Monday, June 24, 2019


                                                       WAKE SHERIFF GERALD BAKER
                                        DURHAM SHERIFF CLARENCE BIRKHEAD
                                         MECKLENBURG SHERIFF GARRY MCFADDEN

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Now that both Houses of the North Carolina General Assembly have passed controversial House Bill 370 – the measure requiring North Carolina sheriffs to cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in detaining alleged illegal immigrants suspected of crimes, before the measure gets to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, the state House has to concur with state Senate changes made Monday night.
            Cooper has already indicated that he’s not on board with the bill, calling it “unconstitutional” in a statement issued before its senate passage Monday.
            “As the former top law enforcement officer in our state, I know that current law allows us to lock up and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status,” Cooper said in a statement. “This bill isn’t about that — in addition to being unconstitutional, it’s about scoring political points and using fear to divide us.”
            The Democratic governor is expected to veto the measure, and now that he has more Democrats in the House, it’s not likely that body will be able to override his veto with a two-thirds count, even though Republicans still have a majority there.
            It would take a super-majority to defeat Cooper’s veto, and while that’s not likely to happen, suppose enough House Republicans were able to convince a handful of Democrats to vote to override, suggesting that with an election year just around the corner, their vote against HB 370 could be used against them.
            If that happened, the measure would become law, most likely to be challenged in court as unconstitutional, which could effectively freeze it while in litigation.
            But after all of that, if HB 370 ultimately survived its challenges, the first of the six black sheriffs who won election in last year’s November midterms could find him or herself legally challenged to keep their job.
            Those black sheriffs – representing Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham and three other counties – won election by promising not to work with ICE agents in detaining suspected illegal immigrants. And all three from those counties – Sheriff Gerald Baker of Wake, Garry McFadden of Mecklenburg and Clarence Birkhead of Durham, have each maintained their campaign promises not to capitulate to ICE demands.
            But they say that has made them targets of Republican lawmakers’ ire, who have threatened to have them and any North Carolina sheriff removed from office if they don’t cooperate with ICE.
            "House Bill 370 is not about protecting our communities. It's not about making our communities safe. House Bill 370 is clearly about attacking a select group of sheriffs," Sheriff McFadden said a press conference last week, even after the NC Sheriffs Association did an about face and supported the bill.
HB 370 spells it out: “Any sheriff or police officer shall be removed from office by the judge of the superior court, resident in or holding the courts of the district where said officer is resident upon charges made in writing, and hearing thereunder, for willful failure…or refusal to perform the duties of his or her office.”
            According to the ACLU of North Carolina, this is the first time in a hundred years that the provision for removing a sheriff in the state has been modified.
            Essentially, if five citizens in a county file a complaint with the local district attorney against the sheriff, that complaint is investigated, and then heard in court for a judge to decide whether the sheriff should be removed.
            Earlier on Monday, the NCNAACP, along with representatives from various Latino organizations and the Poor People’s Campaign, held a press conference at the Legislature calling HB370 “racist” not just against the Latino community, but the black sheriffs too.
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            North Carolina’s two African American congresspeople have formally joined the call for a congressional call for a study on reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans brought to these shores during the 17thcentury.
            Both U.S. representatives Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) are cosponsors of H.R. 40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans, primarily sponsored by Texas Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
            Prior to last week’s June 19thHouse Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Hearing in Washington, D.C., Congresswoman Adams issued a statement.: “We must address the horrible legacy of slavery in our country. I cosponsored H.R. 40…to begin this important conversation that needs to be a part of our national dialogue.”
             In a tweet that same day, Congressman Butterfield wrote, “We marked the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arriving at the colony of Jamestown, Virginia. #HR40gives us the opportunity to reflect on the shameful legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in this country, and to examine how we can best move forward as a nation.”
            The hearing last week – noted for testimony from actor Danny Glover, heralded black writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, and U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker [D-NJ] – was the first time since 2007 that Congress has considered the issue. Former U.S. Congressman John Conyers originally sponsored the measure calling for a study on reparations.
            Beyond the primary focus of the hearing – namely what the legacy of slavery is, the far-reaching impact it still has on today’s African American community, and what should be done to tangibly address that negative impact, dismissive comments about reparations from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) the day before, helped to add fuel to the fire.
            “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea,” McConnell responded when asked. “We tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African-American president.”
            The Republican Senate Majority Leader continued, ““I think we’re always a work in progress in this country but no one currently alive was responsible for that. And I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it.”
            Ta-Nehisi Coates, who write the heralded “The Case for Reparations,” a 2014 article in a national magazine, went after McConnell for his rebuke of reparations at the hearing the following day.
            “Majority Leader McConnell cited civil rights legislation yesterday, as well he should, because he was alive to witness the harassment, jailing and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them,” Coates told lawmakers. “He was alive for the redlining of Chicago and the looting of black homeowners of some $4 billion. Victims of that plunder are very much alive today. I am sure they’d love a word with the majority leader.”
            Congress must now vote to establish the study.


            [RALEIGH] On Tuesday, state House and Senate Republican legislative leaders unveiled their proposed $24 billion budget that does not include Medicaid expansion, as Gov. Cooper demanded. Lawmakers say they’d be happy to come back for a special session to discuss expansion, but are standing behind this budget proposal, saying that it is “nonpartisan.” In it, teachers and state employees get raises,  and state retirees get a one-time bonus, The NC Dept. of Health and Human Services would be mandated to move to Granville County, forcing many of its employees to travel longer, or just quit.
Gov. Cooper’s spokesman said the GOP proposal is ‘"a bad budget that has the wrong priorities."

            [WINSTON-SALEM]  BB&T bank is warning its customers of a scam that has been going on since May that could cost them money. Authorities say customers are receiving a from someone identifying themselves as working at BB&T, asking them if they’ve made a “large purchase” recently. To confirm their identity, the BB&T scammer will tell the customer to Google the phone number, which will correspond with the text number. Ultimately, the scammer gets enough information to take money from the customer’s account. BB&T says it is investigating each acse.

            [KNIGHTDALE] Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker is ending his agency’s senior well-check program as of July 1st, he says. Deputies will no longer routinely look I on elderly residents who live alone in the county to make sure that they’re alright. Some local police departments in the county are picking up the slack with a daily telephone senior well-check program, calling seniors to make sure they haven’t fallen or slipped in the shower.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019



            [WENDELL] The owner of an outdoor pool posted new rules for admittance – rules that some say re racially discriminatory. The owner, John Freeman, says he is not a racist, and will sue anyone who calls him that Among the new rules Freeman posted to use his pool are “no deadlocks or hair extensions.” Freeman says because hair come of in the pool, ad clogs the drains and pumps. Critics say he could have easily mandated that loose hair be wrapped to prevent separation. Freeman has since apologized on Facebook, saying that he should have worded his ban on artificial hair differently. But tat post has since been removed, and Freeman says he will now take folks to court who call him racist.

            [GOLDSBORO] State authorities have charged two people from Goldsboro, and on from New Bern with using false addresses to cast early ballots in the May 2018 primaries, according to the SBI. At least one of the people actually voted twice in the same election. All three were charged with corruptly taking the oath prescribed to voters, while the suspect from New Bern was charged with double-voting.

            [RALEIGH] More than 60% of North Carolina fourth graders are b=not reading proficient, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Experts say a lack of investment in preschool and early-childhood education is the likely cause. And racial disparities continue to persist, with children of color performing well behind their white counterparts.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            A U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Monday on racial gerrymandering in Virginia by the state’s Republican-led legislature, bodes well for North Carolina, says a state legal expert.
            The High Court dismissed the Virginia House of Delegates appeal of a lower federal court’s ruling that the electoral map drawn in 2011 was unconstitutional because it racially stacked black voters in districts in order to maintain political electoral advantage.
            Groups like the North Carolina NAACP have charged racial “stacking-and-packing” in voting maps drawn by the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly as well, and have had the federal courts also rule them unconstitutional due to racial gerrymandering.
            The Virginia appeal by state lawmakers was dismissed in a 5-4 decision, because the US Supreme Court ruled they did not have standing in the case to do so. Only the state attorney general had standing, and he had declined.
            Thus, Virginia Democrats are looking forward to fairer drawn voting map for their upcoming state elections.
            Attorney Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, and litigator on behalf of the NCNAACP in several voting rights and redistricting cases, says the High Court ruling in the Virginia case is good news for North Carolina.
            “Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune Hills is a very important decision for the voting rights community,” atty Joyner said by email Monday. “It has the effect of affirming a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision which struck down another Republican orchestrated racial gerrymandering case which had suppressed the impact of African American voters. It is important to us in North Carolina because it follows a national effort by extreme politicians to minimize the political power of African Americans as has occurred here in this state. We are well aware of these efforts and vow to stay vigilant to resist them whenever and wherever they occur.”
Joyner continued, “It is important that there are elected officials in positions of power who have refused to support these gerrymandering attempts. We take note of the sound legal decisions by the North Carolina and Virginia Attorney Generals who chose not to oppose the underlying decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. We are also encouraged to see that conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court were not overtly partisan in this case and hope that those Justices will continue that trend.”
“As the 2020 election campaign heata up,” Joyner continued, “… we can expect additional attempts in North Carolina, Virginia and other states to undermine political participation by African Americans and other racial minorities. In response to these efforts, we anticipate the need for continuing litigation.”
“With this decision in place, we continue to await the Supreme Court's decision regarding partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina and Maryland.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2019



                                                       THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
                                                       THE WILMINGTON TEN

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Racist law enforcement, framing innocent young black males for a crime they didn’t commit, falsely convicting them and branding them as “animals,” sentencing them to prison where they suffered, only to have their innocence proven many years later not by law, but by chance.
            The case of the Central Park Five? Yes, but also, says Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, the case of the Wilmington Ten.
            He should know.
As I watched with profound interest Ava DuVernay's genius Netflix series "When They See Us" on the infamous New York Central Park Five case of false and unjust imprisonment in the 1980s and 1990s, I was vividly reminded about the infamous North Carolina Wilmington Ten case of false and unjust imprisonment in the 1970s,” Dr. Chavis, now the president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, recalled recently in an exclusive interview.
The “Ten,”  - nine black activists and one white woman led by Rev. Chavis, were falsely tried and convicted of the firebombing of a white-owned grocery store in Wilmington, NC in February, 1971.
The young activists were also falsely charged with firing shots at firefighters and police officers dealing with the blaze.
 A racist white prosecutor made an example of Chavis and the group, falsely trying and convicting them of the charges, based on no physical evidence, and bribed state’s witnesses’ testimonies.
Wilmington’s white press branded them as “dangerous” black militants.
The Wilmington Ten were collectively sentenced to 282 years in prison.
“White supremacist institutionalized command and control over the nation’s criminal justice system was exposed in both of these tragic true stories,” Chavis says now. 
As dramatized in “When They See Us,” the Five struggled to survive when they were imprisoned from six to thirteen years.
Many of the Wilmington Ten were also marked men when they were sent away.
Chavis once tearfully told how he “refused to leave my cell” for the first eight months to shower, because he was warned that there was “a conspiracy to take us out, while we were in…” behind bars.
“I don’t want you to see my case in isolation,” Chavis told the National Press Club in March 2011.”What they put us through, is what hundreds of thousands of our people go through in these correctional institutions.
“That’s really the story you need to know!”
 Other members of the Ten also faced the everyday prospect of rapes and beatings by fellow inmates, just like the Central Park Five .
And in both cases, their respective families suffered mightily.
However, in both cases, not one of the incarcerated ever copped to a plea to end their imprisonment, choosing not to lie to escape punishment.
“The Central Park 5 and the Wilmington 10 cases, however, should not be seen as some exceptional aberration of what should be a just criminal justice system in America when it comes to Black America,” Dr. Chavis says now.  “These two cases epitomize the deep seated racism and racially motivated prosecutorial and law enforcement racist bias against Black Americans and other people of color across the nation that continues to this very day unabated.”
The Central Park Five were exonerated in 2002 when another man admitted to the 1989 rape in prison, exonerating the Five with DNA evidence. They collectively settled their wrongful conviction lawsuit with a reluctant New York City for $41 million in 2014.
The Wilmington Ten were granted pardons of innocence by Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2012 when evidence was uncovered by The Black Press that the racist white prosecutor rigged a “KKK” jury to convict them.
Gov. Perdue later said that she was urged by many in North Carolina’s criminal justice system not to grant the pardons, but she refused, calling the false prosecution of the Ten, “naked racism.”
In both the Wilmington Ten and Central Park Five cases, exonerating evidence was found beyond the scope of the law enforcement.
 “Hopefully the enduring public impact of “When They See Us” will lead to a fundamental reform of the criminal justice system in the United States,” Rev. Dr. Chavis says.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding whether partisan gerrymandering is constitutional is expected sometime this summer, and when it comes, students at NC A&T University in Greensboro will be paying very close attention.
            Since February 2016, 10,000 students at the world’s largest historically black university have had to figure out which congressional district they reside in – the Sixth, represented by Republican Congressman Mark Walker, or the Thirteenth, represented by Republican Rep. Ted Budd.
            Prior to the Republican-led NC General Assembly redrawing of 13 congressional districts in 2016 by court order, all 188 acres of NC A&T’s campus was located in the 12thCongressional District represented by Congresswoman Alma Adams, a Democrat. But after 2016, the 12thwas shifted to Mecklenburg County, forcing Adams, who had lived and worked in Greensboro, to move to Charlotte.
            Cutting the campus in half congressionally was a way to maximize Republican congressional representation, admitted Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), co-chair of the Joint Legislative Redistricting Committee. “I acknowledge freely that this would be a political gerrymander, which is not against the law,” he told committee members then.
            That’s the question, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide sometime this summer, if not as soon as this month. The High Court has been hearing arguments – not just from North Carolina, but Maryland, Michigan and Ohio, about whether of not partisan redistricting is unconstitutional, under the premise that lawmakers of either party being able to codify their extreme political advantage in drawing voting maps, they leave little chance for voters of the opposite political party to ever be able to choose a representative that appeals to their interests.
            In North Carolina, for example, 10 of the state’s 13 congressional districts are drawn to elect Republicans primarily, even though Republicans only carried 51 percent of the total vote. Court testimony has proven that the districts could have drawn to reflect the state’s even split of Democrats to Republicans, but deliberately wasn’t.
            In fact, Rep. Lewis once bragged that the only reason why there were ten Republican-leaning congressional districts is because they couldn’t figure out how to come up with eleven.
            The zeal to maximize Republican political advantage is the reason why students at NC A&T University have to wrestle with not only confusion when it comes to which polling place they are properly registered to vote at near campus or on campus, but also apathy and distrust about the political process in general, Bradley Hunt, chair of the NCNAACP’s Political Action Committee, and NC A&T alum.
            In the last election (November 2018 midterms), the students were still committed to voting, and the (overall general) turnout was decent, but I’m not sure there was a significant turnout of students at the campus….,” Hunt said, noting that NC A&T students were well aware the power and voting strength they once had as a campus had been diluted. 
            “If we can restore common sense districts, not only for NC A&T, but across the state, I think we can see a better representation…representatives who are better reflective of the electorate,” Hunt added. “[Now], the needs of the communities are not being addressed.”

by Cash Michaels
contributing writer

            Borrowing from  this year’s NCLBC Foundation theme, “The Urgency is Now: Investing in Our Future Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, California Congresswoman Karen Bass, a Democrat and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), warned African-Americans have to fight the same civil rights battles they thought they had won many years ago, and now, have to win again.
            “We have to fight, once again, for the right to vote, for civil rights protection in our justice, health and education systems, just to name a few.”
            Rep. Bass made her remarks during the 37thAnnual North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation William L. Wainwright Scholarship Banquet at the Sheraton Imperial RTP in Durham Friday, June 7th.
            Governor Roy Cooper also spoke at the event.
            Bass charged that the wealth of America is based on “200-years of free labor from our ancestors.” She went on to note how after blacks were freed from slavery, and worked hard building businesses and communities, only to have them destroyed by white supremacists, “….the African American experience is characterized by horrific oppression, but amazing resilience.”
            “At each juncture of our history, we resisted (oppression) and fought back. We didn’t just accept racial discrimination and segregation,” Rep. Bass continued. “We fought until we ended it.”
            Bass went on to say by studying the African American struggles of the past, we can learn how to survive “…the extraordinary moment that we are living in right now.”
            Though obviously referring to Pres. Donald Trump without calling his name, CBC Chair Bass said the nation has seen “mean-spirited leaders before, but his “…instability is on full display for the world to see.” She noted how the president pushes policies that indeed undermine the progress of African-Americans.
            But she also recalled, with pride, Pres. Obama, noting how “…we believed that he was so amazing, that he would single-handedly change our world, [and] correct all that was wrong. We wished him well, and went back to our lives” That was a mistake, however, Bass maintained.
            “We did not take much responsibility to help by participating in our government. We thought he was going to solve all of our problems.”
            Rep. Bass charged that African-Americans are “…paying a heavy price for the complacency that set in “…after we had achieve so much, “ especially after the election of Pres. Obama.
            “I truly hope that we learn from this difficult period that no one person is going to save us,” she went on. “Voting [for] and electing the right people into office is only the bare minimum of our responsibility.”
            Blacks must vote in strong numbers “every single election,” not just every four years during presidential contests, she said. “Be involved and stay involved, at every level.” Elected officials must be directed to what are the important issues that need to be addressed.
            Rep. Bass, who said that the “Number one priority has to be that everyone is registered to vote in every election…,” also noted that elected officials must work with the African American press to keep the community fully informed as to their progress made on key issues of interest.
            “[The CBC] is setting out to organize a communications campaign so Black America will learn about the hidden figures of the CBC, Chairwoman Bass told the audience. “So many times throughout our history, the accomplishments of our folks are not recognized, not known, or otherwise receive the credit.”


            [RALEIGH] The former past president of the NCNAACP has appealed his conviction in Wake District Court last week on a misdemeanor charge of second-degree trespassing for refusing to leave the NC General Assembly building during a protest in 2017. Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-convener of the Poor People’s Campaign: a National Call for Revival. “Our lawyers were not allowed fully to argue constitutional rights,” Barber said in a text after the jury decision. The civil rights leader had tried to argue that the state Constitution allows for citizens to go to the legislature, because it is a publicly-owned building, and “instruct” lawmakers on the issues they should be addressing. Republican legislative leaders refused to meet with Barber, which is why he refused to leave when ordered. However, the judge cut off any discussion of Rev. Barber’s motive for, which he feels limited his defense.

            [CHARLOTTE] The Republican candidate in the new Ninth Congressional District race the sheriff of Mecklenburg County to resign because of his “reckless policies” concerning the release of an Honduran man charged with domestic violence. But Sheriff Garry McFadden say state Sen. Dan Bishop, the GOP candidate, has never worked in law enforcement, and doesn’t understand that detaining alleged illegal immigrants for ICE is not his job, and corrodes the trust between county residents and his agency, which is why he refuses to hold alleged detainees.  The state legislature is currently debating a law that, if passed, would compel NC sheriffs to hold illegal immigrants for federal ICE agents.

            [COLUMBUS COUNTY]  A man serving a 12-year prison sentence at Tabor Correctional has filed a federal lawsuit against officials at the facility, claiming that his constitutional rights are being violated because Black Entertainment Television has been banned from the cable television lineup that is offered to inmates, thus denying black inmates, like himself, the same right to enjoy programming like white inmates do when they watch TNT, Discovery and AMC. Maurice Alexander Williamson claims in the suit that black inmates had signed a petition for BET to prison officials, but were denied. The Tabor Correctional administration says BET was turned down because of “graphic content and violence.” Ironically, the cable channels allowed have their share of graphic content and violence, Williamson notes.

Monday, June 3, 2019



            [RALEIGH] The Republican-led NC Senate passed it’s version of a proposed %$23.9 billion budget last week, giving 5% raises to teachers, almost cutting staff in Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s office, and not expanding Medicaid coverage for over 500,000 poor North Carolinians, saying that it would stop people from working. Both Senate Democrats and Gov. Cooper blasted the Senate budget. Now conferees from both the state House and Senate have to hash out a compromise budget in the coming days, and maybe weeks, before it can be passed by both houses.

            [RALEIGH] This week, Rev. Dr. William Barber, former president of the NCNAACP stands trial in a Wake County courtroom for allegedly trespassing at the NC Legislative Building two years ago during a protest with other demonstrators. The prosecution maintains that Rev. Barber and 20 others refused to leave when ordered. Barber has maintained that he had every right, as a North Carolina citizen, to be in the building during business hours because he was seeking to speak with his elected representatives. The judge has already ruled that Rev. Barber can argue free speech rights, but not that he had a right to disrupt legislative business. The trial was ongoing at press time.

            [WASH., D.C.] Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) led a bipartisan letter to the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Commerce expressing concerns about the background check and hiring practices at the U.S. Census Bureau in light of the Charlotte regional office’s employment of Kenneth Mabry, a registered sex offender. Congresswoman Adams was joined on the letter by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Representatives David Price (NC-4), G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), and Ted Budd (NC-13). The Bureau’s failure to adequately investigate Mr. Mabry’s background allowed a registered sex offender to occupy a position of public trust and receive a salary funded by our tax dollars for nearly one year,” The letter stated.

                                                                  CARL PARKER, SR.
                                                            AG JOSH STEIN

By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

            Brunswick County NAACP President Carl L. Parker, Sr. has responded to state Attorney General Josh Stein’s May 4thletter to him regarding Stein’s earlier decision to clear the state trooper who fatally shot 28-year-old Brandon Webster last January in Shalotte, with a blistering condemnation, stating, “… every day [the trooper] remains in his currentposition, we lose faith in your abilityto fairly apply justice in the State of North Carolina.”
             “Where is your sense of Justice Mr. Josh Stein?” Parker continued in his June 4thmissive to the state attorney general. “With her attributes of a blindfold, a balance, and a sword, Lady Justice stands as a metaphorical representation of the moral force of our judicial system. However, the equitable treatment of justice in the case of Mr. Brandon Webster was grossly avoided because of the color of his skin.”
            “Ironically, Lady Justice is depicted as a white woman,” Parker continued. “It is my fervent hope and prayer that she wasn’t a racist white woman in this case.”
As Brunswick County NAACP Pres. Parker expressed, there is still pain in the African American community. As previously reported by the JournalWebster died after he was severely wounded by Trooper Scott Collins in the parking lot of a Shalotte mini-mart New Year’s Day. Webster, accompanied by a female passenger in his white truck, was shot after he drove around a traffic stop Collins had setup. After ordering Webster to halt, Collins discharged his weapon.
            After a three-month investigation, state Attorney General Stein issued an April 12thdecision, indicating that Collins was justified in firing his weapon when Webster’s truck wouldn’t stop. Stein added that based on his review of video of the incident, Trooper Collins did not employ excessive force.
            In a four-page scathing letter to Stein, Carl Parker blasted Stein for his decision, charging that based on all Parker knew about the case, Trooper Collins …intended to kill the moment he got out of his patrol car.”
            In a May 4thletter responding to Carl Parker, AG Stein wrote, “ Like you, I am saddened by the tragic loss of Brandon Webster. Law enforcement use of force is an area of great concern for many, and one that I take seriously.”
            AG Stein continued, “After conducting a thorough review of the actions taken by North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Collins, however, I determined that the evidence showed Trooper Collins acted reasonably in the face of a deadly threat. A reasonable officer in the same situation would have reasonably believed that the truck, rapidly accelerating toward him, posed an imminent threat of deadly physical force.”
            “When the life of an officer or other person is threatened, an officer may reasonably respond with force in self-defense or defense of others. I remain committed to training law enforcement officers in de-escalation techniques and other strategies to avoid the use of force whenever possible.”
            But in his June 4threply, Brunswick County NAACP Pres. Carl Parker chided Stein for how Trooper Collins reacted to Webster January 1st, effectively saying that Collins never even considered anything other than using his gun to stop Webster from fleeing.
            Citing several incidents from across the county and country where law enforcement either used restraint in pursuing suspects, or where officers used violence on unarmed people and were subsequently charged, Parker made clear he did not appreciate Stein’s response.
            “Your response letter to me was disingenuous, absent of sincerity, and pretended that I knew less about the issue of racial discrimination than I really do,” wrote Parker, later adding, “…Trooper Scott Collins showed a reckless disregard for human life by shooting into a moving vehicle killing the driver….While Mr. Brandon Webster’s body becomes one with God’s earth, the memories of his passing will hang heavy in the hearts and minds of all who remember that tragic day.” 
            In a further dismissal of AG Stein’s May 4thresponse, Parker continued to mock the state official.
            “…[T]he parents of Mr. Webster missed your call and visit to their home to offer your condolences, “ Parker wrote. “Maybe you are afraid of their tears staining your clothes. Maybe the arms of your heart are too short or not strong enough to hug the emotionally spent parents of Mr. Webster.”
            “Beyond the inhumanity of the shooting itself, as the parents carried their son to the hospital, his last words to his father were ‘daddy I am dying’ and to his mother, ‘Mom, I love you!’ And then law enforcement officers had the unmitigated gall to arrest both parents while their son lay dying on a stretcher in the hospital.”
            But Parker did end his rebuke of AG Stein on a respectful note.
            “Let us – you, me and the citizens of our county, walk forward together and not one step back,” he wrote. “How can we walk together except we agree for the best of all humanity?”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            While there has been no official move towards impeaching President Donald J. Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives, there can be no question that that Democrat-led body is moving closer.
            Just two weeks ago, North Carolina’s two African-American Democrat House representatives – Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) – just weren’t there yet, with both saying that Trump’s behavior in office was concerning and raised troubling questions, but they still weren’t ready to formally call for impeachment.
            But last week, the proverbial light went on, with Butterfield officially calling for impeachment, and Adams saying she’s ready to move off the dime.
            ““The President has demonstrated a clear disregard for the rule of law and he must be held accountable,” Rep. Adams said in a May 31ststatement. “Impeachment is not off the table.  However, before we move forward the American people deserve all the facts. That is why I support an impeachment inquiry. Congress has a sacred responsibility to obtain the information necessary to determine the next steps.”
            With that, Adams joins fifty-four other U.S. House members – all Democrats except for  Republican Congressman Justin Amash – formally calling for an impeachment inquiry – official proceedings by the U.S. House to investigate and present charges against the president of the United States for “ high crimes and misdemeanors, a vague constitutional term ” that legally covers a wide range of alleged offenses  considered to be definitive violations of Trump’s oath of office.
            But while Congressman Adams says she wants to examine what the facts for impeachment are, her North Carolina colleague, Rep. Butterfield, says he has all he needs, and formally called for impeaching Trump last week.
            “The evidence that has been produced so far is sufficient in my opinion to support an impeachment inquiry and impeachment and removal,” Rep. Butterfield told McClatchy News Service May 30th. “I am prepared to vote for an impeachment inquiry ... and I will vote for impeachment and removal.”
            Butterfield, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and NC Supreme Court associate justice, was reacting to the May 29thpress conference by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who told reporters That while his two-and-a half year probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections yielded no evidence of conspiracy between Russian agents and the Trump campaign, there was evidence proving that the president did try to obstruct the investigation.
            But because of U.S. Justice Dept. policy, a sitting president could not be indicted for any crimes, and so Mueller and his team never charged Trump.
            Like many other observers, Rep. Butterfield inferred from Mueller’s statement that there was only one other avenue through which Trump could be held legally accountable.
            “The remedy is through Congress. He meant to infer that the responsibility for going forward is clearly on the Congress,” Butterfield told McClatchy, referring to impeachment.
            Now that Congress is back in session after Memorial Day recess, Butterfield says he expects other House Democrats will also veer towards an impeachment inquiry.
            Thus far, a majority of house Democrats are against impeachment, primarily because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged patience. She has accused Trump od “a coverup’ of  alleged misdeeds in office, and maintains that impeachment is proper only after “all of the facts are determined.
            Thus far, House committee investigations into Pres. Trump’s alleged misdeeds have been stymied because of the White House’s refusal to provide documents, and blocking witnesses.
            North Carolina’s third Democratic congressman, Rep. David Price (D-NC-4), also issued a statement on Twitter calling for Congress to pick up Mueller’s baton.
            “Special Counsel Mueller’s public statement made it abundantly clear that the President has not been exonerated and it’s up to Congress to investigate from here.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            A federal judge cleared the way Monday for the NCNAACP’s litigation against the law based on the constitutional amendment mandating voter photo ID to go forward without intervention by Republican legislative leaders.
            The case is separate from the litigation by the civil rights organization pending in the NC Court of Appeals against the constitutional amendment itself. A Wake Superior Court judge had invalidated the amendment, saying that the legislature that put it on the November 208 ballot was not constitution because several members had been elected from racially gerrymandered districts.
            State appellate arguments in that case are expected to be heard soon.
            However in the federal case against the voter ID law passed by the NC General Assembly last December, the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs is key because, according to attorney Irving Joyner, “From a procedural standpoint, this ruling will allow the case to move forward on a reasonable schedule without having outside private attorneys who are attempting to disrupt or slow down this litigation.”
            The lawsuit by the NCNAACP was against Gov. Roy Cooper and the NC Board of Elections “…challenging the constitutionality of specific provisions of Senate Bill 824 (“S.B. 824”), titled “An Act to Implement the Constitutional Amendment Requiring Photographic Identification to Vote,” according to Judge Biggs order.
            Suing the governor and the SBOE was a tactical decision by the NCNAACP, even though the GOP-led legislature passed the bill.
            North Carolina voters ratified a ballot referendum during the November 2018 midterm elections establishing a constitutional amendment for voter photo ID. The Republican-led NC General Assembly called a Special Session, passing S.B. 824 based on the voter ID amendment, requiring voters to present photo ID beginning in 2020 (that has been delayed), only to have it vetoed by Gov. Cooper on December 14th. The legislature overrode Cooper’s veto on December 19th, 2018.
            On December 21st, the NCNAACP sued the governor and the state Board of Elections, to be defended by state Attorney General Josh Stein. In it’s suit, the NCNAACP “ …challenged the provisions of S.B. 824 which impose voter photo identification requirements, as well as the provisions “that expand the number of poll observers and the number of people who can challenge ballots.” 
            From Judge Biggs order, “Plaintiffs allege that “[t]hese provisions, separately and together, will have a disproportionately negative impact on minority voters,”  ultimately resulting in “the effective denial of the franchise and dilution of [African American and Latino] voting strength,” Plaintiffs’ complaint further alleges that the challenged provisions “impose discriminatory and unlawful burdens on the right to vote that are not justified by any legitimate or compelling state interest.” In addition, Plaintiffs allege that the challenged provisions of S.B. 824 violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. “
            “Plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief to prevent Defendants “from implementing, enforcing, or giving effect to the [challenged] provisions of S.B. 824.” 
But in an effort to somehow derail the suit because they did not trust either Cooper or Stein to defend S.B. 824, both state Senate Pro tem Phil Berger and NC Speaker Tim Moore filed a Motion to Intervene with the federal lawsuit on behalf of the NC General Assembly on January 14th, 2019.
But remember, the NCNAACP never named them in the suit.
Neither Gov. Cooper nor the SBOE object to the GOP legislative leaders’ motion to intervene, but the NCNAACP does, stating that because neither Berger nor Moore were named in the lawsuit originally, they lack standing to be involved.
According to NCNAACP Attorney Irv Joyner, “The legislative leaders attempted to take the case over because they did not want Attorney General Stein and Governor Cooper to be in a position to make any decisions about the outcome of this litigation. They told Judge Biggs that they did not trust either Stein or Cooper to protect the statutes which created this voter ID requirement. In addition, they sought to delay the proceeding in order that there will not be a resolution of the case before the 2020 elections.
            Joyner continued, “Judge Biggs ruled that the NC statutes gives the authority to handle litigation against the State to the Attorney General and the Governor and there was no proof that the two of them have refused to competently handle this litigation. The legislative leaders argued that Cooper had initially vetoed the constitutional amendment proposal and that act was evidence that he was hostile to this requirement, but Judge Biggs, relying upon federal law, ruled that this conclusion was not supported by the evidence.
            “The NC NAACP is pleased with this ruling…,” Atty Joyner concluded, “… but recognized that the legislators may seek to appeal Judge Biggs' decision.”