Georgetown students vote in favor of $27 fee for slavery reparations

Political News Georgetown students vote in favor of $27 fee for slavery reparations

aimintang/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Georgetown University could become the first college in the nation to mandate a fee to benefit descendants of slaves sold by the university nearly 200 years ago — a debate that takes place against the backdrop of a broader political conversation unfolding on the 2020 presidential campaign trail about reparations.

By almost a 2-to-1 margin, students approved the measure, which still must be approved by the university to go into effect.

“Student referendums help to express important student perspectives but do not create university policy and are not binding,” Matt Hill, the university’s media relations manager, told ABC News in a statement. “The university will carefully review the results of the referendum, and regardless of the outcome, will remain committed to engaging with students, Descendants, and the broader Georgetown community and addressing its historical relationship to slavery.”

The school’s undergraduates voted Thursday on the referendum, which would increase tuition by $27.20 per semester to create a fund benefiting descendants of the 272 slaves sold to pay off the Georgetown Jesuits’ debt — a move that saved the university financially.

“The Jesuits sold my family and 40 other families so you could be here,” sophomore Melisande Short-Colomb, a Georgetown student, said during a town hall to discuss the controversial issue last week.

She’s one of four students currently attending the university under an admissions policy that considers the descendants of the 272 slaves “legacy” students.

That group also includes Elizabeth Thomas, who will receive her master’s degree from Georgetown University in May and is a desk assistant at ABC News in Washington. She’s a descendant of Sam and Betsy Harris, who were enslaved and sold by Georgetown University in 1838. If the current referendum passes, it’s unclear whether Thomas would receive any reparations in the future.

A week ahead of the vote, Short-Colomb joined 100 other students packed into Georgetown’s Leavey Hall on campus as the gathering mulled the impact of the proposal.

“No one in this room was here in 1838 when this happened,” Short-Colomb said. Still, she thinks the funds could help make amends for the university’s slave-holding past.

“But we have a chance today to make a difference, so I’m going to pay my $54,” she said, referring to the two semesters before she’d graduate.

A longstanding political debate

The conversation on the Washington campus reflects a larger discussion as reparations take the stage ahead of the 2020 election. A number of the Democratic presidential candidates have weighed in on the issue of reparations for African American descendants of slaves.

The issue of reparations isn’t new. It’s been contentiously refuted since the end of the Civil War. One of the earliest proposals came more than 150 years ago when a general suggested Confederate-owned land should be confiscated and divided up to provide the family of freed slaves 40 acres and a mule.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson supports a reparations measure, originally introduced by Rep. John Conyers and reintroduced in every Congress since 1989, aimed at creating a commission to “make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery.”

The NAACP began collectively backing it in 2014. That year, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an essay supporting reparations that garnered national attention.

“Here we are in 2019 talking about it again. It is a sore spot for this nation,” Johnson told ABC News. “It is something that we must address, so we can get past this moment in time in a way in which the legacy of slavery, the legacy of segregation, the legacy of institutional racism can once in for all be done away with and we can all prosper as a nation as one whole community.”

Last week, during Rev. Al Sharpton’s annual National Action Network convention, the first major gathering of 2020 for those seeking the support of black voters, a number of presidential hopefuls, including former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, directly addressed the issue.

O’Rourke said he’d support H.R. 40, a measure re-introduced this year by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and which could be a means to study the impact of slavery in a way that is “realistically forceful and effective to help African Americans who never had the issue of wealth that was inherited.”

Other candidates supporting some form of reparations include Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Mass., New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg who said that as president he would support a reparations bill, which he sees as an issue of “inter-generational injustice.”

The ideas for what reparations could look like are myriad.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who spoke at the National Action Network last week, reiterated his support for Rep. Jim Clyburn’s 10/20/30 plan, an effort the South Carolina congressman said aims to help counties that had a poverty level of more than 20 percent for more than three decades. Those communities would then receive at least 10 percent of federal funds from a specific program.

Booker did not say whether he considered the measure a form of reparations. Clyburn, however, said the measure “absolutely” is.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders initially indicated that he would not support a reparations bill in Congress, saying on ABC’s The View, “I think that right now, our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.”

However, at the conference he vowed to support the perennial reparations measure.

“If the House and Senate pass that bill, of course I would sign it,” he said, adding that he thought there needed to be study about reparations.

Paying for sins of the past

The political discussion over reparations as a matter of policy comes as the university still struggles with its past. After news of Georgetown’s slave sale surfaced, the university apologized. In April 2017, the school rededicated two buildings named after two former Jesuit University presidents who facilitated the sale.

Not all students are on board with the proposed tuition increase. The fee, which would rise with with inflation, raised red flags for some who attended the town hall.

Some who oppose it expressed concern as to where the money would be spent and how long they’d be on the hook for paying. Several students noted they were working to support themselves and any additional costs won’t be welcomed.

Others complained the referendum wasn’t comprehensive enough.

Still others felt it’s not the responsibility of the current generation to pay for sins of the past — a stance that’s come up in previous political debates.

“It’s unjust to compel 7,000-plus people to pay for the university’s historical sins,” said Haley Grande, sophomore in student leadership at the university student. “There is an obligation for Georgetown to reconcile its sins, and that obligation falls squarely on the institution.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

California man killed while protecting sister from husband, police say

U.S. NEWS California man killed while protecting sister from husband, police say

KFSN-TV(FRESNO, Calif.) — A California man is being hailed as a hero after he was killed this week while trying to protect his sister in a domestic violence dispute.

Jose Duran Jr., 29, was helping his sister move out of her home in Fresno, California, on Sunday when her husband, Eric Ordonez, allegedly pulled a gun on her, according to police.

Police said Duran stepped in between the couple just as Ordonez fired a round from his handgun, fatally striking his brother-in-law in the neck, police said.

“By all accounts, Jose Duran Jr. is a hero,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters on Wednesday. “He died protecting his sister and prevented her from being shot and killed.”

Police said the suspect also aimed at the woman’s father, but the gun apparently misfired or jammed.

Ordonez fled the scene, but a California Highway Patrol helicopter tracked him down in a backyard shed less than a mile away from the home.

He was being held on murder charges as of early Friday. Authorities are still looking for the weapon, Dyer said.

“We are in need of that handgun used in this homicide,” he said. “Somewhere between the house where this occurred … and that shed, that gun went missing.”

Domestic violence incidents in Fresno have increased nearly 35 percent, year-over-year, according to the department.

Officers said they’re planning to reach out to community leaders and residents to discuss ways to combat domestic violence and help those who are affected.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

Police: Three nude women were ‘air drying’ at FL rest stop before chase

U.S. NEWS Police: Three nude women were 'air drying' at FL rest stop before chase

Florida Highway Patrol(NEW YORK) — Three women were “air drying” in the nude at a Florida rest stop before they led officers on a wild highway chase, according to police.

Officers were responding to a “suspicious persons” call at an I-75 rest area in Pasco County, Florida, at around 11 a.m. Wednesday when they saw the women “standing in the nude putting on suntan lotion,” according to dispatch audio.

The women, later identified as Oasis Mcleod, 18, Jeniyah Mcleod, 19, and Cecilia Young, 19, told the responding officer that they were “air drying” after showering, according to Florida Highway Patrol. They jumped into a vehicle and fled the scene as the officer tried to gather their information, leading authorities on a long and wild chase, FHP said in a statement.

Police said the driver nearly ran over a pedestrian and an officer, who had to “jump back to avoid being struck by the car,” according to the statement.

“I attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle. As soon as I did so, the vehicle increased its rate of speed, and then the driver entered the oncoming lane of traffic,” the statement said. “This erratic maneuvering caused multiple vehicles to take evasive action and travel onto the westbound grass shoulder of State Road 52, in order to avoid a collision.”

FHP called off the initial chase, but told nearby agencies to be on the lookout. An officer spotted the women later on at a nearby convenience store, where they evaded arrest for a second time.

The final pursuit ended with police deploying stop sticks, a pursuit intervention technique, to deflate their tires. The vehicle came to a halt, but the women “interlocked their arms together” and refused to exit, police said.

Responding officers broke out the car windows, tasered the women and took them into custody. Several of the troopers sustained minor injuries throughout the episode.

Police found marijuana in the vehicle and Mcleod was charged for driving under the influence after failing a field sobriety test, court documents showed.

The officer was attempting to arrest one of the women when the driver purposely tried to run him over while the other passenger came at him with a metal bat, police said.

“Sgt. Dennis Rich, seeing that Trooper Paulin was in imminent danger, rammed the suspect vehicle with his marked patrol vehicle, and the vehicle fled again,” the statement said.

The trio faces a barrage of charges, including fleeing to elude, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and indecent exposure. It’s unclear if they have retained attorneys.

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Posted On 12 Apr 2019

‘Hellboy,’ ‘Little’ and ‘Missing Link’ among this week’s new movies

Entertainment News  'Hellboy,' 'Little' and 'Missing Link' among this week's new movies


David Harbour in “Hellboy”; Mark Rogers/Lionsgate(NEW YORK) — Opening nationwide in theaters Friday:

* Hellboy — This reboot of writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 big-screen adaptation of the comic book features Stranger Things star David Harbour playing the titular character, originated by Ron Perlman: a demon raised by a human father to become a wisecracking, butt-kicking agent for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim also star. Rated R.

* Little — Regina Hall plays a ruthless boss who’s transformed into a 14-year-old version of herself, played by black-ish star Marsai Martin, when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear. Martin also served as an executive producer on the project, which, at 14 years old herself, makes her the youngest person to ever hold that title on a Hollywood production. Insecure’s Issa Rae also stars. Rated PG-13.

* Missing Link — Zach Galifanakis provides the voice of a Sasquatch who, with the help of an explorer and an adventurer — voiced respectively by Hugh Jackman and Zoe Saldana — searches for his long-lost relatives in this stop-motion animated family adventure comedy. Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Santa Clarita Diet‘s Timothy Olyphant and Game of Thrones‘ Amrita Acharia provide additional voices. Rated PG.

* After — Newcomer Josephine Langford stars in this romance drama about a guarded college student whose turbulent relationship with a “bad boy,” played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, makes her question herself and what she wants out of life. Rated PG-13.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

* Teen Spirit — Elle Fanning plays a shy teenager who joins a singing competition as means of escaping from her drab life in a small European town, with the help of an unlikely mentor, played by Croatian-Danish actor Zlatko Buric. Also starring Rebecca Hall. Rated PG-13.

* Mary MagdaleneLion director Garth Davis’ spin on the biblical story of Mary Magdalene, played by Rooney Mara, who follows Jesus of Nazareth – portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix — creating conflict among his other male disciples. Rated R.

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Posted On 12 Apr 2019

City of Chicago sues Jussie Smollett for $130K investigation cost of alleged hate crime attack

Entertainment News  City of Chicago sues Jussie Smollett for $130K investigation cost of alleged hate crime attack


Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — The City of Chicago has made good on its promise to sue Empire actor Jussie Smollett to recover the cost of their investigation into his claim that he was the victim of a hate crime attack earlier this year.

ABC News obtained a copy of the lawsuit Thursday, released by the Chicago Department of Law.

“The Law Department has filed a civil complaint against Mr. Smollett in the Circuit Court of Cook County that pursues the full measure of damages allowed under the false statements ordinance,” said the accompanying statement by spokesperson Bill McCaffrey.  “This follows his refusal to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019.”

The suit presents a detailed timeline of the investigation and the evidence gathered, beginning with Smollett’s initial friendship in 2017 with the Osundairo brothers, who claim they helped stage the attack at Smollett’s instruction.  It ends with already reported statements Smollett made to investigators regarding the attack when they confronted him with evidence they say shows the attack was staged.

Smollett has continued to insist he didn’t stage the attack and that he’s been truthful in his statements to investigators.

“[T]he CPD expended significant resources investigating Defendant’s false report of a high-profile hate crime and physical assault,” the suit declares. “Over two dozen CPD officers and detectives participated in the investigation, ultimately spending weeks investigating Defendant’s false statements. During the course of CPD’s investigation into Defendant’s false statements, CPD has incurred 1,836 overtime hours, which resulted in the City paying $130,106.15 in overtime pay as result of Defendant’s false statements.”

March 28, the City of Chicago asked Smollett to reimburse them the $130,106.15, and threatened to sue if he didn’t.  On April 4, the Law Department announced that Smollett had refused, and that their suit was being prepared.

In a letter to the Department of Law obtained by ABC News April 5, Smollett’s attorney, Mark Geragos, wrote, “Your unprecedented attempt to file a civil lawsuit against Mr. Smollett charging him…for ‘repayment of investigation costs’ is unconstitutional.”  The letter also claimed the collection attempt was “part of a course of conduct intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett…[he] will not be intimated into paying the demanded sum.”

Cook County prosecutors announced March 26 that they had dropped all 16 felony charges against Smollett for allegedly staging the attack, in exchange for his forfeiting 10% of his $100,000 bond and for performing some already completed community service.  In a press conference that same day, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson voiced their objections to the deal, with Emanuel calling it a “whitewash of justice.”

21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.

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Posted On 12 Apr 2019