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Until The Bitter End: A Culture Of Secrecy In Search Of My True Heritage

famfeat

Part 3 of 5 in this series: I must warn readers that the contents of this article may be offensive to members of my own family. I believe that right is right and wrong is wrong, and no matter what other’s opinion related to this topic might be, I am only vetted by the spirit which has driven me to underscore the dignity of my mother and biological grandmother in this regard. May peace be upon them.

She was only an 8 year old little girl back then, but my Aunt Roslyn tells me that the first seed was planted within her, some 45 years ago by her mother’s baby brother, who had revealed to her that Sylvania Adele White was her sister. She says that she remembers as if it were only yesterday when her Uncle William (Billy) Johnson Jr. disclosed the shocking details to her one day on a trip to see relatives. Aunt Roxie (as she is affectionate known) tells the story like this: “Uncle Billy was a regular at my mothers house, and would often come by and pick me up to go on road trips to other relatives homes with him. I would always ask if we were going to see Adele. Uncle Billy knew she was my favorite older cousin, and marveled by my excitement to see her, he blurred out to me, ‘well you know she’s your sister don’t you?’

Aunt Roxie says she told Uncle Billy “no way, how could that be?” She says he never fully explained how my mother, who was her favorite older cousin was in fact her sister. She says she told Uncle Billy that she was going to ask her grandmother and aunt about it. She apparently did ask her family how her cousin Adele was her sister. They asked her who told you that? She says she was never allowed to go on road trips with her Uncle Billy again. Nonetheless, that little seed Uncle Billy planted in young Roslyn Christian was only the starting point of continuous probing she would do over the years throughout her life, and until this present day. She never forgot what her Uncle told her, and the physical likeness that her cousin Adele bared in relationship to her mother and herself, was so striking that Roslyn has never let the notion of Adele being her sister rest.

As young Roxie grew into her teen years her inquisitiveness would also grow. She repeatedly questioned her mother as to whether or not Adele was her sister. Roxie says that her mother would often attempt to change the subject, give off color or generic answers, and all while continuously denying that Adele was her sister. Roxie says she was so certain that Adele’s physical likeness to her mother proved that she was in fact her sister, and even became angry and frustrated one day while having a conversation with her mother about it, that she yelled at her mother “somebody is lying,’ and rain off to her bedroom. That wasn’t the last time Roxie says she confronted her mother about Adele being her sister. She recalls asking her mother who was suppose to be Adele’s mother, and when her mom said “Fats” (Dorothy Mae Jones), Roxie told her mother there is no way “Fats” was Adele’s mother. Like my Aunt Roxie, I have always believed that my mother didn’t physically resemble Dorothy Jones (my alleged grandmother) nor any of her children.

At some point my Aunt Roxie became frustrated and tired of hearing the same reply about Adele not being her sister, that she stopped having conversations about it with her mother. Roxie never let the spirit of Adele being her sis die. In fact, upon Dorothy Jones'(Roxie’s mother older sister) death and during her repass, Roxie confronted my mother for the first time asking her if she was in fact her sister. She said that she told my mother that she looked just like her mother (Lois Jean Johnson) and her, and that she looked more like her sister than her cousin. Roxie says my mother never uttered a word. She just simply looked up at her and smiled. Aunt Roxie also said that she remembered as a little girl that when she saw her cousin Adele, my mother would say to her “Roxie your my pretty little sister,” and pick her up and give her a big hug and a kiss. Unfortunately, Aunt Roxie’s mother and my mom both left this earth without ever fully addressing Roxie’s concerns related to whether Adele actually was her sister.

Eye Witness Accounts

Although Aunt Roxie went through life questioning the credibility of her mother and other family members related to the true maternity of my mother, there were obvious signs that Adele’s true identity was being hidden. For instance, interviews have been conducted with people who were there, around my mother, and the Johnson and Christian families that offered very compelling insight which bolsters Aunt Roxie’s claim that Adele was in fact her sister. Chiefly, witness accounts back up Roxie’s position that Adele’s physical likeness to her mother were not only striking, but rather it caused others to question what exactly was the extent of their relationship. One witness states that it was initially rumored that Adele was Lois Jean Johnson’s baby sister, because they looked identical. Then rumors later surfaced that my mom was her Niece, a story which has held for decades until compelling recent developments that stringently challenges what we have been told about my mother’s parentage.

These same witnesses recall the closeness of my mother and Lois Jean Johnson. Adele was known to stay the entire weekend with her on a regular basis. This is something that Adele wasn’t known to have done with any of her six aunts among the Johnson sisters. It’s simply suspicious that Adele, who looked more like Lois Jean Johnson than any of her other children, would have such a close relationship with that particular Aunt. Also, conversations that I have held with all of Dorothy Mae Jones’ (Adele’s alleged mother) surviving children, revealed that Adele was never known to stay at their home. Adele was in fact raised by her grandmother Lettie Johnson. That fact has drawn a volume of interest from younger family members over the years, and has always challenged why Adele wasn’t raised by her own mother (or the woman who reportedly was suppose to be her mother) Dorothy Jones.

Adele’s lack of physical likeness to Dorothy and her children has only recently become a prevalent issue, since the onset of images of Lois Jean Johnson emerging, and having been viewed by my siblings and I for the first time ever. The fact that we had never known Jean or her children our entire lives, perhaps is the most compelling aspect of this entire story that establishes some measure of covert secrecy having been instituted by members of our family. This apparent closely kept (70 year old) family secret began to unravel in 1969 when Roxie was told that Adele was her sister, by her mother’s baby brother. The fact that Roxie never let go of her belief that Adele could possibly be her sister is the very reason we have arrived at this juncture of our family history.

Seeking Out The Truth

Roxie’s stories about her cousin Adele were known by her siblings and her own children as she often shared her beliefs over the years. However, Jean and her children had long since lost contact with her siblings and most of her maternal side of the family. Due to circumstances not quite clear to many within the family, the Johnson sisters were notoriously bitter, and continuously at odds with each other. My argument on this point is supported by statements I obtained during a conversation I had with the oldest, and sole surviving Johnson sister Helen Brooks. My Great Aunt Helen told me that her sisters use to argue so much that it made her sick to her stomach. Helen never did expound upon the extent or the arguments or the premise for them. What is clear, is that many of the Johnson sisters went to their graves with seemingly egregious disdain and tremendous dislike for each other.

So, Aunt Roxie’s beliefs that Adele was her sister got a tremendous boost upon my mother’s passing. When her daughter Dana saw Adele’s obituary she inquired to her mother who she was. When Roxie told Dana that it was her cousin Adele she had talked about over the years, Dana said “well she looks exactly like grandma (Lois Jean Johnson),” and the ball began to roll. Dana who had already been conducting genealogy searches for her father’s family, began to launch a campaign to find her mother’s relatives as well. Dana was successful in locating one of her grandmother sister’s granddaughters, and the path to Adele’s children was obtained. On exactly October 2, 2013 when I first made contact with my cousin Dana, the entire secrecy of my mother’s true identity began to unfold.

What happened next is simply incredible. Dana nor her mother could have in a million years predicted what they discovered. What turned out to just be a quest to locate lost family by them, actually launched the discovery that my siblings and I entire maternal heritage had been a complete fraud. Later on that night when I spoke to Roxie and her daughter Dana for the very first time in my life, I discovered that they in fact were true family members. Roxie’s recollection of my mother and father were on point, and she repeatedly described the unnerving physical resemblance that my mother had of her and her mom. To drive home the point, Dana sent me photographs of her grandmother (Lois Jean Johnson). Upon my receipt of those images, the gig was pretty much up. I knew then that something was drastically wrong regarding what I had been taught about my mother’s family. The likeness was so scary, it was almost as if I had seen a ghost. Even my cousin Dana who researched her maternal genealogy in the image below, possesses an extremely unnerving likeness to my mother, and my siblings and me.

Dana

I immediately forwarded the images to my siblings who echoed my perspective that something was wrong. Upon viewing Lois Jean Johnson’ photographs, my eldest brother subsequently concluded that she was in fact our true grandmother. His position was exacerbated when God placed on my heart that I had contacted my brothers ten years prior regarding my mother’s birth certificate. I hold possession of all of my mother’s vital records, and while organizing storage one day I began to browse through some of her belongings and found her birth certificate. I noticed that it had Otis Adele White listed as her father, and Lois Jean Johnson listed as her mother. Now of course at the time I knew that my allege grandmother had a sister name Jean, but I was so overwhelmed by the shocking discovery of Dorothy Mae Johnson not appearing on her birth certificate, that my memory drew a complete blank. Hell the Johnson family name didn’t even ring a bell.

Due to my excitement and shock, I began to contact my siblings and I stated that I believe momma was adopted. I tried to explain my discovery to them, but what I was trying to convey was so over the top and bizarre to them that they quickly dismissed what I was saying. An argument ensued regarding our mother’s birth record and caused us not to speak for many years. Of course once this incident was conveyed to Roxie and Dana, serious credibility was born related to Lois Jean Johnson actually having given birth to my mother. Dana and I would then go on to engage in a volume of phone discussions as she shared with me the volume of records she had obtained pertaining to our family history. My siblings later apologized to me after realizing that compelling evidence now existed which challenged our mother’s maternity.

The Criminal Aspect Of The Family Secret

Dana’s research of the family dates back to the early/mid 1700’s, but those shocking revelations were overshadowed by the discovery that Lois Jean Johnson was only 10 years older then my mother (Adele). My own personal research of granddaddy Otis White’s birth date revealed that he was 19 years older than my mother. This discovery has since been viewed as potentially the very cause of Adele’s maternity having been concealed. We initially concluded that the social climate during the mid 1940’s was so strict that a 10 year old child having become pregnant would have caused the family to be exposed to tremendous public scrutiny, and at the time of Adele’s birth Lettie Johnson only had two daughter’s of legal child bearing age. The oldest daughter Catherine had just given birth to Veronica several months prior, therefore, Dorothy was named as Adele’s mother.

A volume of witness who were living during that era have conveyed to me that the common practice for such an unheard of situation, dictated that the pregnant minor child had to be sent away until the baby was born. The girls were normally sent to live with relatives in southern rural states where she would bring very little attention to herself. Once the child was born the child mother and the baby would be sent back home, only someone else other than the baby’s real mother would raise the child. Since my mother was actually raised by Lettie Johnson, we believe that this is exactly what occurred in Adele’s case, only the family created the falsehood that Dorothy was Adele’s mother because Jean was just a 10-11 year old child.

If this scenario played out as we believe, it is quite understandable that Adele’s identity would have been concealed due to the stringent social code of that era, but over the years when society began to place less scrutiny on child parenting, it raises serious concerns as to why Adele’s identity wasn’t disclosed in later years when her children and other family members were more mature, and could handle such a disclosure. That’s when further investigation revealed that the Johnson family may have continued to conceal the family secret under duress. Adele’s paternal grandfather Archie Sturdivant was a well known member of organized crime during the 40′ and 50’s in Baltimore. His son Otis White was reportedly a loan shark and ran some of the muscle work to collect debt from people who owed money. Some say that people living in Baltimore during the time would simply do what they were told out of fear of losing there homes or may even have been killed.

These two scenarios are the most probable rationalizations which caused our mother and maternal grandmother to not only conceal their true relationship to each other, but they literally took such a closely kept secret into their deaths. Regardless if the pressures of a stick societal code or fear of retaliation from would be gangsters is what actually caused their identities to be obscured, the fact remains that at the very minimum my maternal grandfather raped a ten year old child, which resulted in the birth of my mother Sylvania Adele White. Something extraordinary must have transpired if my calculation of the facts are accurate. If Otis Adele White is in fact my mother’s biological father as we believe, then it’s simply incredible that he could have fathered a child with a ten year old little girl, and not only maintain a relationship with the child he produced under these circumstances, but some how having his middle name given to the child. The fact that there apparently was no criminal charges ever filed against him supports my belief that some unique arrangements were possibly established related to my mother’s birth.

Rejection Of The Truth

The sudden disclosure of my mother’s true parentage has not come without controversy. Despite very compelling discovery related to this matter, there are people within our family who remain in disbelief that Adele is in fact the biological daughter of the late Lois Jean Johnson. I also believe that there are family members who know the truth and have refused to share what knowledge they have regarding this family secret. During my dialogue with many of them who I suspect of concealing pertinent facts related to my mother’s parentage, I discovered a volume of inconsistencies in much of what I was told. Notwithstanding the fact that anyone with good vision who has interacted with both Jean and Adele, couldn’t possibly ignore their physical likeness, and most certainly should have questioned whether or not Adele was Jean’s daughter. My siblings and I saw images of Lois Jean Johnson nearly 70 years after my mother’s birth for the very first time, and it was instantly clear to us that Jean was our mother’s real mom.

Others have even sought to attack me personally on social media for expressing my views regarding our family’s social history. Some may even view my Aunt Roslyn and my cousin Dana as trouble makers for stirring up such controversy within the family. That perspective couldn’t be more further from the truth. Aunt Roslyn and cousin Dana have admitted that the revelations which have derived from our establishing contact with each other, are not only shocking but were never anticipated by them. Dana grew up hearing her mom’s stories about her cousin Adele her entire life. My mother’s obituary finally revealed to Dana what her mother had been saying for years. When Dana saw the obituary for the first time, she asked her mom who it was, and when she learned that it was the infamous cousin Adele her mother had been talking abut for years, she immediately said “well mama she looks just like grandma (Lois Jean Johnson).” Not only that, but Aunt Roslyn nor Dana knew that my brothers and I had fallen out over our mother’s birth record prior to them having caught up with us, and when Jean’s other direct descendants finally met the hidden ones (my mother’s children), all of this simply came out into the open.

With that being said, it’s very strange that once Dana saw Adele’s picture for the first time, and when my brothers and I saw Jean’s picture for the first time, that we all collectively became suspicious and continuously interacted while engaging in fact finding measures until we all arrived at the conclusion, that our mother’s true identity had been concealed for some reason for nearly 70 years. Now that these extremely troubling facts have been disclosed, I will not rest until our mother’s dignity has been fully restored. One of the most disturbing details of this incredible story is attempting to simply imagine not being able to embrace a mother or a daughter to the extent of their real biological relation. My oldest brother has taken serious issue with this element of the story, and believes that our mother and biological maternal grandmother both are entitled to the dignified announcement of their true identities, even if it’s only in their deaths, and I concur with his perspective.

When I first began to experience resistance from members of my family regarding who my mom’s real mother was, I thought that I was only encountering the dysfunction which has permeated our family for decades. However, when family members are heartless enough and lack compassion by conveying to you “nobody cares,” and realizing that it’s your mother that they’re talking about, it’s a natural reaction to want to get in their behinds over it. Ironically, some of the same family members either don’t know who their true parents are, or are rumored to have been fathered by some other relative within the same family. Now is this an Indictment that I am casting on my own family? Of course not, but when you tell me as a family member that “nobody cares” who my mother’s biological mother was, it speaks volumes about the depth of our relationship, and renders you to be insignificant from that day forward.

I have come to realize over the years that my family consist of various factions. My great grandmother’s six daughters (the seventh daughter Aunt Helen can’t be included, because she was raised by my great great grandmother, Mary Scott in Charlottesville, Virginia) were completely dysfunctional. I have heard this my entire life, and has often been offered as the sole rationalization as to why my siblings and I never met many of our great aunts. Additionally, the eldest of the Johnson siblings and the sole survivor, Helen Brooks confirmed what I had been hearing my entire life regarding how they didn’t get along. Therefore, the family is broken up into factions which are predicated on who got along with who. A perfect example is how we never met Jean nor any of her children, despite the fact that she was our biological grandmother. Hell, we had never saw a picture of our real grand mother util our late 40’s and early 50’s. The woman who was suppose to be my grandmother Dorothy Mae Johnson, didn’t get along with Lois Jean Johnson, according to some of her children. I was told that “Fats'” (Dorothy) kids didn’t interact with Jeans kids, because every time they would come around their mother would always say those bitches and mother “f#*@ers. Also, there are cousins that I lived down the street from for years who had been interacting with my Aunt Roslyn and some of her sisters, and never told me who they were. Consequently, I walked passed many of my first cousins on the street and never knew who they were for years.

Due to our cousin Dana’s diligence, she was successful in contacting at least one relative of every sibling allegedly born to the late Lettie and William Johnson. Despite many of us having grown up not ever having met great aunts and other Johnson family members, we have now began to meet and learn about cousins we never met before, or only heard about their parents over the course of our lives. The dysfunction and disruption of the Johnson siblings has lasted for decades, and while other family members were impacted by such a broken heritage, I can’t help not to think that perhaps Jean Johnson was purposefully hidden from Adele’s children, with her consent. How else do you explain us not ever having seen her picture our entire lives until now? It almost seems as if the tremendous resistance to our discovery of Lois Jean Johnson’s significance to the Adams boys was never suppose to have occurred. I am very troubled by the fact that the very same petty bitterness, ignorance, and dysfunction which has prohibited our family from bonding, is continuing to occur until this present day by descendants of some of the very people who went to their graves with animosity toward their own siblings. The truth has been revealed now, and even the stringent toxicity of our family dysfunction can’t change the facts.

The Fall Out From Family Fraud

There are those people both publicly and within my family who are prepared to arrive at the basic resolve that these kinds of stories are indigenous to black families due to slavery and other social factors that have impacted black people since the onset of our nation. I wish that could look upon this entire ordeal with such broad stroke of apathy related to my lineage. The fact of the matter is that our mother left this earth not able to acknowledge her biological mother, while having to resort to calling her sister her mother. She never shared this with any of her children and the obvious reality that we will never know directly from her why she concealed her identity is unacceptable. you would think that the so called family members who know the truth and say that they love us, would break their silence and tell us what they know. The fact that they either fail or refuse to do so, in my mind, has changed the course of our family for ever.

Moreover, this “family secret” and it’s fraudulence has come at a price to my siblings and I. I could accept this discovery better if Jean only had one or two children, but she had 9 children other than my mother. Of the nine kids there were six girls and three boys. Our Aunts Barbara, Linda, Deborah, Myra, and uncles Tyrone, Jippy, and Pooh have already gone on to be with the lord. Only aunt Roslyn and Rosetta remain. We will never have the privilege of knowing our mother’s other siblings. It’s disturbing and anyone in our family who can not empathize with us having realized that our entire maternal heritage has been nothing but a complete fraud, is not family, and quite frankly can just go straight to hell.

The enormity of having 26 first cousins that we had never met is actually still settling in. Last year I met many of the Scott/Johnson 5th and 6th generation descendants during the Thanksgiving Holiday. I was amazed at the level of social accord without the typical arguing, drinking, and drug usage usually displayed by my maternal side of our family. While I’m simply utilizing my literary prowess to further expose our family secret to resurrect my mother and biological grandmother’s dignity, there will be those who will emerge once again criticizing my posture. Those efforts like the last will also fall, because at the end of the day, the fraudulence of telling Adele’s kids that Dorothy Mae Jones (God rest her soul) was Adele’s mother, severs our direct bloodline to the family. I will fight tooth and nail until death to eradicate such an untruth from existence. Jean Lois Johnson is Adele’s direct link to the Scott/Johnson family and this must be known by Adele’s children, their descendants, and onward. We can only thank God for finally bringing us out of the darkness and into the light.

To Be Continued –

The People’s Champion
I’m David Adams

NYPD Knew Rogue Chokehold Cop Had Integrity Issues: 350 Pound Man Heard Repeatedly Saying “I Can’t Breathe” While Cop Choked Him To Death

Icantbreathe

The smear campaign has already began, while NY police and their union officials covertly and deliberately try to tarnish and negatively impact the character of 43-year-old Eric Garner who died during a confrontation with cops in Staten Island. All in an attempt to overshadow what the whole entire world has seen, cops choking a black man to death and allowing him to lay on the ground unassisted for nearly eight minutes until he died. If you listen to the police’ version, Garner is depicted as a scumbag criminal who resisted arrest, and was responsible for causing his own death. His crime? Cops allege that he sold illegal (untaxed)  loose cigarettes. It’s a crime almost guaranteed not to make the six o’clock news, and a petty offense most cops wouldn’t even deem worth writing a criminal citation for. Now suddenly, there are rumors circulating around that Eric Garner had a history of confrontations with NYPD regarding the untaxed cigarette solicitation beef that subsequently led to his death. Only this time the entire ordeal was captured on a video for all to see.

In the cellphone video recorded by an eyewitness, dialogue from cops to Garner are barely audible, but Garner is clearly agitated, and reveals that cops are accusing him of selling something. He is also seen describing what he calls harassment by police, who he says continuously stops him. Garner practically begs cops to leave him alone. Although Garner was visibly agitated, he made no gestures which could be interpreted as acts of aggression toward the police or anyone else. The video clearly shows that barring Garner’s claims that cops suspected him of illegal solicitation, no probable cause for his arrest existed. The cops never asked for his identification nor conducted a pre-arrest pat down or search of Garner. For some reason the cops simply defaulted to exacting an arrest of him midway of their field interview. More importantly, cops never attempted to deescalate the tension that existed which caused Garner to be highly agitated. If sufficient cause existed for his arrest, calming Garner down should have been paramount to avoid a physical confrontation with him and police personnel during the process of restraining him with handcuffs. It’s just not smart to attempt to take down a 300 plus pound man in such a highly agitated state. Police are trained to insure their own personal safety as well as that of the public while making an arrest.

The fact that Garner posed no threat to police nor the public during the incident, highlights how cops clearly were the aggressors who were looking for a confrontation. Instead of calming Garner down the cops honed in on him, and when Garner lifted his arms in resistance, a NYPD officer put Garner in a choke hold and forced him down on to the ground. Eric Garner who is asthmatic can clearly be heard stating “I can’t breathe” at least five times, but an officer is seen continuously applying the choke hold, and completely ignoring Garner’s statements of distress revealing his inability to breathe. Garner is eventually placed in handcuffs, and appeared to be unconscious and non responsive on the ground. No NYPD officer attempted to ascertain whether or not Garner could actually breathe (one officer told an onlooker that “he’s breathing”), attempt CPR on Garner, nor any other form of first aid which they are trained and required to perform. In fact, a close and thorough observation of the entire video reveals that cops may have realized that Garner wasn’t breathing at all, and began to conduct damage control and limit the public’s ability to view the scene. Various police officials are seen and overheard directing the public back away from the area where Garner was taken to the ground by cops. None of the onlookers were close enough to impede or disrupt cop’s ability to tend to Garner, but for those familiar with police tactics in New York, it was clear that Garner was in very serious trouble as he lay on the ground.

The eyewitness’ video lasted about seven minutes and thirty five seconds (7:35). The EMS arrived four minutes into the incident, and of the four paramedics who responded to the scene, only one of them attempted to ascertain Garner’s health status. She simply took his pulse and advised cops that he was breathing. Police and EMS attempt to arouse Garner by asking him questions and giving him commands, but as Garner lay motionless on the ground, it’s highly doubtful that the EMS official’s claim that he was breathing, was in fact true.  On the video Garner appeared to be unconscious, unresponsive, and not breathing at all. None of the trained EMS officials on the scene attempted to administer CPR or even give Garner oxygen. That was a tremendous error and may have been the deciding element of this entire tragic case that resulted in Eric Garner’s death. The four EMS workers have since been placed on administrative suspension without pay, and the cop who put Garner in a choke hold had his badge and gun taken, while he was placed on routine desk duty. Although it appears that swift action was taken against the trained EMS workers and one NYPD police officer, there is still concern that the death of Eric Garner will slip under the radar as many cop involved deaths do within the NYPD. Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who appeared to put Garner in the chokehold, had to turn in his badge and his gun. Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, called that decision by the police department “completely unwarranted” and “absolutely wrong” in a statement.

Public concern largely centers around recent reports that officer Pantaleo has had complaints of misconduct filed against him on seven separate occasions in his 8 year stint with the NYPD. Pantaleo was actually sued in two of those incidents for violating the civil rights of people he has arrested, one in which NYPD paid $30,000.00 to settle a suit. In the first case, two men — Darren Collins and Tommy Rice said that Pantaleo and another officer strip-searched them on a Staten Island street, in the middle of the day, after pulling them over. According to the 2012 lawsuit, Pantaleo and his colleague handcuffed Collins and Rice and then “pulled down the plaintiffs’ pants and underwear, and touched and searched their genital areas, or stood by while this was done in their presence.” In the first case, two men — Darren Collins and Tommy Rice — said that Pantaleo and another officer strip-searched them on a Staten Island street, in the middle of the day, after pulling them over. According to the 2012 lawsuit, Pantaleo and his colleague handcuffed Collins and Rice and then “pulled down the plaintiffs’ pants and underwear, and touched and searched their genital areas, or stood by while this was done in their presence.” 

The details of the second lawsuit, which is still pending, are a bit unclear. The Advance reports that a man named Rylawn Walker sued Pantaleo this past winter for arresting him even though he was “committing no crime at that time and was not acting in a suspicious manner.” Walker, who faced marijuana charges that were later thrown out, also claims that Pantaleo “misrepresented facts in the police reports and other documents that the plaintiff had committed offenses when in fact this was not true.” The veteran cop’s jacket paints a disturbing image of a rogue police officer who has integrity issues. Pantaleo’s alleged tendency to be dishonest will probably be less relevant in the Garner case, since there is video of the arrest. Still, the odds of Pantaleo losing his job — or even getting suspended from it — appear slim, at least based on the NYPD’s history of handling chokehold complaints. However, those police disciplinary practices were under Commissioner Ray Kelly’s watch during the Mike Bloomberg administration.

With a new Chief  of Police and a new mayor who ran on an election campaign platform to overhaul the NYPD (primarily due to “stop and frisk”), the jury is still out in the eyes of public opinion, intensely waiting to seen if  the old NYPD tactics will actually change. Sadly, Garner’e death is like a scene from Sipke Lee’s epic film “Do The Right Thing,” which depicts NYPD cops choking character “Radio Raheem” to death on a New York street over a boom box radio. If NYPD’s response is any indication as how this will all play out, it’ doesn’t look very promising for the family and friends of Eric Garner. Initial NYPD reports indicate that Garner wasn’t in much distress, despite the video recording clearly capturing Garner telling cops that he couldn’t breathe. Police officials even omitted the fact that officer Pantaleo had used a chokehold on Garner during his arrest. The city’s medical examiner hasn’t even made a final determination as to how Eric Garner died.

Many believe that the entire case could go in any direction considering that it’s the NYPD involved in this case, it just depends on how the District Attorney wants to spin the case. If Pantaleo walks with no serious discipline in this case, it sets the stage for a new brand of injustice, as cops will now be able to kill private citizens and have those actions captured on recording, and still face no serious reprisals from departmental brass when clear violations of departmental policy have been established. Based on his past history, officer Pantaleo is a dirty cop and the NYPD new about it, and allowed him to remain on the force. Now a man is dead, and the video recording erases all possibilities for Pantaleo to lie his way out of this one. He was caught on tape using an illegal chokehold on a man that had long since been banned by NYPD. Many are curious to see what excuse or rationalization NYPD uses to keep him on the force now. What a tragic story!

 

 

The People’s Champion 

I’m David Adams  

 

Sources:

New York Daily News

The Washington Post

New York News & Politics  

The Key To Saving America’s Black Youth: North Jersey Town Actions Textbook Example On How To End Gun Violence In Wake Of Preteen’s Killing

FOIfeat

It was only suppose to have been a short trip to a local convenience store for some apples. For a 12 year old little girl named after the first book of the Holy Bible, it would be like a curse of the forbidden fruit as depicted in the story of Adam and Eve, as the trip to the store turned tragic, and the last time many who knew and loved young Genesis Rincon would ever see her alive again. The cops have name three suspects who they say exchanged gunfire, ultimately striking the preteen in the head. Her sister who accompanied her to the store could only watch in horror as Genesis bleed to death on a Patterson New Jersey street. None of the young men in custody who range in age from 19-21 have accepted responsibility for young Genesis’ slaying. While the cops sort it all out, an innocent child has now been interned at her final resting place. Another tragic story highlighting how black youth continuously fall prey to gun violence.

Patterson’s notoriously violent fourth ward is not unique when it comes to gun violence. Other towns across the nation such as Wilmington Delaware, Richmond Virginia, Newark and Camden New Jersey, along with Detroit and Flint Michigan, Chicago Illinois, Atlanta and Stone Mountain Georgia just to name a few, have all arrived as American cities with serious violent crime that have suddenly began to snuff out the life of young children of color at an extremely alarming rate. In many instances the killings are a direct result of a kid simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and being caught in the cross hairs of gun violence when rival factions clash on the streets of our nation, resulting in a hail of gunfire which seems to erupt without warning, and claiming the lives of innocent unsuspecting children such as in the Genesis Rincon killing. Genesis’ killing garnered national attention for reasons I’ll explain later in this article, but gun violence in other U.S. cities have reached epidemic and biblical proportions causing politicians to consider seeking help from state and federal military personnel to insure public safety.

Chicago is a classic example of gun violence gone completely out of control. During the same week that the Genesis child was gunned down, Chicago had one of the most violent weekends in the town’s history. During a span of 84 hours, 87 people were shot in Chicago while 14 of those were fatal shootings. There is a trend of multiple shootings in Chicago which cops and politicians seemingly are unable to curtail. The open air gun violence in Chi-town is so severe that at the heights of Chicago’s Gangland era, where violent thugs like Al Capone and Buggs Moran were major crime figures, the highest volume of killings only reached 43 people over a thirty day period. The shootings, and other violence in modern day Chicago have the potential of obtaining those figures in a single weekend. The violence has left Mayor Emanuel no other alternative but to consider turning policing authority over to state and national military personnel. Chicago appears to be headed toward curfews while soldiers patrol the streets of Chi-town with M-16 assault rifles, in an effort to protect the public and stop the killing.

The minimal media coverage that the Chicago shooting epidemic has obtained raises a volume of questions as to why shootings and killings have spiked in the past five years. Politicians and police officials blame the violence on drug war turf battles. The Mexican cartels reportedly have set up shop in Chicago and other mid west towns, causing major problems for many undeveloped low income and impoverished communities that produce young people who see the drug trade as the only viable remedy to overcome poverty, and to provide for their struggling families. The other concern that many observers are asking, is where are the weapons coming from. The availability of fire power on the streets of Chicago and other U.S. cities is simply staggering, and while the NRA and other gun rights advocacy groups continue to beat the drum for 2nd Amendment Rights to bare arms, young children are being gunned down all across America.

The epidemic of gun violence across America has landed in suburbia U.S.A. and other small urban communities, like Wilmington Delaware, whose murder rate has spiked so severely that there has been two documentaries about the violence broadcast nationally. In one epic discussion related to Wilmington’s dying youth, a mother galvanizes the plight that urban youth face with a harsh reality. “So many funerals,” the mother decries, seemingly posing the obvious question. When will the killing of young black children end. Whether it’s in Chicago, Wilmington, Richmond Virginia, or Flint Michigan, the killing of young people on the violent streets of America seem to arise from the ashes of a post civil rights era that wants saw black America united, fighting for equal pay, decent housing, and fair treatment. Those days are now long gone, and for the most part, so is the “Dream” that Dr. Martin Luther King once exclaimed. Many young black children live in poor communities where gun violence and a systemic culture of crime reigns as the most prevalent aspect of urban life that many school aged children must face on a daily basis. The reality of a child knowing that they could be gunned down in their own community on their way to or from school, is a normality that children have become far to familiar with.

So whose doing the killing? Many of the young men embroiled in the criminal justice system with serious gun, and violence charges are from the very communities where tragedies like the Rincon kid occurred. It’s tough to even consider that a young man would fire a gun indiscriminately with no regard for the lives of others who may be in proximity of such violence. For years violent criminals who terrorize communities have killed innocent children who were simply engaged in child’s play within their communities when gunfire erupted, leaving behind a vicious cycle of carnage, and grieving families forced to bury their young. In many instances these gun toting violent thugs often times escape capture, while those within the community who witness such horrible crimes stand by silently and never communicate to the authorities what they know. While the tragedy of senseless gun violence should awaken society to continuously fight to have such perpetrators jailed and brought to justice, those who reside in the communities where these kinds of crimes occur regularly have an even greater obligation to their children, family, community, and to themselves to make diligent efforts to protect their kids, and help end the vicious cycle of gun violence within their communities.

Not only that though, some of the homes where these violent criminals emerge are very instrumental in aiding the perpetuation of violent culture. The value systems, if any at all, that many adults instill within young black people are in many instances the very premise from which violence originates. Also, many of these same kids lack basic guidance, and are permitted to roam the streets at all times of night without any reprisals from their parents or guardians. Young people who are given so much freedom with access to the streets are destined for trouble. So, while many within the black community are angered by the level of senseless violence and those cowardice thugs who commit such heinous crimes, a mirror would serve as the perfect juxtaposition to reveal exactly where the majority of the blame for such violent culture should rightfully be placed. These ignorant, violent, uneducated, and murderous black bastards derived from within the black community itself, and any efforts being made to quell such violence must establish on the very same streets in the black community where these crimes occur, as ground zero to even began to end the culture of violence epidemic.

All of Black America could gain valuable insight from the town of Patterson New Jersey into how to effectively deal with violent thugs who shoot and kill our innocent babies. By the time Jhymiere Moore, 19, who was accompanied by his mother, turned himself in on July 8, 2014, cops had already issued a warrant for his arrest. The warrant developed on the heels of a volume of tips from within the public that fingered Moore as one of the potential suspects in the case responsible for killing young Genesis Rincon.  In fact all three suspects now in custody for the Rincon youth slaying were aided by tips from the public. Once word spread within the Patterson community about the killing of the 12-year-old little girl, hundreds of citizens marched on Town Hall demanding justice for young Genesis. It was an act rarely seen related to a killing within the black community, but also maybe an indication that the reign of terror once enacted upon poor black people by violent gun toting thugs is now over. The code on the street is to keep silent, and at all cost, never talk to the police. In Patterson New Jersey at least, that old “code of silence” means nothing when our children are being slaughtered within their own community for no other provocation other being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The actions of Paterson New Jersey citizens is crystal clear. Through the leadership of local clergy and other community leaders in Patterson, the message was sent that you will not kill innocent young people in our community without consequence. The killing of this young child has cause tremendous community outreach, and the churches have launched the G-12 movement (named after 12-year-old Genesis). The movement involves the church ad other community groups adopting a 12 block span in the community where the Rincon youth was killed. The cowards were turned in to the cops, and by my best estimation, that’s exactly how things should turn out every time an innocent kid is gunned down senselessly. Turn them in, and maybe they’ll think twice before firing a gun on a crowded street where children roam. They deserve to be locked up forever, and our community should stop enabling these violent bastards.

At TPC press time for this article, vigils were being held all across Chicago for 11 -year-old Shamiya Adams who was gunned down while attending a sleepover in Chicago.

Girl slain at sleepover among 22 shooting victims

 

Sources:

Chicago Tribune

NJ.com

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

Short Tempered Town Marred By Senseless Violence: Woman Charged With Intentionally Running Over Another Woman And Two Children In Baltimore.

mints

The early morning hours of Charm City during the humid summer months has a grissley view, while a thick cloud of dust hoovers the streets, and the glaring street lights barely penetrates through the smoggish backdrop of one the most violent cities in America. Baltimore has seen it’s share of violent crimes, some dating back far as the civil war, when 150 Union soldiers were once slaughtered after confederate troops learned of a south bound train carrying union military personnel. The ensuing melee is historically known as the Baltimore riots. The carnage of death that has plagued the city for centuries may explain the town’s perceived darkness through the poetic works of one of it’s most famed and prominent citizens, Edgar Allen Poe, whose poetry was seen as too dark and eerie for most Batimoreans during his era. Even Poe himself died under very questionable circumstances. Many believe that his writings elicited so much fear, that he may have been poisoned at a local downtown pub. Poverty, poor education, and a service oriented job market creates a very harsh and rigid lifestyle for many families who call Baltimore Home.

The sound of gunfire, police sirens, and the bright lights of helicopters scanning city streets in the dark of the night are all byproducts of social unrest that often times result in bloodshed, as a volume of young people, primarily african american youth, fall prey to vicious violent crimes. As a native Baltimorean I know all to well the scene of police tape, bloodstained pavements, and the piercing sounds of grief that echos from the crowd of loved ones of the deceased, who’s sprawled out on the ground like a redundant script from a made for television mob movie. Some how, death seems to be an acceptable element of living in a diverse culture that includes a melting pot of immigrants from all over the world. Baltimore isn’t unique when considering the disturbing cause of it’s violence juxtapose to other cities in the nation with parallel issues of crime and social discord of epidemic proportions. It’s the consistency of violence that has been the town’s signature for decades that perhaps creates a necessary discussion regarding politics and policing that must be addressed. Violent criminal behavior once a marquee for males, has evolved into a spike of female defendants who perpetrate heinous crimes on a volatile plateau where no one is immune.

The recent vicious attack by a 28-year-old woman name Lucresha Mints, who is accused of intentionally running down three people in West Baltimore on May 27, killing two of them, including a toddler, is perhaps indicative of an alarming trend by some women possessing the willingness to met out uncharacteristic brutality with a “no limit” mindset where no regard for human life is considered, even for small children. The scene of the West Franklin street killing is just a stone’s throw away from the Edgar Allen Poe home landmark, and creates a juxtaposition for horror, embodied in Baltimore’s historical tradition of darkness and despair. The circumstances surrounding the westside killing isn’t quite clear, but what is known, police say, Mints got into an argument with Latoya Skipwith in the 1900 block of W. Franklin St., then got into her vehicle and intentionally drove onto the sidewalk, striking Skipwith and two children. Joshua Carter Jr. 2, was killed, while 7-year-old Nevaeh Green was injured.

Skipwith also died in the attack and sources say that Mints was involved in a relationship with a man that Skipwith was also seeing romantically. The dispute between the rival lovers apparently grew violent, as witnesses at the scene say that Mints intentionally drove onto the sidewalk striking the woman while she had the small children with her. Mints who apparently had a criminal past also may have had a propensity for violence, while cops say she was already out of jail on a $100,000.00 dollar bond on charges that she and two relatives attacked a 12-year-old girl her daughter did not get along with. Though she is charged with using a car to kill Skipwith and Carter, court officials added that Mints does not have a driver’s license and has only had a learner’s permit since January. The attack is simply the latest in what can only be described as a cowardice and disgusting act of violence indigenous to the city of Baltimore. The tragedy of this crime spans much further than the hearts for loved ones of the deceased, but Mints herself has children of her own ages 5 and 11. The mindset which drives an individual to kill is a phenomenon, and the fact that the allege perpetrator in this crime is also a mother, elicits a tearful reality many fail to understand why.

The basic everyday living in Baltimore is difficult with it’s intense social climate. Just simple accidentally bumping into someone in passing on the streets, or stepping on someone’s shoes in a nightclub, are unfortunate instances that have been known to often times erupt into deadly gun violence. The code on the streets dictate violent options by default as the appropriate conflict resolution strategy. A kill or be killed mentality is the ruling cultural practice for citizens who view violence as normal as lacing up their sneakers. Those unfamiliar with subcultural standards of Baltimore’s relentless brutality and disregard for human life, suffer from a shock effect of such deplorable violence against innocent children, while sadly local communities resolve to a numbness of this kind of violence for which they’ve lived countless times over. Fortunately in this crime, Mints was successfully taken into custody. The homicide cold case file for Baltimore police runs deep, with a disturbing list of unsolved murders and other violent crimes that is unnervingly sickening. Baltimore has rightfully been dubbed a town where it’s easy to get away with murder.

The debate surrounding the deadly cycle of violence in Baltimore is old news and politicians, police, and city leaders alike continuously fail to cure the epidemic of violent crime. The fierce evilness and acceptance of violence by the town’s citizens is a dilemma which spans centuries, and the arrival of such calculating, callous, and heartless criminals enacting brutality within the city’s culture, which enables a mother to intentionally kill children, only depicts the dire necessity for change, or strategies to quell violent crimes that captures the most vulnerable within our society between the crosshairs of deadly conflict. This crime is a very sad commentary, and the quest for civility has never beckoned a greater outcry for change. A line from Poe’s poetry, “Never more, quotive the Raven” is like a wishful anecdote desired to end Baltimore’s reign of darkness and terror.

 

toddler

Two year old Joshua Carter was slain when a woman intentionally drove onto the sidewalk on a West Baltimore street striking the tot and two others with her vehicle.

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

 

 

 

TPC Responds To The Franklin Times News Article: Poor Journalism Misleading The Public In Youth’s Criminal Case

TPCfeat

As a writer it’s imperative that any readership finds articles, blog post, or other print media they consume to be absolutely credible from those media organizations that society relies on for hard news, while this established trust helps sustain it’s following. Some reporters along with their editors and publishing executives believe that simply echoing a few quotes from interviewees is actually sound journalism, but the responsibility doesn’t just rest there. Those within our society who are charged with the task of churning out newsworthy content to the masses, have been bestowed with a sacred trust, as gatekeepers of society in the ever evolving age of information and technology. Since most media agencies are in the industry for profit, a balance between factual news reporting and sensational journalism must be sustained. Often times the priority of the business aspect of media spills over into news content requiring intensive fact finding, and some information becomes sensationalized to the extent that reporter’s communication through mass media results in misleading news stories. In the real world of news reporting, information will become distorted, misinterpreted, and frequently void of accuracy. Like any other profession, things just happen.

This perspective is entirely necessary for grasping the premise for this article’s discussion on journalistic practices, when hard news becomes a focal interest of readers seeking media content surrounding human interest stories, and other news information that directly impacts public safety of readership within the immediate culture from which such news content derives. Failure to adhere to certain journalistic standards is a direct violation of the public’s trust who absorb information from media as consumers. I can best describe the argument of breaking the public’s trust through the example of the O.J. Simpson trial, when Detective Mark Furman perjured himself on the witness stand, by lying to the court regarding his usage of the “N-word.” The scene of the tape being played in open court was a defining moment in American culture, that put the integrity of brave men and women working as police officers everywhere, on trial. Prior to Furman’s implosion, white Americans had rarely witnessed the manner in which police tell lies to obtain a conviction of criminal defendants, but the black community had no shock effect at all because that community had long endured such misconduct as an established cultural practice by the police.

With that being said, it brings me to the heart of my discussion for this article. On yesterday I read a news article that was published in The Franklin Times in North Carolina, written by staff writer Carry Johnson. In the article Johnson depicts culminating moments in the Shannon Nyamodi criminal case where the youth pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in a plea arrangement. Johnson describes disturbing statements from the Nyamodi youth’s aunt Brenda Nyamodi, who alleged that Shannon was brought up in a turbulent household of abuse, and was subjected to maltreatment. “He had a difficult home life and there was neglect,” Johnson quotes the aunt. It’s a quote from a relative of the defendant, and I can understand Johnson’s desire to report her comments, but somewhere journalistic instinct should have arrived, initiating a desire to get confirmation of the aunt’s statements. The article didn’t contain a rebuttal comment from Shannon’s parents or any documents within public records to support that he or his siblings fr that matter, had been abused. If the allegations are true, an attempt should have been pursued to qualify the comments. I spoke with Elizabeth Crudup (Shannon’s mother) at length regarding her sister’s statements in court, and she categorically denied the allegations. The statements were sensational and the writer ran with it to print without even investigating Brenda Nyamodi’s claims. Had he done so, he would have discovered a strained relationship between the siblings that dates back to their early years of development.

Johnson goes on in the article to perpetuate untruths related to the case that his print media organization has continually published since the news story first broke. He writes a number of quotes attributed to defense attorney Maitri Klinkosum that are dispelled within the prosecutor’s own record on file in the case. The most significant quote from Klinkosum is, “The reason that we’re not going to trial,” Klinkosum said, “is that some of the texts are pretty damning.” The prosecution has always alleged that Shannon and the victim’s daughter had conspired to kill the teen girl’s mother and rob her. Assistant District Attorney Kristin Peebles said investigators were able to get their hands on text messages between the two which were pretty telling. However, when I spoke to Mr. Johnson personally over the phone regarding his article, he seemed to believe that prosecutors had text message exchanges between the two from cell phones. Base on his understanding of the evidence alleged against Shannon Nyamodi and the teen girl, I knew that Johnson had never viewed the search warrant affidavit in the case file. I asked Johnson had he ever seen these text messages, and he replied “no.” The writer’s lack of knowledge regarding these crucial facts in this horrible crime spoke volumes of his lack of journalistic prowess related to basic corroboration of  pertinent facts for his article.

In the weeks and days following this crime, Carry Johnson wrote a series of articles in The Franklin times related to this case and spewed the very same untruthfulness about Shannon Nyamodi having conspired with Rhonda Maclean’s 15-year-old daughter. He conducted no research into police allegations that they received from sources who implicated Shannon. Johnson’s article read, “According to investigators, the incident was set in motion weeks before as they allege the girl and Nyamodi exchanged text messages, setting up the hit.” He admittedly stated that he has never seen these alleged text messages, and I doubt very seriously if Johnson ever asked to see them. If the authorities would have denied him access to them, he could have obtained a freedom of information request to obtain them. I mean, if the text were “very damning” as Klinkosum alleges, any intelligent person would think that police and prosecutors would have wanted the entire world to see them, while confirming that Shannon Nyamodi was in fact guilty. These text have never been made public, and as a journalist Johnson should have been proactive in determining why. The below images should resolve why these alleged text messages have never been made public:

 

FBWResult1

State Bureau of Investigations Search Warrant affidavit obtained for the Facebook accounts of both Shannon Nyamodi and the victim’s daughter. The investigator’s findings are very damning, not for Shannon Nyamodi, but rather the prosecutor’s entire case against this young defendant. Without the link between them which sources allege was a conspiracy, there is no motive, nor probable cause to even arrest shannon.

FBWResults

The Search Warrant affidavit clearly reveals that in fact, no Facebook text exchanges ever transpired between Shannon and the teen girl. Additionally, the investigator didn’t even turn his findings in until nearly 3 months after August 27, 2012 which was the date he made the discovery that no text were exchange between the pair.

 

Yet, Mr. Johnson is completely comfortable with writing quotes in his articles for The Franklin Times, from lawyers who are in fact lying to him. This document is the entire case against Shannon Nyamodi in a nut shell, and Johnson failed to follow very rudimentary journalistic fact finding that could have spared this youth from such a horrendous ordeal. How is it even possible for consumers who patronize The Franklin Times to even trust this writer’s credibility? Read the entire Facebook Search Warrant affidavit below:

 

FBsearch3 FBsearch4 FBsearch5 FBsearch6 FBsearch7 FBsearch8 FBsearch9 FBsearch10 FBsearch11 FBsearch12 FBsearch13

 

Johnson’s article goes on to explain that Shannon Nyamodi had shot the victim with her own .22 caliber rifle.“They planned to use a .22 and they were going to use bug spray if shooting didn’t do the job,” Peebles said. Johnson goes on writing, Investigators recovered the gun underneath the truck that Nyamodi slept in, which was parked on the road in front of Maclean’s home. It’s just insane that such basic facts were missed by this writer. See below:

 

116 shearin court

This is the truck Shannon Nyamodi was known to sleep in when he frequented his friends home, but the only problem is that Johnson didn’t get this right either and it’s always parked in front of the Young’s family house at 116 Shearin Court where Rhonda Maclean ran for help after being shot, and not several homes away at 109 Shearin Court where the crime occurred.

report9edit

The inventory of seized property log indicates that the victim’s .22 caliber rifle was found inside the home where the shooting occurred at 109 Shearin Court, and not under the truck as Johnson;s article alleges.

 

Then there is the matter of the DNA that Johnson’s article alleges, “Investigators recovered the bank bag that was covered in Nyamodi’s DNA, forensics scientists concluded. Where is this report which is also public record. I wonder if Mr. Johnson has ever seen a copy of that report as well. Sources who spoke to TPC on conditions on anonymity, reveal that testing on the bag had such a small portion of Shannon’s DNA on it, that it more than like came from a police officer who had handled the Nyamodi youth during his arrest and inadvertently touch the bag, while transferring his DNA. Why has this crucial DNA report from scientist never been made public? The other disturbing element of the case related to this crime is that investigators sought to test the bag and not the money. During a court proceeding in which Rhonda Maclean petitioned the court to retrieve the money stolen from her the night she got shot, both the prosecutor, and the defense counsel declined to test it and the court turned it back over to Maclean. When allegations are made that DNA exist in any criminal case, it’s never been made public, Johnson never corroborates the existence of such scientific test results, makes that portion of his article as well as the prosecutor’s assertion not credible.

The very existence of DNA is perhaps the most culpable and compelling source of evidence a prosecutor could obtain. Coupled with the victim’s daughter allegedly accepting a plea deal in exchange for testifying against Shannon Nyamodi, presents an extremely strong case, but these facts only heighten suspicion as to why prosecutors willingly and readily prepared to offer this defendant a plea deal. The entire song and dance that the courts were lenient on Shannon because of his purported difficult upbringing is just not convincing at all. The very presence of Shannon’s aunt Brenda Nyamodi in the courtroom for these secretive proceedings (if she was in fact there at all) is suspect at best. Brenda Nyamodi was one of the very people who telephone Shannon’s mother the night before, tipping her off that Shannon would be accepting a plea deal in court the following day. The nasty message she left on Elizabeth crudup’s phone sounded vindictive, full of spite, and malice as if her intentions were to torture her sister, according to the mother.

Johnson’s article quotes Klinkosum’snegative comments to the court related to Shannon’s mother and me (David Adams, the article reads) as the Administrator of The People’s Champion Blog. Johnson wrote:

The case included some hurdles, Klinkosum admitted. Nyamodi’s mother, Elizabeth Crudup, and others began a social media campaign earlier this year, accusing officials of delaying Nyamodi’s day in court and his exoneration. In a Youtube video and in accompanying blogs by David Adams, who refers to himself as The People’s Champion, Nyamodi’s mother made a range of accusations, from the court system dragging its feet, to a good-old-boy network that is denying Nyamodi justice. In the video, Crudup, urges people for help with Nyamodi’s bond, plus a “really good, pro bono lawyer.”

Klinkosum’s comments aren’t surprising when considering the harsh manner that Elizabeth Crudup says that he has treated her. An attorney interviewed for this article told TPC, that if the mother is correct regarding her treatment by her son’s attorney, his actions are extremely unprofessional at best. He also states, that most law firms try to create an inclusionary environment with their clients family members, providing documentation upon request, answering questions, and giving regular updates pertaining to their loved ones case. Regardless who has paid the retainer for representation in a criminal case, rarely is the mother of a defendant outcast from involvement in the client’s case. Crudup says that Klinkosum has had her thrown out of his law office on multiple occasions without cause. Crudup told TPC that Klinkosum has been spreading innuendo and rumors about her mental health, and according to Johnson’s article he stated on record, “he believes Nyamodi’s mother suffers from mental illness that made his upbringing difficult.” Instead of Klinkosum mounting a fight for Shannon Nyamodi’s defense in what appeared to be a an extremely weak case against him, he insults his client’s mother by implying that she is mentally ill, according to Johnson’s article.

On what basis does Klinkosum make such slanderous statements about Shannon’s mother , and how does writer Carry Johnson even qualify his comments without substantiating facts to support any mental health issues of the mother whatsoever? A compelling argument could be made that Johnson’s article was more about Shannon’s mother, and that she was responsible for her son’s plight. the article appears to be a witch hunt designed to smear Shannon’s mother name, while pleading to the court that he was some poor helpless kid that made a bad mistake, and now has so much empathy for the victim and his violent actions. This is very far removed from the young defendant who spent nearly a year and a half in isolation at the hands of his torturous jailers at the Franklin County Detention Center. All of this drama, and results in the prosecution escaping having to present culpable evidence against Shannon Nyamodi. It’s apparent that these kinds of articles printed by Mr. Johnson are from a perspective with close ties to both Klinkosum and the prosecutor. No research of pertinent facts were ever done by this writer. What professional journalist does that? Carry Johnson should be ashamed of what i believe to be nothing short of poor journalism, and his efforts has completely misled the public within the surrounding communities who patronize The Franklin Times.

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

 

Shannon Nyamodi Case A High Stakes Political Affair: Jailed North Carolina Youth Ties To Powerful African Family May Be An Intricate Source Of His Persecution

shannonnyamodi

When I interviewed Rhonda Maclean several months ago she emphatically told me that Shannon Nyamodi was in fact the assailant who shot her in the face at point blank range in Youngsville, North Carolina back in 2012. She went on to convey that Nyamodi, a recent high school grad, was an heir to a royal family in Kenya Africa, the family was paying his legal expenses to avoid having the family name publicly tarnished, and that she had obtained this information from Assistant District Attorney Annette Sellers who was prosecuting the Nyamodi criminal case. I dispelled her claims and found her not credible because the accounts she described to me on the night she was shot was one of three conflicting versions she had given related to the case. According to police reports submitted by police officials who were primary to the scene that night and who had obtained statements from her, they all indicate that MacClean didn’t even know that she had been shot, and nonetheless she never fingered Shannon Nyamodi as the perpetrator.

The victim’s comments to TPC raised suspicion as to why she never told police that Shannon was the person who  shot her on the night of the actually crime, but was now so certain that the youth was the person responsible. MacClean’s story didn’t make sense and official records in the case file point to the youth having been falsely charged of this heinous crime. Forensic evidence, supporting investigative documents, and all of the elements typically associated with prosecuting a serious crime of this nature are all non existent. In fact, no document in the file establishes that Rhonda MacClean ever told cops that Shannon Nyamodi was her assailant. If such investigative findings do exist, they have never been made public to this day. The other interesting point of note was her apparent interest in Shannon’s alleged “royal ties.” Kenya doesn’t have a ruling monarch government and if it did, how would AD Sellers know about it.

The Nyamodi youth certainly isn’t a prince or an heir to royal blood in Africa, but information obtained by TPC has discovered that Shannon Nyamodi is a relative of prominent Kenyan citizens who have extremely close ties to the most powerful people in that nation. Perhaps this is what MacClean eluded to in her comments during the interview I conducted with her. None of this matters of course when considering the criminal charges that the youth face. All that matters is the facts in the case related to whether or not the youth committed this brutal crime. It seems that AD Sellers at least, has interest in making Nyamodi’s ties to powerful people in Africa a point of interest. If this isn’t true, then it’s unclear why the prosecutor ever even disclosed these details to the victim in the first place.

More troubling though, is how was the AD made aware of Shannon’s family standing in Africa? Some suspect that the youth’s aunt may have been the source who disseminated this information to prosecutors or the attorney representing Shannon. The aunt went behind the family’s back and hired  Maitry “Mike” Klinkosum to represent young Shannon, a move that the youth’s family says has been a complete nightmare. Shannon’s mother Elizabeth Crudup says that Klinkosum has done nothing for her son but allowed him to rot in jail. Crudup says that Klinkosum, along with her sister’s help, has threatened Shannon and her family to make certain that he remains Shannon’s attorney of record. The manner in which Klinkosum became Shannon’s attorney has been very fishy from the start. The aunt sneakily hired him against the family’s wishes, Klinkosum showed up at the jail and tricked the youth into signing documents naming him as his attorney, and Crudup says he took the money and ran, leaving her son in jail for nearly two years. Just recently, the youth filed an affidavit with the courts firing Klinkosum on May 21, 2014 as his legal counsel, but by May 29th Klinkosum had arranged a secret hearing with judge Ridgeway in Franklin County that resulted in the youth agreeing to a plea deal that would send him to prison for nearly 10 years.

Whether it was Shannon’s aunt or not, who ever disclosed the family’s social and political standing in their native country of Kenya committed a horrible blunder. The acquisition opened the door for career building hungry prosecutors to prey on the youth, and while no evidence exist of his absolute guilt, it seems that attempts have been made to manufacture a criminal case against him. For example, Crudup told TPC that when she initially spoke to DA Sam Curran, she was told by Curran that he knows her son is innocent, and “it’s the mother (Rhonda MacClean), she should be arrested.” Crudup says that Curran even told her that her son would be home by Thanksgiving of 2012. However, when AD Sellers became the active prosecutor, that all changed. Sellers told Crudup that Shannon wasn’t going anywhere, and would be prosecuted.

Why the prosecution took such a drastic course from believing in his innocence to wanting to prosecute him is unclear. What is very clear however, is that the prosecution’s case is decimated by it’s own record. Here are some of the disturbing facts in the Shannon Nyamodi case:

 

1. The victim Rhonda MacClean never told police that Shannon was the person who shot her. If she did, the cops failed to disclose this crucial information in any of their reports. (Fact)

2. Shannon was not only charged with first degree attempted murder, but he was also charged with larceny of the victim’s .22 caliber rifle. The rifle was seized from the home where the crime occurred while Shannon was already in custody. (Fact)

3. Police had no probable cause to arrest Shannon Nyamodi from the very start. The information utilized to justify charges and an arrest of the youth were obtained through hearsay statements over twenty four hours after he had already been taken into custody. (Fact)

4. Eyewitnesses at the scene on the night of the crime told police that a white male was seen fleeing from 109 Shearing Court where the crime took place moments after the shooting. Witness accounts are supported by police reports and other official documents which reveal that primary officers on the scene established that the suspected shooter was no longer at the scene upon police arrival. Shannon Nyamodi never left the scene and had aided the victim until EMS and police arrived. (Fact)

5. Police allege that Shannon Nyamodi conspired with the victim’s 15-year-old daughter to kill and rob her. This information was obtained through hearsay from a witness who said that Shannon and the teen girl had exchanged text on Facebook, while plotting to commit the crime. ( Fact)

6. Witness statements implicating Shannon in the crime were used to justify a search warrant for the Facebook accounts of Shannon Nyamodi and the victim’s teen daughter. The findings of the search warrant reveal that no text exchange between Shannon and the girl ever occurred. (Fact)

7. No forensic evidence such as blood, DNA, or fingerprints linking Shannon Nyamodi to the crime has never been made public. (Fact)

8. The nearly $65,000.00 dollars that was stolen from the victim in this case was strangely obtained by police, who have never disclosed where it was found or what tip led them to the money, and all while Shannon Nyamodi had already been in custody. (Fact)

 

Additionally, other peculiar elements related to Shannon’s case have transpired without clear justification. These other facts demonstrate that prosecutors don’t have a case against Shannon Nyamodi, and the blatant manner in which these events have occurred clearly establish that the authorities more than likely knew Shannon was innocent very early on in this case, and have used harsh tactics to force a plea deal from this young defendant:

 

1. Shannon Nyamodi was indicted a week after state investigators learned that a witness had lied about Shannon’s involvement in the crime. The affidavit detailing this discovery was reported to the courts nearly 90 days after the discovery was made. (Fact)

2. Shannon’s criminal case was taken off the court’s docket on February 20, 2013 and the prosecutor was given wide discretion in determining when the case would continue. Shannon has remained locked up behind bars ever since with no pending court date in the system. (Fact)

3. Shannon was repeatedly held in segregation (solitary confinement) for over a year while detained at the Franklin County Detention Center, not allowed to call his family, and not allowed any visits or contact from the outside world. (Fact)

4. Shannon has repeatedly been pressured by prosecutors and his own attorney to accept a plea agreement for the criminal charges that he faces. (Fact)

5. A “Writ of Habeas Corpus” (challenging the lawfulness of his detention) has been filed on behalf of Shannon Nyamodi and was rejected in both District and the State Courts of Appeals. His detention is in direct violation of the 6th and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution. (Fact)

 

Given these very disturbing facts related to the Shannon Nyamodi criminal case, it’s confusing even more as to why the prosecution would attempt to pursue these charges against this youth when their case is so weak (none existent actually), and Shannon’s sudden strange shift of advocating his innocence to accepting a plea deal, when he knew very well that the case against him was extremely questionable. The prosecutor was fully aware of the particulars in the case and knows exactly what culpable evidence (if any) exist against young Shannon. While  a plethora of unanswered lingering questions exist leading up to this youth’s eventual conviction that scrutinizes the authorities handling of this case, the full burden of what happened to young Shannon Nyamodi  isn’t entirely nesting on the doorsteps of prosecutors and judges involved in this criminal case.

When the “royal family” ties to Shannon Nyamodi initially surfaced, TPC confronted his mother pertaining to these allegations. Since that time I have been personally privileged with extremely personal details related to the Nyamodi family of Africa, but didn’t have authorization to disclose them until now. The Nyamodi’s were one of the most prominent families in Kenya after the country had obtained it’s independence from British rule. Shannon Nyamodi’s maternal grandmother was a very wealthy and powerful attorney in Kenya, a rare instance in a male dominated culture. His mother (Elixabeth Crudup), his aunt (Brenda Nyamodi, and uncle (Paul Nyamodi) were all educated at Oxford University in Europe. Brenda Nyamodi is a Grant Policy Manager for the federal government in Wake County North Carolina, while Paul Nyamodi (an attorney himself) is the Public Safety Secretary in Kenya, where he also serves as an adviser to Kenya’s President Huru Kenyatta.

According to Elizabeth, a strained relationship formulated among her siblings. Partly because she had escaped clitoridoctomy (a tribal practice of female genitalia mutilation) by moving to America in her youth. In that country such practice is revered as a right of passage for girls to adulthood. To compound matters for Elizabeth, Shannon Nyamodi was born out of wedlock, and garnered her harsh criticism from her tribal community in her homeland. Kenya’s societal and cultural standard dictated that young Shannon should be shunned, but his grandmother embraced her first grandchild, and took the young American born male child with her everywhere she went.  Upon her passing in 2000, the grandmother is suspected of having left an incredibly large inheritance for Shannon. Resources which the youth should have obtained shortly after his 18th birthday.

However, Elizabeth agrees that the alleged $50,000.00 dollars that her sister and brother secretly paid attorney Klinkosum, may have been in fact, a bounty to insure that young Shannon went to prison. In line with Kenyan tradition the oldest male child (Paul Nyamodi) was named as his mother’s estate executor, and one of the more pressing concerns has always been why Shannon’s relatives appeared to be working against his plight related to his legal representation. Sources close to TPC have disclosed that Klinkosum has allegedly been spreading negativity and other innuendo about Elizabeth, and questioning her mental health status. This is believed to have been a product of her siblings solicitation to Klinkosum in wake of what ever agreement was made when he was retained by them to represent young Shannon. Elizabeth says that Klinkosum has always conducted himself in a hostile fashion toward her, and has had her thrown out of his law office on multiple occasions when she showed up to inquire about her son’s case.

Despite what has been said about Elizabeth, her account related to this sidebar of the Shannon Nyamodi story has tremendous credibility. Her strongest defense related to her belief that her siblings were complicit in Shannon’s demise is contained in the record of the criminal case against her son. It’s quite apparent that her siblings never bothered to read the case file at all, because had they done so, it would have been completely clear to them that their nephew was deserving of better representation than what Klinkosum afforded Shannon. Elizabeth says that she now knows why her brother flew from Kenya on two separate occasions. His interest was only to make certain that young Shannon was out of the way to enable his ability to seize a large inheritance that his nephew was heir to. Elizabeth’s perspective is further supported by the fact that Shannon’s wealthy relatives never secured his bail. Shannon’s bond was $500,000.00 dollars and the allege $50,000.00 dollar retainer that was paid to Klinkosum could have posted his bond.

Also, fifty grand is a pricey fee for an attempted murder case, and coupled with the reality that Klinkosum allowed Shannon’s case to be taken off of the docket indefinitely while he languished in prison, presents a very compelling argument that Klinkosum was motivated to keep young Shannon locked up, and had it bank rolled by Shannon’s own relatives. When an attorney receives this amount of money to represent a defendant in any criminal case, there is an expectation that a fight would ensue on the clients behalf even if the defendant was guilty as sin. Elizabeth says that from the very start Klinkosum repeatedly pressured Shannon to take a plea deal. Considering the very disturbing facts previously outlined in this article, red flags go up all over the place when realizing the deplorable legal representation Shannon received. To add insult to injury, the prosecutor dropped most of the felony charges against Shannon to broker a deal in a case that never existed from the start.

In many respects, Shannon’s relatives are largely responsible for his unsuccessful fight to regain his freedom. Young Shannon Nyamodi is simply a pawn in a very high stakes political nightmare that has changed his life and that of his family forever. His horrible tragic story can best be characterized in a quote from his mom. “Truth is like a lion. There is no need to defend it.”

 

 

Thee People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shannon Nyamodi Sent To Prison For Now: Documents In Young Defendant’s Plea Agreement Very Problematic

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The prosecutor handling the criminal case of Shannon Nyamodi and the defendant’s own legal counsel weren’t concerned about the case, while the youth languished in a county jail for nearly 21 months without an actual court date within the docket system. Then suddenly his mother received phone calls on May 28, 2014 from various people stating that Shannon would make a plea at the Franklin County Courthouse on the 29th. His mother was very skeptical about those claims because her son had consistently professed his innocence, and repeatedly conveyed his refusal to plea guilty for a crime in which he hadn’t committed. Shannon even withstood harsh treatment while in custody at the Franklin County Jail, where he was constantly placed in isolation, not allowed to have visits, with no phone calls, and no contact with the outside world. During the entire time that he endured such rigorous confinement, the youth never wavered and maintained his innocence.

So, when word came from the courtroom that Shannon Nyamodi had been transported to Franklin County where he made a guilty plea in exchange for a 136-180 month prison term, speculation immediately emerged questioning why the young defendant had changed the course of his plea to the court for serious felony charges. It was an unforeseen culmination of a nearly two year ordeal that had garnered national attention for the once aspiring U.S. Marine’s plight. Just eight days prior, Shannon had in fact submitted an affidavit to the Franklin County Clerk of Courts office firing his attorney of record (Maitri “Mike” Klinkosum). It’s unclear how or why the court allowed Klinkosum to act in a legal capacity for young Shannon during the hearing which brokered the plea deal.  See below Affidavit:

 

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Affidavit with Clerk of Courts timestamp validating the court’s receipt of notification that Shannon Nyamodi had fired his attorney Maitri “Mike” Klinkosum on May 21, 2014.

 

In addition to the filed affidavit, on the morning of May 29, 2014 Shannon’s mother was informed that her son was in fact scheduled to make a court appearance, and that Klinkosum was representing her son. She was experiencing car problems that day and had become fearful that she wouldn’t make it to court on time for the hearing. She typed a letter for the judge explaining that Klinkosum had been terminated from representing Shannon, and advised the judge that she had the original affidavit. The mother faxed the letter to the Clerk’s office, and the court official allegedly walked the letter to judge Ridgeway’s chambers. The court never held a show cause hearing challenging Klinkosum’s legal right to represent Shannon, and strangely the proceeding took place anyway with Klinkosum as Shannon’s attorney.

One of the most consistent arguments that has been repeatedly offered in the case of Shannon Nyamodi, has been his right to due process that he is afforded under the law. Klinkosum never attempted to bring the young defendant’s case to trial in nearly two years, and upon him having been fired from legally representing Shannon, strangely, some secretive hearing was suddenly created where Shannon ultimately agreed to a plea deal.  Moreover, the details contained in the plea arrangement are even more shocking. The prosecution had always alleged that it was Shannon Nyamodi who shot Rhonda Maclean in the face at point blank range, while conspiring with her 15-year-old daughter to kill and rob her of nearly $65,000.00 dollars, but those charges, along with others were dropped, and the youth ultimately was only convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.

The prosecution’s willingness to drop nearly all of the serious felony crimes against young Shannon speaks volumes about the strength of their case against him, and offers a very compelling argument that Shannon may have agreed to the plea deal under duress. See the plea deal below:

 

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Previous articles on TPC have detailed the very troubling case that the prosecutor’s office had against this defendant from the very start, and when judge Height authorized the case to be taken off of the docket indefinitely back in February of 2013, the court gave wide discretion to the prosecutor’s office for it’s continuance, and afforded prosecutors an unfair tactical advantage in the case while young Shannon Nyamodi languished in prison for nearly two years. Those who are sympathetic to North Carolina’s courts rationalize that the extended period of time Shannon Nyamodi spent in detention without an actual court date is the norm, and the grueling slow process is attributed to a docket backlog. Despite this perspective from pundits with an allegiance to the state’s judicial system, official documents made public in the case file demonstrates that the prosecutor’s own record has more exculpatory findings for young Shannon than those which point to his guilt. Therefore, it’s troubling to comprehend why the youth would agree to a plea deal in a case that even the most inexperienced attorney could have successfully won.

The unexplained premise for Shannon’s abrupt shift in his plea for these felony charges brings tremendous scrutiny upon the actually record of the plea arrangement itself, and immediately elements of the documents depict glaring details which are very problematic. Chiefly, Shannon’s signature or endorsement under Acknowledgement By The Defendant, raises suspicion as to how the writing was obtained. While some characters in the endorsement appear to resemble the defendants writing, his writing style format appears to be quite different from his writing on record. His last name is even spelled incorrectly, and clearly some dynamic appears to have transpired that caused him to write his name in a fashion which is barely legible with all of the letters running together. You could even make the argument that his hand may even have been guided forcefully while the endorsement was being constructed. Either way, Shannon’s endorsement appears to have been composed irregularly for some reason, or under duress. Take a look at Shannon’s endorsement on another document below (take note of numbers 2,4 & 5, and the letter I):

 

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A letter from Shannon Nyamodi to attorney Klinkosum requesting his speedy trial rights. His endorsement is very legible with proper spacing.

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Shannon Nyamodi’s alleged voluntary endorsement accepting a plea agreement, which is nearly illegible, last name misspelled, and a complete contrast to his writing style and format compared to his endorsement on record.

 

The endorsements of this young defendant are comparatively contrasting as depicted above, and the manner in which certain numbers within the date, and the letter I, clearly illustrates that a change occurred in his writing style when endorsing the plea agreement. Since an individual’s signature or endorsement are writings that develop with practice over a period of time, this form of writing typically forms a pattern, and seldom do such drastic change in a person’s signature or endorsement style occur in such a contrasting fashion. it’s also clear that the date above Shannon’s endorsement wasn’t composed by him either. The numbers 2,4, & 5 are composed differently on the plea agreement verses his previously recorded endorsement in his speedy trial request letter. To be specific, it appears that his endorsement on the plea agreement appears to have been constructed under duress or at the very least, severe stress. Rarely does a person’s signature or endorsement change so drastically. Something appears fishy.

Additionally, there is more “funny business” apparently going on with the plea agreement document as well. In most court cases where a plea agreement has been established, certain procedures typically follow once the agreement has been accepted by the court. The document usually requires a witness (a commissioned court clerk) who verifies that the agreement was sworn, affirmed, and endorsed before them at a given date and time making the agreement binding. Although court official Barbara L. Dickerson indicates on the agreement document that the aforementioned had in fact transpired before her on May 29, 2014, to the contrary, both Shannon and his attorney’s endorsements appear to have occurred approximately 3 weeks prior to these proceedings. Take a look at a snapshot of endorsements on the plea agreement below:

 

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Endorsements on the Shannon Nyamodi plea agreement indicate that the court official Barbara L. Dickerson and Assistant Prosecutor Annette Sellers both endorsed and dated the document on the actual day of the proceedings. However, Shannon and his attorney appear to have dated and endorsed it 3 weeks prior to the date of the plea agreement.

 

Are the date discrepancies an oversight? It’s highly doubtful, and a very compelling argument could be made that the dates were purposefully back dated by attorney Klinkosum or Assistant Prosecutor Annette Sellers, designed to give the appearance that Shannon Nyamodi had agreed to the plea deal before May 21, 2014, the day Shannon’s affidavit was filed with the Clerk’s office firing Klinkosum. Everyone who was a party to the plea agreement (the Clerk, Prosecutor, Defendant, and his Attorney) should have all endorsed the agreement before the court’s commissioned official on the exact date of the proceedings, as the document indicates that it had. More importantly, Shannon’s endorsement indicating that it was signed on May 8, 2014 means that he never subscribed to the agreement before the court, and if he never voluntarily and verbally agreed in open court to the agreement, it’s not legal.

It’s extremely hard to imagine that this defendant withstood over a year in isolation professing his innocence to suddenly decide to admit that he actually committed this crime. If Shannon endorsed the agreement on May 8 as the plea agreement document alleges, then it’s simply not convincing that the youth never indicated this to his parents whom both had visited him multiple times in jail after the day he allegedly signed the agreement. I am convinced that most who have been following this young man’s story don’t believe for one minute that Shannon endorsed the agreement on the date depicted on the document. His stressful looking endorsement was more than likely composed on the day of the proceedings (May 29) while under duress in Franklin County. Someone other than Shannon Nyamodi imputed the date of May 8, 2014 after he was forced to endorse it. The date isn’t reflective of his writing style and doesn’t have the dark, harsh, and smudging composition as seen in his alleged voluntary endorsement.

Even if Shannon had actually signed the plea agreement on May 8, 2014 as the document indicates, the court’s official who the document was allegedly sworn, affirmed, and subscribed before, should have caught the discrepancy. Now it appears that some kind of conspiracy transpired to obtain a conviction of Shannon Nyamodi despite attorney Klinkosum having been fired by him weeks prior to these proceedings that resulted in this plea deal. A criminal defendant’s right to fire his legal counsel is absolute, and could be done so without cause. The court’s failure to acknowledge Shannon’s fundamental constitutional right to competent legal representation of his personal choice, is indicative of continued mounting violations of this young defendant’s civil and constitutional rights. Attorney Klinkosum should never have been permitted to represent Shannon Nyamodi in any capacity before the courts. The tactics which appear to have been used in this case are so egregious that a Department of Justice Civil Rights Violation inquiry into Shannon Nyamodi’s case is warranted.

This young man’s fight is far from over and the officials who are responsible for this miscarriage of justice should be sent to prison themselves.

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

 

 

 

 

N.C. Bureau Of Prisons Ends Youth’s Isolation: Shannon Nyamodi Transferred To Nash County And Tells TPC What Happened Night Of His Arrest

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When my home phone rang late afternoon yesterday I looked at the Caller I.D. and noticed that the number was from Ms. Elizabeth Crudup, the mother of Shannon Nyamodi. I had spoken to her earlier in the day regarding her son’s case, and had made phone calls to local media in North Carolina on his behalf. Before I could greet the mother, her voice loudly barked “can you hear me?” She appeared extremely excited and began to introduce me to her son who was also on the line for the call. It was a defining moment culminating this mother’s fears, concerns, and all of the anxiety the Nyamodi family has endured for nearly two years. The youth was a recent high school grad preparing to enter the U.S. Armed Forces, whose life took a spiraling downward turn in August 2012 when he was arrested and subsequently charged with several felonies accusing him of shooting a woman in the face at point blank range. Nyamodi had been at the Franklin County Detention Center awaiting trial for those charges for over a year, when he says that corrections officials at that facility began to treat him harshly, and repeatedly placed him in isolation (segregation).

The timing of his harassment also coincided with a volume of publicity which started to draw national attention to his case. In December of 2013 his mother began to notice that when she went to visit her son at the Franklin County jail, she was often told that she couldn’t see her son, although she had arrived at the facility on his normal visiting days. When Elizabeth Crudup was allowed to see Shannon, he was always accompanied by the warden and one of the sergeants at the jail. The peculiar manner in which the jail conducted his visits caused the mother to speak to him in her native tongue of Swahili. Ms. Crudup says she believed that something was going on but couldn’t quite put her finger on exactly what it was. As time went on her being denied access to her son escalated into being prohibited to see him at all. Shannon stopped calling his family, and he was repeatedly being placed in isolation. In January 2014 Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood drove the mother to the jail and refused to leave until she was allowed to see her son. On that visit the judge had requested to speak with Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Jones, but Jones refused to see him.

Hobgood had met with Elizabeth Crudup in his chambers at the Franklin County courthouse regarding a Writ of Habeas Corpus just hours before he escorted her to the jail. Although Hobgood had denied the habeas, he was concerned about other aspects of her son’s case. The judge had wrongfully ruled that the mother had no legal standing in her son’s criminal case, and couldn’t file legal documents on his behalf because she wasn’t an attorney. TPC has disclosed NCGS 17-5 which details how anyone can present a habeas before the court to challenge the lawful detention of a detainee. Hobgood’s purpose for making certain the mother saw her son was so she could obtain a written request from him expressing his desire for a “speedy trial.” Nyamodi’s case had been ordered taken off of the management docket system by judge Height on February 20, 2013, while allowing the prosecutor’s office wide discretion in determining when the case would move forward, and Hobgood’s gesture was meant to compel Shannon’s attorney to act on his behalf in the case. The only other occasion that Crudup was permitted to visit her son occurred when someone put in a call to sheriff Jerry Jones expressing concern for Shannon’s mental health due to his isolation for such an extended period of time. That was the last time Crudup physically saw her son. She had no contact with him for months, an effort she believes was being conducted to solicit a plea deal from him under duress for the charges. Suddenly she was surprised with a phone call in the wee hours of the morning just a few weeks ago, when some compassionate jail official snuck the youth out of his jail cell and allowed him to call his mom.

Crudup writes her son daily because it’s the only manner in which she could communicate with him to offer support and hope that he would eventually prevail from the charges he face. During her last call she had with him, she discovered that Franklin County jail officials had not been giving him his mail. Those communications she had been sending him contained vital information to aid in his defense, and to inform him of legal proceedings she was conducting on his behalf. Crudup had consistently attempted to ascertain why Shannon was being denied visits, only to be told when she inquired that Shannon wasn’t allowed to see anyone. Shannon Nyamodi doesn’t have a pending court date in the management docket system at all, with no final disposition of his case, and is essentially serving a sentence of infinity without a conviction. His case has raised serious concern for his constitutional rights in what many followers of his case see as severe human rights violations. His plight has garnered national attention from various spectrums of the legal community such as Harvard Law, and other local Law Schools. The Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Charlotte office has been actively working to free Nyamodi. A volume of advocates, bloggers, and concerned citizens from around the country, and Canada have continuously made calls and wrote letters to local, state, and federal agencies in North Carolina to bring attention to his story. It’s widely believed that Shannon Nyamodi’s treatment while being detained at the Franklin County Detention Center is a direct result of pressure from the public around the country. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigations reportedly has an open case file on Shannon Nyamodi’s case which originated from a criminal complaint surrounding his potential unlawful detention.

The U.S. Constitution affords all citizens a right to a speedy trial and due process under the law. The 6th and 14th amendments were designed to insure that states pay respect to a defendant’s right to speedy prosecution and a fair public trial, and to prevent a citizen from languishing in prison for infinity. Shannon’s case at least, establishes that the criminal justice process is working in glaring contrast, while he sits in a North Carolina jail cell with no indication as to when he’ll have his day in court. While Shannon’s case appears to stand out as a poster child for complete injustice by the North Carolina courts, public outcry has continuously called for state politicians at the very apex of North Carolina’s leadership to act on his behalf, which includes Attorney General Roy Coopers’s office, and the Governor. Some cynics have declared that the prosecutors must have evidence against Shannon Nyamodi for them to continuously hold him, but if such evidence exist, it has never been made public. The official record file at the County Clerk’s office is extremely problematic for state prosecutors and the police who brought charges against this young defendant. Legal professionals from around the country who have seen some of the critical documents in the case file, believe that no probable cause ever existed to justify an arrest warrant for Shannon Nyamodi from the very start.

However, through all of the advocacy that has developed for Shannon’s plight outside of the state of North Carolina, some dynamic appears to be working behind the scenes. During the early afternoon on yesterday an order was executed, moving Shannon Nyamodi from the custody of the Franklin County Sheriff Department, and transferring him to a facility in Nash County North Carolina. The move came as such a surprise that the warden of the Franklin County Detention Center wasn’t even aware of the ordered transfer until deputies from Nash County arrived at the facility with body attachment documents (a writ) giving Nash County officials authority over Shannon Nyamodi’s physical custody. According to Shannon, who told TPC that the order was issued by the North Carolina State Bureau of Prisons, also advised that he had been writing a volume of people, including the BOP requesting a transfer from Franklin County because of the harsh treatment that he was enduring while in their custody. Supporters who just became aware of the move are skeptical and believe that Shannon’s sudden transfer may be a tactic being utilized by politicians bidding for post in this upcoming elections in May. The state Attorney General, District Attorneys, and the Franklin County Sheriff who have been contacted directly regarding Shannon’s case, are all up for reelection and one of those entities may be responsible for Shannon’s transfer in an effort to bolster their campaign bid.

At any rate, Shannon was freed from the harsh isolation conditions that he was reportedly subjected to for over a year. While on the phone with Shannon and his mom, I could sense the sheer joy that the family had overcome a very horrific ordeal. Elizabeth Crudup continuously blew kisses at her son, telling him that she loved him, and that she would continue to fight for him to regain his freedom. Her son’s voice was firm, articulate, and he spoke with humility describing how despite all that corrections officials had done to him, he never lashed out, never used profanity or became disrespectful. Shannon said he just continued to write hoping that the good people in the justice system would eventually hear his plea for help. Shannon appeared to be pleased with his current detention facility and was excited that he would have the freedom to have movement around his housing area. He said that he was being placed in a housing pod (a dorm), which mean that he would now be afforded normal privileges like using the phone, and having visits from his family which is something he was prohibited from having in Franklin County. His lines of communication with his greatest supporters have now been reestablished and he is prepared to finally prove his innocence, he said.

Shannon went on to briefly described for TPC the events of the night which led up to his arrest. He stated that after the shooting victim had been transported, he was sitting in the Young family’s yard (where the victim ran for help) when a black police sedan pulled up, and a police officer approached him stating, “you might as well confess and tell us the truth about what happened.” Shannon said that he told the officer who had a jewish name (Heinrich), that “I already told you guys what happened. Mind you, I am the one who called the police and escorted them to where she was.” He said he was told to come with the police for questioning and “the next thing I know, I am being processed for the shooting,” Shannon said. TPC has already reported in a previous article that Detective Heinrich of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations is the police official who executed a search warrant on the Facebook accounts of Shannon Nyamodi and his co-defendant in this case, after a police informant implicated Shannon, by stating that he and the victim’s daughter conspired to kill and rob her mother while communicating via Facebook text. Detective Heinrich’s official sworn document which he executed on August 27, 2012, reveals that no records were seized as a result of the search warrant. Since police have always alleged that a conspiracy had transpired between Shannon and the girl, Heinrich’s discovery is extremely exculpatory for Shannon Nyamodi, but the detective didn’t submit his findings to the courts until nearly ninety days after he learned that the police informant’s information was false. Heinrich knew that Shannon hadn’t communicated in a conspiracy on Facebook a full week prior to Shannon’s indictment on October 4, 2012. The cops knew this kid was innocent, did nothing about it, and allowed the prosecutor’s office to charge him for this horrible crime anyway. For now he has been removed from torturous conditions at the Franklin County Detention Center, but Shannon Nyamodi still has a tremendous upheaval on the road to regain his freedom. May God be with him and his family.

To Be Continued ..

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

What The Fuck Is Going On In Chicago: Martial Law Must Be Instituted To Quell Gang Violence In The Windy City

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It’s a gritty blue collar town with a reputation of violent crimes that dates back to the early 20th century. A violent era in American history where gangsters like Al Capone and “Bugs” Moran were the leading figures in Chicago’s organized crime order. The struggle for power once spilled over into the streets when seven men were lined up against a whitewashed wall and pumped with 90 bullets from submachine guns, shotguns and a revolver in an epic crime scene, later dubbed as the famed St Valentine’s Day Massacre. It was the most infamous of all gangland slayings in America, and it savagely achieved its purpose (the elimination of the last challenge to Al Capone for the mantle of crime boss in Chicago). Over three quarters of a century later, the brutal imagery of gun violence still remains a calling card for the way violent criminals conduct business on the streets of Chi Town. The only difference today is the mafia is now defunct, and the heirs to violent gang culture has been inherited by gun toting kids, who operate from a new standard of rules.

No one is immune from gun violence as babies, females, elderly people, and not even mourners attending funerals can escape a seemingly violent epidemic of biblical proportions as the body count continues to rise on a daily basis. In the past few weeks the weekends were filled with shootings totalling 38, 35, and 43 citizens hit by gunfire respectively. The numbers shadow past figures where at least 52 people have been shot in a twenty four hour time period, and a total of fifty or more people have been shot in Chicago in a single day, twice in as many years. While the cops blame the rise in violence on gang activity, politicians contemplate what actions should be taken to stop the violence and bring order to a city in desperate need of a complete public safety overhaul. Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel has been dancing around the idea of establishing Martial Law, and allowing the streets to be policed by National Guards. The call for the government to stop the killing has been advocated by community leaders, louder than ever before.

The debate has formulated two sides of the war on violence in Chicago, and the urgency for government intervention depends on which side of the table you’re seated. For instance, communities in close proximity of the University of Chicago are among some of the most violent in the city, and some of the safest at the same time. Past violence on and near the institution’s campus sprung it’s administration into action decades ago, and many of the installations near the campus are now being patrolled by private police. Other communities in close proximity are also benefiting from such strategic community safety efforts. Crime and violence is in fact within the highest in Chicago for neighborhoods just blocks away. The alarming disparity of crime and violence becomes a simple matter of where you live. While neighborhoods populated by African Americans and other minorities are among those desperately seeking government assistance to police violence, some white communities in close proximity are numb to the need for intervention.

Community leaders say that such a perspective sends a false sense of security to the overall need for policing of troubled communities plagued with violence. The current status of public safety policy demonstrates that resources are only being afforded to communities which cater to one ethnic group, and primarily those entities associated with the University of Chicago and other prominent institutions. However, research shows that minority and low income communities produce 90 percent of the cities violent crime victims and perpetrators, a staggering statistic that some observers believe is primarily a problem solely indigenous to those communities. Poverty, poor education, and gang activity remain the normal rationalization for the onset of such a violent epidemic, but black leaders are concerned that the readily availability of guns on the streets of Chicago is the root of the city’s violence problem.

For more than a year now, the Chicago Police department has been on a triumphant run. Murders fell almost 20 percent citywide last year, according to department data, and the first quarter of 2014 saw the fewest murders in any first quarter since 1958. But then the mercury started to rise. Over the last two weekend (the first warm ones in the city this year) shootings spiked. More than 70 people were wounded by gunfire. More than 10 others were killed. Authorities say that violence in the city is a classic tale of two Chicagos, one of them safe and prosperous, the other one dangerous and poor—and both of them growing more so. NBC News confirmed the idea of two Chicagos in an analysis last year. Between 2007 and 2012 the murder rate in the most dangerous of Chicago’s official community areas was as much as 80 times higher than the rate in the tonier, quieter area’s like Chicago’s north side. As jobs leave and communities break down, gangs seem to move in and violence follows.

The disturbing factors related to Chicago’s violence is the casual approach some say city leaders are displaying related to stopping the killings. The basic consensus is that although research and statistical data explain some of the root causes of violent crime, drastic measures must now be implemented to quell violence in the city where citizens are being fired upon indiscriminately by fearless criminals who act with impunity. The cops continue to tout the fall of violent crimes over the course of the past few years, but as the climate changes in 2014 the body count, and the volume of shootings so far this year in Chicago demonstrates that a spike in shootings have come back with a vengeance. The city’s leaders along with community advocates are playing a dangerous game of “russian roulette” with the public safety viability of one of the nation’s largest cities, while violence in Chicago reigns as the order of the day. A drastic measure must be swiftly enacted to stop the killing. Mayor Rahm Emanuel must act now and establish Martial Law. His failure to implement unprecedented public policy related to Chicago’s violent epidemic will result in the blood of countless citizens falling upon his hands on his watch.

The reality of the extent of violence in Chicago reveals that since 2010 over 1500 school kids have been shot in the city, with over 350 of them being killed. These disturbing stats have gone unnoticed by national media, while the NRA and conservatives groups lobby for gun rights in”stand your ground” states, no one seems to be concerned with how to disrupt black youth and minorities access to guns, or where the weapons are coming from on the streets of Chicago. It seems as though no one cares about gun violence on the streets as long as the bodies falling are young black youth. A child’s safety on the streets of his own community shouldn’t be predicated on his economic status, and children shouldn’t have to be afraid because they’re not affiliated with a street gang. When a city’s government fails to protect our kids and the violence appears to be like a runaway train, Martial Law must be instituted to protect the public from violent criminals who destroy our communities. Do it now before more innocent lives are lost at the hands of cowardice gun toting thugs. Save your people Mr. Mayor and do the right thing! Now!

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

Not In The Chocolate City: An Army Of Citizens Rallies Around Disabled D.C. Man To Find One Of Their Own Missing Children

KW2

It’s a microcosmic view inside the depth of frustration that has long been simmering for quite sometime within the african american community, developing from an epidemic of violence, governments failure to assist poor families, and the growing trend of missing black kids. A dark place, seemingly banned to the obscure annals of America’s most indigenous and poverty stricken communities, the plight of poor black babies along with the growing destruction of black youth, in Washington D.C. at least, has spurned a grass roots movement advocating change to protect black children. The disappearance of a beautiful 8-year-old little girl name Relisha Rudd was the catalyst for change that got Keith Warren motivated to launch an all out assault on those responsible for the little girls’ disappearance. Warren’s efforts are deeply rooted with emphatic practicality of having to assist locating the disappearance of a child relative back in 2010.

In the small space he shares with a roommate at an assisted living center in Washington, Warren has rallied thousands of concerned citizens to aide in the fight to bring young Relisha Rudd home safely. Every night for the past few weeks, he has broadcast the “Finding Relisha Radio Show,” from an internet platform on Blogtalk. Hundreds of listeners tune in to add comment, share their thoughts, along with frightening theories that they believe may have happened in the child’s disappearance case. That effort has mushroomed into a task force of people who actively participate in searches, passing out flyers, and talking to people within the surrounding communities to get the word out about young Relisha Rudd’s story. The group’s members has ballooned into nearly a thousand people who are all actively communicating in the efforts to find the missing little girl.

“It’s a long overdue process that should occur every time a black child goes missing,” said Hakeem Abdul, a Baltimore based child advocate who echoes the thoughts of many who have been following Keith Warren, and the Finding Relisha Rudd movement. The show has highlighted interviews with members of the little girl’s family, who have appeared on air and engaged in arguing, fighting, and other deplorable behavior that really tarnish the efforts to find Relisha. At times listeners who call into the show questioning the family, have attacked family members with insults and brash condemnation of the child’s mother, grandmother, and aunts for what the public largely sees as their irresponsibility and failure of Relisha while not appearing to be doing enough to help bring the child home. Warren who is a U.S. Veteran and a bounty hunter, at times has struggled to keep the show’s decorum in tact, while an outpouring of emotion and outrage often prevails during the open discussion about the case. He has no formal training as a broadcast journalist, dropped out of school in the ninth grade, but his efforts are being applauded by a volume of people who say they will not let the little girl’s tragic case go quietly into the dark of the night.

Warren’s efforts have not gone without scrutiny, while some question “what makes this little girl different” from all of the other missing kids. Such a descent from an unprecedented community involved collaboration to find a missing D.C. kid, is quickly dispelled by followers who refuse to give up hope, and believe Relisha is still alive. Other factors which appear to make wide public advocacy to find the child unique, stem from the volume of women who have taken the case personal. Some of the details centered around Relisha’s disappearance are simply unconscionable, and have made parents with children around Relisha’s age livid, regarding the lack of awareness the child’s family had pertaining to her whereabouts for such an extended period of time. Mothers reject the notion that the nineteen days Shameeka Young allowed to go by without physically seeing her daughter, as an acceptable form of child rearing, and many have made it crystal clear that they want the mother to be arrested for her negligence.

Keith Warren’s broadcast has ushered in statements from other family members the public never heard from in mainstream media. Like Daniel Roberts (Relisha’s uncle) who told KWDC Radio that he witnessed Shameeka Young give her daughter to Kalil Tatum at a D.C. bus stop on March 7, 2014. His comment was a shocking revelation which discounts the mother’s earlier account which she claims to have last seen Relisha on March 1, 2014, and perpetuates growing suspicion that Shameeka Young is not being truthful about Relisha’s disappearance. Warren’s show also may have unveiled another possible missing child case. When Shameeka Young came under fire regarding her account that she left Relisha with her sister Ashley, she went of the offensive and disclosed that Ashley also has a daughter who is possibly missing. The dialogue caught listeners by surprise, and some have recounted that tensed moment of the show, contemplating whether missing children are a culture among Relisha’s family members.

The onset of Keith Warren’s personal mission to bring the community together to find such a beautiful child has brought a long decried quest of advocacy for missing children of color, to the very apex of Washington’s social consciousness. His show’s platform of an open mic dialogue has brought so many inconsistencies related to the case to the forefront, and many of the comments made by family members of Relisha Rudd are now a matter of record, which may be utilized by authorities to get to the bottom of what happened to this innocent and precious child. If you have some time, tune in to his show at 7:00 p.m. every night. I’m sure he’ll be there with an army of concerned parents who care about missing children in the “Chocolate City.” Where are you Relisha?

To Be Continued ..

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

 

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