Posts tagged with "homicide"

Missing JP Ramirez

Very esteemed make-up artist, JP Ramirez (42 year old Chicago native), who has worked with many people in the entertainment industry, including 360 Magazine, was found dead a few days ago.

Ramirez was last seen in Hell’s Kitchen this past week.

Recently, family and friends held an evening vigil in his loving memory. If anyone has information relating to his disappearance or death, please contact the authorities.

360 Latinx Editor, Javier Pedroza says, “To know JP is to love JP! Juan Pablo was one of the most sweetest and creative souls that I had the honor of knowing and create magic with. Growing up in New York City as young adults, we were discussing our future and how we would help humanity. JP had a sense of community and was always there for anyone who needed him. I will miss dancing ferocious salsa, styling together and laughter with our friend, but we will never forget his heart and soul. Rest in power amigo and thanks. Love you.”

“He was a beacon of hope, with a positive spirit that penetrated the room. We met JP on a special music presentation for our agency as a makeup artist, featuring LaJune. He will be missed but not forgotten,” says Vaughn Lowery (President of 360).

Newly appointed 360 Creative Director, Armon Hayes says, “Having had the pleasure of working with you [Ramirez] … his openness and willingness to collaborate on short notice was unparalleled. I knew I was seeing somebody special. Talent beyond what the eye can see, we’re really going to miss you and you made an impact on me.”

According to the 360 brand ambassador LaJune says,” JP was a brilliant light, his energy was exhilarating and soothing at sight! He was really talented yet very humble. I am so fortunate to have had to opportunity to meet and work with him! Losing JP is a reminder to enjoy every beautiful soul you encounter. Pray to turn the page and send light and positive vibes to your loved ones.”

Find out more about JP Ramirez and his talents from a recent interview.

A celebration of JP Ramirez’ life will be held at 7pm on Friday, August 6, 2021. The ceremony will start at 7:30pm and take place at Tito Murphy’s (346 W 46th St, New York, New York 10036.) Guests are invited to come dressed as you are, as JP loved for you. The celebration of JP’s life will include both a bar and DJ.

Juan Pablo celebration poster image via Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
Guillen illustration

The Murder of Fort Hood Soldier, Vanessa Guillen

By Emmet McGeown


“How can this happen on a military base? How can this happen while she was on duty? How can this just happen and then let it go under the rug like it was nothing?” These were the words of Mayra Guillen, sister of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who has been missing for months and is now confirmed dead.  

On April 22nd, Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old Hispanic Small Arms and Artillery Repairer, went missing. She was last seen alive at a parking lot at squadron headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. For months, Pfc. Guillen’s family held out hope that their beloved was still alive, yet the discovery of remains near the Leon River, north of Austin, has vanquished that hope. While the FBI is still awaiting a positive DNA analysis, the family believes that the remains belong to Vanessa.  

Yet, this story does not begin with her disappearance nor does it end with her death. Prior to her vanishing, Pfc. Guillen, according to her sisters, was having difficulties with sexual harassment while stationed at Fort Hood, outside Killeen, Texas. The attorney representing the family in the case revealed that Guillen had confided to her sisters and several other soldiers that a superior had walked in on her while taking a shower and that he proceeded to sit down and watch her. Other relatives and Pfc. Guillen’s boyfriend have noted on social media that something is “not right” and that Vanessa felt unsafe at the military base.  

However, during a press conference on Thursday, July 2nd, senior special agent for the Fort Hood Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), Damon Phelps, reported that there was no evidence backing the claim that she had been sexually harassed. He affirmed that “there has been no information — and we have interviewed hundreds of people… There is no credible information about that.” Despite this rebut by CID, family attorney, Natalie Khawam said, in an interview with PEOPLE, that she believes Pfc. Guillens was sexually harassed by Spc. Aaron David Robinson.

Spc. Robinson was the leading suspect in Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance, and as authorities caught up with him on Tuesday evening, he shot himself. It has since been revealed that Robinson was, in fact, responsible for the murder of Pfc. Guillen’s. Guillen’s was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in the armory where she worked, according to the family’s attorney. They made this discovery through an extensive investigation, in which witnesses divulged that they saw Robinson transporting a large box labelled “very heavy in weight.”

Then, after consenting to an examination of his cellphone records, court documents reveal, it was discovered that Robinson made several phone-calls to his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar on the night of Apri 22nd and into the early hours of the April 23rd. After being interviewed multiple times, Aguilar finally told investigators that her boyfriend had murdered Guillen. She also revealed how she and her boyfriend had met up and dismembered Guillen’s body together with a “hatchet or machete type knife” and, after attempting to set her corpse on fire, buried Guillen’s body parts in three different holes. Texas Rangers have since arrested Aguilar and she now faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  

The issue of sexual harassment within the Army remains a problem in this case, given that Guillen’s family, according to their attorney, claimed that Vanessa was planning on reporting Robinson the day after she was murdered, and had delayed over fear of reprisal and inaction. Yet the Army says there exists no credible evidence that she was sexually harassed before her disappearance, and in a statement from the Fort Hood Press Center, officials said that the criminal investigation “has not found any connection between sexual harassment and Vanessa’s disappearance.” They plan to continue their investigation in light of new revelations. 

Lupe Guillen, another sister of Vanessa’s, told NPR that her sister wanted to be in the military since she was a little girl, “she wanted to be a fighter. She wanted to be a hero. She wanted to be someone in life. … The military failed her.

The family is now pushing for legislation to create an independent agency for soldiers who are victims of sexual harassment and assault. 

After a year Vanessa’s fiancé speaks out claiming “They failed us,” see the full ABC interview here.

For more updated information and to read other statements from family and friends click here.

It has been a year since Vanessa’s body was found and her family members, friends, and fellow military members still have many unanswered questions. While it is assumed that Vanessa’s killer was one of another soldier stationed at Fort Hood in Texas, Aaron Robinson, the army is still investigating. Her fiancé spoke to ABC last week, discussing his anger and frustration at the lack of answers and closure he, her family and friends have. Many are upset with how the Army handled the situation and investigation. Interrogating her friends instead of going after Robinson, who many suspected from the beginning.

Her family now hopes that the “I Am Vanessa Guillen” bill, which will make sexual harassment a crime in military law will be approved and help prevent other soldiers from being harassed while defending their country, and other families from feeling the loss they do.

Stay tuned to 360 Magazine for more updates and links to current articles and videos.

ABC will also be airing coverage every week until someone is convicted.

Justice for George illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Derek Chauvin Trial Coverage

By: Emily Bunn

BREAKING NEWS

Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in death of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who killed George Floyd on a Minneapolis Street last year, was sentenced Friday to 22 and half years in prison. Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence or 15 years — and he will be eligible for supervised release for the remaining seven and a half years. Minnesota’s sentencing guideline range is ten years and eight months to fifteen years for this crime; however, Chauvin’s sentence exceeds that.

According to CNN, a 22-page memorandum noted that there were two aggravating factors that warranted a harsher sentence for Chauvin: 1) He abused his position of trust or authority and 2) he treated Floyd with particular cruelty. Judge Cahill noted that Chauvin remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd’s pleas even as he was begging for his life and terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die.

“Mr. Chauvin’s prolonged restraint of Mr. Floyd was also much longer and more painful than the typical scenario in a second-degree or third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter case” – Judge Peter Cahill

Engaging, insightful, informative, and often on-the-scene, Monique Pressley is an important voice with a unique vantage point. Pressley has been closely following the Chauvin trial and sentencing throughout its duration and has provided insightful legal analysis and POV for numerous media outlets, including NPR, BET.com, Black News Channel, #RolandMartinUnfiltered and more. More than a source for general legal and political analysis, Pressley is also in the fight for social justice alongside legal activists such as renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, lending her expertise and aid to families and victims of police misconduct and fatal interactions.

In addition to her current work as a crisis manager for political and entertainment figures, this multi-faceted champion for important causes has served as a former congressional staffer to the legendary U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX); has advocated on both sides of the courtroom as a former assistant attorney general specializing in defense of police misconduct civil suits and as a criminal defense attorney; and cultivating the next generation of trial lawyers as a professor and coach at her alma mater, the esteemed Howard University School of Law.

A rare combination of insider access, cultural currency/influence, a wealth of knowledge, and an uncanny ability to interpret complex legal or political issues for audiences makes Pressley an ideal choice for coverage or inclusion as a third-party expert.

As she is currently providing ongoing consult to Attorney Crump in the Floyd matter and a member of a core team meeting with members of Congress and the White House, Pressley is available to speak today’s developments in the Chauvin sentencing decision, as well as discuss updates in the ongoing effort to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

 

The case regarding the former police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has been unfolding. Chauvin has now been charged with both second- and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was found guilty on all accounts. The case can be viewed live on CNN’s website here.

George Floyd’s death was recorded via cellphone footage from a nearby bystander, Darnella Frazier. Frazier, then seventeen at the time, has brought critical attention to Floyd’s death as a result of her footage, a major piece of evidence in bringing light to the case. Frazier has revealed that she only observed violence from the police officers at the scene of Floyd’s death, which contradicts the defense’s illustration of the bystanders as a “angry mob that was striking fear into the police.” Earlier this month on Facebook, Frazier had posed a query to her followers, asking what would have happened if no one recorded Floyd’s arrest and death, posing an important question surrounding the relationship between the police and the community members that the force governs. Frazier ended her testimony with an emotional statement: “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them.”

Frazier had witnessed the distressful scene alongside her nine-year-old cousin. The witness said that the officer on the scene had his knee on Floyd’s neck, even after the EMT personnel asked “him nicely to get off of him.” She continues, explaining that the ambulance personnel had to get the officer off of Floyd. “I was sad and kind of mad”, she remarks, “because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”

Another witness to Floyd’s death, mixed-martial artist Donald Williams II, has taken to the stand to account what he observed at the scene of Floyd’s arrest. Williams had called the police on the police after seeing Floyd transported from the gruesome scene via ambulance. Williams claims, “I believed I witnessed a murder.”

Williams has faced speculation and discreditation from the defense attorney of Officer Chauvin, Eric J. Nelson. Nelson spent much of the morning on the second day of the trial questioning William’s knowledge of martial arts defense. Nelson also attempted to portray Williams as angry, to which Williams clarified his reaction was out of desperation because of the harrowing situation at hand. Nelson also attempted to portray the crowd of bystanders as mad at and violent towards the police officers present at the scene. As earlier stated, this claim contradicts Frazier’s assertion that the police were the source of violence at the scene. Nelson averted the attention from the video footage, asserting that there are 50,000 items in evidence and this case is “is clearly more than about 9 minutes and 29 seconds.”

On the other hand, the prosecution said it would bring in seven medical experts and the Hennepin County medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Floyd (who classified the case as homicide) to bring further clarity to the case. Chauvin’s attorney is arguing that Floyd died due to a drug overdose and heart condition, though the nine minutes and twenty-nine second video also clearly shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, restricting his ability to breathe. Prosecuting attorney, Jerry W. Blackwell, spoke about the video footage: “You can believe your eyes, that it’s homicide–it’s murder.”

Another witness to the scene, paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, testified that when he arrived on scene, he could tell that Floyd already wasn’t breathing. When lifting Floyd into the ambulance, the paramedic recalls Floyd’s state: “I guess limp would be the best description. He wasn’t — he was unresponsive and wasn’t holding his head up or anything like that,” Bravinder said. He continues, explaining that Floyd flatlined while on the way to the hospital. Once realizing his patient had flatlined, Bravinder and his partner stopped the ambulance to give medical aid to Floyd. Bravinder elaborated on the condition of Floyd, explaining that the term “flatlining” refers to “not a good sign…basically just because your heart isn’t doing anything at that moment. There’s not — it’s not pumping blood. So it’s not — it’s not a good sign for a good outcome.”

Another paramedic who delivered medical assistance to George Floyd, Derek Smith, also delivered a testimony in the trial of Chauvin. Upon arriving on scene, Smith reports that he saw Floyd on the ground with three officers on top of him. He continues detailing the scene: “I walked up to the individual, noticed he wasn’t moving. I didn’t see any chest rise or fall on this individual.” Smith reported that he thought Floyd was dead, and upon checking the victim, he says that Floyd’s pupils were “large” and “dilated” and that he couldn’t detect his pulse. Still, Smith says he did all that he could in an attempt to revive Floyd: “”[H]e’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life.”

A doctor who provided emergency care to Floyd at Hennepin County Medical Center, Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, also took to the stand. Dr. Langenfeld had pronounced Floyd dead on May 25, 2020. Langenfeld attested that the emergency responders who responded to the event were originally called upon for a “lower type of acute event of facial trauma,” but the call was later upgraded to call for “an individual under distress.” When Floyd arrived at the hospital, Langefeld explains that the paramedics attempted to resuscitate Floyd for “approximately 30 minutes,” by inserting a tube down his throat to ventilate his lungs, as well as attempted to administer CPR and medication. The report did not mention that the police officers on scene nor any of the bystanders attempted to give Floyd CPR. Langenfeld, who provided medical treatment to Floyd, testified that hypoxia was likely a cause of Floyd’s cardiac arrest. He says,  “Based on the history that was available to me, I felt that hypoxia was one of the more likely possibilities.” Langenfeld clarified to prosecutor Jerry Blackwell that hypoxia refers to “cardiac arrest meaning oxygen insufficiency.” Langenfeld continues describing the condition of his patient: “There was no obvious, significant external trauma that would have suggested he suffered anything that could produce bleeding to lead to a cardiac arrest.” Jerry Blackwell asked if Langenfeld theorized oxygen deficiency as the leading cause of Floyd’s death, to which Langenfeld replied: “That was one of the more likely possibilities. I felt at the time based on information I had, it was more likely than the other possibilities.”

Capt. Jeremy Norton of the Minneapolis Fire Department had also been in the ambulance which escorted Floyd to the hospital. In his testimony, he recalled the scene when he entered the ambulance: “He was an unresponsive body on a cot.” Norton continues, attesting that after Floyd was delivered to the hospital, he filed a report with his supervisors regarding the incident. Norton says, “”I was aware that a man had been killed in police custody, and I wanted to notify my supervisors to notify the appropriate people above us in the city, in the fire department and whomever else, and then I also wanted to inform my deputy that there was an off-duty firefighter, who was a witness at the scene.”

Minneapolis police inspector, Katie Blackwell, also testified in Chauvin’s trial. She detailed that she had worked with Chauvin for over 20 years, and had selected him as a field training officer. Blackwell documented that Chauvin had been regularly instructed in defensive tactics and the proper use of force as taught by the Minneapolis Police Department. She continued testifying, adding that officers are also trained in their medical unit about the dangers of possible asphyxiation and the cruciality of positioning people up right or on their side to recover from such. She added that once a person is under control, officers should position them in a recovery position “as soon as possible.” Further, Blackwell said that Chauvin participated in a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training in 2016, and another seven hour refresher course in 2018– which included de-escalation training as part of the program. In viewing an image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Blackwell said: “I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is,” she said. “It’s not what we train.”

Another witness, Christopher Martin, continues to fill in more details to the harrowing day of Floyd’s death. Christopher Martin was the cashier at Cup Noodles, a convenience store in south Minneapolis. He explains that Floyd came in to buy cigarettes with a friend on May 25, and describes Floyd’s condition as “very friendly” and “talkative.” Martin testified that Floyd appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Martin continues, explaining that Floyd had paid with a counterfeit $20 bill. After realizing the counterfeit payment, Martin reported it to his manager, as the store had a policy of deducting the amount of counterfeit payment from its employee’s paychecks. Martin’s boss instructed the worker to approach Floyd and ask him to come back into the store, and Martin was met with refusal. He returned to the store and told his manager that he would accept the pay deduction, but Martin’s manager encouraged him to again approach Floyd. After Floyd refused for the second time, Martin’s manager told another store worker to call 911. Minutes later, Martin says that he recalls a large crowd of people gathering outside, “yelling” and “screaming.” Martin joined the crowd outside, observing as bystanders demanded for the police to take Floyd’s pulse as Chauvin continued to kneel on the victim’s neck. Reflecting on the scene, Martin says he felt “disbelief and guilt.” Elaborating on that statement, Martin explains: “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.” Martin has also added that “the one thing I would say to Derek Chauvin is justice will be served.”

The man who had been in the car alongside Floyd, Morries Hall, refuses to testify in the trial of Derek Chauvin and has asserted that he will invoke his Fifth Amendment if called to the stand. Hall had fled Minnesota shortly after Floyd died, and was soon after arrested in Texas on account of outstanding felony warrants that had been issues to him prior to Floyd’s death. One of the charges includes being a felon in possession of a firearm. Regarding the day of Floyd’s death, Hall has been accused of trying to get rid of evidence related to the case. A court document filed by the defense reports: “Surveillance video from the nearby Dragon Wok restaurant shows that Mr. Hall appeared to use Mr. Floyd’s resistance as a distraction to destroy evidence…The video demonstrates that Mr. Hall watched through the windows of Mr. Floyd’s vehicle to ensure that he was not being observed by police, then…. Mr. Hall furtively dropped something into the sewer drain on the street.”

Courteney Batya Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend since August 2017, took to the stand and revealed that both herself and Floyd had struggled with opioid addiction. She explains their opioid use: “Both Floyd and I, our story — it’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both have prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, and we got addicted, and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.” Elaborating on Floyd’s opioid usage, Ross disclosed that Floyd had been hospitalized for overdose in March of 2020.

The prosecution presented this information regarding Floyd’s usage to light not to paint him in a negative light, but to show the full truth of the situation. CNN legal analyst Laura Coates explains the prosecution’s strategy: “’It’s because as the prosecutor, you want to present and address and resolve these bad facts. You don’t want to have the defense be able to say, ‘Hey, jury, why didn’t they tell you about this? Here are the things they don’t want you to know.’ Sprinkling seeds of doubt’….Coates added that the prosecution is addressing it so they can “package it essentially” to say, “‘So what? He has an opioid addiction.’ And of course in America, we view opioid abuse very differently than we did even decades ago. How does this actually impact Chauvin’s decision to act?’”

Retired Sgt. David Pleoger of the Minneapolis Police Department took to the stand to describe a phone call that had taken place between Chuavin and himself on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd’s neck. He recalls: “I believe he told me that they had — tried to put Mr. Floyd — I didn’t know his name at the time, Mr. Floyd into the car. He had become combative,” adding that “I think he mentioned that he had injured — either his nose or his mouth, a bloody lip, I think, and eventually after struggling with him, he suffered a medical emergency and an ambulance was called and they headed out of the scene.” Pleoger also detailed that he has known Chauvin since 2008.

Another member of the force, Jon Curtis Edwards, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department, took to the stand to discuss details about the crime scene and body camera footage. Edwards reports that he arrived at the scene of 38th and Chicago around 9:35 p.m. ET. Upon arrival, Edwards says there were only two officers still present­– J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane– and not many other people around. While Edwards attests that he arrived on scene with his body camera turned on, he says that the two officers who had been at the scene did not have their cameras on. Edwards asked them to turn their body cameras on. Then, after the two officers detailed to Edwards where the scene had occurred, Edwards told them to place crime scene tape around the area “so that we could preserve any potential evidence that was there.”

The most senior officer on the Minneapolis police department and head of the Minneapolis Police’s homicide unit, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, also took to the stand. He clarified that the actions of Chauvin are not compliant with the training that police officers receive, adding that  “if your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill them.” As the most long-standing member of the police force, and having been trained every year in the appropriate use of force, he says that he has never received instruction to deliver force via kneeling on the back or neck of someone, as Chauvin demonstrated. “Pulling him down to the ground face down, and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger — if that’s what they felt — and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force,” Zimmerman stated. He says that Chauvin’s use of force would only be used in a “top-tier, deadly force” situation and in case of Floyd was “totally unnecessary.” There are varying degrees of how officers can work to restrain someone. Zimmerman explains, “Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down all the way. They are cuffed, how can they really hurt you,” he said. “You getting injured is way down. You could have some guy try to kick you or something, but you can move out of the way. That person is handcuffed, you know, so the threat level is just not there.” Upon arriving at the crime scene around 10 p.m., Zimmerman recalls walking up to officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. Determining the two as “involved officers,” Zimmerman says he instructed them to go to city hall to be interviewed. Zimmerman explains that the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) took over the handling of the case when the hospital determined Floyd had passed. Lt. Richard Zimmerman, head of the Minneapolis Police’s homicide unit, said the use of force by former officer Derek Chauvin against George Floyd was “totally unnecessary.”

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo from the Minneapolis Police Department also took to the stand to discuss the use of force and de-escalation techniques. He has held his position as chief for three years, and has been involved with the department since 1989. At the beginning of his testifying, he was asked to identify Derek Chauvin, whom he successfully pointed out. He discussed de-escalation tactics and the use of force in the Minneapolis Police Department. Reading the department’s policy, Arradondo states: “As an alternative and/or the precursor to the actual use of force MPD officers shall consider verbally announcing their intent to use force including displaying an authorized weapon as a threat of force when reasonable under the circumstances.” He continues, “The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.”

When asked about Chauvin’s use of force unto Floyd, Arradondo said “The conscious neck restraint by policy mentions light to moderate pressure. When I look at exhibit 17 and when I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way, shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure.” Arradondo comments on the use of restraint by Chauvin: “I absolutely agree that violates our policy,” detailing that the Department’s core values include treating everyone with “dignity and respect.” Arradondo continues, “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting. And certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped. There is an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds. But once there was no longer any resistance, and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned-out, handcuffed behind their back. That, in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy. It is not a part of our training. And it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”

Arradondo also commented on the first amendment right of protesters to record officers with their cellphones, even if the officers find the recording “irritating.” This “absolute first amendment right” is granted to all people, “with the exception that they cannot obstruct the activity of the officers but they absolutely have the right, barring that, to record us performing our duties,” he added. In the case of Floyd, the recording of officers was deemed by Arradondo as non-obstructive.

In his own viewing of the footage surrounding Floyd’s death, Arradondo commented that the city-owned video camera footage he originally saw didn’t show as much detail as community member footage. Arradondo recalls learning of the bystander video recording: “Probably close to midnight a community member had contacted me and said, chief, almost verbatim, but said, chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago? And so once I heard that statement, I just knew it wasn’t the same milestone camera video that I had saw. And eventually within minutes after that, I saw for the first time what is now known as the bystander video.”

In reviewing the footage, which showed Chauvin’s use of force on Floyd’s neck, Arradondo commented on whether the officer followed the department’s de-escalation policy: “”I absolutely don’t agree with that”…”that action is not de-escalation. And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about the principles and values we have, that action goes contrary to what we’re taught.”

George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, also was present in the court room alongside the Floyd family attorney, Ben Crump.  Having to relive his brother’s death through re-watching the traumatic video footage, Philonise commented that it was an “emotional day watching his brother being tortured to death, screaming for his mom, talking about his kids… it was a tragedy that should have never happened.” While Chauvin and his defense are attempting to pin Floyd’s death on other factors, including drug use and health issues, Crump refocuses the case on Chauvin’s defense’s allegations: “That’s their playbook. That’s what they’ve done to so many people of color who have been unjustifiably killed by police. [They] assassinate their character so it can be a distraction from their excessive use of force.” As Chauvin’s defense looks to explain the cause of Floyd’s death as due to factors outside of the police force, Crump declares “The reason Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck is because he lacks humanity.”

When it came time for Chauvin to take the stand, he plead his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent, choosing not testify in his own defense. On Thursday, Chauvin’s attorneys rested their case shortly after his invocation. The prosecution had rested its case on Tuesday, after hearing from 38 witnesses over 11 days of the murder trial. Chauvin has plead not guilty to second-degree unintentional manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder charges.

Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, said during his closing argument that “that Derek Chauvin’s own use of force trainer at the Minneapolis Police Department testified that placing the knee on the neck of a suspect “is not an unauthorized move,” according to CNN. Nelson is referring to the earlier testimony of Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, who conducts the training for the Department. Mercil had testified that using a knee on someone’s neck “can be justified in certain circumstances,” perhaps as a means of “using body weight to control.” However, Mercil had also remarked “however, I will add that we don’t — we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible and if you’re going to use body weight to pin, to put it on their shoulder and be mindful of position.” Keeping all this in mind, during his closing argument Nelson urged the jury to consider the circumstances Chauvin had arrived at on-scene, including meeting “active resistance” and “potentially active aggression” from Floyd. Nelson stated to the jury, “The state has really focused on the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds. It’s not the proper analysis because the 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 15 minutes and 59 seconds. Completely disregards.” Nelson reminded that jury that his client, Chauvin, has a “presumption of innocent,” until possibly being proven guilty beyond a reasonable guilt by the state.

The case’s prosecuting attorney, Steve Schleicher, reminded the jury that “George Floyd is not on trial here,”…”For 9 minutes and 29 seconds. He begged, George Floyd begged until he could speak no more, and the defendant continued. This assault. When he was unable to speak, the defendant continued. When he was unable to breathe the defendant continued. Beyond the point that he had a pulse. Beyond the point that he had a pulse, the defendant continued this assault. Nine minutes and 29 seconds.” During Schleicher’s closing statement, he asserted that Chauvin’s actions were not in line with the motto of the Minneapolis Police Department, “to protect with courage.”

Another prosecuting attorney, Jerry Blackwell, took to the stand again to deliver his closing statement. He reminded the jury that while “”when he [Eric Nelson] was talking about causation, he talks about fentanyl, heart failure, hypertension. He says that we have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that none of these other factors played a role”…but “”what we need to prove is that the defendant’s actions were a substantial causal factor in his death. It does not have to be the only causal factor. It doesn’t have to be the biggest substantial factor. It just has to be one of them.” Further, he asserted the power that Chauvin held over Floyd while kneeling on the victim’s neck: “He had the bullets, the guns, the mace that he threatened the bystanders with. He had backup. He had the badge. He had all of it. And what was there to be afraid of, here particularly, at this scene?”

Blackwell also urged the jury to consider what he called the case’s 46th witness– common sense. He cited the eyewitness account of the nine-year-old bystander, claiming that the case is “so simple a child could understand… [t]he 9-year-old girl said, ‘get off of him.’ That’s how simple it was. Get off of him. Common sense.”

As the closing arguments of the case are being released today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released her statement: “Today is a solemn day as the closing arguments are presented in the George Floyd murder trial. I commend the Floyd family for their dignified calls for justice, which were heard around the world”…”As outraged as we are by his death, let us be prayerful that the truth will prevail and will honor George Floyd’s memory.”

Chauvin is on trial for  three different charges, in which the jury must deliberate whether or not the prosecution “proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” The first charge Chauvin could be convicted of is second-degree unintentional murder. The prosecution must prove that Chauvin caused George Floyd’s death while committing an underlying felony. Futher, prosectors must also prove that Chauvin acted with no intent to kill, just intent to act. If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison. Secondly, Chauvin faces a possible charge for third-degree murder. In order to be convicted, prosecutors must prove Chauvin committed a reckless act that is “eminently dangerous” to others with “depraved mind.” If Chauvin is convicted of third-degree murder, he could face up to 25 years in prison. Finally, Chauvin faces a third conviction for second-degree Manslaughter. In order to be charged, the prosecution must prove Chauvin was “culpably negligent” and disregarded awareness of substantial risk of great bodily injury or death of Floyd. If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin could face up to 10 years in prison. All of the charges are seperate, so Chauvin could end up being charged for a combination of charges, being found guilty on all accounts, or be found completely non-guilty.

While the world waits to heart the outcome of Derek Chauvin’s trial, the NYPD is bracing for the reaction to the case’s verdict. In a statement, the. NYPD said that the department has been preparing for months and has provided the necessary training for its officers to “protect and facilitate the constitutional right to peace protest.” In DC, the Army has positioned 250 members of the National Guard in preparation for potential protest, riots, and civil unrest. Around the country, police departments are preparing to face the reaction to the outcome of the trial.

The jury panel working to determine the outcome of the trial consists of six white jurors and six Black or multi-racial people. Of the jurors, seven are women and five are men. The panel consists of a grandmother, nurse, chemist, and auditor, among others. The jury’s verdict must be unanimous, and must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Shortly after the juror deliberations had begun, several of Minnesota’s most prominent politicians spoke about to urge for calm, regardless of the trial’s outcome.

Gov. Tim Waltz spoke to Minnesota residents: ““We must acknowledge two truths: We cannot allow civil unrest to descend into chaos, we must protect life and property,” the governor continued. “We also must understand very clearly, if we don’t listen to those communities in pain, and those people on the streets, many of whom were arrested for speaking a fundamental truth, that we must change, or we will be right back here again.”

Minneapolis’ mayor, Jacob Frey, echoed similar peaceful sentiments: ““There’s been pain and anguish, anger and frustration that is undoubtedly acutely felt by our Black and Brown communities,” Frey said. “Regardless of the outcome of this trial, regardless of the decision made by the jury, there is one true reality, which is that George Floyd was killed at the hands of police.” Similarly, Saint Paul’s mayor cautioned against violence.

Gov. Melvin Center spoke out about the jury deliberations on Monday afternoon: ““Whatever the jury decides, we know that in this age of insurrection and extremism that we must be ready for the possibility of those who would exploit this moment and drown out the powerful voices of constructive protests across our nation with violence and destruction.'”

Even President Biden spoke out about the trial, sharing similar thoughts. The President said he hopes the right outcome of the trial will prevail, and commented on the “overwhelming” evidence of the case. Biden also had a private conversation to discuss familial loss with George Floyd’s brother, Philonise.

The verdict of the case has been decided and publicly announced, as reported by CNN: “Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted on all charges by a jury in the Hennepin County court. The jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death in May 2020.”

As seen in media from Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach:

“Today’s three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin are an important public act of accountability. But any verdict on a charge of less than first-degree murder — a charge that Chauvin did not face — is a sign that we still have work to do. Before the entire nation, fellow officers took the stand in this trial and testified that their colleague did not protect and serve but abused power and killed George Floyd. We must meet this public act of justice and accountability with federal legislation that will hold officers of the law accountable in every state, and we must continue to work in every community to shift public investment from over-policing poor, Black and brown communities to ensuring restorative justice and equity for all people.”

DeMarcus Walker illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Justice for DeMarcus Walker

DeMarcus Walker. Say his name. Say his name along with the other victims of the hate crimes that fill our society. Just over a year ago, Demarcus was going about his Saturday morning shopping just like many others. On March 7, 2020, at approximately 10:25 in the morning, Walker was run down with a Chevy Impala and then brutally beaten with a baseball bat.

DeMarcus Walker suffered life-threatening injuries and, unfortunately, was not able to pull through. He passed away April 11, 2020, from tracheal narrowing and cerebral edema and hemorrhage due to complications from blunt injuries of the head, which was noted in his autopsy. His death was ruled a homicide.

Zai’quaria Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s daughter, stated to NBC News Anchor Tom Powell “When it’s your family it’s a different kind of pain.” She desperately asked “Why that day? What was going through your head to do that then and there?”

Houston Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s father, commented during a news conference “I feel like it was a hate crime. It had to be. The way I understand in the paper, he was walking around Walmart with a ski mask on looking for people to beat up. That’s how I feel about it.”

Vaughn Lowery, President of 360 Magazine, states “Senseless violence has afflicted America throughout the weeks, and it seems that there is no end in sight. As a nation, we must unite and abandon this malevolent behavior. Once we recognize why the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities are under constant attack because they are intrinsically different, then we will begin to heal. At the end of the day, our legal system is not designed to protect them. In the case of DeMarcus Walker, justice must be served and the person who attempted to kill him must be held accountable according to the highest standards of the law. We can no longer allow malicious intent to pass unnoticed in our judicial system.”.

Police arrested 21-year-old Levi Arnold, who has recently pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of murder and resisting law enforcement for the cold-blooded crime he committed last year outside of the Apple Glen Walmart in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Arnold will be sentenced on April 16, 2021, and is facing 51 years in prison.

Logic illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Logic – Dad Bod Music Video

Logic drops the official music video for “Dad Bod” from his latest album “No Pressure”. “Logic’s contribution to hip-hop is deep-rooted in inclusivity and compassion, and ‘No Pressure’ continues the trend even as he bids farewell to the art form that raised him and gave him a platform to speak his truth.”

“The 15 tracks that comprise No Pressure is a reminder of the Maryland native’s pure skill and dedication to the craft. His passion and talent are evident in all the sonic aspects of the album, from his double-timed flows to his melodic offerings and engaging lyricism.”

“…Logic at his finest, raging with righteous indignation and heightened melodic skills.”

“Logic’s No Pressure does what all retirement albums should aspire to accomplish: conclude a rapper’s career on a high note. The music is on par, lyrically, with the best material Logic has released throughout the past six years, and the Maryland rapper is keenly aware this is it.”

Multi-platinum, Grammy Nominated artist Logic (aka Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, aka Bobby Hall) – among the top streaming artists in the world with billions of streams to date – burst onto the music scene through a series of mixtapes that led to a significant, rabid underground fan base. Those tapes – Young, Broke, and Infamous (2010); Young Sinatra (2011); Young Sinatra: Undeniable (2012); and Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever (2013) – garnered millions of downloads and streams. They jump started a worldwide tour that led up to his record deal with Def Jam Recordings in 2014, and the release of his debut album Under Pressure that year.  Logic kept up the pace with his second album, The Incredible True Story (2015, with the RIAA gold “Fade Away”), followed by Everybody (2017), containing the landmark 5x-platinum “1-800-273-8255” (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid.  

Overlapping Logic’s albums were new mixtapes Bobby Tarantino (2016, with the RIAA gold single “Flexicution”), and Bobby Tarantino II (2018, with the RIAA platinum “44 More” and “Everyday”). YSIV (September 2018), the fourth chapter of his Young Sinatra saga, contained “One Day” which Logic performed with Ryan Tedder and over 200 immigrant children, their siblings and parents at the MTV VMAs. 2019 kicked off with the publication in March of Supermarket (Simon & Schuster), the debut novel written by Bobby Hall, which entered the New York Times Paperback Fiction bestseller list at #1 – first-ever for a hip-hop artist. It was accompanied by the Supermarket “soundtrack” album, which debuted inside the Top 10 on the Billboard Alternative Album chart, an ‘Alt’ chart first for Logic. The prolific artist dropped his fifth studio album in May 2019, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind.  It was preceded by the title tune single and video, “Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind,” and RIAA platinum “Homicide” featuring Eminem.

Follow Logic: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Logic illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Logic – No Pressure

Grammy®-nominated, multi-platinum artist Logic gets back to the roots of his craft with the completion of his new album, NO PRESSURE, set to arrive at all DSPs on July 24th via Def Jam Recordings/Visionary Music Group.

After six years of major career accomplishments, including four #1 albums, NO PRESSURE finds Logic back in the studio with renowned producer No I.D., who produced Logic’s groundbreaking RIAA gold debut album of 2014, Under Pressure. Working again with No I.D., and 6IX, NO PRESSURE is the full circle career moment for Logic, making the music he loves with ‘no pressure.’

Prior to NO PRESSURE, the ever-prolific Logic released five albums: Under Pressure (2014); The Incredible True Story (#1 chart debut in 2015); Everybody (#1 chart debut in 2017;  YSIV (#1 chart debut in 2018); and Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (#1 chart debut in 2019). His Bobby Tarantino II mixtape entered at #1 in 2018.

In March 2019, “Supermarket,” the dazzling debut novel by Bobby Hall (aka Logic), entered the New York Times Paperback Fiction list at #1, making him the first-ever hip-hop MC to author a New York Times fiction bestseller.  Logic’s accompanying Supermarket “soundtrack” album was simultaneously released via Def Jam/Visionary. The album’s Top 10 debut on the Billboard Alternative Album chart was an ‘Alt’ chart first for Logic.

Logic’s most recent Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind Tour, presented by Live Nation in October-November 2019, was a 26-city tour of the U.S. and Canada.  He was joined on most dates by special guests J.I.D. and Confessions collaborator YBN Cordae.

Multi-platinum, Grammy Nominated artist Logic (aka Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, aka Bobby Hall) – among the top streaming artists in the world with billions of streams to date – burst onto the music scene through a series of mixtapes that led to a significant, rabid underground fan base. Those tapes – Young, Broke, and Infamous (2010); Young Sinatra (2011); Young Sinatra: Undeniable (2012); and Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever (2013) – garnered millions of downloads and streams. They jump started a worldwide tour that led up to his record deal with Def Jam Recordings in 2014, and the release of his debut album Under Pressure that year.  Logic kept up the pace with his second album, The Incredible True Story (2015, with the RIAA gold “Fade Away”), followed by Everybody (2017), containing the landmark 5x-platinum “1-800-273-8255” (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. 

Overlapping Logic’s albums were new mixtapes Bobby Tarantino (2016, with the RIAA gold single “Flexicution”), and Bobby Tarantino II (2018, with the RIAA platinum “44 More” and “Everyday”). YSIV (September 2018), the fourth chapter of his Young Sinatra saga, contained “One Day” which Logic performed with Ryan Tedder and over 200 immigrant children, their siblings and parents at the MTV VMAs. 2019 kicked off with the publication in March of Supermarket (Simon & Schuster), the debut novel written by Bobby Hall, which entered the New York Times Paperback Fiction bestseller list at #1 – first-ever for a hip-hop artist. It was accompanied by the Supermarket “soundtrack” album, which debuted inside the Top 10 on the Billboard Alternative Album chart, an ‘Alt’ chart first for Logic. The prolific artist dropped his fifth studio album in May 2019, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind.  It was preceded by the title tune single and video, “Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind,” and RIAA platinum “Homicide” featuring Eminem.

Follow Logic: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

New True Crime Series ATL Homicide

SILVER SPRING, MD- May 29, 2018 – The compelling new true crime series from TV One,premieres Monday, July 9 at 10 p.m. ET/9C, dropping viewers smack dab in the middle of real-life murder investigations.

Veteran homicide detectives David Quinn and Vince Velazquez of Atlanta PD have stories-and they’re sharing some of the grittiest of them all. As part of the network’s“True Crime Mondays,” ATL Homicide dives into these stories with detectives Quinn and Velazquez as they recount their personal experiences solving these cases, alongside astonishing dramatic re-creations that transport viewers into each case.

Thirty-year Atlanta PD veterans, Quinn and Velazquez have spent fifteen of those years working side by side in the homicide division. Tackling hundreds of cold cases together from everyday ‘who-done-its’ to high-profile murder mysteries and more, the two have a visible, visceral chemistry out in the field – the streets of “Hotlanta” – and have put killer after killer behind bars. ATL Homicide follows the detectives as they search for the truth in an investigation, seeking to deliver justice on behalf of the victims of these often gruesome crimes: “This is not just 9-to-5,” Quinn said. “This thing is three o’clock in the morning…forever!”

“Through each compelling case, audiences will feel like what they are watching unfold is happening in real time,” says Tia A. Smith, Sr. Director of Original Programming & Production. “The blurred line between what’s real versus a re-creation is what really sets this series apart and flips the true crime genre on its head.”

The series places viewers in the front seat of the action, with Quinn and Velazquez guiding each turn as if the investigation is happening in the moment. At the heart of ATL Homicide‘s wild, twisting, complex rides, however, there is one clear destination: the truth. “It’s all about the truth,” Quinn says.

Some of the cases the detectives tackle this season are:

The skull of an 11-year-old was found in a field. When Quinn and Velazquez talk with the victim’s grandmother, they learn that the victim’s older brother was heavily involved with street gangs. The search for his killer now leads the detectives into the dangerous world of Atlanta gang violence.

Four days after her husband reported her missing, a woman is found dead in the woods. The victim’s belongings were scattered all around her. A talk with the victim’s husband reveals that the two had a strained and open marriage. Detectives Quinn and Velazquez now have a myriad of potential suspects to probe in order find her killer.

When an U.S. Air Force veteran is found beaten and stabbed to death in his apartment, the crime scene looks like a random robbery gone wrong. The case goes cold and no one expects it to be solved. That is, until the case goes to Quinn and Velazquez. Digging deeper into the victim’s past, the detectives discover that this man’s murder was anything but random.

Things were going great for a 21-year-old former cheerleader, but life came to a screeching halt when her boyfriend came home to find the woman strangled to death just a few feet away from her baby. The boyfriend is now the only suspect, but he swears he didn’t do it. Quinn and Velazquez set out to find the truth and uncover someone from Sparkle’s past who may have wanted the young victim dead.

Found nude and barely clinging to life, a 38-year-old woman died in the ambulance before she could identify her attacker. Detectives Quinn and Velazquez struggle to find the truth, until they try to talk to one man who refuses to invite them into his home and they notice something out of the ordinary in his apartment.

A man is shot and killed while in the process of moving into a new apartment with his wife. Quinn and Velazquez survey the area and find a trail of blood leading away from the murder scene. Quinn figures someone else was hurt and fled. An anonymous tip leads the detectives to a suspect, but when a witness comes forward, the detectives learn that their suspect was not acting alone.

A 40 year-old immigrant was living the American dream, running a successful business, until suddenly, he was violently murdered. The year-long investigation forces Velazquezand Quinn to not only figure out how the victim got himself mixed up with such criminals, but to also take on a notorious band of lawbreakers who will not hesitate to use deadly force on their targets.

ATL Homicideis produced for TV One by Wide Net Productions and Jupiter Entertainment. Executive Producers for Wide Net Productions are Rob Kerr and Sedg Tourison, for Jupiter Entertainment Matt Sprouse and Allison Wallach serve as Executive Producers; Rudolf Fischmann is Supervising Producer. For TV One, Tia A. Smith is the Executive in Charge and Sr. Director of Original Programming and Production, and Robyn Greene Arrington is Interim Head of Original Programming and Production.

For more information about TV One’s upcoming programming, including original movies, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv. TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook(@tvonetv) using the hash tags #ATLHOMICIDE and #REPRESENT.

OXYGEN’S SNAPPED x AILEEN WUORNOS

America’s first female serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, captivated the nation’s attention when she was found guilty for brutally murdering six men, and confessing to a seventh between November 1989 to November 1990. In the two-hour “Snapped: Notorious – Aileen Wuornos,” premiering Sunday, March 25th at 6pm ET/PT, Oxygen Media takes a closer look at the turbulent trial that was the first of its kind. Was Aileen Wournos afforded a just trial, or did the media frenzy cause unfair bias among the jury? For a sneak peek, please visit here.

Aileen Wuornos was a self-professed “highway prostitute” who rose to infamy when she was arrested for the deaths of several men in central Florida. Aileen ultimately confessed to the killings as self-defense, but the jury unanimously convicted her on six counts of first degree murder and sentenced her to death. The special will uncover everything from the complexities of the case to the biased media reports. Through new interviews with those closest to Aileen and her trial, the special will delve deeper into two vastly different perspectives – was she the cold-blooded killer the country made her out to be? Or was she an abuse victim that was forced to protect herself?

BRIAN KEITH GREER

​Unionized (SEIU 721) LA County Employee & University of Redlands Alumni Gunned Down During A Robbery in Compton – Leaves Behind 3 Children

On Thurs., Dec., 28, 2017 at approximately 10:30PM – Compton, Calif. (between Willow Brook and Caldwell Streets) 37-year-old African American Brian Keith Greer was killed alongside of his cousin David Charles Greer, Jr. from fatal gunshot wounds to the torso during an alleged robbery.

Greer was a Union LA County employee for about a decade. He graduated from University of Redlands in May 2009 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business & Management; and in February of 2017, he earned a Masters in Business Management from University of Redlands. Brian was a loving son, father of 3 (Tyden – 10yro; Brianne – 13yro and Jaylin -19yro), brother (Joshua – 26yro) and friend to so many within his community. Both family and friends are devastated by his untimely tragic death; and therefore, they are seeking assistance from anyone whom can provide additional information regarding the incident.

Brian Keith Greer, 360 MAGAZINE, la Times, CBS la, ktla, fox la

Brian Keith Greer (purple shirt) × friends

*Additional sources:

LA Times 

US NEWS

CBS NEWS (LA)

WATCH CBS Los Angeles Vigil Coverage 

**For all anonymous tips which can benefit this case please contact the following:

LA CRIME STOPPERS

(800) 222-8477

LA COUNTY SHERIFFS

(323) 890-5500

***CLICK TO DONATE TO VICTIM’S FAMILY.

****Candlelight Vigil  Thurs., Jan. 4th at 6:30PM.

Location: 530 W. 1st St San Pedro, CA