The Federal Bureau of Investigation will investigate the fatal shooting by police of 18-year-old Michael Brown in suburban St. Louis, according to a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder released by the Justice Department.
Meanwhile: The St. Louis metropolitan region has been rocked by three days of protests after the unarmed, Black teenager was killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday, August 9. "Officials have so far declined to identify the police officer who shot Mr. Brown or disclose his race. The officer was put on administrative leave," reports The New York Times.
On Monday night, police officers using tear gas and rubber bullets tried to disperse the crowd of mostly African-Americans, who had been gathering through the day under the hot sun. The protesters questioned the role that race — and simmering tensions between residents and the Police Department — may have played in the killing of Michael Brown, 18, who was to start college this week.
The standoff lasted for more than an hour, with about a dozen men approaching officers with their hands up saying, “Don’t shoot me.” At least 100 police officers were on the scene, shining bright lights into the crowd and telling people to return to their homes.
The population of Ferguson has changed dramatically ... but the suburb's power structure has not.
Ferguson, a city of 21,000 northwest of St. Louis, has shifted substantially over the last decade, with blacks, once a minority, now making up two-thirds of the residents, after many white families moved out to surrounding suburbs. The town’s leadership and the police have remained predominantly white. In 2013, the suspension of a black superintendent of schools by an all-white school board stirred protests. And the Justice Department has a continuing investigation into racial disparities in legal representation for juveniles in Family Court.
The police maintain the unarmed teenager struck a police officer and tried to grab the officer's gun. Numerous witnesses have disputed the official account and describe an execution, reports ColorLines.
Dorian Johnson was walking down the middle of the street in Ferguson, Missouri, with his friend Michael Brown on Saturday—just moments before Brown was shot and killed by a still unnamed police officer. Johnson says that police officer began cursing at them and emerged from the car with his weapon drawn. He says he remembers no fewer than seven shots fired. He recalls that Brown’s hands were in the air as the officer fired.
Johnson has told several media outlets that Brown did not strike the officer. Johnson says the officer grabbed Brown by the throat and then unloaded his weapon.
A second eyewitness also disputes the official claim. "The witness 'did not see Michael Brown struggling with the police officer inside his car at any point,' [said St. Louis NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt]. "They did witness the incident from the time it started from the time of the initial stop by the police car," reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The FBI will soon interview this new witness, according to reports.
Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, Kimani Gray, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, Jordan Davis ... Keep moving, folks. Same story, different day. Nothing to see here except an unarmed Black person hunted like an animal and brutally killed.
Haaay! Returned stateside on Sunday. Trying to get some much-needed rest and reorient myself on American time after the exhausting 15 hour flight and 15 hour time difference. But first: Join me on Philadelphia's WURD-AM tonight at 6P/ET on "The Nick Taliaferro Show". We will discuss some of the leading research, news and developments at AIDS 2014 Melbourne.
Spotted on numerous hand cards, posters and billboards throughout the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre ... and at tram strops across the city. The model for the Victoria AIDS Council gets perfect tenz across the board.
The view looking toward Melbourne's historic Flinders Street Station. Across the street is Federation Square. I'm in Australia to report from AIDS 2014 Melbourne. The trip is funded by an international media fellowship from AIDS 2014 and the International AIDS Society. Very excited to be here because it is my first time in Australia ... but my heart is very heavy because some delegates did not complete their journey to the conference. There is a very subdued and reflective mood among many delegates in the aftermath of the tragic end to Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
In the United States, about 1.1 million people are HIV positive, and nearly 50,000 people contract the virus each year—with African Americans and Latinos disproportionately affected. Men who have sex with men—especially those of color—have among the highest infection rates across the globe. Millions of lives have been saved since the introduction of effective antiretroviral treatment in 1996—but there are still many negative beliefs, biases, stigmas and fears surrounding people who are positive. Many experts believe that stigma is a major driver in perpertuating the epidemic.
"Stemming Stigma" is my latest article and one of two cover stories for the July/August 2014 issue of POZ.
New HIV cases among men who have sex with men are increasing as they flatten or even fall among other groups. Advocates blame HIV stigma among MSM, which they claim has created a "viral divide."This divide is probably the most evident on social networking apps and hookup sites. Phrases such as “DDF UB2” (short for “drug and disease free, you be too”) and questions such as “Are you clean?” have become commonplace. Many HIV-positive gay men note anecdotally that when they challenge HIV-negative men about such language (“Does having HIV make me ‘unclean’?”) the responses are often filled with contempt.
Additional surveys have shown stigma remains a significant barrier to care and treatment. A 2009 Lambda Legal study shows that 63 percent of HIV-positive LGBT people experienced discrimination from health care professionals. Other times, the stigma keeps people from even seeking medical care.
"Let’s say you’re a black gay man living in a community of lower socioeconomic status," says Terrance Moore, director of health policy at the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). "You could be very concerned that someone is going to see you walk into an HIV testing facility, so you may not access that test." Similarly, you might not want to be seen taking meds, so you skip doses—which can increase your viral load and the risk of transmitting HIV.
This is absolutely brilliant. Orange is the New Blackactress Laverne Cox has made history by becoming the first "openly transgender actress nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award." Cox was nominated for "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series."
The critically-acclaimed Netflix series earned 12 nominations for the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. HBO's epic fantasy series Game of Thrones led the pack with 19 nominations. Coming in second place was another Netflix series, House of Cards, with 16 nominations.
This makes the second historic achievement for the actress in as many months. Cox made history in May to become the first trans woman to make the iconic cover of TIME magazine. Many congratulations to Laverne for her many amazing achievements. She has become an amazing inspiration and source of pride for so many people. Brava.
SPECIAL NOTE: I'm traveling to Kenya later this summer to report on LGBT issues on an international media fellowship from the International Center for Journalists and the Ford Foundation. More in the weeks ahead.
The early morning raid happened at Club Envy in downtown Nairobi. More than 60 people were arrested, reports the Nairobi-based news portal Ghafla. The state "security apparatus harass[ed] innocent homosexuals who were not even taking part in any buggery but rather enjoying their hard earned money," according to the report.
[T]he watchman informed Baba Ghafla that those arrest were patrons who were not being arrested over Mututho Laws but rather because of their sexual orientation. ... We managed to talk to the watchman who informed Baba Ghafla that those arrest were patrons who were not being arrested over Mututho Laws but rather because of their sexual orientation.
Baba Ghafla then spoke to Joji Baro to find out whether this is a normal occurrence for homosexuals and we are shocked to learn that state harassment is all part and parcel of what it means to be gay in Kenya. "The arrests at Envy had nothing to do with Mututho law but just trying to suppress the visibility of gays and lesbians. So finally someone just realized gays and lesbians have money and they know where to spend it... Just a remainder of the little rights we enjoy -we have a right to spend our money where and whenever we want to."
The "Mututho Laws"—named after MP John Mututho—restrict alcohol sales across Kenya. Conflicting reports on Facebook suggest that the club may have been in violation of local ordinances and/or did not have a permit for selling alcohol during those hours.
"As far as we know the police arrest of patrons at Club Envy this morning is allegedly on violation of the Mututho Law," according to the Facebook statuts of Deniz Nzioka, the Nairobi-based journalist and human rights activist. "Number of people arrested at Club Envy this morning not confirmed though estimates say 65 people were arrested. ... Those who have been released were able to process a cash bail of 2k for which they are expected to appear in court tomorrow. The charges are for drunk and disorderly behavior."
Several comments posted to Nzioka's Facebook suggested that at least 95 or more people were arrested.
The police raid and arrests at the gay bar are a far cry from developments last year when officers were actively working with Nairobi's LGBT community. Police arrested several men last year who were allegedly involved in a notorious scheme that targeted gay men for extortion, blackmail, robbery and rape.
Kenya's government is considered progressive on gay rights. Same-sex relations are illegal—penalties are between five and 14 years’ imprisonment—but arrests and prosecutions are rare. Same-sex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa, Mozambique and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights.
The California Highway Patrol says it will "investigate" a YouTube video that captures an officer repeatedly punching a woman along the side of a Los Angeles freeway. The officer is shown "punching the woman on the ground more than 11 times in the face" near an off-ramp on Interstate 10, reports CBS Los Angeles.
The confrontation was caught on cellphone video by a man driving by [on Tuesday]. ... When the video starts, the officer is seen trying to detain the woman. She gets a few steps away from him, but he gets her to the ground. He briefly struggles with her before repeatedly punching her in the face. After a few moments, a plainclothes officer enters the picture and helps the CHP officer put the woman in handcuffs.
The man who shot the video ... said he saw the barefoot woman walking around the off-ramp when he noticed a CHP officer chase her around a truck. [David] Diaz said, "If you look at the video, there are 15 hits. To the head, and not just simple jabs. These are blows to the head. Blows. Really serious blows. And this is ridiculous to me."
The attorney for the family of the woman wants the officers to be disciplined. "She's not just some animal," said attorney Caree Harper, reports KTLA 5. "She has an aunt, a sister, a brother, a father and a great-grandchild."
Meanwhile in Arizona: Arizona State University English Professor Ersula Ore pleaded not guilty to assaulting an officer and other charges on Thursday, reports the Arizona Republic. Ore's arrest and brutal beating by an ASU police officer was captured by police dash cam surveillance video. The ASU Police Department has "placed the arresting officer on administrative leave and ask[ed] the FBI to look into any civil-rights violations that may have occurred."
Nothing to see here, keep moving! Just another Black woman viciously beat by police officers. Watch the beat down AFTER THE JUMP ...
The suspect in a Seattle double homicide may have lured the gay men he allegedly killed through a M4M mobile "hookup" app such as Jack'd or Grindr, according to court documents released Wednesday.
Thirty-year-old Ali Muhammad Brown has been charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in connection with the June 1 deaths of 27-year-old Ahmed Said and 23-year-old Dwone Anderson-Young, reports The Seattle Times.
Police said Anderson-Young and Said were hanging out at RPlace, a gay Capitol Hill nightclub, on May 31 and met up with a man identified as a friend of Said’s outside the club. One of Anderson-Young’s friends, who saw the stranger, told police that he was “creeped out” by Said’s friend and declined Said’s offer of a ride home, police wrote in charging documents.
Another friend of Anderson-Young said Said “continually talked about meeting someone outside the club later.” The friend told police that at the club that night, Said appeared to be texting over Jack’d or Grindr, two gay social networking sites, charges said.
After taking a look at the stranger, that friend also declined Said’s offer for a ride home, charges said. Police say Brown, Said and Anderson-Young drove to Anderson-Young’s house, where Brown pulled a gun and killed the two men then drove off in Said’s car. It was later found abandoned in South Seattle. Police said they linked Brown to the slayings after finding his fingerprints and three spent 9mm shell casings inside Said’s car.
Police and prosecutors have not offered a motive for the killings but a disturbing new theory has emerged in recent days. Brown allegedly "underwent [Islamic] jihadist training in California in April and they believe the two men were attacked simply because [of] their sexual orientation," reports Seattle's FOX 13.
There is a nationwide manhunt for the suspect. Brown is a native of East Orange, New Jersey and is wanted in connection with an armed robbery at a coffee shop last Sunday, reports the New York Daily News. "Brown is also wanted for failing to register as a sex offender. An Ocean County judge issued a $500,000 arrest warrant for Brown."
Be careful out there, boys. Everything that looks good may not be good for you. Watch KIRO-TV's and FOX 13's reports AFTER THE JUMP ...
Just in case you were asking about the Belgian footballer at the World Cup rockin' the huge curly 'fro and the pale blue eyes: Introducing 25-year-old hotness Axel Laurent Witsel, the midfielder who plays for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and the Belgium national team. Some images from the recent matches against USA, Russia and Algeria ...
You're very welcome! More of the finest in Benelux hotness AFTER THE JUMP ...