The FBI has joined in the investigation of the hanging death of Otis James Byrd, 54, who was found dead on Thursday in Mississippi.
Byrd went last seen on March 2, and his family filed a report with Claiborne County just six days later. However, his body was not found until Thursday, when the Claiborne County Sheriff's Department and Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Department conducted a ground search. He was found "hanged to death a half mile from his last known residence." Bed sheets had been used to hang the body.
The NAACP has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice classify the "suspicious hanging" as a hate crime and "join the current investigation." more >>
On Friday an evangelical pastor based in Oakland, Calif. (the birthplace of the Black Lives Matter movement), Dominique Gilliard, shared the post with a small diverse group of evangelical leaders who decided to craft a collective response. This open letter was crafted by the collective efforts of Rev. Leroy Barber (CCDA and Word Made Flesh), Gilliard (New Hope Oakland), Dr. Brian Bantum (Seattle Pacific University), Micky ScottBey Jones (Transform Network), Efrem Smith (World Impact) and me (Sojourners). We didn't know if our words would resonate. We only knew the truth that we must speak in response to Graham's outsized influence coupled with apparent ignorance. In the end, a broad representation of national evangelical leaders agreed to sign this letter to Graham as principal signatories.
An Open Letter to Reverend Franklin Graham
Dear Rev. Graham, more >>
University of Virginia staff and students rallied alongside members of the local community on campus yesterday, to showcase support for third year honor student, Martese Johnson, who was severely injured while being arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents earlier that day.
Authorities are said to be investigating the incident, which occurred outside Trinity Irish Pub on Wednesday, after 20-year-old Johnson's arrest triggered a public outcry. Video footage and images of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity member's bloodied face were circulated in emails sent to University students and administrators before going viral on social networking sites.
In the video Johnson is heard yelling at ABC agents while handcuffed; "You f------ racists!" and "How did this happen, you f------ racists?" more >>
Actor Nick Searcy from the hit television series "Justified" will be directing a film about infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell who was sentenced to life in prison for committing crimes of infanticide and involuntary manslaughter inside his West Philadelphia abortion clinic.
"There are three aspects to this story that are fascinating — what happened; why it was allowed to happen; and why no one wanted to talk about it after it happened," said Searcy, who plays the role of U.S. Marshal Art Mullen in the FX series, and will direct the $2.2 million crowdfunded film project about Gosnell's "house of horrors" late-term abortion facility.
On May 13, 2013, Gosnell was sentenced to serve life in prison without parole for three counts of first-degree murder for killing babies born alive in his abortion clinic by cutting their spinal cords with scissors. He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the 2009 death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old Nepalese refugee who died from a Demerol overdose administered by his untrained and unlicensed staff. more >>
Missouri executed a man lawyers argued was incompetent due to an accident that left him with 20 percent of his brain removed.
Cecil Clayton, 74, was put to death at 9:13 p.m. after his attorney attempted to spare his life by filing last-minute appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the court and Gov. Jay Nixon denied Clayton clemency and he was given a lethal injection.
Clayton's case became nationally known because of the fact that he had significant brain damage after an accident at a sawmill which led to 20 percent of his frontal lobe being removed. His lawyers argued that Clayton was left without impulse control and the ability to do simple tasks. more >>
Longtime financial scammer Ephren Taylor and his accomplice have been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for an elaborate investment scheme they used to pilfer $16 million out of more than 400 people, many of them churchgoers.
"Taylor's 'Building Wealth' tour accomplished exactly the opposite, victimizing hundreds of investors and leaving many of them financially ruined," Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a press release. "At churches across the country he touted himself as a socially conscious investor, but his investment opportunities were nothing but a Ponzi scheme designed to build his own personal wealth. This sentencing brings a measure of justice to those who remain devastated by his actions."
The U.S. State Attorney's Office in Georgia adds: more >>