• ‘Entrenched Perjury . . . Shows Little Sign of Fading’
  • Gang Databases a Life Sentence for Blacks, Latinos
  • Police Rule Out Hate as Motive in Austin Bombings
  • Meredith to Lay Off 1,000 at the Former Time, Inc.
  • Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Time Diversity Officer, Dies
  • George Wilson, Capitol Hill Radio Man, Dies at 70
  • Services Planned for Payne, Hobbs, Wilson
  • Reynolds’ Name to Return to Coretta King Book
  • Diversity Fills Gaps, ‘Gives Readers Proof of Life’
  • Short Takes
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‘Entrenched Perjury . . . Shows Little Sign of Fading’

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City police officer’s testimony was probably untrue,” Joseph Goldstein reported Sunday for the news organization. “The Times identified these cases — many of which are sealed —through interviews with lawyers, police officers and current and former judges.

“In these cases, officers have lied about the whereabouts of guns, putting them in suspects’ hands or waistbands when they were actually hidden out of sight. They have barged into apartments and conducted searches, only to testify otherwise later. Under oath, they have given firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness. They have falsely claimed to have watched drug deals happen, only to later recant or be shown to have lied.

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Detective Kevin Desormeau has made hundreds of arrests in his decade on the New York police force. But prosecutors now say he struggled with one aspect of police work: telling the truth, Nilo Tabrizy and Joseph Goldstein reported for the New York Times last Oct. 10. (New York Times video)

“No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish. ‘Clenched fists’ is how one Brooklyn officer described the hands of a man he claimed had angrily approached him and started screaming and yelling — an encounter that prosecutors later determined never occurred. Another officer, during a Bronx trial, accused a driver of recklessly crossing the double-yellow line — on a stretch of road that had no double-yellow line.

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“In many instances, the motive for lying was readily apparent: to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops. In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people — who may or may not have committed a crime — with trumped-up evidence. . . .”

Goldstein also reported, “Police lying raises the likelihood that the innocent end up in jail — and that as juries and judges come to regard the police as less credible, or as cases are dismissed when the lies are discovered, the guilty will go free. Police falsehoods also impede judges’ efforts to enforce constitutional limits on police searches and seizures.

“ ‘We have 36,000 officers with law enforcement power, and there are a small handful of these cases every year,’ said J. Peter Donald, a spokesman for the Police Department, the nation’s largest municipal force. ‘That doesn’t make any of these cases any less troubling. Our goal is always, always zero. One is too many, but we have taken significant steps to combat this issue.’

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“The 25 cases identified by The Times are almost certainly only a fraction of those in which officers have come under suspicion for lying in the past three years. That’s because a vast majority of cases end in plea deals before an officer is ever required to take the witness stand in open court, meaning the possibility that an officer lied is seldom aired in public. And in the rare cases when an officer does testify in court — and a judge finds the testimony suspicious, leading to the dismissal of the case — the proceedings are often sealed afterward.

“Still, the cases identified by The Times reveal an entrenched perjury problem several decades in the making that shows little sign of fading. . . .”

Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun: Baltimore Police officers found guilty in Gun Trace Task Force corruption case (Feb. 12)

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Joseph Goldstein, New York Times: Promotions, Not Punishments, for Officers Accused of Lying

Gang Databases a Life Sentence for Blacks, Latinos

A documented gang member is put into a patrol car by a police officer in one of the worst neighborhoods of Santa Ana, Calif. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez’s home on the southwest side of Chicago just weeks after the father of three was shot and left partially paralyzed while leaving a restaurant,” Emmanuel Felton of the Hechinger Report wrote March 15 for Pacific Standard. “During the raid, agents slammed him to the floor and cuffed his hands behind his back, aggravating the injuries that he had suffered to his head and shoulder.

“ICE didn’t have a warrant for Catalan-Ramirez, but instead targeted him because the Chicago Police Department had identified him as a gang member in its citywide database. After Catalan-Ramirez sued, the Chicago Police Department admitted in a letter to the immigration judge overseeing his deportation case that they didn’t have much evidence to link Catalan-Ramirez to a gang.

“And yet, despite a growing outcry that is demanding law enforcement agencies re-examine how they use gang databases, the Chicago Police Department hasn’t offered to take on the policies and practices that unfairly landed Catalan-Ramirez on [its] list.

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“While many in law enforcement hail gang databases as a policing breakthrough, civil rights lawyers have attacked these programs since their conception.

“Weariness over these programs has only grown since the Trump administration began stepping up efforts to deport gang members. Reformers argue these databases function like black boxes and demand more information be made public about how someone gets on — or off — these lists. The lists’ opaqueness, they say, make them a prime tool for racial profiling. From what limited information advocates have been able to gather, a familiar pattern has emerged around the country: Black and Latino communities constitute a disproportionate number of individuals on gang lists. . . .”

Police Rule Out Hate as Motive in Austin Bombings

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Credit: The Washington Post

Although Austin, Texas, serial bombing suspect Mark Conditt appeared to target African Americans and Latinos, authorities said Wednesday that hate did not seem to be a motive in the killings.

After a string of exploding packages terrorized Austin for nearly three weeks, police said the search for a serial bomber ended in a suburb outside the Texas capital when the suspect blew up an explosive inside his car as officers closed in,” Cristine Phillips, Mark Berman, Meagan Flynn and Eva Ruth Moravec wrote Wednesday for the Washington Post.

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In Austin, Sean Collins Walsh, Mary Huber and Claire Osborn of the Austin American-Statesman reported, “Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Wednesday evening that Conditt, a Pflugerville resident, left a ‘confession’ in the form of a 25-minute video message on his cellphone that detailed and explained his actions during the previous three weeks.“ ‘He does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate,’ Manley said. ‘But instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life.’ . . .”

However, the Statesman editorialized Wednesday, “The investigation does not end with Conditt’s death. His actions in targeting Austin residents feel personal. How else does one explain that he chose to leave bombs on doorsteps or streets in residential neighborhoods, bypassing larger targets that would generate more attention?

“Consider that his targets excluded Austin’s core that includes the Capitol, University of Texas at Austin and Austin’s downtown hotel and entertainment district. He avoided events that draw thousands of tourists, such as SXSW, to focus on people who already live here. Why? . . .”

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Editorial, Austin American-Statesman: Bombings show why Austin no longer can afford a small-town attitude

Editorial, Houston Chronicle: Austin bombings inspire solidarity, not terror

Bridget Grumet, Austin American-Statesman: Race, Russian bots and the angst around #AustinBombings

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John Harris, the Undefeated: Many believe Austin, Texas’ troubled racial history is behind deadly bombings

Alex Horton, Eva Ruth Moravec and Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post: A father, a musician, a salsa maker — the lives and futures lost in the Austin bombings

Meredith to Lay Off 1,000 at the Former Time, Inc.

Time Inc. headquarters at 225 Liberty St. in New York City (Credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

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Meredith Corp. said it intends to lay off 1,000 staffers at Time Inc. over the next 10 months in addition to 200 positions it cut this week, part of a push to reduce expenses following its acquisition of the storied magazine publisher in January,” (paywall) Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg reported Wednesday for the Wall Street Journal.

“The moves are part of an integration process that Meredith expects will yield $400 million to $500 million in cost savings over the next two years.

“Separately, Meredith said it is exploring the possible sale of Time Inc. titles including the flagship Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money.

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“A person close to the situation said most of the inbound interest in each of the four titles hasn’t been from strategic buyers but rather from wealthy individuals interested in the subject area. Now that bankers have been hired and a sales process is under way, it is possible that more strategic buyers could express interest, this person said.

“This person added that ‘there has been strong interest in these titles from recognizable names in the sports world, the tech world and the business world.’

“Those affected by this week’s layoffs are primarily corporate employees in New York in areas such as legal, finance and consumer marketing, according to the company. . . .”

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People and People en Español were not mentioned as part of the sale.

“Essence was sold by Time Inc. before we acquired it,” Meredith spokesman Art Slusark recalled for Journal-isms. “We closed on Jan. 31, 2018, and as of Feb. 1, 2018, Time Inc. no longer existed. Essence will be out of 225 Liberty at the end of March — they’re going to be going to Industry City [in Brooklyn] for six months.”

The Essence move will be “for the next few months while it finalizes plans for its new permanent location,” Essence spokeswoman Sheila Harris said by email.

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Time Inc. announced in January that it had sold Essence Communications, publisher of Essence magazine and operator of its annual Essence Festival, to a newly formed black-owned company led by Richelieu Dennis, a Liberian-born entrepreneur, that is giving the all-female Essence leadership a stake in the business.

Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Time Diversity Officer, Dies

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Time Warner executives Lisa Garcia Quiroz, senior vice president, corporate responsibility and chief diversity officer (right), and Michelle Blieberg, senior vice president of global organization and leadership development, share tips for keeping women in the company workforce at the 2014 DiversityInc Top 50 Best Practices Conference in New York. (DiversityInc video) 

Lisa Garcia Quiroz, president of the Time Warner Foundation and svp and chief diversity officer of Time Warner, passed away Friday at age 56 after a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer,” Chris Ariens reported Monday for adweek.com.

“A Harvard University graduate, Quiroz was recruited by Time Inc. while she was completing her MBA at Harvard. She spent her career at Time Inc. and, later, Time Warner. She was the founding editor of Time for Kids and the founding publisher of People en Español.

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“Beyond her own professional accomplishments, Quiroz was a leader and mentor for a generation of Hispanic media professionals. She was board chairman of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund; President Obama appointed her chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service Board of Directors; and she was instrumental in supporting Lin-Manuel Miranda with his first Broadway show, In The Heights. . . .

“ ‘She was an advocate for women, for education, for Latinas, for the arts. She was a connector, a doer, a passionate person who loved Time Warner and saw possibility at every turn,’ tweeted Soledad O’Brien. ‘Rest In Power, Lisa.’”

On Tuesday, the Harvard Kennedy School announced creation of a graduate student fellowship in her honor.

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George Wilson, Capitol Hill Radio Man, Dies at 70

George Wilson, a longtime Capitol Hill correspondent for African American media, died Saturday “of natural causes,” according to his wife, Iris Wilson, Hamil R. Harris is reporting for the Afro-American newspapers. He was 70.

George Wilson (Credit: Oggi Ogburn)

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Wilson, known as “GW on the Hill,” reported for the National Black Network, the Sheridan Broadcast Network, the American Urban Radio Network and Sirius XM radio, Harris wrote. He also appeared on Howard University’s commercial station WHUR-FM in Washington and wrote a weekly column for the Washington Informer.

Wilson covered the end of apartheid in South Africa, the travails of ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the fall of African dictatorships.

Askia Muhammad, news director of Washington’s WPFW-FM and correspondent for the Final Call newspaper, called Wilson “the dean of the Black press on Capitol Hill. He was without fear and was a great influence on many of the Black press secretaries on Capitol Hill,” Harris reported.

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“In terms of his consciousness and attention. He was an important figure,” Muhammad added. “When you work in the Black press the impact is not as great as corporate-owned media but you bring a perspective that people don’t get in the corporate-owned media.”

Brian Summers, a former Republican congressional staffer, told Harris that Wilson was well-respected in the Senate Radio and TV Gallery and had one of the largest broadcast booths there, where he held court for years. “I was proud to join him in the booth and on his final show during the 2012 election night we (broadcast) from XM studios. Boy, did he have a voice.”

Tené Croom, former director of news and anchor for the American Urban Radio Network, told Harris that Wilson “brought news from the Hill about people who were the underdogs, black, white and the voices of the underprivileged, to the US and the world.”

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Wilson left the airwaves in 2013 after a stroke, but continued his medical treatment and maintained a positive attitude almost to the end, Harris wrote. In addition to his wife, survivors include his mother, Rose, six children and seven grandchildren.

Services Planned for Payne, Hobbs, Wilson

Les Payne (Credit: Newsday)

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A homegoing service for Les Payne, the retired editor and columnist for Newsday and co-founder and fourth president of the National Association of Black Journalists, is scheduled for next Tuesday at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, it was announced Wednesday.

Payne died Monday at 76 after a massive heart attack. The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III officiates at the church, at 132 W 138th St, New York 10030. It has scheduled a wake from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and the funeral at 10 a.m. the next day.

In Atlanta, services are scheduled for television reporter and anchor Roy Hobbs, who died last month at age 64, for Saturday, April 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., his daughter, Taylor Genevieve Hobbs, announced. They take place at the Atlanta Airport Marriott, 4711 Best Road, Atlanta 30337.

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Roy Hobbs

Dr. Michael Bell, chief medical examiner in Palm Beach County, Fla., said Thursday that the results of toxicology tests to determine the cause of death should ready in the next two weeks.

In Washington, services for George Wilson, a longtime Capitol Hill correspondent for African American media who died Saturday, are scheduled for Unity of Washington, D.C., 1225 R St. NW, on Monday. Viewing is at 10 a.m. with a service at 11 a.m.

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In Chicago, a private service is scheduled Sunday for Grayson Mitchell, a former journalist at the Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Johnson Publishing Co. and Black Enterprise who became Chicago Mayor Harold Washington’s first press secretary and a political adviser. Mitchell died Feb. 23 at 67.

Matthew Ormseth, Hartford Courant: Les Payne, Hartford Product And Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Dies at 76

DeWayne Wickham, the Undefeated: Trailblazing black journalist Les Payne showed no fear in pursuit of the truth

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Reynolds’ Name to Return to Coretta King Book

Barbara Reynolds posted this comparison of U.S. and U.K. versions on Facebook.

The British publisher of the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds’ “as told to” memoir of Coretta Scott King said Thursday it had apologized for leaving Reynolds’ name off the cover of “My Life, My Love, My Legacy,” and promised that “the correct attribution should be given from the next print run and with immediate effect on eBook.”

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Reynolds, a veteran journalist for USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, book coach, Washington Post blogger and chaplain for Black Women for Positive Change, went to England to promote the book and was surprised to see her name removed from the cover, she told her Facebook friends on Tuesday, prompting a continuing exchange.

. . . discussing the book at the Newseum in 2017. (Credit: Don Baker Photography)

“I arrived in London for the book launch of Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy, a book that I spent 19 years writing, after over 30 years of friendship with Mrs. King, only to find that here in the U.K. that my name had been removed from the cover and the spine of the book,” Reynolds wrote.

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“What I was told, all along, was that if my name wasn’t on the book that it would make more money, if people thought that Mrs. King wrote it. I honor Mrs. King’s legacy and our friendship and I know that she was a woman of great integrity and would not have stood for this. I came to the UK to lift her name up because she was being marginalized, only to find that I was too.”

Reynolds told Journal-isms that the marginalization began more than a year ago.

“In December 2016, shortly before the book was to be released for the Jan. 15, 2017 launch, one of the Holt company executives called me to inform me my name was going to be taken off the cover because it would sell more books, if [the name] Coretta King was on the cover as the author and not mine. I was so shocked and upset. I said I can no longer talk to you because Mrs. King did not write one line in the book and that is what she asked me to do. Also, Bernice King who handles the King estate commissioned me to complete the book. After prayer and consulting my lawyer, James Walker, they decided to add my name to the book and on the spine, as my contract had specified.

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“But the downplaying did not stop. . . .”

Melissa Cox, editorial director of Hodder & Stoughton, the British publisher, replied to Journal-isms by email early Thursday, saying that “as the editor I’d like to assure you that this was a printing error arising from a last minute change to the cover — and unfortunately, one that we were not aware of until finished copies arrived in the office. These things happen and we have apologised unreservedly to the author.

“We’ve amended the cover files now so the correct attribution should be given from the next print run and with immediate effect on eBook.”

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Diversity Fills Gaps, ‘Gives Readers Proof of Life’

More reasons for diversity in newsrooms, from White House reporter April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, and Raina Kelley, managing editor of The Undefeated.

April Ryan (Credit: Sharon Farmer)

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In a brief but wide-ranging interview Tuesday, Ryan told Lisa Ryan of New York magazine, “All of it’s a big responsibility: being a woman, being African-American, but also just being a person. That’s why we need to have diversity in newsrooms, and particularly in that briefing room.

“I remember many years ago, George W. Bush said we need more minorities in there because you don’t hear a lot of the issues unless it’s coming from a person of a certain background.

“When you’re not at the table, you often don’t hear stories that are in your community. There are all these problems that have been percolating for a long time, and mainstream news organizations only deal with them when there’s a crescendo moment — the Trayvons, the Flints, the Katrinas. There are so many facets of America, and a lot of the American story is untold.”

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Raina Kelley (Credit: The Undefeated)

Kelley told Kirsten Ballard, social media and blog editor at the News Media Alliance, formerly the Newspaper Association of America, “Diversity results in diversity of story, and storytelling methods. Multiculturalism should be really good news to storytelling.”

“She brings up ‘Bubble Tea-gate,’ the backlash of a New York Times piece, extolling the popularity of the hip and new bubble tea trend,” Ballard wrote. “However, bubble tea has been around for decades and is well-known to many Asians and Asian Americans.

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“ ‘You just revealed who you are writing for,’ Raina said. ‘It is a microaggression, this thing that is not in any way new to you, in fact, it’s a part of everyday life. It is [exoticized] in a major newspaper as if it’s wild and outrageous. It makes you feel alienated and isolated.’

“Bubble Tea could have been a successful piece if there had been a robust and diverse staff, to point out the popularity of bubble tea, and frame it differently. ‘Diversity gives readers proof of life. All of your readers,’ she said. ‘Correct framing would have inspired some readers to say “I want to try it!” and others to realize “Oh my god, the New York Times appreciates part of my culture.” ‘. . . “

Short Takes

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Camille Edwards (Credit: ABC)
  • WABC news director Camille Edwards announced she is officially leaving the ABC flagship in New York after six years,” Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel reported Monday for TVSpy. Siegel also wrote, “Last fall, former sports reporter Laura Behnke and a WABC producer both filed a discrimination lawsuits against Edwards and the station’s former vice president Dave Davis. Davis announced his retirement last month. . . . Edwards joined WABC in July, 2012 after spending four years as VP of news at NBC-owned WRC in Washington.. . . .”
  • A group of students who survived last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, slammed the media for not dedicating enough coverage to gun violence in black communities,” Hayley Miller reported Monday for Huffington Post. “David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman shot and killed 17 people on Feb. 14, called that unequal coverage one of the ‘greatest obstacles’ that #NeverAgain, a student-led anti-gun violence movement created since the massacre, is trying to overcome. . . .”
  • Keami Lewis, the New York Times’ director of Talent & Inclusion for the newsroom, will be leaving April 6, Times editors messaged staff members on Tuesday. “ . . . she is only departing because a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity opened up — as executive vice president and global head of talent management and organizational development at Pimco, the international investment firm. Keami will lead a global team responsible for career management, manager and leadership development, coaching, onboarding, and developing the company’s first diversity and inclusion strategy and team,” they said. Lewis has had the newsroom job since the fall.

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Kimi Yoshino

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