Tag: Black History Month

#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Herbert “Pop” Gilbert?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is reviewing a deputy’s fatal shooting of a 37-year-old African American man in Thomasville, Georgia, about 30 miles from Tallahassee.

A GBI press release says agents from the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Vice Division were executing a search warrant in the Magnolia and Fern Street area around 4:20 p.m. when Herbert “Pop” Gilbert was shot.

The incident involved police vehicles and Gilbert’s vehicle prior to the shooting.

The deputy involved has been identified as agent Josh Smith, who is white. He started at TCSO in June 2012. Sheriff Carlton Powell said the officer is on temporary administrative leave, the Thomasville Times-Enterprise reported. In a separate 2015 incident, Smith was suspended for not adhering to proper arrest procedures, the paper reported.

TCSO said it could not comment on the situation as long as it’s under active investigation.

Thomasville Mayor Greg Hobbs said the incident was “a tragic event for our community.”

Hobbs’ office and the Chief of Police issued a joint statement Wednesday.

“On behalf of the Thomasville City Council and the entire City family, we want to begin by expressing our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased,” said Mayor Hobbs. “This was a tragic event for our community.”

The latest deadly shooting of a black man by law enforcement triggered demonstrations. Holding signs that read “Justice for Herbert” and “We are Pop,” dozens of protesters marched through downtown Thomasville Wednesday and Thursday morning.  A community vigil was also held on Magnolia Street.

*Excerpts taken from Tallahassee.


#SaturdayEats: Virginia Ali

Virginia Ali and her husband Ben founded the world famous Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C. in 1958. The U Street Corridor of D.C., where Ben’s Chili Bowl is located, was known as “Black Broadway” because top performers would play sets in bars and theaters in the area, and they would usually eat and hang out at Ben’s. Such celebrities include Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bill Cosby. During the Civil Rights Movement, “The Bowl” was a hangout place for activists and even Martin Luther King, Jr. paid a couple of visits. Mrs. Ali has served on the Board of Directors for many organizations over the years including For Love of Children. She and her husband have been inducted into the D.C. Hall of Fame in 2002 for their landmark restaurant’s role in many important D.C. historical events. In 2004, Ben’s Chili Bowl received the “American Classic’s Restaurant Award” from the James Beard Foundation. On August 22, 2008, Ben’s Chili Bowl celebrated its 50th anniversary and Ben and Virginia were awarded the Key to the City by Mayor Adrian Fenty for their entrepreneurship and significant contribution to the spirit of U Street and history of Washington D.C.

#FridaySmarts: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born on October 29, 1938, in Monrovia, Liberia. A graduate of the College of West Africa at Monrovia, she went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Madison Business College in Madison, Wisconsin, a degree in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University.

After returning to Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served as assistant minister of Finance in President William Tolbert’s administration. In 1980, Tolbert was overthrown and killed by army sergeant Samuel Doe, who represented the Krahn ethnic group. Johnson Sirleaf went into exile in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as in the United States, where she worked as an executive in the international banking community.

In 1985, Johnson Sirleaf returned to Liberia and ran for a seat in the Senate, but when she spoke out against Doe’s military regime, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She served a partial sentence before moving to Washington, D.C. When she returned to her native country for a third time in 1997, it was as an economist, working for the World Bank and Citibank in Africa.

After supporting Charles Taylor’s bloody rebellion against President Samuel Doe in 1990, Johnson Sirleaf ran unsuccessfully against Taylor in the 1997 presidential election. Taylor subsequently charged Johnson Sirleaf with treason. In 2005, after campaigning for the removal of President Taylor, Johnson Sirleaf took over as leader of the Unity Party. That year, promising economic development and an end to corruption and civil war, she was elected to the Liberian presidency. When she was inaugurated in 2006, Johnson Sirleaf, or the “Iron Lady,” as she was also known, became the world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state.

Despite Charles Taylor’s large number of followers in Liberian government, including his son-in-law and estranged wife, President Johnson Sirleaf submitted an official request to Nigeria for Taylor’s extradition in 2006. Five years later, she shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman, awarded “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

As the first female head of state ever to be democratically elected in Africa, she has worked to promote peace, reconciliation and social and economic development.

#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Terence Crutcher?

A jury on Wednesday acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black man in Tulsa in 2016.

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, 43, had been charged with manslaughter in the September 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher, 40, during an encounter that began with the report of a stalled vehicle.

The district attorney’s office announced a verdict had been reached shortly after 9 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET), more than eight hours after deliberations began, NBC affiliate KJRH reported.

The manslaughter trial against Shelby opened May 10 with prosecutors laying out how the five-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department encountered Crutcher — what should have been a routine traffic matter that went too far, they said.

Instead, Crutcher’s death — another involving an unarmed black man at the hands of police — touched off Black Lives Matter protests and calls for greater transparency from local authorities.

Crutcher’s family called the verdict a disappointment, and called the police department “corrupt” after being led out of the courtroom filled with emotion. Crutcher’s twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, said her brother’s hands were up, that he was not an imminent threat or attack her and didn’t deserve to be shot.

“Terence was not the aggressor; Betty Shelby was the aggressor,” she said. “Betty Shelby had the gun. Betty Shelby was following him with his hands up.” Shelby was among the officers who responded to reports of a stalled SUV left abandoned in the middle of a road just after 7:30 p.m. local time, prosecutors said.

Police said Crutcher approached the vehicle but failed to listen to commands from officers. Shelby asked Crutcher if the car was his, but only mumbled to himself and didn’t respond, according to an affidavit.
Crutcher was seen walking to his car with his hands up before reaching into the driver’s side window. One of the officers fired his Taser at him. Shelby also fired her gun — striking the father of four in the lung, police said.
Video footage taken from helicopter and cruiser dashcams don’t provide clear views of the moment she shot him.

An attorney for the Crutcher family, Benjamin Crump, raised the deaths of other black men in encounters with police, like Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, in expressing his disappointment with the verdict. “The list just goes on and on, of unarmed African American men being killed by white police officers, and they get away with it,” Crump said.

Jerad Lindsey, chairman of Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, said that the jury’s verdict was the right one, but said the shooting was a tragedy. “There’s no winners in this,” he said. “There’s still a family that has dealt with a tragedy here, the Crutchers, and we still extend our deepest sympathies to them.” “And now that we’ve reached a verdict, Tulsa’s gonna have to figure out how to get its arms around this and be able to move forward in a positive way,” Lindsey said.

Both Shelby’s family, including her husband, who is a fellow Tulsa police officer, and Crutcher’s family have been at the courthouse since the trial began. Shelby was placed on paid administrative leave amid the investigation, then on unpaid leave. Shelby did not speak to the media after Wednesday’s verdict. McMurray said Shelby is “elated and very proud of her jury.”

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund in a statement called Wednesday’s verdict disappointing, and said it is hopeful the Justice Department files charges. The DOJ announced shortly after the shooting that it was opening a civil rights investigation.

*Excerpts taken from NBC news.

#SaturdayEats: G Garvin

Acclaimed Chef, Cookbook Author, Television Host, James Beard Nominee, and Philanthropist. All words that describe Chef Gerry Garvin, simply known as G. Garvin. Chef Garvin launched his culinary career in his hometown, Atlanta, Georgia, at the Ritz Carlton-Downtown as the youngest line cook in the gourmet dining room. He was soon chosen by the luxury brand to move to Palm Springs, California where he open the Ritz Carlton-Rancho Mirage and worked under Chef Jean Pierre Dubray.

With a promising career ahead, Chef Garvin relocated to Los Angeles, California, and took on a position as the dining room Sous Chef at Noa Noa. After spending 3 years there, he headed to the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills and later went on to become the Executive Chef of Morton’s and Kass Bah. After spending some time in Los Angeles, Garvin returned to Atlanta to work with the Buckhead Life Group at Veni Vidi Vici and Pricci. He later returned to Los Angeles and partnered with Keyshawn Johnson to open Reign Restaurant.
After a successful start at Reign, Chef Garvin opened his signature restaurant, G Garvin’s, where he continued to cater to and host high profile dinners for clients ranging from Former President Bill Clinton, to Halle Berry, to the Former Prime Minister of Israel.

Chef Garvin is also a notable author. His first cookbook, “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin” released in October 2006. Its widespread success quickly prompted a second printing and won an American Literacy Award and a nomination for a NAACP Image Award. It was also chosen as a participant in the 2006 Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Garvin’s highly anticipated sophomore effort, “Make it Super Simple with G. Garvin”, a collection of recipes for super simple, healthful and delectable dishes, was released in February 2008. A third cookbook, “Dining In”, released in October 2008, and features all new, fine-dining recipes that provide even the most inexperienced cooks with recipes and guidance to create the most impressive gourmet meals at home. Garvin has mastered offering a one-size-fits-all approach to cooking with sophistication and simplicity, proving that even the most basic cooking palate can create flavorful dishes.

Chef Garvin expanded his brand, making a name for himself by appearing in the homes of millions, for 7 seasons on the TV One Network hit show, Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin (airing in the US and Brazil). His increasing popularity earned him a second series on the same network, entitled G. Garvin: The Road Tour. Eventually, the Food Network’s Cooking Channel tapped him to host the series, Road Trip with G Garvin.

As a serial entrepreneur, Garvin has developed and launched Low Country Restaurant in the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport; Garvin’s Spices; a line of Gourmet Nuts; a series of oils and vinaigrettes; and a variety of gourmet cookies. He also develops recipes for notable clients like Kraft Foods, Tyson Foods, SodexoMAGIC and The Coca-Cola Company. Restaurant consulting, yet another aspect of the Chef’s business, allows restaurateurs to realize their vision by overseeing all aspects of new operations, polices and procedures, recipe development and the creation on menus, placement of Executive Chef’s and General Managers.

Garvin’s impressive resume and philanthropic efforts have warranted accolades such as the 2007 Man of the Year award by Women Moving Forward in Business and Third Best TV Chef by Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine in 2006, behind Jacques Pepin and Emeril Lagasse. Additionally, Garvin has been a popular guest on both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Good Morning America.

To further his indelible mark on culinary history, Chef Garvin is touching and changes lives through his G. Garvin Foundation and its primary program, the G. Garvin Culinary Boot Camp, which is geared towards young adults ages 16-19. Through this seven-day camp, Garvin introduces young people to a new career choice, the culinary arts. His efforts aid in breaking down the diversity barriers within not only the culinary industry, but in society as a whole, where chefs of color are often categorized more often by race than profession.


#FridaySmarts: Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan was UN Secretary General from January 1997 to December 2006. One of his main priorities during this period was a comprehensive program of reform that sought to revitalize the United Nations and make the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the organization closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.

At Mr. Annan’s initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the United Nations to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel. It was also at Mr. Annan’s urging that, in 2005, Member States established two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. Mr. Annan likewise played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the adoption of the UN’s first-ever counter-terrorism strategy, and the acceptance by Member States of the “responsibility to protect” people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  His “Global Compact” initiative, launched in 1999, has become the world’s largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.

Mr. Annan undertook wide-ranging diplomatic initiatives. In 1998, he helped to ease the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria. In the same year, he visited Iraq to resolve an impasse between Iraq and the Security Council over compliance with resolutions on weapons inspections and other matters; this effort helped to avoid an outbreak of hostilities which was imminent at that time. In 1999, he was deeply involved in the diplomatic process that led to Timor-Leste’s independence from Indonesia. He was responsible for certifying Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and in 2006 his efforts contributed to securing a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah. Also in 2006, he mediated a settlement of the dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula.

Mr Annan’s efforts to strengthen the Organization’s management, coherence and accountability involved major investments in training and technology, the introduction of a new whistleblower policy and financial disclosure requirements, and steps to improve co-ordination at country level.

Kofi Annan set up the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to mobilize leaders of all sectors to provide leadership where it needed. The Foundation works on the premise that there can be no long-term peace without development and no sustainable development without peace. And no society can long remain prosperous without the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Mr. Annan believes that the expertise and evidence needed to solve pressing problems such as poverty, violent conflict and poor governance in most cases already exists. Progress is held back too often due to a lack of leadership and of political will to use it to identify and deliver solutions.

With the Kofi Annan Foundation, Mr. Annan mobilizes political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights.

Kofi Annan’s widely acclaimed memoir: Interventions: A Life in War and Peace was published in 2012. Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 8 April 1938. He is married to Nane and between them they have three children.

#BlackLivesMatter: Who Was Paul O’Neal?

A Chicago police officer who fatally shot Paul O’Neal after he crashed a reportedly stolen Jaguar into two police vehicles said in a report that he shot the 18-year-old after he saw him reaching into his waistband, and after he “perceived” shots had come from the teen.

That disclosure was found in heavily redacted police reports related to the July 28 incident that were released by the Chicago Police Department on Friday, a week after the city, with unprecedented swiftness, released several video clips that captured parts of the confrontation between the officers and the unarmed teen.

The officers’ names and badge numbers are redacted in the 61 pages of police reports obtained by the Tribune through a Freedom of Information Act request. But the documents included information that showed that two of the officers involved in the shooting in the South Shore neighborhood have three years of experience with the Police Department, and one of the officers joined the force two years ago.

According to a Tactical Response Report, filled out by police whenever they use force against a suspect, the officer who fired the fatal shots said that O’Neal “intentionally rammed his vehicle into (responding officers’) vehicle while numerous shots were simultaneously heard coming from the direction of the offender’s vehicle.

“During the pursuit offender failed to comply with verbal commands while reaching into his waistband,” the report states. In answering who fired their weapon first, the officer’s statement reads, “Ro (responding officer) perceived shots to be coming from Of (offender).”

But O’Neal had not been armed, and videos show that the bullets coming at some officers may have been coming from other officers as they fired at O’Neal’s fleeing car. The officer who shot O’Neal in the back joined the department in October 2012, according to the report. That officer fired five shots during the July 28 incident, the report shows.

One of the other officers fired nine shots during that incident, and a third officer fired one shot, the reports show.Those two officers were from the first police vehicle to confront the Jaguar and shoot at it, shortly before it slammed into the other police SUV.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson moved quickly to strip the three of their powers, citing potential policy violations. One report released Friday shows that a supervisor marked a box indicating the shooting was not within policy about 6:30 a.m. July 29, within 12 hours of the incident.

On Aug. 5, the Independent Police Review Authority released nine video clips from police dashboard and body cameras that showed apparent procedural errors by the three officers who opened fire at O’Neal as he fled in a reportedly stolen 2002 Jaguar convertible and then on foot near East 74th Street and South Merrill Avenue.

O’Neal’s shooting marks an early test of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pledge to reform policing and oversight, and transparency has been central to his announcements about his plans. While the city moved quickly to publicly release the videos and pull the officers off the streets, the videos document apparent tactical errors of the kind that have long troubled the department.

The videos show the chaos that ensued after O’Neal, driving a car reportedly stolen from Bolingbrook, clipped a police SUV and parked car in the South Shore neighborhood. Officers fired several shots at the fleeing sports car before it barreled into a police SUV down the block, the videos show. Other officers appeared to be directly in the line of fire when police shot at the fleeing vehicle.

Departmental policy specifically bans shooting at a car when it is the lone threat to an officer or others.
After O’Neal ran from the Jaguar, police chased him into a backyard, firing about five more shots, the video clips show. O’Neal died of a gunshot wound to the back, authorities said. While the body camera of the officer who fired at O”Neal in the yard was not recording as he fired the shots, it was turned on after the shooting. The cameras nonetheless captured potentially damning comments by at least one of the officers after the shooting. The officer who is believed to have shot O’Neal thought he might have been shooting at him from the moving Jaguar, when in fact his colleagues had been firing on the car. The videos show that officer also said that when he opened fire on O’Neal, “I didn’t know if he was armed or not.”

The department is going to look at changing training for officers and will take into account best practices from around the country, the Bureau of Professional Standards chief, Anne Kirkpatrick, said on Saturday.

*Excerpts taken from originally posted on Chicago Tribune.