Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Zimmerman’s Lawyer Outs Witness #9

New documents in the Trayvon Martin case released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office on Monday morning included testimony from a witness that claims George Zimmerman molested her from the age of 6 on through her teenaged years. The witness known only as “Witness #9” made it clear she wanted to remain anonymous and she was able to until Monday afternoon when Zimmerman’s lawyers outed her.

The court redacted any identifying information from the records released on Monday but lawyers outed “Witness #9” as Zimmerman’s cousin.

Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, released the following statement on Gzlegalcase.com in which he outs “Witness #9.” His statement published in it’s entirety:

Today the State released Witness #9’s Statements along with Mr. Zimmerman’s phone calls from jail in response to the Court’s July 13 order.

In her statements, Witness #9, who is George Zimmerman’s cousin, alleges that Mr. Zimmerman inappropriately touched her beginning when she was 6 and Mr. Zimmerman was almost 8, and that it continued on occasion until she was 16 and Mr. Zimmerman was 17.

The defense moved to block the public release of Witness #9’s statement in a motion filed on June 18, 2012 contending “The content of this statement is not relevant to the issues of this case, and it would not be admissible in the State’s case in chief.” The motion further contends that this irrelevant statement should be withheld from public dissemination because of the substantial risk that public disclosure will lead to widespread hostile publicity which would substantially impair the Defendant’s fair trial rights, and would pose a serious threat to the administration of justice.

That request was denied on July 13, 2012 by Judge Lester. Because there is a Motion for Disqualification pending, this morning, we asked the prosecution not to release Witness #9’s statement until there was a ruling on the Motion for Disqualification. This is an appropriate request as, should the motion for disqualification be granted, reconsideration of recent rulings by the judge is appropriate. However, the prosecution elected to make the public disclosure anyway.

Now that this statement is part of the public record, the defense will vigorously defend Mr. Zimmerman against the allegations. In the next several weeks, there will be reciprocal discovery filed regarding Witness #9’s statement.

FDA Approves Truvada, First Pill to Help Prevent HIV

ucm311823.jpegThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection. The agency approved Truvada for use as a preventable measure for people at high risk of acquiring HIV-1, the most common form of HIV.

Two large clinical trials found that when Truvada is taken once daily and used in combination with safer sex practices the risk of HIV infection is significantly lowered:

  • by 42 percent in a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of about 2,500 HIV-negative gay and bisexual men and transgender women, and
  • by 75 percent in a study sponsored by the University of Washington of about 4,800 heterosexual couples in which one partner was HIV positive and the other was not.

Debra Birnkrant, M.D., director of the Division of Antiviral Products at FDA, explains that Truvada works to prevent HIV from establishing itself and multiplying in the body. She notes that while this is a new approved use, Truvada is not a new product. It was approved by FDA in 2004 for use in combination with other medications to treat HIV-infected adults and children over 12 years old.

“In the 80s and early 90s, HIV was viewed as a life-threatening disease; in some parts of the world it still is. Medical advances, along with the availability of close to 30 approved individual HIV drugs, have enabled us to treat it as a chronic disease most of the time,” Birnkrant says.

“But it is still better to prevent HIV than to treat a life-long infection of HIV,” she says.

TAGS: FDA hiv

The Queen of Soul is Openly Lobbying to Replace J-Lo on ‘American Idol’

The Queen of Soul is Openly Lobbying to Replace J-Lo on 'American Idol'

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have left their judging gigs on “American Idol” and now Aretha Franklin is openly lobbying to get herself on the show. Both CNN and TMZ published reports over the weekend that say the Queen of Soul has contacted producers to express her interest in filling one of the vacated seats on the judges’ panel.

“Yes, I am interested as a judge,” Franklin confirmed to TMZ on Saturday when asked if she was interested in joining the singing competition.

Another source close to the 70-year-old tells the NY Daily News Franklin “seriously gunning for it now that it’s crossed her mind.”

Franklin is known for “telling it like it is.” Julie Hinds at the Detroit Free Press thinks Franklin could easily be the tough judge on the panel:

Franklin calls it like she sees it and has a, shall we say, diva-licious side that would make her a formidable critic — especially if the young, raw auditioners show any major dis-R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Someone should have the ability to equal Simon Cowell’s honesty. We think Franklin could be that person.

There’s one slight problem that could keep the Queen of Soul from joining the panel that travels from state-to-state though. Aretha does not fly.

Zimmerman Accused of Molesting Family Member in Court Testimony

Zimmerman Accused of Molesting Family Member in Court Testimony

Documents released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office on Monday include testimony from a witness that says George Zimmerman molested her from the age of 6 on through her teenaged years. The witness known as “Witness 9” also accused Zimmerman’s family of being racist.

More from Orlando’s WFTV:

Witness No. 9 not only said that Zimmerman is a racist, but during an interview with investigators, she stated that Zimmerman molested her from the age of 6 on through her teenaged years, according to the documents.

The witness claims that Zimmerman’s entire family is racist and said Zimmerman’s mother made it clear she didn’t like President Barack Obama because he is black.

The evidence was released despite a last-minute push by Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, to keep some of it from being made public.

The news comes after another set of documents released last week painted Zimmerman as a hero.

WFTV’s Daralene Jones tweeted excerpts from the documents, Storify timeline via Gawker:

Sheriff Arpaio Tells George Lopez to Call Him a ‘Fat Motherf**ker’ to His Face

Perhaps the least offensive part of George Lopez’s live stand-up special on HBO this weekend was a 2-minute rant on Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“And while we’re at it Sheriff Joe in Arizona - fuck you you fucking puto. How about that? Fuck you,” Lopez said to a cheering audience of 7,000 fans in Los Angeles.

The F-bombs continued.

“You fat mother fucker. Fuck you. I said I was going to talk some shit. Fuck you Sheriff Joe you fucking puto. Fuck you. Fuck you.”

ABC 15 news report from Sunday.

Arpaio was actually flipping channels with his wife Saturday night when he heard the rant full of profanity. Arpaio quickly changed the channel because of all the expletives, not realizing the rant was meant for him.

“I was surprised at the language. It was pretty nasty,” Arpaio said in an interview with Arizona’s ABC15 on Sunday.

“Get some guts, come down here and meet me face to face. Let’s see how you act then,” Arpaio said.

(Arpaio will probably be really busy for the next few weeks because a class-action lawsuit against him begins in a federal court this Thursday.)

“I guess a lot of people cheered when he talked bad about me. I’m sure they’re not going to vote for me, but evidently they like what this guy is saying,” Arpaio said. They must like the F-word, because everything was the F-word. But the people who march against me, they don’t talk those nasty words.”

“What, is he (Lopez) the spokesman for the open border people?” asked Arpaio. “See I can be funny too, now let’s see if he has the guts to meet me and I’ll be happy to take him to a Mexican lunch.”

Arpaio has brought in a record number of donations to his upcoming re-election campaign. According to campaign-finance reports filed late last month he’s raised than $140,000 from Arizona donors and more than $800,000 from out-of-state contributors during the same period. Arpaio has brought in a total amount of more than $6.8 million for his campaign, according to the Arizona Republic.


Rapper Murs Kisses Another Man to Call Out Homophobia in Hip Hop

Rappers Will Smith and Jay-Z came out firmly in support of the LGBT community after President Obama announced his support for gay marriage earlier this year. Now a California rapper has taken it to the next level.

In a video released last week Murs wears a “Legalize Gay” shirt and shares a brief kiss with his on-screen boyfriend.

The video stars Murs who plays a high school teen in a relationship with Jonathan; an openly gay student at his high school. Murs’ character on the other hand keeps his sexuality on the “D.L.”

“Boyfriend Roderick kept his secret closeted/Scared to come out into this world of zero tolerance,” Murs raps.

“With this one I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: Is the love shared by two people of the same gender, really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex?” Murs wrote on YouTube. “And finally, I just felt it was crucial for some of us in the hip hop community to speak up on the issues of teen suicide, bullying, and the overall anti-homosexual sentiment that exist within hip hop culture. I felt so strongly about these issues and this song that I had to do a video that would command some attention, even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable. Even if it came at the cost of my own comfort.”

A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in May found people of color are more likely to support gay marriage than whites with black support at record high. The poll found 59 percent of blacks in the U.S. support same-sex marriage compared to 50 percent of whites.

And one last observation, the title “Animal Style” refers to french fries available at the conservative burger chain In-N-Out. The restaurant has printed citations of Bible passages on cups, wrappers and other pieces of packaging since at least the late 1980s.

House Bill Would Keep Kids of Deported Parents With Families

House Bill Would Keep Kids of Deported Parents With Families

On Thursday, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) introduced legislation to address the rising number of children in foster care as a result of immigration enforcement. The “Help Separated Families Act of 2012” intends to keep children of detained or deported parents united with their families.

A 2011 investigation by Colorlines.com found that there are currently at least 5,100 children in foster care whose parents have been detained or deported.

“This is a great step forward in addressing the human impact of immigration and child welfare policies. Kids and families are waiting for systemic action to prevent tragic separations,” said Rinku Sen, executive director of the Applied Research Center, Colorlines.com’s publisher.

Colorlines.com Readers Caption Pictures of Romney Getting Shade at NAACP Meeting

Surely you’ve read Mitt Romney was booed at the NAACP meeting earlier this week but few covered the endless river of side eye he got from the audience throughout the speech. 

The Colorlines.com post that included photos of the reactions from the audience as Romney delivered his speech has been one of our most popular stories this week. Our readers started submitting their own winning captions of the photos in the comments section with many of them being so brilliant I had to share.

“Those looks were worse than the ones we give people who can’t sing at church,” read the first comment on the story. And the comments and captions just kept on getting better.  

Without further ado, your winning comments:


mittscpeechnaacp02.jpg

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White guy pic number two ” This is worse than that time I went to that Kat Williams show by myself, oh God did she just take my picture?!” -Michael N.

“Everyone is side-eyeing the fuck out of Romney and that one white guy is like “Tell me more!” -ms_mmelissa



faces-romney.jpg
(AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM)

Woman in green: “Is he crazy?” Woman in pink: “Yep. He’s crazy.”  - Christina D.S.

Now I know you DID NOT just say that!” - Naima M.

The Lady in pink, ” You’ve got to be kidding me? He really didn’t mean to say that did he?” for the Lady in green, ” There’s just no way that he could actually think that his statement is real.” -photoshock


Orlando Sentinel: Newly Released Evidence Appears to Favor Zimmerman

Orlando Sentinel: Newly Released Evidence Appears to Favor Zimmerman

George Zimmerman’s integrity has been questioned for the past several weeks because he lied about his finances while under oath in a Florida court. But new documents released by the Florida State Attorney’s Office on Thursday paint George Zimmerman as a “soft guy” with a “little hero complex.”

Several documents released on Thursday include interviews transcript that also argue Zimmerman is neither racist or prejudice. In one interview, a Florida investigator told FBI agents he believed Zimmerman’s actions were based on Martin’s attire rather than skin color.

Zimmerman’s neighbors all said he was not racist. One neighbor called him “culturally rounded” with no racial prejudices.

And the racial slur some say they heard in Zimmerman’s now infamous 911 call, the new records also shed light on that.

ABC News: 

The documents also shed light on Zimmerman’s allegedly racist comment. In his call to Sanford Police that night, Zimmerman is heard muttering under his breath something that to many sounded like “f—-ing coon.” But a Sanford officer told FBI officials about the presence of several local gangs who call themselves goons.

The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeff Weiner and Rene Stutzman who have been following the case closely say the newly released records favor Zimmerman.

That does not match Zimmerman’s version of events. He told police there was a very brief exchange of words, then Trayvon punched him in the nose with such force that he fell to the ground. He said the teenager climbed on top of him and began punching him and pounding his head into a sidewalk.

Most of the new evidence appeared to favor Zimmerman.

A new witness whose name was blacked out told a prosecution investigator March 27 that she saw the fight and that the person on top was the one who wound up dead.

Spam the Homophobic Frank Ocean Haters With Love

Spam the Homophobic Frank Ocean Haters With Love

Jacob Åström has taken the concept of killing people with kindness and turned it in to a website that sends those who have tweeted homophobic remarks about Frank Ocean a reminder: “it’s not who you love - it’s that you love that truly matters.” The Stockholm based web developer created Hatetweetstofrankocean.com to help combat the hate sent to the R&B singer after he announced his first love was with another man.

Earlier this month Ocean announced he was 19-years old when he fell for his male friend. “Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence … until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant,” Ocean wrote on his Tumblr.

Immediately after Ocean published those words he began to re-tweet the homophobic tweets aimed at him. And that’s where Åström and Hatetweetstofrankocean.com comes in.

Visitors to his site can scroll through the gallery of hateful tweets and when compelled can fight the hate with love.

Åström told [Mashable.com] (http://mashable.com/2012/07/09/frank-ocean-homophobic-tweets/) the back-end of the site requires a lot of manual work. His team is filtering through the hateful tweets to Ocean one-by-one and then retweeting them from an account synced to publish on Tumblr.

“I doubt that it is even a millionth of a fraction as tiresome as it is for the actual Frank Ocean, who has to withstand this constant stream of awful tweets,” Åström told Mashable.

Watch New ‘Awkward Black Girl’ Episode ‘The Visit’

Watch New 'Awkward Black Girl' Episode 'The Visit'

The long awaited second episode of “Awkward Black Girl” season two was released Thursday.

Wells Fargo Settles for $175M Over Steering Blacks and Latinos to Subprime Loans

Wells Fargo Settles for $175M Over Steering Blacks and Latinos to Subprime Loans

Wells Fargo and the Justice Department have reached a $175 million settlement agreement over charges that the bank routinely steered black and Latino borrowers into expensive, dangerous subprime home loans throughout the housing bubble.

Wells Fargo has been a standout bad actor among banks, both during the subprime lending boom and the recession it spawned. Watchdogs have shown that Wells Fargo fails to maintain foreclosed properties in black and Latino communities with the same care it does in white neighborhoods, leading to further depression of home values and more blight. Its mortgage servicing arm has been at the center of complaints about banks’ refusal to work with underwater borrowers, despite massive federal incentives. And it is an industry leader among banks that are launching their own versions of payday loans, which are such significant debt traps that the Defense Department has identified them as a national security threat and Congress has barred lenders from making them to servicemembers.

The Justice Department charges that Wells Fargo, which is the nation’s largest originator of home loans, steered tens of thousands of black and Latino borrowers into more expensive loans, while white borrowers with the same credit profile received prime loans. Research has shown that black communities around the country lost hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth during the foreclosure crisis, widening the racial wealth gap to historic proportions.

NBC News: Jesse Jackson Being Treated For Alcoholism in Arizona Facility

NBC News: Jesse Jackson Being Treated For Alcoholism in Arizona Facility

Jesse Jackson Jr.’s representatives have made vague comments about the Congressman’s condition since he disappeared a month ago but several sources who say they are close to the family claim Jackson is battling alcoholism.

A source who identified as a family friend told the local NBC News affiliate in Chicago that the congressman’s problems run much deeper. The anonymous source says Jackson “has severe clinical depression, a drinking problem or a problem with alcohol with treatment at a facility in Arizona.”

Following the NBC News report, Jackson Jr. spokesman Rick Bryant said the information was not 100% correct.

His office issued a statement that provided a few more details:

“The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder,” reads a statement attributed to Jackson’s doctor. “He is responding positively to treatment…”

Both the Governor of Illinois and House Leader Nancy Pelosi have expressed support for Jackson.

“The people of Illinois have good hearts and when someone is dealing with challenges on their health we wish them well and we pray for them,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said at a press conference.

But Ill. Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez are among those pushing Jackson for more information, calling it his responsibility as a public official.


Mitt Romney On NAACP Booing: If They Want ‘More Free Stuff’ They Should Vote For Obama

Mitt Romney On NAACP Booing: If They Want 'More Free Stuff' They Should Vote For Obama

On Wednesday night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported that Mitt Romney responded to being booed at the NAACP by taking a punch at the mostly black audience and saying if they want more free stuff from the government to vote for President Obama.

“Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy, more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free,” Romney reportedly said at a fundraiser in Hamilton, Montana. (HuffPost reports Romney has used the “free stuff” line before.)

Several people have speculated that Romney went in to the NAACP meeting knowing he would get booed so he could carry that experience as a badge of honor.

“If I were a political cynic, I’d wonder whether the Romney campaign wanted to be booed at NAACP,” tweeted DailyBeast contributor David Frum immediately after Romney’s speech.

“It seemed like Mitt Romney wanted to get booed at the NAACP this morning,” Maddow said on her show late Wednesday. “He wanted to wear that around his neck like a badge of courage. It looks like he is not wasting any time in doing so.”

“I think it was a calculated move on his part to get booed at the NAACP convention,” Pelosi said of his speech during an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Romney has now confirmed he expected the boos.

“I think we expected that,” Romney told Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto shortly after his NAACP speech. “I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country, which is that Obamacare is killing jobs,” Romney said.

Earlier Wednesday Romney campaign advisers said they didn’t expect to get the black vote but in the Fox News interview the presumptive GOP Presidential candidate had changed his tune.

“I spoke with a number African American leaders after the event and they said a lot of folks don’t want to say they are not going to vote for Barack Obama but they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve our schools, disappointed in urban policy, disappointed in the economy. (There is) 14.4 percent unemployment among African Americans today. The president has not been able to get the job done. People want to see someone who can get this economy going. I expect to get African American votes.”

Finally Here: Episode 1 of ‘K-Town’ — the Korean ‘Jersey Shore’

Finally Here: Episode 1 of 'K-Town' -- the Korean 'Jersey Shore'

“K-Town,” the reality-TV series created and produced by R&B singer Tyrese Gibson has been in the works since April 2010.

“Asian have always been viewed through the media as either exaggerated stereotypes or the one-dimensional model minority. K-Town is a celebration of what it’s like to be a young Asian in American today,” executive producer Mike Le said in a press release.

“I think a little shame is a good thing at this point,” executive producer Eddie Kim went on to say in the press release.

Romney Allegedly Bussed in 200 Supporters to NAACP to Cheer for Him

Romney Allegedly Bussed in 200 Supporters to NAACP to Cheer for Him

The people you heard cheering for Mitt Romney at the NAACP meeting Wednesday were not all NAACP members, according to several sources who say Romney bussed in an estimated 200 supporters to the gathering. CNN analyst Roland Martin who was present at the NAACP gathering tweeted he saw an estimated 200 people get off Romney busses including Fla. Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll.

“President Obama’s policies are failing us,” Carroll said in a statement on Wednesday. “The African-American unemployment rate increased by almost an entire percentage point last month and, at 14.4 percent, it is almost double that of the nation’s overall unemployment rate. This is simply unacceptable. We cannot settle for another month of nearly nonexistent job creation. President Obama’s policies have made a bad situation worse for struggling African-American families. Fortunately, we can put a stop to these job-killing policies by electing Mitt Romney. Governor Romney understands and knows what it takes to create a favorable environment for job creation, and with his pro-growth agenda, Mitt Romney will steer our country back in the right direction and this direction will help restore prosperity for African American-families.”

The Faces (and Reactions) in the Audience as Mitt Romney Delivered NAACP Speech

mittscpeechnaacp02.jpg (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


faces-romney.jpg (AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM)

Spike Lee Releases Clip From his Michael Jackson Documentary ‘Bad 25’

Spike Lee Releases Clip From his Michael Jackson Documentary 'Bad 25'

The Estate of Michael Jackson announced Tuesday that Spike Lee’s documentary that looks the King of Pop’s “BAD” album and the subsequent worldwide tour is in the final stages of post production. The film’s release is expected to coincide on the 25th anniversary of the album and will be released on September 18th, 2012.

The documentary features over 40 interviews conducted personally by Spike Lee with Jackson’s confidants, choreographers, musicians and other collaborators, including Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green, Martin Scorsese and Sheryl Crow. the project focuses on Jackson’s career around the time of 1987’s BAD album and tour, which both rocked the globe.

“I’m more than just a huge fan of Michael Jackson, and having the chance to actually know him and work with him, I deeply care about his legacy,” Lee said in a statement. “With this “BAD” project I was able to uncover just what made this such a huge, important coming of age in his career and unearth compelling stories surrounding the making of the album, the long awaited follow-up to Thriller - the best selling album of all time - the short films and the tour that may have never seen the light of day.”

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week, Lee said the film includes a “treasure chest of findings” of never before seen footage.

“We have footage in this documentary that no one’s ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff,” Lee said.

Besides the documentary, Lee also plans to hold his now annual birthday tribute to Jackson in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, on Aug. 25; Jackson would have turned 54 this year.

Watch Mitt Romney Get Booed at NAACP Over Obamacare Comments

Watch Mitt Romney Get Booed at NAACP Over Obamacare Comments

Republican Mitt Romney told black voters that he’s a better choice than President Barack Obama to improve black unemployment rates in the U.S. at the NAACP’s annual meeting Wednesday in Houston

But Romney was greeted with boos from attendees Wednesday in Houston when he pledged to repeal “Obamacare.”

On Tuesday Romney’s campaign acknowledged attracting black voters is a long shot. Visit a story published earlier today to read more about Romney’s comments at the NAACP meeting.

Romney’s Campaign Acknowledges Attracting Black Voters is a Long Shot

Romney's Campaign Acknowledges Attracting Black Voters is a Long Shot

Mitt Romney will address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization on Wednesday. Let’s hope it goes better than the interaction he had with the group of black folks in the video above.

Romney is expected to tell the NAACP audience they’ll want to vote for him when they see what’s ‘in my heart.’

“I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for president,” Romney will say, according to his campaign. “I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color — and families of any color — more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president.”

“If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone,” Romney says. “Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way.”

In 2008, Obama captured 95% of the black vote, compared to to 4% for Sen. John McCain. A recent Gallup tracking poll showed just 5% of blacks supporting Romney, compared with 87% for the president. Romney’s campaign acknowledges that attracting more black voters is a long shot.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194