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Grand Jury’s Decision A Harbinger for Federal Probe, NYC Chokehold Case?

For the second day, Ferguson, Missouri, is rocked by protest over a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered an additional 1,500 National Guard troops to the 700 already in Ferguson, which he has placed under martial law. But the protests continue—and way beyond the geographic boundaries of the small city. Solidarity protests reportedly are now active in about 100 cities and towns across the nation.

Today on Leid Stories we follow up on yesterday’s discussion, looking in particular at other legal issues that are still pending in Ferguson, and whether the outcome of the grand jury’s probe is a harbinger for another police-involved killing case in Staten Island, New York—the chokehold death of Eric Garner on July 17—in which key players in the Ferguson case also are involved.

Once again, we are fortunate to have as our expert guide “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. 

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 Ferguson, Missouri, remains a tinderbox of rage and raw emotion after a grand jury announced last night that it found no reason to bring charges against Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

The grand jury’s decision touched off violent reaction in several areas of the city while President Obama and Brown’s parents called for calm.

Leid Stories’ listeners were prepared for the outcome, having been warned as early as Aug. 19, just as the grand jury began its probe, that the case was already on the wrong track and heavily weighted against an indictment.

Our guest, “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr., provides penetrating analysis of the prosecutorial crime scene and discusses why the grand jury’s decision should not be the final word at the state level on Wilson’s culpability.

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Flags are flying at half mast in Washington, D.C., to mark the death yesterday morning of Marion Barry, without question the city’s most popular, controversial, criticized, powerful and beloved mayor. He was 78. 

Barry, a four-term mayor of the district—from 1979 to 1991, and from 1995 to 1999—was the 8th Ward’s representative in the City Council when he died, bringing to an end more than 40 tumultuous years in civil-rights struggle and public life. Even a federal conviction and six-month prison sentence on drug-use charges in 1990 did not end his political career, as was clearly intended.

Historian, political researcher and commentator Dr. Randy Short discusses the significance and legacy of Washington, D.C.’s self-described “Mayor for Life.”

 

Entertainer Bill Cosby ended his sold-out gig in Melbourne, Fla., on Friday with a standing ovation from adoring fans. Within the industry and in the court of public opinion, however, there’s nothing to cheer about. An ever-growing list of women, most of them white, have come forward alleging that he had drugged and sexually assaulted or raped them, and although their claims date back as many as 50 years, they are gaining traction as having credibility, even without proof.

Exactly 27 years ago today, a 15-year-old girl on her way home from school vanished without a trace. She was pulled into a car by white men who took her to a remote location, drugged her, and for four days gang-raped her, she said. She was semiconscious when found next to a trash container in an apartment complex. Tawana Brawley’s claim was dismissed as a “hoax.”

Similarly, Nafissatou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, found herself the target of prosecution when the Sofitel housekeeper alleged that IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her in his hotel suite in 2011. Prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr. himself asked a judge to dismiss charges against Strauss-Kahn because Diallo lacked credibility. Strauss-Kahn later settled.

Leid Stories diiscusses the obvious race-based dichotomy in who is “credible.”

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Our discussions this week are a primer on the legal issues involved in a case that has commanded national and international attention—the killing of Michael Brown, a young black man, by Darren Wilson, a white officer with the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri.

A grand jury that has been reviewing the case for three months imminently is expected to announce whether it has voted criminal charges against Wilson.  But as Leid Stories pointed out, the case has been handled in such a manner that, indictment or no, the officer won’t lose.

Today we discuss the immediate and long-term future. What use will we make of the many truths learned from our analysis of this case? How will they shape our political consciousness—and, more so, our actions? What are to be the next moves for the people of Ferguson and for the Fergusons of America?

Our guest, “the people’s attorney general,” Alton H. Maddox Jr., frames these questions in the context of the continuum of struggle by blacks for equality and justice. Listeners contribute their thoughts.

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A tidal wave of self-explanation, self-justification and finger pointing has preceded the imminent announcement of the grand jury’s decision on whether Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department criminally will be charged with killing Michael Brown and brought to trial. It’s all to blunt criticism or responsibility for missteps in handling the case that might affect the outcome. And there have been many.

Leid Stories turns its attention today to the biggest missteps in the case—the roles of the Rev. Al Sharpton and the lawyers he brought in to represent the family of Michael Brown. What they did, and what they failed to do, have produced the net result of the case being used to satisfy a number of hidden agendas but not the purported No. 1 priority of justice. The grand jury’s ruling, whichever way it goes, is linked directly to these missteps.

“The people’s attorney general,” Alton H. Maddox Jr., returns to discuss how the actions (and non-actions) of Sharpton and his legal team make them as responsible as the system for impeding the course of justice in Ferguson and in the Fergusons of America.

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Gov. Jay Nixon yesterday declared a state of emergency in Ferguson, adding the National Guard to the heavy police presence planned for the city when the grand jury’s decision on whether Police Officer Darren Wilson is to be prosecuted for killing Michael Brown is announced. Nixon and local officials promise a kinder, gentler militarization.

The grand jury’s ruling, a determination of Wilson’s criminal culpability, formally will conclude the state’s inquiry into the contentious Aug. 9 shooting, which touched off weeks-long unrest and violent skirmishes between protesters and police. But the state grand jury isn’t the only determinant of justice. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had launched a Department of Justice investigation into Brown’s death and the Ferguson Police Department.

Following yesterday’s discussion on the state grand jury, Leid Stories focuses on the federal inquiry and whether Ferguson’s hope for Justice will be delivered by the Justice Department. “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr. discusses the competing interests and conflicts of the state and federal investigations. 


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Indictment or no, Darren Wilson, the Ferguson Police Department officer who shot dead 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, gets a valuable Thanksgiving gift from the grand jury—immunity.

If there’s no indictment, Wilson immediately will return to active duty, says Police Chief Tom Jackson. If the grand jury does indict, he adds, the officer “most likely” will be terminated, “if it is a felony.”

Under immunity deals typically agreed to by prosecutors, Wilson’s four hours before the grand jury, touted by prosecutor Robert McCullough as an earnest desire to lay bare all the facts of the fatal encounter with Brown, possibly have shielded the officer from prosecution in the current case and in any future cases in which his testimony could substantiate new charges.

Our guest today, “Attorney at War” Alton H. Maddox Jr., has litigated and won some of the most contentious criminal and civil-rights cases in New York City in recent years. He explains why a key element in the grand jury’s decision is the immunity deal McCullough might have given Wilson in exchange for Wilson’s testimony.

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Free Your Mind Now to Deal With the Madness Ahead!

This is no time to have a confused mind. Based on what’s coming down the pike, your mind needs all the help it can get to maintain clarity.

Get a head start with “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories, one of the best open forums on the planet.

Tune in (www.PRN.FM) to appreciate a wide range of thought, opinions and ideas about major issues and events. Or, call in (888-874-4888) and actively contribute to same. 

Either way, you’ll have greater clarity about our current situation, and you'll be better prepared to deal with the madness ahead.

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Obama’s Asian ‘Pivot’: Foreign-Policy Wins Needed to Offset Domestic Disaster

Having struck an agreement in principle with China to jointly lead global initiatives to combat climate change, President Barack Obama is in Myanmar today for the 25thannual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, comprising the sixth-largest economy in the world. Tomorrow, he arrives in Brisbane, Australia, for the ninth summit meeting of the G-20 nations.

Still reeling from a trouncing by Republicans, Obama is pushing hard to make the mileage he’s putting in pay off. Voters rebuked his domestic policies; the “pivot” toward Asia that he touted as a centerpiece of his foreign policy could gain him and the Democrats some badly needed points. The problem, says our guest, is that the United States isn’t exactly getting rave reviews from these nations either. Besides, they’ve significantly changed the power equation between themselves, as some of the largest economies in the world, and the United States.

Diplomatic scholar, historian and prolific author Dr. Gerald Horne, the John J. and Rebecca Moores chair of history and African American studies at the University of Houston, deciphers whether the Asian climate bodes well for Obama’s pivot.     

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Governor Militarizes, Sharpton Mitigates, Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

Obama Picks Up Speed. Like All Things Going Downhill?

Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri yesterday left no doubt that the City of Ferguson will be re-militarized upon the announcement of the grand jury’s decision whether to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. He announced at a news conference that, whatever the grand jury’s decision, there’ll be more than enough law-enforcement personnel on hand, including the National Guard, to “safeguard safety and speech.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton did some pre-emptive PR of his own, firing off a news release blaming Nixon for mishandling the protests after Brown’s death and for not appointing a special prosecutor in the case—which, as Leid Stories repeatedly pointed out, neither Sharpton nor the lawyers handling the case had called for.

 

The thorough thrashing that the other wing of the flightless governmental bird handed President Barack Obama on Nov. 4 seems not to be slowing him down. Indeed, since the beatdown the president’s been a man on the move, determined to get things done, even if all by himself.

Obama’s new burst of energy over immigration, net neutrality, the war against ISIS (and Iraq and Syria), Ebola, the Trans-Pacific Partnership/Asia “pivot” and other long-simmering issues belies the fact that he seems to be following his old script, both in terms of focus and method. This new speed of his, is it the kind that happens when going downhill?

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