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Tag: naacp

FBI to Investigate Hanging Death of Black Man in Mississippi

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping investigate the hanging death of a 54-year-old black man in Mississippi.

Local police in the small central Mississippi town of Port Gibson requested the bureau’s help to determine whether Otis Byrd was murdered or committed suicide.

Byrd was last seen on March 2 and was found Thursday hanging from a tree in the woods.

“We want to make sure it was not a racial hate crime,” Derrick Johnson, head of the state chapter of the NAACP, told the Los Angeles Times. “We cannot stand by in 2015 and watch a lynching, if in fact that’s what happened.”

The focus Thursday was on combing the scene for evidence.

“We seen a man who had a bedsheet tied around his neck,” Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas told CNN.

 

 

ATF, FBI Team Up to Track Down Person Who Detonated Bomb Outside NAACP Office

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

To solve the question about who detonated a small bomb outside the NAACP chapter in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, the federal government sent in two big guns – the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the ATF, the Denver Post reports.

Federal and local investigators still have a lot of questions to answer, including whether the mosque was the target, after the first day of the probe didn’t appear to hone in on a suspect.

“We are investigating all potential motives at this time,” said Special Agent Amy Sanders, an FBI spokeswoman. “An act of domestic terrorism is certainly one possibility, in addition to many others.”

Damage from the blast was minimal, contained primarily to a small section of the exterior.

Investigators found a can of gasoline next to the explosive device.

Authorities said they don’t know with certainty that the neighboring barber shop was the target, though the owner said he has no enemies.

“Everybody loves me,” the owner, Gene Southerland, told an inquiring client over the phone on Wednesday morning. “I don’t have any enemies.”

FBI Searches for White Man in Pickup After NAACP Office Attacked by Bomb in Colorado

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is looking for a white man in his 40s after an explosive device was detonated outside the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP on Tuesday, reports the Colorado Springs Gazette.

No one was injured and the damage is limited to the exterior of the building.

The FBI described a person of interest who was seen getting into an older model pickup truck and driving away with d\hidden or missing plates.

“Some neighbors came out and said they saw a Caucasian gentleman get into a white truck,” said Gene Southerland, who owns Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios, which shares the building with the NAACP office.

“It was such a beautiful day and everything, sunny. And in broad daylight, you hear this explosion. It’s frightening,” he said.

At least two volunteers were inside at the time and saw an incendiary device and a can of gas.

Suicide or Lynching? FBI Joins Inquiry into Black Teen Found Hanging in North Carolina

Lennon Lacy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

It was a disturbing discovery – a black teenage boy hanging from a swing set in a trailer park in North Carolina.

Was it a suicide or a lynching?

The state has determined that 17-year-old Lennon Lacy committed suicide in August.

But the New York Times reports that the FBI has agreed to join an inquiry after family members and the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP urged the bureau to intervene.

The formal request for the FBI’s involvement came from Thomas G. Walker, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Last week, a march was organized to show solidarity with Lacy.

“They have the resources and the mandate of law and the kind of specialized training to look at these facts on all sides,” the Rev. William J. Barber II, the president of the North Carolina N.A.A.C.P. and an organizer of Saturday’s march, said of the F.B.I.

The state has defended its handling of the investigation and said there was no evidence of a lynching.

From Good to Great: AG Eric Holder Championed for Civil Rights Like No One Before Him

By Jamelle Bouie
Slate

On Thursday the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner joined with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the National Bar Association, and the Black Women’s Roundtable to call for a full federal investigation in the police killings of the two young men.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was part of the event, and he was about to take questions from those assembled when the news broke that Attorney General Eric Holder intended to resign from the administration. Naturally, Sharpton had a few words for the occasion.

“There is no attorney general who has shown a commitment to civil rights like Eric Holder,” said Sharpton, “If he is resigning, the civil rights community is losing the most effective civil rights attorney general in American history.”

That is high praise, but it’s hard to say it’s unreasonable or unjustified. When President Obama entered office, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department was in shambles, neglected by President Bush and staffed with a coterie of partisan operatives. Long-serving lawyers left the office, case files were closed with little explanation, political appointees sought to block liberals from career positions, and anti-discrimination efforts were few and far between.

At his confirmation hearing at the beginning of Obama’s term, Holder made the Civil Rights Division his priority.

To that end, Holder took aggressive steps to repair the damage of the previous administration and restore the traditional priorities of the Civil Rights Division. On voting rights, Holder was a strong advocate against voter identification laws, attacking the 2012 Texas law as a “political pretext to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right” and comparing some practices to Jim Crow laws. “Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them—and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes,” he said.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

NAACP Calls for FBI Investigation into Killing of Unarmed Teen Near St. Louis

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Civil unrest over the fatal shooting of a black teenager by police turned into looting and vandalism Sunday evening as investigators try to piece together what happened.

The Associated Press reports that the St. Louis County chapter of the NAACCP is urging the FBI to take over the case of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was killed after a scuffle with police in the predominately black suburb of Ferguson.

“He was running this way,” Brown’s grandmother, Desiree Harris, said. “When I got up there, my grandson was lying on the pavement. I asked the police what happened. They didn’t tell me nothing.”

Brown’s stepfather held a sign outside his house that read, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”

Police confirmed a police officer shot Brown but didn’t elaborate. Witnesses said Brown was unarmed when he was shot.

The FBI’s involvement is important “to protect the integrity of the investigation,” said John Gaskin, a member of the St. Louis County NAACP.

Attorney General Eric Holder said attorneys in the department’s civil rights division will monitor developments related to the shooting.

Despite Popular Belief, Mobster Didn’t Help Solve 1964 Killings of 3 Civil Rights Workers

istock photo

By Jerry Mitchell
The Clarion-Ledger

No matter where I speak about the Ku Klux Klan’s 1964 killings of three civil rights workers, I inevitably get asked this question: Did the Mafia really help the FBI solve the case?

The people who ask that question have usually heard some version of this story: Desperate to solve the case involving the missing trio, the FBI enlisted their informant, mobster Gregory Scarpa Jr., to solve the case. Scarpa shoved a gun down a Klansman’s throat and got him to confess where the trio’s bodies were buried, and in so doing, the grateful FBI gave this one-time member of the Colombo family a $30,000 reward.

The truth? The FBI did get help from a mobster, but in an entirely different case — the KKK’s June 10, 1966, fatal firebombing of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer Sr. in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

I’ll be the first to admit this story of Scarpa’s supposed involvement in the June 21, 1964, killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner has appeared online and in newspapers for decades.

But it’s simply the wrong case because the details Scarpa shared about his night in Mississippi match up with the Dahmer case. And if that weren’t enough proof, FBI files confirm that Scarpa was brought in to help the FBI in the Dahmer investigation.

To read more, click here.

 

Obama’s Nominee for Civil Rights Post in Justice Department Faces Heated Criticism from Foes

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s nominee for head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has drawn strong criticism from opponents of the appointment of Debo Adegbile, Fox News reports.

They’ve described the former NAACP lawyer as “radical,” “dangerous” and “outside the mainstream.”

Now he’s being criticized for playing a role in overturning the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer.

Asked about the overturned sentence, Adegbile responded: “It’s important, I think, to understand that in no way does that legal representation, zealously as an advocate, cast any aspersion or look past the grievous loss of Sergeant Faulkner.”