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White bouncers get change of venue
NEW ORLEANS ( AP) - Four while bouncer* accused of lulling
a black college student on Bourbon Street will be tried by jurors from
outside New Orleans, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled.
The 6- 1 ruling overturned a state appeal court decision against the
request by Clay Mont/. 34, Matthew Taylor, 24, Arthur Irons, 43, and
Brandon Vicknair, 24, all of whom are charged with manslaughter of
Levon Jones and are free on $50j000 bonds.
District Judge Raymond Bigelow was correct to order a change
of venue in their trial, the justices concluded.
Jones, 26, of Statesboro, Ga., was pinned to the sidewalk outside
Razzoo Bar & Patio after a member of his party was denied entrance
to the club based on a dress-code violation on New Year's Eve 2004,
Coroner Frank Minyard said Jones was asphyxiated. He ruled the
death a homicide
The four may be tried separately, but none wanted a jury select
ed from New Orleans, convinced that there was no chance of a fair
The dissent was written by the one black justice, Bemette
Johnson of New Orleans. She said the court should try to choose a
jury before deciding one couldn't be found.
She said many high-profile cases have been tried in the parish
where they took place, including that of New Orleans police officer
Antoinette Rank, on death row for killing a former patrol partner and
two other people at a Vietnamese restaurant in 1995.
Shift in Baltimore police strategy
BALTIMORE (AP) - Arrest statistics through August provide
dramatic evidence of the city's move away from the zero tolerance
policing advocated by Gov. Martin O'Malley during his two terms as
A report by the Baltimore State's Attorney's office shows police
not only made fewer arrests, compared to
recent years, but higner quality arrests.
In 2005. police made about 100,000
arrests - nearly one-sixth of Baltimore's
population of 640j000. Last year, police
arrested 67,000 people, including 45,947
through August. This year, arrests had
dropped to 38,460 through August.
Police Commissioner Frederick H.
Bealefeld, 3rd, who was confirmed last
week, called the volume of arrests in previ
ous years "mind-boggling."
"Did we really accomplish a lot doing
that / Bealeteld asked during an interview
with The (Baltimore) Sun. Instead of filling the city's Central
Booking and Intake Center "with a whole bunch of arrests for
arrests' sake, ... we're going to be much more focused."
As mayor, O'Malley advocated a zero tolerance approach, simi
lar to that advocated by former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
The approach included strategies such as "stop and frisk," popular
under Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm, and the "broken windows"
or quality-of-life-crimes crackdown, popular under O'Malley's
appointees, Ed Norris and Kevin Clark. O'Malley brought Norris and
Clark down from New York, where they were veterans of the zero
policing campaign there.
Mayor Sheila Dixon promised to change the approach when she
took office in January, after O'Malley became governor.
Birmingham ranks high for
number of minority, female managers
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham tops cities in the
southeastern United States for the number of minorities holding man
agement positions at private companies and ranked second for the
number of female managers, according to a study analyzing data
from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce analysis of
EEOC data from 2005 showed that minorities made up 24.5 percent
of managers at companies employing 100 or more people and feder
al contractors with 50 or more employees. Women made up 38.2 per
cent of the management at such firms Birmingham surpassed
Southeastern peers such as Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville.
Chamber researcher Larry Holt said the trend shows signs of the
city's progress when it comes to upward mobility for women and
Birmingham's percentage of minority managers in 2005 was up
from 14.8 percent in 2001. surpassing the national average, according
Congressman: stop racially motivated
CHICAGO ( AP) - An Illinois congressman said he was a victim
of racial profiling when police gave him a traffic ticket alleging he
swerved over the center line.
U.S. Rep, Danny Davis, who is black, said he will go to traffic
coun to cnaiienge tne > /3 ticket given to turn
early Monday by two white officere.
"I'm not one of these people who cry
racism," Davis told The Associated Press on
Friday. "I'm a person who believes in hard
work and follows the rules."
Davis, 66, said he was on his way home
from co-hosting his Sunday late-night radio
talk show, "Talking to the People." and was
driving with three black passengers when he
Interim Police Supt Dana Starks said in a
statement that the department "does not
encourage, tolerate or condone racial profiling on any level." He said
Davis "was stopped on probable cause and issued a citation for vio
lating a traffic law."
In 2005, state Sen. James Meeks. a popular black minister,
accused police of racial profiling after a white Chicago police officer
stuck a gun in his face and repeatedly shouted at him to get back in
his car during a traffic stop.
State lawmakers are gathering data to try to determine whether
there is a pattern of racial profiling in traffic stops.
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Study says that Washington D.C.
blacks being hit hard by HIV/AIDS
BY STEPHEN MANNING
THE A550C1XTBD PKBSS
WASHINGTON - Rates
of AIDS and HIV infections in
Washington are the worst
among the city's black popu
lation, while an alarming
number of new cases are
appearing in women and even
some young children, accord
ing to a broad report released
Monday by city officials.
"It is a modern epidemic
that affects all populations of
the District of Columbia,"
Washington Mayor Adrian
Fenty said while outlining
plans to increase testing for
the disease and strengthen
prevention measures in the
The statistics in the study
by the city's HIV/AIDS
Administration and George
Washington University paint a
grim picture. There are rough
ly 128 cases of AIDS per
100,000 city residents, far
surpassing the national aver
age of 14 cases per 100,000
people. City health officials
say Washington has the high
est AIDS rate among major
cities across the country.
Black people make up
more than 80 percent of the
AIDS and HIV cases in the
district but represent only 57
percent of the city's residents.
Washington had 9 percent of
all pediatric AIDS cases
nationally in 2005 despite
having an estimated popula
tion of only 580,000 - a small
fraction of the nation's overall
Despite the disease's repu
tation as a scourge of gay
male populations and intra
venous drug users, the biggest
percentage increase in HIV
cases since 2001 came from
heterosexual contact. The
number of women living with
AIDS has grown 76 percent
over the past six years. Black
women make up more than 90
percent of new female HIV
City officials said the
study was the first to catalog
all cases of both the human
known as HIV, and cases
where the virus causes the
deterioration of the immune
system, commonly referred to
Previous reports cata
logued only AIDS cases. The
report released Monday cov
ers data collected between
January 2001 and November
In all, the city counted
7,947 newly reported cases of
HIV and AIDS during the
study period. Since AIDS
arose in the early 1980s, the
See HIV on A6
Crowd gathers on anniversary of 50-shot death
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK - An
overnight vigil was followed by
a solemn march Sunday morn
ing as dozens of people
observed the first anniversary of
the slaying of an unarmed man
on his wedding day.
The vigil began Saturday
night on the Queens street
where, on Nov. 25, 2006, under
cover officers unleashed 50 bul
lets at Sean Bell's car, killing
With the crowd gathered
around her. Bell's bride-to-be
spoke about her fiance.
b r. i n g
N i c 0 1 e
She was joined by relatives
and supporters, including the
Rev. A1 Sharpton, for the six
and-a-half hour vigil. The crowd
then marched arm-in-arm to a
nearby church where Sharpton
delivered a sermon early
Some City Council members
had also announced plans for an
overnight vigil in the same area.
Bell's fiancee, Nicole
Paultre Bell, has noted that the
anniversary comes as the family
awaits the outcome of a criminal
case against three officers.
Officers Michael Oliver and
Gescard Isnora have pleaded not
guilty to manslaughter; Officer
Marc Cooper pleaded not guilty
to reckless endangerment. A
trial is scheduled this winter.
"I just keep asking myself,
'Why does this have to be my
children? Why me? Why do we
have to be the ones to go
through this?"' Paultre BelJ told
the Daily News in an interview
published Saturday. She and
Bell, whose name she legally
adopted after his death, had two
daughters, now 4 and 1 .
Bell and two friends were
shot as they were leaving his
bachelor party at a strip club,
where the officers were probing
reports of prostitution.
Police union officials and
defense lawyers have said the
officers believed Bell and his
friends were headed to his car to
retrieve a gun. No weapons
The men had already
reached the vehicle when an
officer approached. According
to police, the car lurched for
ward and bumped Isnora before
twice slamming into an
unmarked police minivan.
Isnora has said through his
lawyer that he saw one of the
men make a suspicious move.
The seriously wounded sur
vivors, Trent Benefield and
Joseph Guzman, say the plain
clothes officers never identified
themselves as police before
opening fire. Isnora says he did.
The shooting sparked
protests, including one in which
thousands of demonstrators
marched down Fifth Avenue
shortly before Christmas, count
ing in unison from one to SO to
mark the number of shots police
Some saw the shooting as
symbolic of excessive police
force against black New
Yorkers. Bell was black, as are
Benefield and Guzman. The
officers are white, Hispanic and
After the shooting, the New
York Police Department com
missioned the RAND Corp., a
think tank, to look for ways to
reduce the risk of so-called
"reflexive" or "contagious"
shooting - the phenomenon of
officers firing an excessive bar
rage of bullets in a chain reac
Paultre Bell has filed a law
suit against the department, the
city, the indicted officers and
two others who were not
charged. Her suit argues that the
officers were poorly trained and
opened fire without provoca
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