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Che Guevara

Justice for Trayvon Martin: Protesters take to the streets across U.S.

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Protesters have taken to the streets in the US as black community leaders demanded that the authorities pursue a federal civil rights case against George Zimmerman, who shot dead Trayvon Martin but was acquitted of the teenager's murder.

In Los Angeles, police fired non-lethal - bean bag - baton rounds after demonstrators threw rocks and batteries at officers. One person was arrested but police emphasised that most of the protesters were peaceful. Streets were closed off in the city, as well as in San Francisco, where people marched to condemn Zimmerman's acquittal.

In New York, hundreds of protesters marched into Times Square on Sunday night after starting out in Union Square, zigzagging through the streets to avoid police lines. Marchers carried signs and chanted "Justice for Trayvon Martin!" and "No justice, no peace!" as tourists looked on. Beyoncé called for a moment of silence for Trayvon during a concert in Nashville, Tennessee, while rapper Young Jeezy released a song in Trayvon's memory. Protests have been relatively small in scale so far, easing fears that violent unrest would follow the widespread outrage over the verdict.

Comment: Maybe everyone should wear black hoodies in solidarity? Apartheid in America 2013. God, if JFK had just lived long enough to implement his reforms...

Rapper Young Jeezy released It's A Cold World [A Tribute to Trayvon Martin], saying:
I am in no way shape, form, or fashion am trying to capitalize off of the latest series of events. These are my true feelings and my form of expression about it.



Snakes in Suits

Zimmerman wants to go to law school to help others like him - friends

© Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT
George Zimmerman
New York - After his acquittal on murder charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman may go to law school to help people wrongly accused of crimes like himself, close friends told Reuters on Sunday.

The 29-year old was found not guilty late Saturday for shooting the unarmed black teenager in a case that sparked a national debate on race and gun laws. One of his first calls was to defense witness John Donnelly and his wife Leanne Benjamin.

They got to know Zimmerman in 2004 when he and a black friend opened up an insurance office in a Florida building where Benjamin worked. They grew close and the couple spent time with him during the trial.

Over dinner with Zimmerman recently, Benjamin said he told them he would like to go to law school.

"I'd like to help other people like me," she quoted him as telling them.

Zimmerman, an insurance investigator, attended community college and was a credit shy of an associate's degree in criminal justice but was kicked out of school because he posed a danger to the campus, according to family sources.

"Everybody said he was a cop-wannabe but he's interested in law," Benjamin said. "He sees it as a potential path forward to help other people like himself."

Zimmerman's defense attorney Mark O'Mara agreed.

"He wanted to be a cop for awhile, but he's talked about going to law school," O'Mara told Reuters on Sunday.

"He has a real interest in the law and ... prosecuting appropriately - not like what he got - is something he's very interested in. I will not be surprised if he ends up in criminal law," O'Mara said. "His dad was a judge, and he wants to be a prosecutor or a lawyer."

Experience shows that re-building life after a major trial may prove difficult, even for those acquitted of headline-making crimes.

Casey Anthony, the young Orlando mother acquitted in 2011 of killing her 3-year-old daughter Caylee, remains hidden and unemployed while her lawyers fight civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages from her.

Former NFL star O.J. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of killing his wife and an acquaintance, but his life fell apart. He lost a $33 million wrongful death civil suit in 1997, moved to Florida where he was arrested and eventually sent to prison in 2008 for up to 33 years for robbery and kidnapping.

Stormtrooper

Los Angeles Trayvon Martin protests: Protesters claim police fired rubber bullets in order to disperse the crowd

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© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Robyn Beck
Police officers hold a line against protestors on the 10 Freeway after demonstrators angry at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of black teen Trayvon Martin walk onto the 10 Freeway stopping highway traffic, in Los Angeles, California July 14, 2013.
Demonstrators protesting George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict in the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin reportedly shut down part of a freeway in Los Angeles Sunday night.

According to CBS Los Angeles, about 200 protesters stood on the southbound 10 Freeway in Crenshaw to block traffic. Protesters told NBC LA that the police fired rubber bullets in order to disperse the crowd and ended up arresting at least one person on suspicion of throwing rocks and bottles at an officer.

Ruth Fowler, an LA-based author and HuffPost blogger, was among one of the protestors on the freeway. In an email to The Huffington Post, Fowler described the scene as peaceful and happy.

"We were supported by cars who beeped their support, as did the local community who waved, gave us water, shielded us from the police with their cars, and were in complete solidarity with us," Fowler said.

The demonstration on the 10 freeway lasted from 6:20 p.m. to 6:44 p.m., officials told the Los Angeles Times, and the freeway has since reopened.
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© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Robyn Beck

Info

Zimmerman found not guilty: New Yorkers take to the streets

Demonstrators Moved North From Union Square Causing Gridlock In Manhattan


  • New York - Strong reaction has erupted in New York and across the country after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

    A six-member, all-woman jury in Sanford, Fla., deliberated for more than 15 hours over two days before reaching their decision. They had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.

    After hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go. However on Sunday the U.S. Justice Department did say that it would consider Civil Rights charges against Zimmerman.

    As CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco reported, protest rallies was planned for Sunday in Union Square, among other places, as people from both sides spoke out.

    The protest in Union Square started shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, by 7:30 p.m. that rally had ended but another began around 9 p.m. in Times Square. The Times Square protest caused traffic on 7th Ave to shut down between 42nd and 47th Street, but shortly before 10 p.m. some demonstrators had started making their way towards Harlem, while others began to return to Union Square.

    By 11 p.m. the crowd was moving north along Park Ave and had made its way into the area around 79th and Park. By the time the march reached the Upper East Side several protestors had been arrested. At 11:30 p.m. the march was moving north and had made it as high as 107th street near 2nd Ave.

    Another protest was also planned for 7 p.m. Monday at Hunts Point Plaza in the Bronx.

    People also took to Union Square Saturday night to protest the not guilty verdict, and by Sunday afternoon hundreds had gathered in Newark, NJ to peacefully protest Zimmerman's acquittal as well, the Associated Press reported.

    Organizers say the outdoor protest staged Sunday afternoon drew a diverse crowd unhappy with a Florida jury's decision to clear the former neighborhood watch volunteer in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

    Stormtrooper

    Police ignore Taser heart attack risk and keep firing at suspects' chests

    © Shutterstock
    "Stock Photo: Toronto-June 26: A Visibly Angry Police Officer Looking For Suspects After One Of The Police Car Was Torched During The G20 Protest On June 26, 2010 In Toronto, Canada".
    British police have fired Tasers hundreds of times at suspects' chests despite explicit warnings from the weapon's manufacturer not to do so because of the dangers of causing a cardiac arrest, the Guardian can reveal.

    Following the death last Wednesday of a man in Manchester after police hit him with a Taser shot, figures obtained from 18 out of 45 UK forces show that out of a total of 884 Taser discharges since 2009 - the year when Taser International first started warning the weapon's users not to aim for the chest - 57% of all shots (518) have hit the chest area.

    There is evidence that shots to the chest can induce cardiac arrest. Dr Douglas Zipes, an eminent US cardiologist and emeritus professor at Indiana University, who last year published a study that explored the dangers of chest shots, told the Guardian: "My admonition [to UK police] would be avoid the chest at all costs if you can."

    He said the proportion of shots landing on the chest was huge, adding: "I think the information is overwhelming to support how a Taser shot to the chest can produce cardiac arrest."

    The manufacturer's warning in its training materials is clear. It states: "When possible, avoid targeting the frontal chest area near the heart to reduce the risk of potential serious injury or death.

    USA

    Apartheid America: Black Florida mom gets 20 years for firing warning shot at abusive husband, Zimmerman walks free after murdering innocent black teenager

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    © WETV
    Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Fla., received a 20-years prison sentence, Friday, May 11, 2012, for firing warning shots against her allegedly abusive husband. The judge rejected a defense under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.
    Jacksonville, Florida - A Florida woman who fired warning shots against her allegedly abusive husband has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville had said the state's "Stand Your Ground" law should apply to her because she was defending herself against her allegedly abusive husband when she fired warning shots inside her home in August 2010. She told police it was to escape a brutal beating by her husband, against whom she had already taken out a protective order.

    CBS Affiliate WETV reports that Circuit Court Judge James Daniel handed down the sentence Friday.

    Under Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing requirements Alexander could receive a lesser sentence, even though she has never been in trouble with the law before. Judge Daniel said the law did not allow for extenuating or mitigating circumstances to reduce the sentence below the 20-year minimum.

    "I really was crying in there," Marissa's 11-year-old daughter told WETV. "I didn't want to cry in court, but I just really feel hurt. I don't think this should have been happening."

    Comment: Shoot an unarmed teenager, walk free. Fire a warning shot at someone who regularly beats you up and you have no other recourse to justice, get 20 years in jail. Only in America.


    Family

    On the job hunt: how I discovered gender discrimination

    It was the late '90s and I was at an interesting phase of my career. For the first time in my life I possessed relevant qualifications, experience and could also show a successful track record in my chosen career path. I had the job seeker's trifecta. It was also summer and my current employer was pissing me off with their penny-pinching ways, so after three years of ball busting effort I decided a break and a job change was in order. Displaying characteristic overconfidence in myself I quit my job (without burning any bridges) and set about applying for others.

    I was experienced in managing technical & trade supply businesses. I also had engineering experience and sales experience and had demonstrably excelled every sales and profit target I had ever been given. I started applying for roles that would stretch me and lift my career up a notch. There were plenty of opportunities around and I usually had a few applications on the go at any one time. I was an experienced guy in an experienced guy's world, this wouldn't be hard.

    Then the rejection letters trickled in. I could take rejection, it goes hand in hand with business, but after the first few months I was frankly confused. I hadn't had a single interview. Instead of aiming high I lowered my sights and started applying for jobs where there was no career advancement. Now I had everything these employers could possibly want, it would be a shoe in. But still not one interview came my way, not even a phone inquiry.

    Somewhere after the four month mark my confidence was starting to take a hit. The people rejecting me were business people too, how could my reasoning that I was perfect for these jobs be so different to theirs? Putting on my most serious business head I went back and scoured my CV. It was the only contact any of my potential employers or their recruitment companies had had with me. My CV was THE common denominator and if something was wrong it MUST be there.

    I had fortunately seen a number of CVs in my time. I was happy with the choice of style and layout, and the balance of detail versus brevity. I was particularly pleased with the decision I made to brand it with my name with just enough bold positioning to make it instantly recognisable, and as I sat scouring every detail of that CV a horrible truth slowly dawned on me. My name.

    Red Flag

    'Florida' spelled incorrectly on highway exit ramp sign - twice

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    © nj.com
    Maybe it's a sign of the times: People aren't so good at spelling.

    That seems to be the case down in Florida, where transportation workers were recently getting ready to install a new exit sign on a freeway, and someone realized the word "Florida" was spelled wrong, according to a report on FirstCoastNews.com.

    Pills

    James Holmes' lawyers enter insanity plea; here come the insane psychiatrists

    "What do you do for a living?"

    "I slap fictitious disease labels on people and poison their brains."

    "Sounds good. We want you to examine a defendant and determine whether he was morally competent on a specific night a year ago."

    "Piece of cake."

    That's what we're dealing with now in the Batman murder case.

    The psychiatrists have taken over.

    James Holmes' lawyers have entered an insanity plea in the Aurora- theater massacre case, and the judge, Carlos Samour, has just accepted it.

    From Lawyers.com: "When the insanity defense is raised, it's an admission that the defendant performed all of the acts alleged by the prosecution. For this reason, if the jury rejects the insanity defense, the defendant will almost certainly be convicted."

    In other words, Holmes' lawyers have said Holmes committed the murders, but he was insane at the time. He didn't know right from wrong, he was driven to murder by an irresistible impulse caused by a mental disorder.

    So now Holmes will be sent to a Colorado hospital for at least several months, where psychiatrists will make up their minds about whether he is/was insane on the night of July 20, 2012, at the Aurora theater.

    Eventually, unless Holmes changes his plea to a simple "guilty," a trial will take place. In the trial, the jury will decide whether he was sane or insane when he committed murder. The psychiatrists who examined Holmes will, of course, factor into that decision.

    At minimum, the jury's verdict will put Holmes in prison or a psych ward for the rest of his life. If the jury decides Holmes was sane last July, the likely sentence will be death.