Tuesday, July 10, 2018



        [RALEIGH] On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed HB 335, which restores early voting on the last Saturday before the November 6thelection. That’s good news for African-American voters across North Carolina who, statistics show, traditionally come out in heavy numbers to vote on the last early voting Saturday. Cooper had vetoed the previous early voting measure passed during the recent Short Session that had eliminated last Saturday early voting. That veto was overridden, but Republican legislative leaders had a change of heart, given the prospect of being taken to court again, and passed HB335. However, that bill only pertains to this fall’s election, and specifically Saturday, Nov. 3rd.

         [WINSTON SALEM] Adam Bloom is out of a job, all because he personally questioned the right a black woman had to use a private community pool on the Fourth of July. What Bloom didn’t know was that the woman, Jasmine Edwards, is a resident there, and she and her son had every right to use it. When the police arrived, they determined that, and told Bloom that when she proved that she had a card to swipe to get in. A video of the incident went viral, and now Bloom, accused of racial profiling, is out of a job. He now says he didn’t mean to. The company he worked for apologized to Mrs. Edwards.

        [RALEIGH] Looks like North Carolina isn’t just the “Good Roads” state (or used to be), but also the “good driving state,” according WalletHub’s recent 100 “Best and Worst Cities to Drive in” list. Of the top ten “best” cities, Raleigh was #1, Greensboro #4, Winston-Salem #6 and Durham #7. Charlotte came in at #19. WalletHub says it used “key indicators of driver friendliness” to make up the list. The worst city to drive in is Detroit, followed by San Francisco, Oakland, Philadelphia and Seattle.                


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            As expected, Pres. Donald Trump’s nominee Monday to replace the outgoing Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, U.S. Appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, of the D.C. Circuit, was controversial even before his name was confirmed in White House East Room.
            The Republican National Committee praised the conservative jurist, saying in a statement shortly after the announcement, “President Trump nominated a strong defender of the Constitution and champion of the rule of law to the Supreme Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh has proven his commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans through a distinguished career on the D.C. Circuit and his lasting service to our nation.” 
The GOP statement concluded, “Judge Kavanaugh is the best choice to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy and Senate Democrats must put partisan politics aside and vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court."
Even Project 21, a black conservative group, hailed Judge Kavanaugh.
"This is a judicial grand slam! As someone familiar with Judge Kavanaugh's record, I can say that – though the left may be upset – those who love our Constitution will be thrilled," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law at George Mason University and senior counsel to congressional leadership.
At least one of North Carolina’s two black congresspeople, however, was not impressed.
“The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a complete non-starter,” blasted Congressman G. K. Butterfioeld (D-NC-1). “In nominating Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has selected someone with views well outside the mainstream.  Given the cases the Court will weigh in on in coming years, the integrity of the Supreme Court and the lives of millions of Americans will be directly impacted by this pick.  I have deep concerns about Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, and I will remain actively engaged in the Senate’s confirmation process.”
Attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham says Kavanaugh, who has sided with the National Rifle Association in various opinions, and has a political history in Republican administrations, is exactly who Trump needed to keep the High Court’s conservative majority in control for the next generation.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a solid right-wing conservative judge who has had a long tenure on the appellate court and a history of conservative interpretations of the Constitution and federal laws,” Prof. Joyner, who is also chair of the NCNAACP’s Legal Redress Committee said. “It will be difficult to find flaws in his credentials, but his judicial philosophy is horrible for African Americans, other racial minorities, poor people, women and the progressive agenda.” 
“Many of the hard fought and won civil rights cases and the racial progress, gender equality and equal protections that many people have thought to be cemented in the law are now in jeopardy. The religious right wing and other ultra conservative forces should be overjoyed with this pick, but, if confirmed, future decisions by Judge Kavanaugh will be bad for our communities,” Joyner continued.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also weighed in.
“Judge Kavanaugh should not be allowed anywhere near our nation’s highest bench, he said in a statement. “Let’s be clear: a vote for Kavanaugh would be a vote to rip health care from American families and deny women their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions.”
             "We know exactly why Kavanaugh was chosen,” Perez continued. “President Trump himself said that overturning Roe v. Wade and gutting the Affordable Care Act would be litmus tests for his Supreme Court nominee, and Kavanaugh fits the script.”
            Prof. Joyner of NCCU School of Law urged Senate Democrats, and grassroots progressive groups, to mount a fierce battle against Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
            “This appointment should be vigorously resisted, but even if it is defeated, those who wait in the dugout for further appointments from this ultra conservative mindset will pose the same dangers as Judge Kavanaugh,” Joyner said. “With the choices that Trump collected for himself, they were all equally antagonistic to civil rights, racial justice and the development and growth of a level and progressive playing field for all people.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The president of the NCNAACP is not pleased that a joint session of the Republican-led NC legislature, before it adjourned its Short Session on June 29th,  rejected one of Gov. Roy Cooper’s choices for a special Superior Court seat without apparent reason.
            Former Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Bryan Beatty, an African-American, was the only one of three candidates put before state lawmakers for their consideration that they rejected.
            The other two – Chief District Court Judge J. Stanley Carmical (white male); Chief District Court Judge Athena Brooks (white female) were approved.
            Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP, called the rejection without reason, “…quite blatant.”
            “I mean the measures to which these guys [GOP lawmakers] are going now, and the things that they’re doing, is just an extension of the extreme things that are happening, and how “45” [Pres. Trump] is just opening up things for people to do whatever they can do without any [remorse],” Dr. Spearman continued.
            “I mean just outright in your face.”
            There was little question about Sec. Beatty’s qualifications for the judicial seat, Beyond serving as secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, the Salisbury native also served as director of the State Bureau of Investigation for a period, and a commissioner on the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
            Beatty is a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law.
            Beatty had appeared before three different legislative committees, and, sources say, was never negatively reviewed once, never faced any opposition.
            “This is yet another instance of Republicans working to inject partisan politics into our courts,’ said Ford Porter, Gov. Cooper press spokesman, noting that GOP lawmakers had no problem confirming Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory’s staffer Andrew Heath as a Special Superior Court judge before he left office.
            Though he hadn’t see it at the time of the interview, Dr. Spearman was also outraged by a poster, apparently circulated by Republican lawmakers on the last day of the Short Session, titled, “When Governors Ignore the Will of the People,” which pictured 12 judges and former judges -  three of them black - who were all appointed by NC Democratic governors: former state Supreme Court Associate Justice G. K. Butterfield (now a congressman); former NC Supreme Court Associate Justice James A. Wynn, Jr. (now a US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judge); and Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier, who was appointed by Gov. Cooper in 2017.
            “The code words are usually that they ant the “best judges,” Dr. Spearman quipped in reaction.
            “And you know who the “best” are!”


Monday, July 2, 2018



            [RALEIGH] The 2018 Short Session of the NC General Assembly ended June 29th, but no matter how the Nov. 6thmidterm elections turn out, the same state lawmakers will be back for at least one more lame duck session to write laws based on whichever of the six NC constitutional amendment referenda pass during the election. This gives current Republican lawmakers a chance to set in constitutional stone the laws most important to them if the Democrats take over the state House or Senate, or both. Democrats argue that no new laws should be passed prior to the January 2019 long session, but of course, Republican leaders aren’t listening.

            [RALEIGH] NC Dept. of Public Instruction Supt. Mark Johnson announced last week that 61 positions were being eliminated from the state education agency, affecting some 40 employees and 21 vacant positions in Educator Support Services, which focuses on low performing schools throughout the state, and Information Technology.  The cuts were required by the legislature, which slashed 6.2 percent of the agency’s funding.

            [ZEBULON] People are hailing the selfless act of a 36 year-old man who saw a young child drowning in the water at Little River Park in Zebulon, and without hesitation, jumped in and save the 8-year-old boy, only to then drown himself. Jeremie Earp is now being called a hero for giving his life for a child he didn’t even know, his friends are saying. Meanwhile, the child he rescued is said to be doing well.

                                                   JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY
                                              REV. DR. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN
                                               NCCU LAW PROFESSOR IRV JOYNER

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Nothing has sent more shockwaves across the political spectrum this midterms election season than the unexpected announcement U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy – who many considered a moderate swing vote on the nine-justice High Court on issues of civil rights, abortion and education – would be retiring on July 31stafter 30 years, allowing Pres. Trump to chose his second conservative justice this term, and definitely swinging the Supreme Court to the right.
            Trump is expected to announce his nomination on Monday, July 9th. Senate Democrats have vowed to do everything they can to block the nomination, but procedurally, there’s not much that c an be done, and Senate Republicans promise to take up the nomination before January.
            Progressive groups believe that once Trump gets his choice on the High Court, canon law like a woman’s right to choose via Roe v Wade will be overturned, in addition to other civil rights laws.
            Here in North Carolina, NCNAACP Pres. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, like others in the civil rights community across the nation, was not pleased by the news,
            “The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's "swing vote" is certain to have a far reaching and devastating impact on people of color,” Dr. Spearman said in a statement. “It will prove once and for all just how "social" justice actually is in this nation. With his nomination(s) #45 will cure the blindness of justice for generations to come, pull the rug of yet another check upon the power to oppress from beneath us and American law will be outlawed for all the world to see.”
Nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, Justice Kennedy, 81, is
 considered the most powerful member of the High Court precisely because no one knew just how he was going to vote on a case before the Court.
            In terms of civil rights, Kennedy has been a strong proponent for gay rights and gay marriage. In a 2000 decision, he agreed that hate crimes should allow racial intent to affect sentencing, and he upheld that a suspect should be read his/her Miranda rights upon being arrested.
            And even though, he wrote the 1986 majority opinion upholding Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions, Justice Kennedy did say that “…the consideration of race in (college) admissions is permissible,” as long as the voters don’t say otherwise.
            Irving Joyner, law professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, and chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, says Kennedy will be deeply missed.
            “Many rights, which citizens enjoy today, will be curtailed and the protections presently provided to African Americans and other minorities by past Civil Rights decisions and statutes are in immediate and imminent danger of being repealed or significantly diminished,” Prof. Joyner warned.
            “These are serious times for African Americans,” Joyner continued. “We can expect the immediate enactment of more repressive laws by state legislatures and the "right wing" zealots will be emboldened. That projection is especially relevant here in North Carolina where this General Assembly, which is already illegally constituted, will likely seek to impose more restricted voting restrictions on African Americans, other racial minorities and women.”
            And NCNAACP Pres. Spearman urged citizens to be proactive, starting now.
            “Start calling your senators now and demand that the process for selecting the next Supreme Court justice be careful, deliberative and conducted with bipartisan support,” Dr. Spearman said. “Demand that the process not begin until AFTER the next Senate is seated in January and not before.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Some have criticized it for its haste and keeping important legislation close to the vest, then springing it at the last minute with nary a hearing or debate. Other have criticized the 2018 NC Legislative Short Session for trying to codify long held agenda items Republican could not pass as state statute without the courts getting involved, into the state Constitution.
            But one thing is for certain, many observers note, is that Republican legislative leaders continued not to be friendly to the state’s African-American community.
            First, the state House passed changes to the early voting law, inexplicably eliminating the last Saturday before Election Day, and requiring all early voting sites to remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., effectively forcing many counties not to open as many because of lack of volunteer staffing.
            Eliminating the last early voting Saturday was seen as a direct slap-in-the-face to African-American voters, because it traditionally is the most popular early voting day for them to come out.
            Only after the bill was sent over to the state Senate did cooler heads realize that it might be too easy for a court to see what the House had done, and that the last early voting Saturday was restored. After the House finally complied, the law goes into effect this October.
            Black Democrats in both the House and the Senate fought mightily against the constitutional amendment placing voters to approve voter ID, details to be filled in later.
The 2013 voter ID law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly was struck down in 2016 in federal court as being directed towards suppressing the black vote with “almost surgical precision,” but that didn’t Republicans from passing this referendum question for the November elections, hoping that if citizens say “yes,” lawmakers can come back on November 27thin Special Session, and design another voter ID law to their liking.
            On Friday, both the state House and Senate went into special joint session to decide which of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominations as Special Superior Court judges they would confirm. 
            Gov. Cooper nominated three – a white male, a white female, and Bryan Beatty, an African-American who has previously served as a commissioner on the NC Utilities for ten years, and director of the State Bureau of Investigation, and secretary of the state Dept. of Crime Control and Public Safety.
            Beatty had appeared before three different legislative committees, and, sources say, was never negatively reviewed once, never faced any opposition.
            Republican lawmakers, who hold the majority, voted Bryan Beatty’s nomination down without explanation.
            “This is yet another instance of Republicans working to inject partisan politics into our courts,’ said Ford Porter, Gov. Cooper press spokesman, noting that GOP lawmakers had no problem confirming Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory’s staffer Andrew Heath as a Special Superior Court judge before he left office.
            And finally, Republicans allegedly “…hung fliers around the General Assembly…with the names and faces of [three] prominent African-American judges and attacked them by name, “ according to Robert Howard, communication Director for the NC Democratic Party.
            Indeed, a picture of the flier shows 12 current and former NC judges, three of them black. 
Current Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) is pictured, with the caption noting that former Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to the NC Supreme Court in Feb. 2001, as well as a Superior Court judge. The flier also shows Superior Court judge Vince Rozier, who was appointed by Gov. Easley in 2017, and current US Fourth Circuit Judge James A. Wynn Jr., who was first appointed by Gov. Hunt to the NC Supreme Court in 1998, the appointed to the NC Court of Appeals in 1999.
            The title of the flier – “WHEN GOVERNORS IGNORE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.” All of the judges and former judges on the flier were once appointed by Democratic NC governors.
            The NC Republican Party was asked to comment on the flier, but no comment was forthcoming by deadline.

Monday, June 25, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            North Carolina’s two African-American congresspeople are not pleased that the US Supreme Court has twice decided not to make an important decision concerning the partisan gerrymandering of voting districts.
            Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) blasted the High Court Monday after word came down that it side-stepped the opportunity to rule on Rucho v. Common Cause, which a lower federal court inn 2016 had ruled that Republican lawmakers deliberately created 10 majority GOP congressional districts out of 13, despite voting district data proving that they didn’t have to.
            “Five years ago today, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder,” Congresswoman Adams said in a statement from her office Monday. “On the anniversary of this decision, the Court once again failed to protect our fundamental right to an equal vote by refusing to strike down extreme partisan gerrymandering.  Partisan gerrymandering gives state legislators the power to stack districts for their political gain.  This effectively gives them, not the people, the power to choose their representatives.  This is a threat to our democracy and I am appalled by the Court’s continuous failure to address it.”
            By refusing to hear Rucho v. Common Cause, the High Court effectively sent the case back to the lower federal court that determined the GOP intentionally sought to severely minimize Democratic congressional representation.
            One piece of powerful evidence that helped plaintiffs win the North Carolina case before a three-judge panel, was a statement by Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) at the time the 2016 congressional maps were being redrawn.
            “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with eleven Republicans and two Democrats,” Lewis, who was in charge of redistricting at the time, said.
            Ironically that redrawing was the result of a court ruling that the 2011 congressional district lines were racially gerrymandered, and thus, unconstitutional.
            This was the second time in two weeks that the US Supreme Court has decided not to wade into the partisan gerrymander issue. It refused to hear the cases involving Wisconsin and Maryland on June 18th, which many, like NC Congressman  G. K. Butterfield, had hoped would set a clear path for North Carolina’s case.
            “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court today decided to put off a decision on the question of political gerrymandering,” Rep. Butterfield said in a statement June 18th. “The Court had an opportunity to issue a landmark decision that would make it clear what constitutes unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering and how to place limits on the practice.  Instead, the Court decided to side-step the issue by sending the cases back to the lower courts, citing procedural grounds.”
            “Voters in North Carolina and across the country deserve to have a voice in the political process,” Congressman Butterfield continued, “… and, as we have seen, extreme partisan gerrymandering puts that in danger.”
On Monday, Congresswoman Adams agreed, and decried the current High Court’s record on voting rights.
            “This session, the Court has made deeply troubling decisions regarding voting rights,” she said. “Faced with this fact, Congress must step up to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act.  It is past time for us to come together to ensure full voting rights for every American.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            If anyone had any doubts about how outgoing Durham state Rep. H. M. “Mickey” Michaux Jr. (D) felt about the Republican-sponsored voter I.D. referendum bill which passed second reading Monday night, 74-44, during heated debate, all they had to do was listen to his blistering words aimed squarely towards the “other side.”
            “I’m still the angry person,” Rep. Michaux said during his turn debating the bill on the House floor. “I’m the angry black man…shaped with the short degree of pity! A pity for those who still want to reap their power on suppressing one of the dear rights that this country and state enjoy.”
            Michaux was blasting what other black Democrats Monday evening called a “scheme” by Republicans to get voters in November to approve of voter ID on a public referendum without any details, only to reconvene in December and fashion a voter ID law that will be passed and govern the 2020 elections.
            Republicans counter that the people have a right to say whether they ant voter ID or not, and that 32 other states already have it. The GOP called the bill “common sense legislation.”
            “I pity you because if you can’t get it one way, you’re going to try to get it another way,” the elder, but defiant Michaux, 87, firmly admonished his House Republican colleagues, referring to the GOP’s initial 2013 voter ID law that was eventually struck down by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for targeting black voters for suppression with “surgical precision.”
            “So I pity you that you have to go through extraordinary means in order to retain the power …that voting without ID got you into power you’re in right now,” Rep. Michaux continued, adding that Republicans would rather install photo ID, knowing that many poor people do not have official photographic identification, so that their right to vote is ultimately suppressed.
            Michaux accused the GOP of being afraid to “hustle votes” to win elections, like everyone else.
            Then Rep. Michaux really rhetorically stepped on some Republican toes when he said, “I really feel sorry for you because you’ve got to try to maintain that power because you’re about to lose your party,” a veiled reference to how Pres. Trump has taken over the Republican Party across the country.
            “You don’t have a party now anymore because of what’s happening around this country!”
            That’s when one Republican legislator objected to the House speaker, who then directed Rep. Michaux to stick to debating the bill.
            Michaux rhetorically chuckled, saying he threw a rock, and someone in the crowd “Hollers loud.”
            Michaux repeated his charge that Republicans were using once again using voter suppression, whether they admitted it or not, and he asked that the bill be voted down.
            Despite their denials, at least one prominent Republican has admitted that voter ID was previously used to hold down the black vote.
            In an exclusive interview with The Carolina Timesof Durham last week, Immannuel Jarvis, an African-American and chairman of the Durham County Republican Party, said when asked to respond to the 2016 US Fourth Circuit Court ruling that the 2023 voter ID law targeted black voters with “surgical precision,” Jarvis “And I believe every word of it!”
            “I know that there are people in high places all over the country – some of them are seen, some of them are unseen – who are always devising ways to shut down minorities…,” Jarvis said. “I’ve heard this, and I believe it with all of my heart that it is true…!”
            Jarvis even went on to say that,”…I know that there were, in some places, a group of Republicans…that did do that for that expressed purpose.”
            Jarvis said it was a “year-and-a-half” before the 2013 voter ID law went into effect after it passed, but he reiterated, “ …black people aren’t stupid. We can do what we want to do. We had a year-and-a-half to get an ID to vote when an ID is free…even if racists are putting roadblocks in our way.”
            Monday evening, black House Democrats like Rep. Amos Quick III of Guilford, and Rep. Ed Hanes of Forsyth, joined their elder colleague Rep. Michaux in blasting the voter ID referendum bill, and the Republican motives for reintroducing it after the federal courts struck it down.
            “This is a phantom issue,” Rep. Hanes said of the GOP charge that voter fraud was rampant, we just can’t see it. “It’s something out of a Michael Jackson “Thriller” video.
            “Be careful not to govern by constitutional amendment,” warned Rep. Quick, who also shared data showing that in the only voter ID election North Carolina has had, thus far in March 2016, hundreds of votes were not allowed.
            The Republicans attributed that to “poll worker error.”

            [APEX] An Apex High School teacher is out of a job after a video showed him allegedly choking a student outside of a classroom in May. The teacher, Brian Kelley, resigned his position as an instructor in the Healthy Living Dept., effective June 15th, according to Wake Public Schools. Reportedly, a parent tweeted the video after the incident.

            [KINSTON] The family of  Jaekwon Williams has settled with the insurance carrier for the city of Kinston for the sum of $10 million after he nearly drowned in a lap pool there in August 2014. The boy was found at the bottom of the pool for seven minutes. Williams’ attorney says the then-nine-year-old could not swim, and precautions were not taken to make sure he was safe. He now has permanent brain damage, cannot walk or talk.

            [RALEIGH] Two community groups – Save Our Sons” and “the Raleigh Police Accountability Community Task Force” have filed a federal complaint against the Raleigh Police Dept. for a 2016 arrest involving a man named Rashon McNeil, who police apparently believed to be a suspect named “Lamar.” The RPD has not commented on the complaint at press time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018



            [RALEIGH] The NCNAACP is threatening to, once again, take the NC legislature to court to stop a recently past early voting law that would eliminate the last Saturday in the early voting period – the most popular early voting day for African-Americans in the past two years. The civil rights organization also expects to battle a new bill to put voter ID on a public referendum this November. "We believe that, most recently, the activity in the General Assembly certainly announces to us that there is a continued quest to suppress the votes of African-Americans and minorities," state Dr T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP.
            “We're up to their schemes, we're up to their wiles and we're going to do all that we can to expose them," Spearman continued. "We will use every ounce of strength and energy that we have as North Carolina NAACP to oppose this. If it means litigation, that's certainly something that we will consider."

            [RALEIGH] As the governors of Maryland and Virginia have done, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has also reacted sharply to the national crisis of children being taken from their mothers at border detention centers.
            "The cruel policy of tearing children away from their parents requires a strong response, and I am recalling the three members of the North Carolina National Guard from the border,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement Tuesday. The state had deployed three National Guardsmen and a helicopter to the U.S. southern border.

            [RALEIGH] A federal judge has announced that she is dismissing the lawsuit the NC Democratic Party filed against the NC General Assembly for eliminating NC judicial primaries. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles said she will release her findings next week, but that she will rule in favor to the legislature “with prejudice.” One hundred-twenty candidates filed Monday for judicial seats. Elections are scheduled to be held Nov. 6th.

                                                                KYRON HINTON

                                         TROOPERS CAMERON, BLAKE AND DAVIS

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            First there was dashcam video showing at least two North Carolina State troopers, and a Wake County Sheriff’s deputy with a K-9 dog attacking Kyron Dwain Hinton on the night of April 4th in Raleigh.
            Hinton, the video shows, was unarmed, even though officers at the scene were told that he was before they arrived.
            The 29-year-old black man sustained a broken nose, fractured eye socket, and several dog bite injuries after the encounter, and spent three days in the hospital before being transported to the Wake County jail. Charges against him were eventually dropped.
The two troopers, Michael G. Blake, and Tabithia L. Davis, an African-American; along with Wake Sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Broadwell, were indicted for felonies by a Wake County grand jury May 15th for their alleged excessive force on Hinton, which included beating him with their flashlights, and unleashing the K-9 dog on the unarmed man.
            Troopers Blake and Davis were subsequently fired by the state Highway Patrol last Friday.
            But now, according to published reports, there is also audio from the dashcam recording from another patrol vehicle on the scene that purportedly reveals that a Highway Patrol supervisor, Sgt. Rodney W. Goswick, may have advised troopers Davis and Blake to lie about the use of force in the incident in their official reports.
            An SBI affidavit, presented in Wake Superior Court last Friday, confirms that Sgt. Goswick told the troopers that he had reviewed the video of their confrontation with Hinton, and that “no use of force was evident.”
            Defense attorneys for the two now ex-state troopers did not object when the revelation was made during the court hearing Friday. In fact, as Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman began to reference the newfound evidence, Judge Graham Shirley cut her off, and indicated that he, in fact, had already heard the controversial audio.
            "Having reviewed the video and audio yourself and the petition, you are aware that there is discussion at the end of it regarding the filing of reports that would have reflected no use of force in this instance?" Freeman asked Judge Shirley in open court.
            "If in fact these individuals went in, as discussed, and filed reports reflecting that they had not used force…,” DA Freeman continued, “… when they clearly have otherwise in the same audio made admissions of using force, then[the law] does not protect a law enforcement officer who comes and fraudulently and falsely files reports of the incident."
Judge Shirley then recited what he says he heard on the recording.
            "[Sgt] Goswick told them specifically what to put in. Ordered them. If you listen to his order, his order didn’t tell him to write the report. His order was 'this is what we're going to put in the report, everybody agree on that', essentially," Judge Shirley said.
            Prosecutors filed motions to have access to both Blake and Davis’ personnel files for trial. It has already been reported that Blake was involved in a previous excessive force case in 2016.
            "(There are) several incidents that the state is already aware of, of prior use of force investigations involving defendant Blake.  It is the state's position, your honor, that this very well may constitute a pattern of conduct which would be admissible against him in a trial of this matter,” D.A. Freeman said.
            Judge Shirley indicated that he will consider the matter, and what personnel material, if any, would be released for trial.
 Meanwhile, Sgt. R. W. Goswick has reportedly been placed on administrative duty by the NC Highway Patrol last Friday, though no official reason was given.
            Defense attorneys for the troopers also petitioned for Kyron Hinton’s medical records to be kept intact, trying to build a case that he had a mental disorder, and
history of drug use. Advocates for Hinton says he suffers from PTSD.
            Hinton is currently facing a possible misdemeanor charge for allegedly kicking a deputy on June 2.

                                                                 SEN. ROBINSON
                                                                SEN. WADDELL


                                                             REP. MICHAUX
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            To no one’s surprise, Republican legislative leaders, in their rush to end the short session, have unveiled some last-minute laws designed to radically affect voting across the state as early as this fall’s midterm elections.
            And just like their predecessors, these voting laws are designed to impact African-American voters just enough to help the GOP maintain their majority in the NC General Assembly, critics say.
            And more are expected.
            Last Friday, the Republican-led NC General Assembly passed Senate Bill 352, which starts early voting in North Carolina this year on Wednesday, Oct. 17thand ends Friday, Nov. 2 – eliminating the final Saturday of early voting, traditionally the most popular early voting day for African-Americans.
            In the state House, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), lauded how the measure was a much-needed boon to early voting across the state.
            What we set out to do was make it more reliable and dependable. The voters in a county would know that their early voting site was open from a certain time to a certain time for 17 days.”
The bill, which was originally related to something else before it was gutted in the middle of the night and rewritten last week, also forces all early voting sites to open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all 100 counties.
            Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) lamented what she called, “…just another attack on freedom…,” when it came the hard fought battle to achieve voting rights historically.
            “This General Assembly should not be in the business of taking away the freedoms of the people of the United States.”
“We should not disenfranchise our voters in any way,” declared state Sen. Joyce Waddell (D-Mecklenburg). This bill unfairly targets poor, working class, and African-American voters.”
Other black Democrats, like Rep. H. M. “Mickey” Michaux, Jr. (D-Durham) in the state House, also fumed, especially after noting in debate that the federal courts had struck down the GOP’s earlier 2013 voter ID/early voting law, calling it “voter suppression” that targeted poor black voters who may not have photo identification, with “surgical precision.”
Michaux repeated the “suppression” charge, as he blasted House Republican colleagues.
            Republicans bristled at that ruling then, now insisting that all they are trying to do is bring uniformity to early voting. 
The measure now goes to Gov. Cooper, who is expected to veto it. GOP lawmakers are expected to override that veto, and the law may ultimately end up in court.
And per the new voter ID bill the GOP has introduced, North Carolinians want the integrity of the voting process protected, they still insist.
            Critics note, however, that while evidence of in-person voter fraud is few and far between, the same can’t be said about mail-in absentee ballots, which the referendum does not address.
            Another issue on the voting front is the US Supreme Court 5-4 upholding of Ohio’s voter purge law. The High Court sided with the Buckeye state in purging voters from its voter registration rolls who filed to vote in two consecutive federal elections, and then did not respond to notice mailed to them.
            NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), in an op-ed published last week, warned that the Supreme Court ruling now gives the greenlight to states like North Carolina to follow Ohio’s example.
            “In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor correctly points out that the conservative majority upheld a law that has been shown to disproportionately disenfranchise low-income and minority voters,” wrote Congressman Butterfield. “The statistics are stark: African-American neighborhoods in downtown Cincinnati had 10 percent of their voters purged due to inactivity since 2012 while only 4 percent of voters in a suburban, majority-white neighborhood were removed.”
            “In North Carolina, this ruling has the potential to prompt Republicans to pass additional voting laws that will disenfranchise low-income and minority voters as it has done over the past seven years,” Butterfield continued.
            “To that end, North Carolinians and all Americans should heed Justice Sotomayor’s call to action: “Communities that are disproportionately affected by unnecessarily harsh registration laws should not tolerate efforts to marginalize their influence in the political process, nor should allies who recognize blatant unfairness stand idly by. Today’s decision forces these communities and their allies to be even more proactive and vigilant in holding their States accountable and working to dismantle the obstacles they face in exercising the fundamental right to vote.”