WORD: Women Organized To Resist And Defend. Take Action for Women’s Equality Day. Week of Action; Sat., Aug. 23 – Fri., Aug. 29, 2014.


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Women Organized To Resist and Defend



WORD: Call to Action: Women’s Equality Day


Join Week of Action: Sat., Aug. 23 – Fri., Aug. 29, 2014

Take Action for Women’s Equality Day
Say NO to the Status Quo—Full Equality for All Women!
Full Reproductive Rights Now!
Free Marissa Alexander!
Equal Pay for Equal Work!
End Violence Against Women!

See an initial list of events



Aug. 26 marks Women’s Equality Day—a celebration of the hard-fought struggle for women’s suffrage that was won in 1918. Today, almost 100 years later, women have made many gains in the struggle for equality. Almost 100 years later, the struggle for full equality continues.


There is much that has not been won. In 2014, women are still paid less than men for equal work; Latina women are paid 55 percent of what men earn, Black women 67 percent and white women 78 percent. Worldwide, 35 percent of women experience sexual violence. Society then sweeps sexual violence under the rug—shaming victims and protecting attackers.


Marissa Alexander’s case—among many others—highlights the contradictions of a society that punishes victims of abuse when they defend themselves. Marissa Alexander is a 33-year-old African American woman, mother, and survivor of domestic violence. Under mandatory minimum sentencing laws, Marissa was sentenced to 20 years in prison for defending herself against an abuser in the same state that let George Zimmerman walk free. Though the original sentence was thrown out by the judge, Marissa is still being prosecuted and State Prosecutor Angela Corey has announced she intends to seek a 60-year sentence. All charges against Marissa should be dropped! We must stand with Marissa, demand her freedom, and fight to end all forms of violence against women!


Recently, reactionary politicians and groups have targeted our reproductive rights—trying to overturn Roe v Wade through federal and state legislation that denies women the right to abortion, denies us access to birth control and criminalizes certain behaviors for pregnant women. There is an ongoing offensive to defund Planned Parenthood and other centers that provide not only reproductive health care, but also critical preventative health services. The latest attack has come in the form of the Supreme Court’s decision that Hobby Lobby’s owners’ religious convictions were more important than the reproductive health care of the women who work there.


Women’s bodies belong to no one but themselves. We should have the right to control our own bodies, and determine how and when we get pregnant and give birth. Access to abortion and birth control are part and parcel of reproductive health care—and shouldn’t be isolated from health care in general. Likewise, women look forward to the day when we are safe to walk down the street, and when our bodies are not objectified and commodified. We are struggling for a day when we are not paid less just because of our gender or more likely to live in poverty because of it.


That day is entirely possible. But is only possible if we organize and mobilize to challenge the status quo that perpetuates and institutionalizes inequality. Join WORD in building the struggle for full equality.


On Women’s Equality Day, WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) will be holding speak-outs, forums and other actions to celebrate the gains demanding “Say no to the status quo—full equality for all women!” Join us in cities across the country betweenSaturday, August 23 and Friday, August 29, 2014. Attend an event in your city or organize one.



WORD: Women’s Equality Day: List of events


Join WORD on August 23 – 29 in a city near you or call an action in your city and add it to the list! Events are being added every day!


Event Listing:


Los Angeles, CA
WORD Forum: From Palestine To Murietta
Friday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.
135 E. 3rd Street
Info: la@defendwomensrights.org or 323-394-3611


San Francisco, CA
Date/Time/Location TBD
Info: sf@defendwomensrights.org or 415-375-9502


New Haven, CT
Rally and Speak-out
Friday, Aug. 29, 5:30 p.m.
College and Chapel Streets
Info: ct@defendwomensrights.org or 203-787-8232


Albuquerque, NM
Full Reproductive Rights Speak-out
Tuesday, Aug. 26, 5:30 p.m.
UNM Bookstore
Info: abq@defendwomensrights.org or 505-249-1768


New York City, N.Y.
Train Outreach for Women’s Equality Day
Saturday, Aug. 23, 12 Noon
Meeting up at 2295 7th Ave, departing at 1 p.m.
Info: nyc@defendwomensrights.org or 347-292-WORD (9673)


To list your Women’s Equality Day event, email info@defendwomensrights.org.


Reportbacks from nationwide actions to demand justice for Marissa Alexander

Jacksonville Marissa March


Marissa Alexander faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 years in prison for defending herself during an attack by her abuser, shooting a single warning shot that injured no one. Earlier in June, Judge Daniel postponed Marissa’s trial, which had been set to begin on July 28, 2014. The trial was delayed in consideration of the effect of recent amendments to Florida’s racist Stand Your Ground law. This was the law that the State of Florida invoked to delay pressing charges against murderer George Zimmerman for 45 days.


Read Full Report



Reportbacks from nationwide actions to speak out against the Hobby Lobby Decision

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On July 3 – 13th, WORD chapters all across the country organized protests demanding that the Supreme Court overturn its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The ruling prioritizes a corporation’s “religious freedom” over an employee’s right to health insurance coverage, including coverage of contraception.



Read Full Report



WORD stands with immigrant children
By Gisela Santiago, WORD-LA organizer

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On July 23, the City Council of Bell, California, voted in favor of the Salvation Army’s request to receive federal funding to shelter around 150 immigrant children from Central America while the children wait to be deported. WORD activists and volunteers from Los Angeles attended the City Council meeting to speak in support of the initiative.


A majority of the residents were in favor of opening the Salvation Army’s doors to shelter these children, who would stay for about 30 days at a time while they await deportation, but there was a small group who opposed the proposal. It was surprising to see that the group of people who were against sheltering these children were mostly women, and mostly from the Latino community. To ignore the fact that immigration is not a women’s issue would be absolutely wrong.


Read Full Statement



WORD stands with the people of Palestine
Stop the massacre in Gaza NOW!

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Over the past month, Israeli has carried out an all-out aerial assault and ground invasion of Gaza, as the seven-year inhumane and illegal siege has continued.


Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza has killed almost 2,000 men, women and children. More than 8,500 have been wounded. Israel has carried out a nonstop military assault against an occupied people under the flimsy excuse of ending rocket fire from occupied land.


Read Full Statement



WORD stands with Latinas and their communities
Solidarity Statement for Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice 2014

Latina Week Of Action


WORD supported the recent Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice 2104, and will continue to work for change and fight for true justice. Below is a solidarity statement signed by WORD and other organizations.


We declare our solidarity with, and commitment to work alongside, Latinas, their families, and communities, as they struggle for reproductive justice and the recognition of their human rights.


Twenty years ago, a group of visionary Black women created the Reproductive Justice (RJ) framework, founding a transformational and culturally grounded movement for human rights and social change. Latinas across the country joined with Black, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous hermanas in embracing this new reproductive justice framework. In the process, we reframed our organizing and advocacy to work across issues and identities while building the movement for dignity, justice, and self-determination for ourselves, our families, and our communities.


Read Full Statement


Women Organized to Resist and Defend


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Chicago: 773-828-9205 or chicago@defendwomensrights.org
Connecticut: 203-787-8232 or ct@defendwomensrights.org
Los Angeles: 323-394-3611 or la@DefendWomensRights.org
New York: 347-292-WORD (9673) or nyc@defendwomensrights.org
San Francisco: 415-375-9502 or sf@DefendWomensRights.org


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TheObamaCrat Potpourri™ : A Little Bit Of This, A Lotta That.






















It's Raining Videos™

It’s Raining Videos™


Fireworks on the National Mall from the White House


Published on Jul 4, 2014

The National Mall fireworks as seen from the South Lawn of the White House. July 4, 2014.




Tour one of the world’s only underwater labs


Published on Jul 5, 2014

Take a visit to one of the world’s only underwater labs, where six scientists recently spent a month off Key Largo in Florida studying the effects of climate change on coral reefs. Hari Sreenivasan spoke to the mission leader, Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau.




He lived 63 feet underwater for 31 days


Published on Jul 5, 2014

Researcher Fabien Cousteau has just returned to the surface after spending one month in an underwater research lab.




Congress Does Nothing, Almost Literally & It’s Not Just Republicans


Published on Jul 5, 2014

“The people’s representatives can’t agree on much of anything these days — even calling a recess.


When senators and members of the House went home for their Independence Day break, they didn’t, or couldn’t, agree on an adjournment resolution. So they did what they usually do: They went into “pro-forma session,” a status when they are technically working but don’t actually do anything. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much how it is when they’re in town, too.”* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.




Joan Rivers storms out of CNN interview


Published on Jul 5, 2014

Comedienne Joan Rivers sat down with Fredricka Whitfield to discuss her new book, but stormed out before it was over.



Joan realized she was late for her daily injections of dumbass into her face from her plastic surgeon.



Fourth of July Inflatable Slide Blown Away By Wind


Published on Jul 5, 2014

Accident leaves 3 injured during a celebration in Nevada



Too bad the 113th CongrASS were not on this slide.



Reporting From Besieged Shuafat Refugee Camp


Published on Jul 5, 2014

Following kidnapping and killing of 16 year-old Mohamed Abu Khdeir from Shuafat refugee camp, vigilante and army violence against Palestinians on the rise.




Video: Officer Beats Woman on LA Freeway


Published on Jul 4, 2014

The California Highway Patrol said Friday it is investigating video of one of its officers straddling a woman and punching her in the head as she lay on the shoulder of a Los Angeles freeway. (July 4)




Tensions, protests escalate in Israel following teen deaths


Published on Jul 5, 2014

For more on the escalating tensions inflaming the Isareli-Palestinian conflict, Josef Federman of the Associated Press joins John Larson via Skype from Jerusalem.
































This planet we live on is in trouble. Racist caucasian men have decided that penile implants and erectile dysfunction drugs should be covered by everybody’s insurance, including Hobby Lobby. Women’s birth control and most reproduction issues have been decided, by those same racist caucasian males. and Hobby Lobby, AND the UnSupreme Court, to be against God’s Law…..and THEIR law abiding constitutional rights.


This planet needs a cleansing. For you God fearing, bible thumping, dumbass Christians, that means the second coming of Christ, where most of YOU will perish in Holy Fire….if YOU believe that bible you’re busy thumping.


Burn Muthafuckas.


Bernie Mac “The Word MuthaFucka” Kings of Comedy




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It’s Raining Videos™









It’s Raining Videos™


President Obama Speaks on the Economy


Published on Jun 27, 2014

President Obama delivers remarks on the economy during his trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 27, 2014.



This President Of The United States Of America, is amazingly wonderful.



Dildo Fight! An Awesome Gun Safety Ad


Published on Jun 27, 2014

It would be mortifying if this happened to anybody! Can you imagine if these kids had found and were playing with guns. We love this ad. In the year following Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre at least 100 children were unintentionally killed by gun fire. These deaths are completely preventable. You can never be careful enough when it comes to storing your guns. Cenk Uygur (www.twitter.com/cenkuygur), Ana Kasparian (www.twitter.com/AnaKasparian), Jimmy Dore (TYTComedy, The Jimmy Dore Show), and Lissette Padilla (www.twitter.com/lizzette) discuss.


“A gun safety advocacy group is using sex toys to start a conversation around gun safety and responsibility.


An ad released Thursday titled “Playthings” shows two young boys running around, playing with large, brightly colored dildos as if they’re swords.


“If they find it, they’ll play with it,” the narrator says, “so always lock up your guns.”


The ad comes from Evolve, an organization committed to reducing gun violence while taking no political position on the issue of gun control. The group’s co-founder, Rebecca Bond, said Evolve aims to “motivate people to make behavior changes” when it comes to firearms safety and responsibility.” *


*Read more here fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06…



This is amazing. And it makes sense and is a fact.



Miss Florida crowns wrong Miss Florida


Published on Jun 27, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) – A scoring error in last weekend’s Miss Florida pageant crowned the wrong winner, causing organizers to announce a new Miss Florida today in St. Petersburg, FOX 13 learned Friday.


Leesburg’s Elizabeth Fechtel has been in the spotlight all week after her big moment. However, an independent review of scoring found they had erroneously tabulated the winner. Now they are instead awarding it to Victoria Cowen of Panama City.






Body of Missing Mike Herdman California Firefighter Found


Published on Jun 27, 2014

The body of missing Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman was found, officials said Friday.

The body was found about three-quarters of a mile from where he was last seen and several hundred feet up on a cliff above the Sespe River in rugged terrain of the Los Padres National Forest, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.Herdman’s body was discovered by a pilot flying over a canyon after dropping off searchers combing through hillsides looking for Herdman.




Gas Prices on the Rise Conflict in Iraq triggers the rise in oil prices.




Could car seat monitors prevent tragedies?


Published on Jun 27, 2014

CNN’s Gary Tuchman tests out an alarm that claims to save kids from being left in hot cars.



What parent forgets a child in the backseat of a vehicle? There’s no excuse for this, you never heard of parents leaving children in cars during the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s…..even the 80’s. Why is is a common event today?



Secretive Trade Deals, Pesticides and Autism, Detroit Water Shutoff & Prison Industrial Complex


Published on Jun 27, 2014

The Redacted Team reveals Obama’s true feelings on secretive trade deals, discovers free TV, shuts off Detroit’s water, finds a practical use for giant vagina statues, and reveals who’s the sexiest inmate alive.




War’s First Casualty: the Truth


Published on Jun 27, 2014

This week Bill speaks with investigative journalist Charles Lewis about why facts, logic and reason are often missing in the rush to war.



Too bad there is no integrity in reporting. No integrity in politics either.



Track race no sweat for eight months pregnant athlete Runner Alysia Montano


Published on Jun 27, 2014

Runner Alysia Montano was eight months pregnant when she competed in a U.S. track and field championship 800-meter race.




Why we’re all paying the cost of excessive drinking


Published on Jun 27, 2014

Excessive alcohol consumption accounts for one in 10 deaths among working-age Americans each year, making it the fourth leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. And it’s not just alcoholic drinkers at risk; partying, bingeing and daily drinking all take a toll. Hari Sreenivasan interviews Dr. Robert Brewer, co-author of a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.



Common sense is not ever common.



Shields and Ponnuru on House GOP vs. Obama


Published on Jun 27, 2014

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s top news, including how incumbents held their ground against the tea party in last Tuesday’s primaries, Rep. John Boehner’s threat to sue President Obama for abusing presidential powers, as well as accusations swirling around missing IRS emails.



Racism is a deadly dumbass disease, that is TAUGHT not caught. Politics are infected with much racism.



Is America More Financially Stable After Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform?


Published on Jun 27, 2014

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew go toe to toe over whether “too-big-to fail” banks run the risk of causing another financial meltdown.



I absofuckinlutely adore, admire & love Senator Elizabeth Warren and believe she must be our first female POTUSA…hopefully in 2016 but she’s too intelligent to do that.



NASA: U.S. air quality improving


Published on Jun 27, 2014

NASA maps show that over the last decade, levels of the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide has decreased in U.S. cities.



Air quality has improved because…….wait for it…….THE E.P.A. is working. Take THAT GOP’ukes who wish to abolish The E.P.A.



Apple CEO Sexual Orientation Accidentally ‘Outed’ On National TV By CNBC Panel


Published on Jun 27, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook outed as gay by CNBC’s Simon Hobbs live on-air.
(CBS SF) — Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is notoriously private about his life and his lifestyle, but Friday, a CNBC panelist talking about gay CEOs blurted, “Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he’s gay at the head of Apple, isn’t he?”, only to be met with stunned silence.


Apple’s chief has in fact spoken about his sexual orientation, making references to suffering discrimination at a speech last December to Auburn University, but he has not been overtly “out.”


Cook told students, “I’ve experienced many other types of discrimination and all of them were rooted in the fear of people that were different from the majority.”




Who gives a fuck what anyone’s sexual orientation is?



Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 23


Published on Jun 27, 2014

While members counted votes and confused reporters in their final week before the July Fourth recess, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell sang to overcome the odds.



This 113th CongrASS is a clusterfuck of dumbfuckery.



Matt Lauer Called Out Over Questions to GM’s Female CE


Published on Jun 27, 2014

NBC’s Matt Lauer has sparked some controversy for questions that he posed to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, asking her if she thought she got the job because she’s a woman and a mom.



NBC’s Matt Lauer has always been a dumbass, in my unhumble opinion.



Gun ‘professionals’ fire ‘safely’ 14-inch artillery into house


Published on Jun 27, 2014

Homeowner assesses damage after 14-inch artillery shell enters house. ‘Responsible’ Gun Owner ‘Accidentally’ Fires Howitzer At House (VIDEO). Artillery shell fired “safely” lands in house.


(KOAMTV) A homeowner in Wyandotte, Oklahoma is awaiting damage assessments after an artillery shell entered his home.


It was fired at the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot and Trade Show on Saturday, around 3 miles a way.


Homeowner Gene Kelley could not fathom what he found after hearing a large crash inside his home.


“It’s unbelievable,” Kelley said. “Unless you were here to see it or see the pictures I’ve got, you would not believe how huge this thing is.”


A 105 howitzer artillery shell, 14 and a half inches long and 3 and a half inches across, was lying on his bedroom floor.


It entered from the outside wall, hit the ceiling, and damaged another wall, all while he and his wife were home.


“Fortunately, nobody was hurt,” Kelley said.


Homeowners say if the shell had not first hit a tree limb and then the ground, the impact would have been a lot more severe when it hit the house.


The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department says the shell came from a historic artillery canon fired at the gun show.


The gun range owner says the weapon was fired safely by professionals at a downward projection.


“It was not on a level plane, but on a downward trend, pointed downhill in the bottom of a valley,” said Mike Friend, Owner of Fast Machine Gun Shoot. “For that thing to rise and go far northwest of the range, it’s just unheard of.”


Both he and the homeowner describe it as an absurd occurrence.


“It’s a freak accident because as far as the safety end of everything, we drill every one of our shooters before it ever begins,” Friend said. “We have 30-45 minute drill.”


“It was definitely a freakish accident that happened,” Kelley said.


The weapon owner has agreed to pay for all damages to the Kelley home.


Kelley says he is not against guns, but does think there should be a limit on the size and use of such weapons.


“The people that bring these type of weapons need to think about whether it is really safe and an appropriate area to take a weapon of that magnitude and shoot it,” Kelley said.


Owners of the range say they are taking every measure to prevent something like this from ever happening again.


That particular weapon had never been fired on the range before.




Sometimes one does not have to offer any comment at all. Well maybe one comment….NRAssholes.



Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen


Published on Jun 27, 2014

Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? Here’s Julian Treasure to help you fix that. As the sound expert demonstrates some useful vocal exercises and shares tips on how to speak with empathy, he offers his vision for a sonorous world of listening and understanding.



If politicians followed these rules of talking…..there’d be total silence. “Blame Thrower”, I will have to steal this phrase.



President Obama Stops by a Job Training Center in Minneapolis


Published on Jun 27, 2014

During a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, President Obama stops by a Project CARE class with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Senator Al Franken, June 27, 2014.



This Man Is Truly A Man Of The People By The People.



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Young Florida Girl Graduating From High School And College In Same Week.


By Jueseppi B.

Grace Bush, 16, has earned her bachelor's degree at the same time as her high school diploma. Next up: She wants to earn a master's and go on to law school.  CBS MIAMI

Grace Bush, 16, has earned her bachelor’s degree at the same time as her high school diploma. Next up: She wants to earn a master’s and go on to law school. CBS MIAMI


With the effects of the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian young girls from their boarding school, by extremist Islamist coward men, I am fortified by this feel good story from CBS Interactive Inc. 




Florida teen graduates from high school and college in same week




Published on May 6, 2014

Graduating from high school at 16 is impressive enough. But managing to get your college degree before you even graduate high school? Astounding.


Grace Bush is clearly a rare talent, both intelligent and incredibly hard working. The Florida teen recently earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Florida Atlantic University. Later this week, she’ll get her high school diploma from Florida Atlantic University High School.


So how does somebody graduate from college before high school?




Grace participated in Florida Atlantic University’s dual enrollment program, which allows gifted high school students to earn college credit for the same courses. Students (and parents, who may foot the bill) save both time and money.


Grace admits that the order in which she is getting her diplomas is a little wacky. “It’s kind of weird that I graduated college before high school,” she told CBS Miami.


Grace, who is one of nine children, began her college career at 13 and studied through the summers in order to graduate early. She also participates in two orchestras, where she plays the flute.




Now that you feel like a total slacker, more about Grace.


Her mother, Gisla Bush, told CBS Miami that she home-schooled all of her kids (somebody buy this woman something nice for Mother’s Day). Grace showed her talents for picking things up quickly from an early age, according to her mom.


“At 2 years old, she was already reading, and I was totally shocked,” she said




Up next for Grace: a master’s degree followed by law school. She said she’d eventually like to be chief justice of the United States.

Watch your back, John Roberts.




MIAMI – A 16-year-old South Florida girl has double reason to celebrate: She’s collecting diplomas from both high school and college within the space of one week.

In an unusual twist, Grace Bush earned a bachelor’s degree from college — but she won’t have her high school diploma until Friday, CBS Miami reported.

“It’s kind of weird that I graduated college before high school,” she said

The Hollywood teen received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice last Friday morning from Florida Atlantic University.


She did it with a 3.8 grade point average, completing the four-year degree in just three years.


“I started when I was 13 at Broward College and I also took my classes throughout the summer, so I was able to finish it before four years,” she said.

Bush will get her high school diploma on May 9th from Florida Atlantic University High School.


The institution’s dual enrollment program allows high-performing high school students to earn credit for the same courses toward their college degree and save thousands of dollars in tuition at the same time.


Bush’s parents wanted their nine children to earn college credit in high school because they can’t afford to send all of their kids to college. Their mother, who home-schooled all the kids, knew early on that Grace had a knack for learning.


“At 2 years old, she was already reading and I was totally shocked,” said her mother, Gisla Bush.


Grace is the third oldest in the Bush family.


“My two older sisters are doing it and I’m the third to do it. My oldest sister already graduated and my second oldest sister is graduating in the summer,” she said.


The new college graduate said she’ll be pursuing a master’s degree this fall, and then going to law school.


“I would eventually like to become chief justice of the United States,” Grace Bush said.


During her spare time she plays the flute in two orchestras and that keeps her busy, but the teen said she will finally take a little break during the summer.


“To study for the LSAT, so I can get as high a score as possible, so hopefully I can get a full ride into a good law school,” she said.




Congratulations Grace & Good Luck with your future…..now if only we can get The Nigerian Students back…..






#BringBackOurGirls #BringBackOurDaughters



Petitioning All World Leaders: Bring Back Nigeria’s 200 Missing School Girls #BringBackOurGirls.


#BringBackOurGirls – Part 1


#BringBackOurGirls – Part 2


#BringBackOurGirls – Part 3








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Mr. Jonathan Fleming, Freed From Prison After 25 Years, For Murder.


By Jueseppi B.

Welcome Home Mr. Jonathan Fleming. 25 years serving time for a crime you didn't commit...welcome to freedom.

Welcome Home Mr. Jonathan Fleming. 25 years serving time for a crime you didn’t commit…welcome to freedom.


Jonathan Fleming Released by Brooklyn D.A. 24 Years After Wrongful Conviction


Published on Apr 9, 2014

Jonathan Fleming is released after 24 years in prison, after being wrongfully convicted of a murder he did not commit.




Jonathan Fleming, center, exits the courthouse with his mother Patricia Fleming, left, and his ex-wife Valerie Brown in New York on April 8. Jonathan Fleming, who spent almost a quarter-century behind bars for murder, was freed on Tuesday and cleared of a killing that happened when he was 1,100 miles away on a Disney World vacation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Jonathan Fleming, center, exits the courthouse with his mother Patricia Fleming, left, and his ex-wife Valerie Brown in New York on April 8. Jonathan Fleming, who spent almost a quarter-century behind bars for murder, was freed on Tuesday and cleared of a killing that happened when he was 1,100 miles away on a Disney World vacation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)


From CNN:


Jonathan Fleming, convicted in killing despite vacation alibi, freed after 25 years


New York (CNN) — A New York judge Tuesday vacated the conviction of a man who spent nearly a quarter of a century behind bars for a Brooklyn slaying that occurred while he was vacationing in Florida.

Jonathan Fleming, 51, was found guilty in 1989 in the death of Darryl Rush in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn and served the next 24 years and 8 months in prison, according to the Kings County district attorney’s office. He was released Tuesday afternoon.

Fleming has always maintained he was on a family trip to Disney World in Florida when Rush was shot to death early on the morning of August 15, 1989, in a dispute over stolen money. After years of reviewing documents and re-interviewing witnesses as part of a joint investigation between his attorneys and the Brooklyn district attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, it was determined that the only evidence tying him to the crime was an alleged witness who later recanted her statement.

“As you can imagine, after sitting in jail for 25 years for a crime he didn’t commit, he can’t help but feel vindicated,” said one of Fleming’s lawyers, Anthony Mayol. “On the flip side, that’s 25 years that have been stolen, that he’ll never get back.”

25 years later, man wrongfully convicted of murder goes free


At 2:20 P.M. Tuesday, New York Supreme Court Judge Matthew J. D’Emic made the pronouncement that Fleming and a courtroom of his family and friends had been waiting nearly 25 years to hear. “The motion to vacate is granted,” said the judge, regarding Fleming’s 1989 conviction and sentence for the murder of Darry Rush.



At his trial, defense lawyers provided family photos and home videos of Fleming in Florida around the time of Rush’s killing. But according to Taylor Koss, another of Fleming’s lawyers, they did not have evidence he was in Florida on the day of the slaying. The prosecution persuaded jurors to ignore the alibi.

Fleming told his attorneys he had paid a bill for phone calls made from his Florida hotel room the night before Rush was killed, and he believed the receipt was in his pocket when police arrested him. But authorities told the defense he had no such receipt, according to Koss.

In the course of the investigation, the Conviction Review Unit found the receipt in police records, time stamped and dated — solidifying Fleming’s claim that he was in Florida at the time of the killing, according to the district attorney’s office.

“This is proof of alibi that was basically purposely withheld,” Koss said.

The review unit also interviewed Fleming’s former girlfriend, who said she called Fleming the night of the killing while he was still at his hotel in Florida. The investigation found her story to be credible, with phone records to support it.

The prosecution also produced a witness who said she saw Fleming commit the crime.

According to Koss, the woman recanted her testimony weeks after Fleming’s conviction. She later testified in front of a judge that she was on parole and had been arrested with another woman for being in a stolen van the night of the killing. She said police persuaded her to give a statement against Fleming to avoid going back to jail.

Koss said the judge threw out her later testimony because she could not provide enough facts to back up her story.

A review unit search of police records years later came up with a timeline. The woman on probation was arrested with another woman on grand larceny charges and brought to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, where she gave a statement. Within the hour, the investigation found, charges against her were dropped.

Koss said defense investigators even found a witness in South Carolina who claims to have been the getaway driver during Rush’s killing and who even identified someone they say is the real killer.

Judge Matthew D’Emic Tuesday vacated the conviction after a “careful and thorough review of this case, and based on key alibi facts that place Fleming in Florida at the time of the murder,” said District Attorney Ken Thompson.

Koss and Mayol say the next step is ensuring that Fleming has a way to support himself after he is released.

“He has no job, no career, no prospects,” Koss said.

“We’re suing everybody, let’s be honest,” Koss added, saying Fleming’s legal team intends to bring a civil rights lawsuit against the city and seek reparations from the state under a provision set up to redress wrongful convictions.

Thompson, who became district attorney at the beginning of the year, has already released two men who had been in prison for more than half their lives in connection with three killings after DNA evidence tore holes in their convictions in February.

Antonio Yarbough and Sharrif Wilson were teenagers when they were imprisoned. But after reviewing DNA evidence, Thompson said the previous convictions for the 1992 murders in Brooklyn would most likely not stand up in court and agreed the two men should be freed.

Those cases, as well as Fleming’s, are not connected to investigations into Detective Louis Scarcella, whose questionable tactics have led to a review of some 50 other cases, the district attorney’s office said.

On Monday, Thompson named Harvard law professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. as special counsel to the district attorney for the Conviction Review Unit. Sullivan, who heads Harvard’s Criminal Justice Institute, will guide the group in future cases brought for review, according to the District Attorney’s office.



Prisoner Freed After 25 Years


Published on Apr 9, 2014

NEW YORK – A New York man has been exonerated over a 1989 murder as part of larger review of questionable convictions. 51 year old Jonathan Fleming had been on holiday in Disney World at the time of the murder and had documents supporting his alibi, but he was still convicted. Since then, a key eyewitness has recanted and prosecutors turned up a hotel receipt proving he was in Florida hours before the killing.











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