Talk about an additional tragic turn in an already tragic story: Tasha Thomas, the girlfriend of John Crawford III, the man who was shot and killed by police in a Cleveland-area Walmart as the couple talked on the phone, died in a New Year’s Day car crash. Police say Thomas was a passenger in a car being driven by Frederick Bailey, 30, on New Year’s Day when the car, which was allegedly going 90-100 miles per hour, hit a pole and overturned multiple times. Both Thomas and Bailey were thrown from the vehicle and were killed. Police were able to identify her because her address matched the address Thomas gave to police when she was interrogated following Crawford’s death. His passing, along with the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others, spawned the Black Lives Matter movement, which has brought police brutality, particularly against Black men, into the national spotlight.
“It’s just tragic,” Michael Wright, the Crawford family’s attorney, told the Guardian Friday, “It is a sad set of circumstances continuing from what happened at Walmart.” Our hearts go out to Thomas and Bailey’s loved ones. [Guardian]
Cleveland Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt bearing the words “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” — two unarmed Black Cleveland residents who were shot and killed by police — during pre-game interviews on Sunday, prompting Cleveland police officers to demand an apology. The Browns refused, and later, Hawkins spoke with the media at length about his decision to wear the shirt. He said that ultimately, justice means “fair treatment,” continuing, “So a call for justice shouldn’t offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology.” Keep reading »
Last month, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a Cleveland police officer who was responding to a 911 call about Rice playing with a BB gun at a park. Surveillance video of the incident shows that Rice was shot mere seconds after Office Tim Loehmann and his partner arrived on the scene. Rice died the following day, yet another example of the police using excessive deadly force against a Black person. Today, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s report ruled Rice’s death a homicide. Keep reading »
Ariel Castro will spend the rest of his life in prison. The Cleveland man, accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade, has accepted a plea deal, reports the AP. He will plead guilty and be handed a sentence of life without parole plus 1,000 years in prison. The judge asked him he if understands that he will never be released. “I do understand that,” Castro replied. He added, “I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me.” Read more on Newser…
Amanda Berry, Gina De Jesus, and Michelle Knight, the three women who spent a decade in captivity in Ariel Castro’s Cleveland home, have released a video on YouTube thanking their supporters for their prayers and donations. They also thanked the world for respecting their privacy after they were finally discovered and freed in May, and asked for that continued respect as they rebuild their lives. [YouTube]