Chicago fight continues for justice for Laquan McDonald and Ronald Johnson

first_imgDec. 7 — Demonstrations against the police murder of Laquan McDonald continued all week in light of more and more evidence that officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014, with no provocation. Another dash-cam video revealed clear contradictions in the official report, which was also released following the filing of a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The report includes hundreds of pages of police incident reports and police witness statements. Three lies in the reports were clear from the video. First, the 17-year-old McDonald never advanced toward the officer. Second, after he was initially shot, he did not try to get up. He was incapacitated. One document even stated that Van Dyke was injured by McDonald, which was a complete fabrication. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder last week, 13 months after McDonald was killed. The cop’s family easily made bail, which was set at a $1.5 million bond, and he is now free on the street. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in an attempt to save his own job, withdrew his official support of the police commissioner and then fired him. Pressure remains for both the mayor and the state’s attorney to resign.On Dec. 4, protesters marched around Chicago City Hall 16 times, representing the number of shots fired at McDonald. They demand the firing of all cops complicit in the shooting and cover up. The next day, demonstrations took place again on the “Magnificent Mile” to bring economic pressure on the city. Stores claimed 25- to 50-percent fewer sales for so-called Black Friday last week, after thousands of youth and supporters blocked entrances to stores shouting, “Sixteen times! 13 months!” referring to the number of times McDonald was shot and the number of months the city authorities covered up the murder. More demonstrations are called for this week.No justice for Ronald JohnsonThe mass actions’ impact can be seen and not only in the backpedaling of the politicians, who are clearly on the defensive. Pressure on them mounts as the culture of rampant police terror and cover-up is exposed. This week, again after months of refusal by the authorities to release a dash-cam video that would expose another murder, the mayor agreed to release the video at the requests of attorneys for Ronald Johnson’s family. Johnson, 25, was shot and killed by a white cop eight days prior to McDonald’s shooting. The officer remains on desk duty. Johnson’s mother filed a federal lawsuit against Chicago police shortly after the shooting of her son. This release is clearly a result of the mass actions that are unraveling the power of the police to act with impunity to kill Black youth. The Johnson family’s attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, told CNN on Dec. 2: “The dash-cam video, which I’m not allowed to show you today, clearly shows that he was not carrying a weapon, nor did he ever turn and point anything. The police department planted that gun because there’s no way anything would have stayed in Ronald Johnson’s hand after he was shot.” Johnson was the father of five small children.Today, however, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced she would not press charges against the cop who killed Johnson.As more outrages continue to occur, only the constant mobilization of youth and supporters will expose and challenge the racist nature of this system. These actions show who are the real terrorists and mass murderers in a city like Chicago, where there have been over 300 police shootings of civilians since 2010. More young Black men have been shot and killed by police in Chicago than any other U.S. city. McDonald’s case is the first time any police officer has been charged with murder for a shooting while on the job. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross to take leave to work for US DOE

first_imgSouthern Vermont College’s Board of Trustees has announced that SVC’s President Karen Gross has been named as a Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), serving in the Office of the Undersecretary of Education for one year, starting January 17. To enable President Gross to carry out her new duties and serve the DOE, the Board of Trustees has granted her a one-year leave of absence from the College, during which time the College’s Chief Operating Officer, James Beckwith, will serve as Acting President. Under the terms of her appointment, President Gross will focus on issues in higher education including increasing student access to college, improved alignment between high school and college, educational affordability, programmatic quality and college completion rates, all topics she has championed at SVC since her arrival in 2006. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin commented on the appointment, ‘I am very pleased that the President of Southern Vermont College has been selected to serve our nation in the Department of Education. Education is one of the most pressing issues of our time at the local, state and national level. I am sure President Gross will reflect well on Vermont and make a great contribution to education in the United States.’Deborah Wiley, chair of the SVC Board, stated: ‘President Gross’ appointment to this prestigious position at the DOE is not only a tribute to one person’s deep commitment to student success, but a tribute to the entire SVC community which has effectively implemented initiatives and programs that enable a growing number of students to graduate from college and pursue careers that are needed in the workforce. We are proud that our College president will serve the nation in this important role.’In speaking about Jim Beckwith’s leadership in President Gross’ absence, Wiley said, ‘Karen and Jim have known each other for decades and worked closely at SVC for the past four and a half years, sharing a vision for and approach to the College’s noteworthy institutional progress and fiscal stability. Together with an excellent Senior Team, Beckwith will continue SVC’s growth trajectory and commitment to quality, affordable, career-launching education for the College’s 550 students.’In commenting on her appointment, President Gross stated: ‘At SVC, we have been working on the very issues that are engaging the Department of Education and our nation. I look forward to sharing what we are doing here at SVC with a larger audience as we reflect on how to improve affordable college access and completion for many worthy Americans.’Before becoming Southern Vermont College’s eighth president in 2006, Karen Gross was a tenured law professor for more than two decades at New York Law School where she specialized in consumer finance and over-indebtedness. She has served on a variety of governmental committees and task forces and has testified before a wide range of governmental bodies including the Vermont House of Representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. President Gross has also been a consultant for non-governmental organizations. President Gross’ board service has included the New England Board of Higher Education, Campus Compact (a national service-learning organization) and The Sage Colleges. She recently completed three years of service on the NCAA Division III Presidents’ Advisory Council and as President of the New England Collegiate Conference.A prolific author and speaker on such topics as vulnerable student success, financial empowerment education, and asset building in low income communities, Gross is a Phi Beta Kappa cum laude graduate of Smith College and a cum laude graduate of Temple University School of Law, having spent her final year of law school at the University of Chicago.For more information on the President’s appointment, please visit the SVC Web site, www.svc.edu(link is external). Founded in 1926, Southern Vermont College offers a career-enhancing, liberal arts education with 18 academic degree programs for 550 students. SVC recognizes the importance of educating students for the workplace of the twenty-first century and for lives as successful leaders in their communities. SVC’s athletic teams are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and the New England intercollegiate Collegiate Conference (NECC). The College is accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Community-Engagement Classification institution.last_img read more

Karim Benzema Signs New Real Madrid Contract

first_imgReal Madrid striker, Karim Benzema has extended his contract at the Bernabeu until the summer of 2021.29-year-old Benzema, who joined Real for €35m from Olympique Lyonnais in 2009, joins teammates, Marcelo, Isco and Carvajal in committing their future to the Los Blancos.✍️ Three-time #UCL winner Karim Benzema has agreed a new contract with Real Madrid until 2021. ??? pic.twitter.com/g1VAelZzx7— #UCL (@ChampionsLeague) September 20, 2017“A move away? When you’re at a club, especially one like Real Madrid, and are getting regular minutes then you have no reason to look for a move elsewhere.” Benzema told BeIn Sports last week.“There are six or seven players here who have now been playing together for six or seven years, I think this is one of Real Madrid’s best periods ever, it’s that simple because the team is really very strong.”The Frenchman has won a total of 14 trophies at the Bernabeu, including two La Liga and three Champions League titles.Relatedlast_img read more