Blog

Category Archives

Man accused of killing 22 older women goes on trial again



After Mary Brooks was found dead on the floor of her Dallas-area condo, grocery bags from a shopping trip still on her countertop, authorities decided the 87-year-old had died of natural causes. 

Even after her family discovered jewelry was missing — including a coral necklace she loved and diamond rings — it took an attack on another woman weeks later for police to reconsider.

The next capital murder trial for Billy Chemirmir, 49, begins Monday in Dallas in the death of Brooks, one of 22 older women he is charged with killing. The charges against Chemirmir grew in the years following his 2018 arrest, as police across the Dallas area reexamined the deaths of older people that had been considered natural, even though families raised alarm bells about missing jewelry. Four indictments were added this summer.

Accused serial killer Billy Chemirmir looks back during his retrial on April 25, 2022, at Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas. A man who has been charged with killing 22 women in the Dallas area is set to go on trial in the death of an 87-year-old woman. Billy Chemirmir’s capital murder trial in the death of Mary Brooks is scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Dallas. (Shafkat Anowar/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool, File)

Chemirmir, who maintains his innocence, was convicted in April of capital murder in the smothering death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He will receive the same punishment if convicted in Brooks’ death. His first trial in Harris’ death ended in a mistrial last November when the jury deadlocked.

Loren Adair Smith, whose 91-year-old mother is among those Chemirmir is charged with killing, will be among the many relatives of victims attending the trial, which, she said, brings a “huge bag of mixed feelings.”

“At the same time of having that dread feeling, we are really glad to go back and bring this chapter to a close,” Smith said.

It was Mary Annis Bartel’s survival of a March 2018 attack that set Chemirmir’s arrest in motion. Bartel, 91 at the time, told police that a man had forced his way into her apartment at an independent living community for seniors, tried to smother her with a pillow and took her jewelry.

Before Bartel died in 2020, she described the attack in a taped interview that was played at Chemirmir’s previous trials. She said the minute she opened her door and saw a man wearing green rubber gloves, she knew she was in “grave danger.”

Police said they found Chemirmir the next day in the parking lot of his apartment complex. He was holding jewelry and cash, and had just thrown away a large red jewelry box. Documents in the box led them to the home of Harris, who was found dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

Jury Box in a new court room (Adobe Stock)

At trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Harris and Chemirmir were checking out at the same time at a Walmart just hours before she was found dead.

In a video interview with police, Chemirmir told a detective that he made money by buying and selling jewelry, and that he had also worked as a caregiver and a security guard. 

Most of Chemirmir’s alleged victims lived in apartments at independent living communities for older people. The women he’s accused of killing in private homes include the widow of a man he had cared for while working as an at-home caregiver.

Brooks’ grandson, David Cuddihee, testified that he found her body on Jan. 31, 2018. He said she had sometimes used a cane but was still healthy and active.

“She would walk to church, she would walk to the dentist down the street,” Cuddihee said.

Police testified that grocery receipts showed Brooks was at Walmart the day before her body was found. Surveillance video from the store showed a vehicle matching the description of Chemirmir’s leaving just after Brooks, going in the same direction.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, a Democrat, decided to seek life sentences rather than the death penalty when he tried Chemirmir on two of his 13 capital murder cases in the county. His Republican opponent has criticized that decision as he seeks reelection in the nation’s busiest death penalty state.

In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Creuzot said he’s not against the death penalty, but among things he considers when deciding whether to pursue it are the time it takes before someone is executed, the costs of appeals and whether the person would still be a danger to society behind bars. Chemirmir, he added, is “going to die in the penitentiary.”

Prosecutors in neighboring Collin County haven’t said if they will try any of their nine capital murder cases against Chemirmir.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!





Source link

Elon Musk Presents Tesla’s Humanoid Robot Optimus –


Elon Musk unveils prototype of a humanoid Tesla robot called ‘Optimus.’

Optimus will be able to walk and stay balanced, carry up to 20lbs, use tools, and have a precision grip.

Musk plans on making “millions” of them and says an individual bot will cost less than $20K.





Source link

Newsom vetoes bill extending reparations committee deadline



California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Thursday night that would have granted more time for a first-in-the-nation African American reparations committee to complete its work after the former assemblymember who authored legislation creating the committee asked the governor to do so.

A brief message explaining the Democratic governor’s decision credits the request by state Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who introduced the original reparations task force bill in 2020.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at The Unity Council on May 10, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The bill to extend the task force deadline, authored by Democratic Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, garnered criticism from reparations advocates who said that the legislation would send a demoralizing message to African Americans already skeptical that they will receive reparations.

“This legislation was not asked for by the public or members of the task force, nor were they even made aware,” said Marcus Champion, a board member of the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California, at a reparations task force public meeting in Los Angeles last week.

The coalition, which sent a letter to Newsom with other organizations asking him to veto the bill, tweeted in celebration of the news Thursday.

Jones-Sawyer, a member of the nine-person task force, pushed the legislation giving the group an extra year. He said the committee’s final report assessing the compensation owed to descendants of enslaved people will be released within its original time frame, by July 1, 2023. But he said the committee needs to remain intact to ensure its recommendations are enacted.

Dr. Amos C. Brown, Jr., vice chair for the California Reparations Task Force, right holds a copy of the book Songs of Slavery and Emancipation, as he and other members of the task force pose for photos at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, June 16, 2022. California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, that would have granted more time for the reparations task force to complete it’s work at the request of Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who introduced the original reparation task force bill while a member of the state Assembly. The Coalition for a Just and Equitable California and other organizations sent a letter to Newsom saying the extension would send a demoralizing message to African Americans waiting for restitution.. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

At last week’s public meeting, Jones-Sawyer thanked attendees for voicing their opinions on the bill and other issues related to the committee’s work, but reiterated that the final report will be finished “on time and on budget.”

The legislation would have changed the sunset date from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024, extending what was originally a two-year committee to three. The bill also would have allowed the nine task force members, appointed by Newsom and the two legislative leaders, to be removed at any time.

The mission of the committee, which met for the first time in June 2021, is to document California’s role in perpetuating discrimination against African Americans, craft an official government apology and draft a comprehensive reparations plan.

In a statement Friday, Jones-Sawyer said the purpose of the bill was to allow time for lawmakers to ask the task force questions about its work.

“Good policy is not created in a vacuum. Good policy takes time, compromise and mutual respect,” he wrote. “Intimidation and aggression toward opposing views strips our credibility and poisons the well.”

Copies of the interim report issued by California’s first-in-the-nation task force on reparations for African Americans are seen at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, June 16, 2022. California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, that would have granted more time for the reparations task force to complete it’s work at the request of Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who introduced the original reparation task force bill while a member of the state Assembly. The Coalition for a Just and Equitable California and other organizations sent a letter to Newsom saying the extension would send a demoralizing message to African Americans waiting for restitution.. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

National reparations advocates have praised California for providing leadership in a country where reparations efforts have stalled in Congress.

The task force voted 5-4 in March to limit reparations to the descendants of Black people who were in the U.S. in the 19th century, overruling Jones-Sawyer and others who wanted to expand compensation to all Black people in the U.S., regardless of ancestry.

A spokeperson for Weber said via email Friday that she was not available for comment.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!





Source link

Footage Shows Former Carolina Panthers Kicker Eric Meng Harrasing A Minor –


A former Carolina Panthers place kicker is currently going viral on social media for all the wrong reasons.

Eric Meng, the former NFL player, was caught on video harassing a young black child that appears to be 16-years-old. The minor was trying to fish, and Meng accused him of trespassing in the video. Meng resorted to kicking the child’s bucket and calling him a dog. He told the man recording that he was “trespassing” as well, but the man claims he’s a member.

After his NFL career, Meng appears to be a supervisor at PB Built, the residential and commercial construction company owned by Tony Panebianco. Many people on social media are calling for the company to fire Eric Meng after seeing the recent video on social media.

The company has not responded to the viral video of Eric Meng. Meng has not responded to the video or explained his side of the story.





Source link

Young Black Designer Dresses The First Afro-Colombian Woman Vice President


Image for article titled Young Black Designer Dresses The First Afro-Colombian Woman Vice President

Photo: JUAN BARRETO/AFP (Getty Images)

A highly important political figure has got a new fashion attitude thanks to a young, Black designer with fresh taste and a penchant for what he calls, “resistance fashion.” 23 year old Esteban Sinisterra has earned the privilege of dressing Colombia’s first Afro-Colombian woman Vice President, Francia Marquéz.

Sinisterra, who grew up in Colombia’s largely poor Pacific region, says that he has a connection with the VP, as Marquéz also came from humble beginnings. His shared connection with the former lawyer include the fact that she also grew up poor in the impoverished municipality of Suárez, in Cauca province. She worked as a housekeeper and activist before taking her current role.

Marquéz, a human rights and environmental lawyer has been an activist since the age of 13 when she spoke up in regards to the construction of a dam in her childhood neighborhood. She has most recently received death threats for her opposition to gold mining. And while that may seem grim, Marquéz can carry an air of resistance and celebration wherever she goes thanks to her new dressmaker.

Sinisterra’s bold dress patterns beautifully worn by Marquéz have gained national attention, and the commonalities between the two have inspired the work itself.

“In one way or another her history and my history are similar, so I think there was a very lovely spark there,” the young designer shared.

“First we accept and recognize that we have roots that connect us — which is Africa — but taking into account those roots we also express the territory where we’re from, the Colombian Pacific.

Each and every one of Francia’s outfits evokes that, Sinisterra said. “It is being able to show that this is who we are…so for me fashion, my fashion, is resistance.”

The 40-year-old Márquez, who mentioned her ancestors in her oath of office, is slated to lead a new equality ministry if the government can win congressional approval for its creation.



Source link

GOP attacks Georgia’s Abrams on voting as judge rejects suit



When Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly lost the Georgia governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp four years ago, she didn’t go quietly. 

She ended her campaign with a nonconcession that acknowledged she wouldn’t be governor, while spotlighting her claims that Kemp had used his post as secretary of state to improperly purge likely Democratic voters. Abrams founded Fair Fight Action, a group focused on fair elections, which within weeks filed a wide-ranging federal lawsuit alleging “gross mismanagement” of Georgia’s elections.

That lawsuit sputtered out Friday with Fair Fight losing its last remaining arguments, more than a year after the judge had tossed most earlier claims

People are already voting by mail in a Georgia governor’s race that again pits Abrams and Kemp against each other, with fewer than 40 days remaining before voting ends on Nov. 8. 

And Republicans are now using the loss to attack what they see as the “big lie” that underlies Abrams’ career. They label her claims that Georgia’s election system has been discriminatory as a fraud she used to enrich herself and aggrandize her political career after her 2018 loss.

This combination of 2022 and 2021 file photos shows Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, and gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams. Republicans are using the defeat of a voting suit brought by a group founded by Abrams to attack her legitimacy as a voting rights advocate. They say a judge’s Friday rejection of the last remaining claims in a suit brought by Fair Fight Action shows that Abrams was wrong all along to claim that she lost the 2018 Georgia governor’s race to Kemp because of voter suppression by Kemp. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

“This is existential to who Stacey Abrams has become as a public and political figure,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican who defended the case, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “She put herself in the political spotlight nationally, potentially globally, all over the narrative that she lost the governor’s race because of voter suppression. And here you have a federal judge saying, it’s all untrue. It didn’t happen.”

Carr and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are among a faction of Georgia Republicans who say that Democratic President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump fair and square in 2020 for Georgia’s 16 electoral votes and that Kemp also beat Abrams fairly in 2018. They argue that Trump’s claims about voter fraud in 2020 and Abrams’ claims about voter suppression in 2018 both corrode faith in democracy.

“Stolen election and voter suppression claims by Stacey Abrams were nothing but poll-tested rhetoric not supported by facts and evidence,” Raffensperger said Friday in a statement.

Abrams, though, has said from the dawn of her current campaign that her actions in 2018 are not equivalent to what Trump did.

“I will never ever say that it is OK to claim fraudulent outcomes as a way to give yourself power,” Abrams told news outlet The 19th last month. “That is wrong. I reject it and will never engage in it. But I do believe that it is imperative, especially those who have the platform and the microphone, to talk about the access.”

She is far from backing down from her position, and says she won a number of victories that made elections fairer.

In 2019, less than six months after the Fair Fight lawsuit was filed, legislators passed a law that addressed some of the issues. The law’s biggest change was to replace the state’s antiquated, paperless touchscreen voting machines with a new system that uses touchscreen machines to print paper ballots that are scanned.

The plaintiffs also count as wins the reinstatement of 22,000 voters who were removed from the rolls in 2019, an end to people being excluded from voting rolls if their records didn’t exactly match their driver’s license, an audit that identified people wrongly excluded because of incorrect citizenship information, and improvements to a voter’s ability to cancel a mailed ballot and vote in person.

Stacey Abrams Governor Georgia
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams arrives to speak during the annual North America’s Building Trades Union’s Legislative Conference at the Washington Hilton Hotel on April 6, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“As the judge says in his first sentence, ‘This is a voting rights case that resulted in wins and losses for all parties,’” Abrams said in a Friday statement. “However, the battle for voter empowerment over voter suppression persists, and the cause of voter access endures. I will not stop fighting to ensure every vote can be cast, every ballot is counted and every voice is heard.” 

And despite the loss, the idea that Republicans are trying to restrict voting is a powerful current running through the most bitter disputes in Georgia politics — not only Abrams’ 2018 loss, but also a 2021 Republican election law that shortened the period to request an absentee ballot and limited ballot drop boxes, and harsh clashes over redrawing election districts this year that led one Democrat to accuse Republicans of seeking to preserve “white power.”

Jermaine House, director of communications for political research firm HIT Strategies, said that “because there’s been so much energy and excitement and conversation” around voting rights in Georgia, it’s an issue that drives Democrats, especially African Americans, to the polls. His firm has done work for liberal voter mobilization group New Georgia Project, the NAACP and Democratic efforts to reelect Sen. Raphael Warnock.

“If you look at polls across the country about voter suppression, you may find that voter suppression may not reach the top 10 issues among Black voters,” House said. “But one exception that is the case is definitely Georgia. Georgia voters are well aware of voter suppression efforts, very attuned to it, and Black voters are really mobilized by the issue.”

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!





Source link

Emily Ratajkowski Shreds Netflix’s ‘BLONDE’ Film –


Emily Ratajkowski slams ‘Blonde’ and people who ‘fetishize female pain’ in new TikTok:

“We love to fetishize female pain. Look at Amy Winehouse, look at Britney Spears, look at the way we obsess over Diana’s death.”

The premiere of Marilyn Monroe Blonde on Netflix received mixed reviews from viewers. Starring Ana de Armas as Monroe, the film was criticized by some for its artistic license to portray the life of the late Hollywood legend.

Blonde’s NC-17 rating also allowed director Andrew Dominik to include content that some critics and audiences didn’t want to see. Some of Blonde’s harshest critics called the film “sexist”, “exploitative” and “disgusting.”





Source link

Black Arts Leader in Cleveland Gives Cultural Institutions An “F” For DEI Efforts


Image for article titled Black Arts Leader in Cleveland Gives Cultural Institutions An "F" For DEI Efforts

Photo: YUKiO_CLE (Shutterstock)

Black cultural leaders in Cleveland, Ohio are not happy with the so-called efforts made to diversify the city’s art institutions. While organizations such as Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and the Cleveland Institute of Art all boast increases in the diversification of their staff, the artwork that is promoted and sold, and in the case of the Cleveland Institute of Art, the students they’re admitting, many are not happy with the actual impact these changes have made.

So why are these changes not enough? According to online news outlet, Cleveland.com, these local champions of Black visual art say that there is much more these institutions could be doing to immediately address the inequalities and injustices in Northeast, Ohio.

Last Saturday, September 17, FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, and the nonprofit Assembly for the Arts hosted an all day symposium where these efforts for improving racial diversity were discussed. And according to them, if a grade were to be assigned for these efforts, the city would rank the lowest among the class.

“If you ask us, it’s probably an F,’’ said Ismail Samad, an East Cleveland native and entrepreneur and chef who moved back to the city from Boston after founding a farm to jar food company to support East Cleveland and surrounding communities.

Samad also stated that due to the measurable increases that the data provides, these same cultural institutions would probably grade themselves at a B-plus, but that despite these increases in hiring or programming, the lives of Black people living in and around these spaces have yet to improve.

Dave Ramsey, another creative entrepreneur who operates a gallery and hosts cultural programs in the city’s Fairfax neighborhood, says he would also give Cleveland an “F” because of its inability to fund Black artists and their projects.

“When you’re talking about what needs to happen, that’s it, right?’’ he said. “Empower the creatives to do what they do and empower them in ways that are significant and allows them to actually work.’’

As the institutions’ leaders applauded themselves earlier in the day during the symposium, the disconnect showed itself by the afternoon as Samad, Ramsey and other Black leaders took the mic.

Deidre McPherson, a cultural consultant who has worked at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, moderated an afternoon panel, and later shared that all opinions expressed should not be taken as the opinion of the entire Black community. She did however share the need to have the conversation.

“University Circle has been touted as a top arts district in the country,’’ she said. “But how is the impact and power of it as an arts district bettering the lives of the people who live immediately around it? We were hoping to help initiate some of that conversation with this group.”



Source link

AP source: Union fires consultant who evaluated Tagovailoa



The NFL Players Association has fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who evaluated Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after he stumbled off the field against Buffalo last weekend, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The person who confirmed the firing, which was first reported by Pro Football Talk, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because a joint review by the NFL and its players’ union into Tagovailoa’s quick return to Sunday’s game is ongoing.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is examined during the first half of the team’s NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

There are three unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants (UNC) at each game. They are jointly paid by the league and the players’ union to work with team physicians to diagnose concussions. The NFLPA is exercising its right to terminate the UNC directly involved in the decision to clear Tagovailoa, who sustained a concussion following a frightening hit just four days later at Cincinnati on Thursday night.

Tagovailoa initially seemed to exhibit concussion symptoms after the hit to his head during the home game against Buffalo, but he was cleared by a team physician and UNC to return. He and the team later explained his legs were wobbly because of a back injury.

After the hit on Thursday, when 6-foot-3, 340-pound Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou slammed him backward into the turf, Tagovailoa’s hands froze up and his fingers flexed awkwardly in front of his facemask for several seconds as he laid on the turf in Cincinnati. He remained on the ground for several minutes until he was taken away on a stretcher and sent to a hospital. He was released from the hospital and flew home with the team hours later.

It’s unknown whether there’s any correlation between the two injuries. Concussions are common in the NFL, especially when a player is thrown to the ground by a man Tupou’s size and his head hits the turf.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is assisted off the field after he was injured during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee )

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel defended the team’s handling of the quarterback’s injury against the Bills, when he took a hit from linebacker Matt Milano late in the first half and appeared to knock his head on the turf. Tagovailoa stumbled when he got up and was taken to the locker room for evaluation, then returned to the game at the start of the third quarter.

McDaniel reiterated Friday that Tagovailoa was cleared by several layers of medical professionals during that game and said the QB did not have a head injury, which is why he was not in the concussion protocol heading into Thursday’s game.

Many observers questioned why Tagovailoa was allowed to return to the field against the Bills. The joint review by the league and NFLPA will examine the steps taken and a report will be issued.

McDaniel said Friday there is no timetable for Tagovailoa’s return.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!





Source link