Detroit Man Released After Serving 9 Years For Murder He Didn’t Commit

When Davontae Sanford was only 14 years old, he was sentenced to 37-to-90 years after pleading guilty to four counts of second-degree homicide in four murders. Now, nine years later at the age of 23, Sanford is being released after it was found that he inaccurately pleaded guilty following the advice of his attorney.

According to USA Today, a professional hitman Vincent Smothers confessed to those same murders, and eight others, just two weeks after Sanford’s inaccurate confession. Smothers even gave an affidavit last year repeating his claims that Sanford had no involvement in the crimes. 

California Is Now Guaranteed A Female Senator of Color

The state of California has practically guaranteed some diversity to the U.S. Senate. Throughout the history of Congress, there has only been one black woman in the Senate and no Latinas – although there has been a handful of each as members of the House of Representatives. Thanks to a new law that places the two candidates with the most votes in a runoff, regardless of their party affiliation, California’s next senator will change all of that. 

Black Students Are Twice As Likely To Be Disciplined By Law Enforcement

A new study has taken a close look at any disparities in the U.S. education system along the fault lines of race and learning disabilities. While some of what the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection revealed was positive, a vast majority of it raised concerns over common education practices. The study took a sample size of 50,035,744 students from 95,507 schools from 16,758 school districts for their data.

Among it’s findings, the study revealed that black students are disproportionately disciplined in schools and are less likely to receive a quality education when in schools with higher black populations.

Officer Charged With Freddie Gray’s Murder Elects To Have A Bench Trial

Out of the six Baltimore police officers charged with playing a role in Freddie Gray’s death, only one was brought up on charges of actual murder. Caesar Goodson Jr., who was reportedly driving the van that Gray was fatally injured in the back of, was charged with depraved-heart murder, which is a second-degree felony with the possibility of 30 years served in prison if convicted. He also faces three counts of manslaughter and charges of second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Goodson’s trial will begin this Thursday as a bench trial and will take place in front of a judge instead of a jury. Several legal experts say that, based on the history of police officers and bench trials, this was probably a smart move on Goodson’s part. 

Charges Won’t Be Held Against Parents of 3-Year-Old Who Fell Into Gorilla Habitat

After video was released of a three-year-old falling into a gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo, leading to the 17-year-old Silverback gorilla being shot and killed by zookeepers, no one truly knew what the next steps should be. Some called for the end of zoos while others demanded that the parents of the child be charged with neglect.

Ohio Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Deters has officially made a decision and chosen to not charge the parents in the incident. 

Jamila Woods Gives Us #BlackGirlMagic Anthem In “Blk Girl Soldier”

Jamila Woods’ “Blk Girl Soldier” references #BlackGirlMagic, “deja vu of Tubman” and the constant dismissal of black women and their struggles regardless of their constant support.

The video shows the Chicago singer, songwriter and poet wearing a shawl made of hair beads and a bandolier with hair rollers in the place of shot gun shells. She then goes on to name women that played an integral role in black empowerment over the decades, including Rosa Parks, Ella Baker, Angela Davis and Assata Shakur.

Jasmine Richards’ ‘Felony Lynching’ Charge Is ‘Political Prosecution’, Lawyer Says

This morning, Jasmine [Abdullah] Richards, a 28-year-old Black Lives Matter organizer and founder of the Pasadena, California chapter was sentenced after being convicted on a charge of “federal lynching.” She is the first African American person to ever be convicted of this crime in the United States.

Fortunately, Richards will only serve 90 days for the charge, 18 of them having already been served compared to the six months that the prosecution requested.

Respecting The Totality of Muhammad Ali’s Legacy

This past weekend I took a trip to Columbus, OH to meet up with some fellow writers and friends. After a couple days of constantly being in rooms with no fewer than eight and sometimes as many as fifty people, the introvert in me needed some time alone to decompress. So I dipped off to grab some quick dinner at a nearby diner on High Street.

I wasn’t even sitting down long enough to get a glass of lemonade when I noticed there was a man sitting alone at a bar a few feet away. He was an elderly white man sporting a John Deere cap and overalls who spent the next  few minutes flirting with the waitresses when he wasn’t asking for another Budweiser.

France prison photo - Rikers Island

Florida Inmate Punished For “Faking” Illness He Later Died From

The systems that are in place to disproportionately incarcerate minorities are already a crippling issue in this country. But every new look we have at the horrible treatment many of them face while in custody raises even more concerns. The latest story of neglect by authorities comes from Florida where a man died after his complaints of illness went ignored.