this side of the globe. This ad embodies what most women who choose to play sports across the globe have to face, aside from the relatively buoyant land of opportunity that is the Western world of athletics.
“Sport has taught me how to handle failure. It has also taught me how to handle success. It has kept me grounded,” Padukone wrote on her Facebook page when she posted the video, which initially sent it viral. “It has taught me humility.Two years ago, I struggled with depression. I was sinking. I almost gave up. But it was the athlete in me that gave me the strength to fight and never ever give up! And so I want to say to every girl and every boy and every woman and every man … play a sport … because it changed my life … and it will change yours too! Sport has taught me how to survive! It has taught me how to fight! It has made me unstoppable!”
Not to be forgotten is Gizzle, whose lyrics here say it all. “Wake up in the morning all systems on go, ’cause I got goals, and I won’t take no, for an answer, got the grace of a dancer, the heart of a panther, I don’t understand ya” is how she starts off this firecracker of a track. As an openly lesbian rapper, she’s faced her fair share of discrimination in a different male-dominated industry. She’s worked closely with artists like Ty Dolla $ign and Puff Daddy in her career to this point. Her song “BBQ & B——” is one you should definitely check out.
When you combine all that with eye-popping natural colors, tremendous athletes, exciting scenes and zooms, the onlooking faces of dumbfounded guys, grandiose streets and fantastic dancing in one package — you’ve got a serious winner.
Charles Kinsey is the latest black man shot by police
Apparently for reasons that even the officer who did it doesn’t know
— Todd Tongen (@toddtongen) July 20, 2016
“All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I’m a behavior therapist at a group home.” Those were the words of Charles Kinsey, while he laid on his back in the street with his hands up next to an autistic man who’d run away from his facility. He goes on to console his patient. “Please be still, Rinaldo,” Kinsey says repeatedly.
Then, a shot rang out. Kinsey was on the other end of a bullet, courtesy of the North Miami Police. According to him, when he asked them why they shot him, an officer replied, “I don’t know.” That officer has not been identified, but was placed on leave.
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) July 21, 2016
Kinsey is not dead, nor is his 27-year-old patient, but with the rash of violence that’s been magnified in this country both from and against the police in recent weeks this summer, it’s a stark example of exactly how senseless much of this can be. According to WSVN-TV in Miami, the entire incident began when someone called 911 claiming a man was wandering the streets in a suicidal state.
That then devolved into a caretaker getting shot. Conflict resolution, America-style.
Daily Dose: 7/21/16
Get ready for a deluge of pop culture
10:45 AMIf your morning’s off to a bad start, you should watch first lady Michelle Obama doing Carpool Karaoke with Missy Elliot. I don’t watch James Corden’s show, but this bit has truly become a national treasure.
We’re down to the final day in Cleveland for the Republicans. Wednesday night provided a bizarre heel turn courtesy of the homey Ted Cruz. This man got up on stage at an event ostensibly for Donald Trump, the GOP’s nominee for president, and barely mentioned his name. So, he got booed off stage. The secondary effect of this is that when Trump’s vice president pick Mike Pence took the stage, he became an afterthought. ABC News’ Meghan Keneally breaks down five things to watch as the Republican National Convention wraps things up.
Comic-Con kicks off this weekend in San Diego. The once small-time event that’s grown into the biggest pop culture gathering in the world runs today through Sunday. It’s only a matter of time before this bad boy moves from being a long weekend to a week-long event. Personally, since I’m going to a screening of Suicide Squad next week, I’m interested to see if that cast might show up and bless the people with some gems. There are so many other movies and brands that fall under the Con reach now, so ABC’s Michael Rothman previews the festivities.
If you didn’t see it Wednesday night, Bryce Harper hit a towering blast in Nationals Park. Seriously, my man took a pitch from Bud Norris and launched it 450 feet into the third deck for his 20th bomb of the year. That specific drive aside, this season in the bigs, quite a few players have a relatively robust amount of home runs. Even Bartolo Colon, a 280-pound., 43-year-old pitcher got one out this season. His first ever. FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur investigate the potential explanation for this juiced ball era, if you will.
No good deed goes unpunished, they say. So when four separate WNBA teams tried to make their mark by speaking up about the gun violence that has been terrorizing the United States, many saw it as a reasonable response from compassionate human beings. Well, the league saw things differently. On Thursday, they fined the players and the teams involved: the New York Liberty, Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever. $5,000 per team, $500 per player. This is bogus on many levels. Here’s the story.
Coffee Break: In a move that’s rattling my ’80s child brain to the core, it appears the Justice Department has cleared the way for Budweiser and Miller to effectively merge. Next thing we know Chevy and Ford will be on the same team.
Snack Time: We’ll have more on this later, but for right now, here’s the latest police shooting video in circulation. This time in Miami.