All Articles Tagged "domestic violence"
After four years worth of legal battles and a case that brought national attention to Florida’s problematic Stand Your Ground laws, Marissa Alexander was released from jail on Tuesday afternoon.
She’ll be able to serve the rest of her sentence on house arrest.
Those present in the courtroom broke out into applause when Judge James Daniel announced that he was rejecting the prosecutor’s request for an additional two-year jail sentence and was releasing Alexander to house arrest, or community control.
When issuing his ruling he stated that his decision was “not based on any public opinion of any larger issue of public interest or social concern, but on the specific facts of the case.”
You may remember that at one point, Alexander faced up to 60 years behind bars for firing a warning shot near her abusive, estranged husband Rico Gray on August 1, 2010. Though Gray had abused Alexander on several occasions and threatened to kill her on that particular day, she was unable to convince the jury that she feared for her life.
Though no one was injured in the incident, during her first trial she was sentenced to 20 years in about 12 minutes by a jury. Later, when prosector Angela Corey, the same woman who was the prosecutor in George Zimmerman’s trial, became involved, she sought to sentence Alexander to 60 years.
In November, Alexander pled guilty to three counts of aggravated assault with a weapon in order to get credit for the time she’d already served since her case was first brought to trial. She was sentenced to three years and was ordered to serve 65 days in jail and then two additional years on house arrest.
For the next two years, Alexander must wear a GPS ankle monitor and will only be allowed to leave her home to go to work, job interviews, church, family medical and dental appointments and to visit her children’s schools. Any other locations will require a judge’s permission.
You may remember that Alexander was ordered to pay for her own monitoring device. And with cost being $105 per week, that’s nearly $11,000 for her two year sentence.
Supporters raised the money to help eliminate these fees and a group of pastors offered Alexander a job at one of their ministries if she wants it.
As she left the courthouse, Alexander delivered a statement to her supporters and the media. Here’s what she had to say.
Four and a half years have passed since the events of August 1, 2010, but today, after the sentencing posed by Judge Daniel, my family and I will be able to move forward with our lives. Although the journey has been long and there have been many difficult moments, I could not have arrived here and where I am today without the thoughts–the many thoughts and many prayers–of so many people who have voiced their support and encouragement. Words could never express my gratitude for those who have stood by me, including my children and family. I’m also grateful that Judge Daniel approached this case with such care and diligence.
I look forward to the full time challenge of getting my two teenagers through high school and into college, as well as preparing my four-year-old daughter for nursery school. My goal is to continue my education, beyond my master’s degree and to continue my professional career. In moving forward, I will continue to learn lessons from the events of the past but I will not live in the past. At the age of 34, life is too short and there is too much that I have to accomplish in the years ahead. It is my hope and prayer that everyone associated with this case will also be able to move forward with their lives.
You can watch Ms. Alexander address her supporters and the media in the video below.
Terrence Howard Addresses Domestic Abuse Claims At TV Conference, FOX Says They Weren’t Aware Of Them Before “Empire” Casting
For some years now, there have been allegations of domestic abuse against Terrence Howard. His second wife, Michelle Ghent, claimed that he hit her when they went on a trip to Costa Rica in 2013 (though they had already divorced), and she has made claims of violence against hm for a while now. She was given a restraining order against him at one point.
There were also allegations that he punched his first wife, Lori McCommas, in 2001, and he was also arrested for alleged assaults on a Continental Airlines flight attendant and woman at a diner in in Pennsylvania over the years. Many of these things came to light after Howard made some questionable statements when asked his opinion about Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna back in 2009:
“It’s just life, man. Chris is a great guy. He’ll be all right. And Rihanna knows he loves her. She’ll be all right. Just everybody’s got to get out of their way.”
He would eventually retract those statements.
Yes, those allegations and records have been around for some time, but who knew that Howard, and his employers at FOX, would actually be asked about them in front of a room full of reporters and people?
At the Television Critics Association’s winter press conference in Pasadena, California, Philadelphia Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray asked the bigwigs at FOX if they were aware of his history of alleged domestic violence. Howard was also cast in a mini-series on FOX called Wayward Pines, which is airing soon: “When you’re doing casting, does this come up as part of the conversation?”
FOX CEO Dana Walden said they weren’t aware of such allegations before he was cast, but found out about them in December.
“I want to start by saying that we’ve been working with Terrence now for just about a year, and it’s been a fantastic experience. He’s a leader among that cast. He’s so professional. He’s been so hardworking and he’s just been a great partner to us. So our experience with Terrence has been excellent. We cast Terrence because our executive producers, Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, and Brian Grazer, felt that he was the best actor for that particular role. Our experience with him at that point was being fans of the films he’s done in the past and it seemed like a little bit of a no-brainer. So with Terrence, we really didn’t become aware of any of the situation you’re talking about until December. It wasn’t part of the conversation when we cast him.”
Gray continued to ask them how it wasn’t part of the conversation when the allegations have been “reported pretty widely” for years now. Walden continued:
“I can only tell you that that was when we were made aware of it. And the allegations at this point, we do know about them, but we’ve also had now a good long chunk of time. Terrence was also on Wayward Pines. The network executives who interacted with him had nothing but a great experience. So, no, it just didn’t come into the conversation.”
Howard wasn’t able to speak in his own defense during the conference, but during a later panel with the cast and crew of Empire, The Wrap gave him the chance to speak on his past:
“A lot of things that I got involved with in younger days, in the earlier days, was the product of my environment, the product of not knowing how to deal with frustration, the product of not knowing who Terrence Howard is, you know. Now I’m married with a new wife, with a brand new baby. I’ve grown so much from anything that’s happened in the past. And this present moment, to have a show that’s being that’s being held as a beautiful breakthrough piece, having a wonderful opportunity to have this cast, I don’t think they took any of that stuff into consideration. I think they looked at the talent and the power of right now and this moment and how people have grown and where they’re going to, and I embrace that, and I’m so thankful to them for doing that.”
According to Slate, Director Lee Daniels and Taraji P. Henson stood by him, both calling him a leader and saying “We are, Terrence.” But when another reporter asked him what he would say to his detractors, Howard was honest and said that it’s important for people to let others grow and learn from their mistakes:
“What you say is the only person that can really make the judgment, the final judgment, is the judge in the court, or God, at the end of the day. You leave it to them. So once you look at what the judges have said, there’s been no criminal charges ever filed against that person or anything like that. So you have to go by what the judge is saying. If it’s something valid, it’s something valid. If it’s not, it’s not, but you’ve got to give people a chance to grow from anything that happens because, remember, Jesus was nailed to the stake on the allegations of him being a blasphemer. I don’t think that was always true. So we’ve learned from that lesson. We slayed our Messiah under false accusations. We’ve got to give people a chance to show who they are.”
Victoria: How long is to long to be in a relationship without being or discussing marriage?
DY: That’s up to you to decide. If you think it’s too long, it’s too long. That said, from what I’ve observed, adult couples who get married seem to do it relatively quickly (within two or three years of first dating). You have your exceptions, obviously, but those are rare.
After weeks of speculation about the nature of their relationship, former Spice Girl Melanie Brown (Mel B) has finally responded to the domestic violence allegations lobbed against her husband Stephen Belafonte.
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Mel B was taken to the hospital and even missed a taping of her show “X Factor.” She resurfaced on the show with noticeable bruises which left viewers and fans guessing that they were inflicted by Stephen. And while Belafonte came out immediately, denying the allegations, Mel B was surprisingly silent. Even when her estranged mother, sister and other family members claimed that they believed he was engaging in violent behavior towards Mel. There was also his criminal history involving domestic violence.
Anyway, Mel addressed all that over the holiday with a message on Instagram.
Before she commented the domestic violence allegations, she posted this picture of herself, Stephen and her daughters on Christmas, seeming to squash any rumors that the two were on the verge of divorce.
Have a merry Christmas! #familytime #funday Une photo publiée par @officialmelb le
If I’m being completely honest, this reads a little weird to me but we’re hoping for the best for Melanie and her family. What do you think about her statement? Do you believe she and Stephen are on good terms?
After an 18 year departure from the music industry, Jodeci is coming back with a statement. It’s a song called “Nobody Wins.” The song brings awareness to the issue of Domestic Violence among all people but particularly within the African American community.
The song deals with abuse from both men and women, with Jodeci singing about how women hit men too.
The song starts with a rap verse from B.O.B. And then Jodeci comes in with the chorus.
“Nobody wins when we fight, fuss and argue.
We say we’re leaving but we never do.”
Later, K-Ci comes in and sings from a man being abused by a woman.
“Stop throwing those pots and pans
We don’t have to use our hands.”
And there is pretty compelling footage of real life and paid actresses being battered by their romantic partners. There’s also the horrifying footage of Janay Rice walking into that infamous elevator with Ray Rice.
Throughout the lyric video there are numbers for the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1800-799-SAFE), the website for the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC.org) and the public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence NoMore.org.
This song from this group is particularly interesting considering the volatile relationship that K-Ci shared with Mary J Blige back in the ’90’s and DeVante Swing’s violent nature when he was dealing with artists like Missy Elliot, Timbaland, Sista and Ginuwine in Da Bassment. Missy detailed his abusive nature in her episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music.”
But people can change if they really want to and maybe that’s what this song represents for them. Plus the prevalence and frequency with which domestic violence stories have taken the forefront in the media this past year, it’s kind of hard to ignore.
Take a listen to “Nobody Wins” in the lyric video below and let us know what you think about it?
The National Football League has instituted a new, more strict conduct policy after months of scrutiny and backlash over the handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and other issues within the NFL ranks.
Among the new policies, as outlined by The Chicago Tribune:
-“The appointment by the commissioner of a league office executive with a criminal justice background to issue initial discipline.” This is a new position, with the appointee determining punishment for violations.
-“[A] new league conduct committee comprised of representatives of NFL ownership that will review the policy at least annually and recommend appropriate changes with advice from outside experts.”
– “A baseline suspension of six games without pay for violations involving assault, battery, domestic violence, dating violence, child abuse, other forms of family violence, or sexual assault, with consideration given to possible mitigating or aggravating circumstances.”
There’s also an emphasis on education and services for survivors.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, making the announcement last week, said that he’s consulted with a number of outside organizations to come up with the policies. Among them was the Black Women’s Roundtable, who we spoke to about their recommendations last month. We were in touch with some specific questions about whether some of their recommendations were taken or how they felt about the policy and only got this statement in return from Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the organization: “The Black Women’s Roundtable is reviewing the NFL’s new personal conduct policy. We plan to provide feedback as the NFL works to implement its new policies.”
More definitively, The Huffington Post called the policy merely a start.
The NFL’s updated conduct policy is by no means a cure-all. But it is a step in the right direction. It clearly articulates consequences. It shows support for and provides resources to survivors. It tells the fan base that domestic violence and sexual assault are not ok under any circumstances–in the NFL or frankly in society at-large.
Any thoughts on the policy?
Mel B’s Husband Denies Hitting Her After She Showed Up On “X Factor” With A Swollen Face And Bruises
Former Spice Girl and current “X Factor” judge Melanie Brown (Mel B) and her husband Stephen Belafonte seem to be going through some things. When Mel B showed up the set of “X Factor” with scratches, bruises and a swollen face on Sunday, several fans assumed that her husband was the reason. And they took to Twitter to let him know they suspected him.
Yesterday morning, Stephen, 39, responded, vehemently denying the allegations.
But Mel B is remaining silent. When the Daily Mail contacted a rep for the former singer, that person declined to comment.
Mel B was absent from the judge’s table on Saturday’s “X Factor” after being admitted to the hospital on Thursday night. But when she returned on Sunday, fans noticed in addition to the swollen face and scratches, she wasn’t wearing her wedding ring. And that’s when folks on social media started questioning the state of her marriage.
On the show, Mel B, referencing her absence on Saturday said, “I really missed being here but thank to all the doctors and nurses who took care of me and got me here tonight.”
Apparently, on Thursday Mel was suffering from a suspected stomach ulcer. During the time she was in the hospital, Mel B’s estranged mother and sister Danielle didn’t know where she was. And on Sunday, before the show aired, her sister took to Twitter in a desperate plea to locate her.
Once Melanie was seen on “X Factor,” Danielle deleted the tweets.
This is not the first time she’s expressed discontent about her sister’s husband. In 2012, she said, “I would never tell her to leave him. She can be with whoever she wants to be with, even if we find him controlling and not a nice person.”
The two sisters fell out in 2008, when Mel and Stephen renewed their vows in Egypt, after a year of marriage. Apparently the family hasn’t spoken since that time because Mel’s mother and sister expressed concerns about her sister’s relationship with Stephen and whether or not he would be accepting of her daughter, Eddie Murphy’s child.
Mel B has admitted that their marriage, like everyone else’s, has had its ups and downs. When she appeared on the cover of Grazia magazine’s Christmas issue, she admitted being three hours late to the shoot because she’d had an argument with her husband.
The mag quotes her: “I walked in pissed off because I had a big row with my husband about stupid stuff. Sometimes he pisses me off like no other, but he gets me.”
A source from “X Factor” told the Daily Mail that Stephen didn’t visit her while she was in the hospital. That same person revealed that other members of the “X Factor” team don’t particularly care for him.
“None of that means that he has ever laid a finger on Mel, but he is not an easy person to be with, that is obvious to see. It was a physical and emotional collapse. There was an emotional element to it, Mel has been under a lot of stress. He didn’t come to the show on Sunday as far as I am aware. He wasn’t in her dressing room. I don’t believe he visited her in the hospital, either.”
Instead on Sunday, Belafonte was seen outside of the couple’s apartment overseeing the loading of suitcases into a minivan.
Melanie B’s aunt, Diane Cook told The Mirror, “I hope she gets away from him. We all believe Stephen has got her under his control. We are worried about Mel but there is nothing we can do.” Her uncle seconded the notion, “He is not a very nice bloke.”
Melanie is on the outs with several of her family members over Stephen. And the feeling is mutual on his part. In fact, he’s called them “the cut off crew.”
In 2007, shortly after Mel and Stephen tied the knot, information surfaced about his past. Stephen, a Hollywood-born producer, was charged with battery in America and was arrested for attacking his then girlfriend Nicole Contreras. He pleaded “no contest” to the battery charge. The judge said that was the same as pleading guilty and he was ordered to complete a Domestic Violence Batterers program.
A friend of Contreras said that she fears for Melanie “because a leopard does not change his spots. He seems utterly charming…but I’m afraid it won’t be long before his mask slips.”
You hate to accuse someone of something so heinous. But all of these signs are classic symptoms of an abusive relationship. Her family doesn’t like him. He’s alienated her from them. And the kicker, he has a documented past of domestic violence issues.
We don’t know what’s going on right now but we’re hoping Melanie B and her children can make it through to the other side of all this.
What do you make of this story?
On Monday, at Grace Chapel Funeral Home in Brooklyn, NY, relatives said their goodbyes to 2-year-old Thaiya Princetta Spurill-Smith, the New York Daily News reports. The bright-eyed toddler nicknamed “Honey Bee” by those who knew her best, was declared brain dead two days after being savagely beaten by her stepfather, David Adams.
The fatal beating occurred on November 12 and was triggered by the girl’s crying, according to relatives. Adams later told investigators that he shook the toddler “causing (her) head to rotate forward and back rapidly several times.” Shortly after doing so, Adams says that he witnessed her body go limp.
The child, who had slipped into a coma, was taken to a nearby hospital and placed on life support. She was declared brain-dead two days later. Last month in court, Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano charged Adams with two counts of assault, one count of reckless assault and endangering the welfare of a child between Oct. 10 and 20. Prosecutors would not speak publicly regarding the earlier assault charge.
Bizarrely, reports have alleged that the girl’s mother, Teoka Spurill, who is 7 months pregnant with Adams’ child, defended her daughter’s killer in court. The girl’s father, Terrell Smith, has been battling Spurill for custody of their daughter for years. He claims that he accused Adams of abuse long before charges had been filed.
“I kept showing them picture after picture of marks, of signs of abuse, but she got custody,” Smith said.
The child remained on life support until November 19 because her parents could not agree on whether or not her organs should be donated. A judge later ruled in favor of the child’s father, who did not wish to donate her organs.
Prosecutors say that Adams’ previous assault charges will be upgraded to murder after a medical examiner determines her official cause of death.
Ray Rice Explains Why He Didn’t Apologize To Janay In Their First Press Conference, And Shares What They’ll Do If He Doesn’t Play In The NFL Again
We were able to finally hear Janay Rice’s thoughts on the night her husband, Ray Rice, knocked her out, and the aftermath of everything. But Ray has also had the chance to speak on his poor decisions on that night and afterwards, and in the interview with Matt Lauer for “Today,” he cleared the air about the couple’s first press conference in May, which didn’t go so well. If you’ll recall, Ray ended up apologizing to everyone but Janay, specifically showing remorse to the Baltimore Ravens, his sponsors and his fans (all the people who provided him with a paycheck).
“I want to first off apologize to [owner] Steve Bisciotti, [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie Newsome and [head] coach [John] Harbaugh, and I also want to apologize to my fans, to the kids, to everyone who was affected by this situation that me and my wife were in.
I know many of my supporters, sponsors who have acted as so do not want to be in partnership with me – that’s my fault. That’s my fault. I take full responsibility for that. One thing that I do know is that I am working every day to be a better father, a better husband and just a better role model.”
As for Janay, she was apologetic for her part in the incident, trying to take on a lot of the heat he was getting:
“I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night, but I can say that I am happy that we continue to work through it together, and we are continuing to strengthen our relationship and our marriage and do what we have to do for not only ourselves collectively, but individually, and working on being better parents for Rayven and continue to be good role models for the community like we were doing before this. I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself to not only you all, but [to] the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time. So thank you.”
Well, in his chat with Lauer, Ray explains why he didn’t apologize publicly to his wife during that conference. In short, he said the Ravens told him what to say before going in:
“The reason why that press conference was the way that it was, was because we were still under legal situations so there wasn’t much that could be said. But I’ll be honest. We were nervous. I was nervous. That was the first time we were available to speak. I made a horrendous mistake not apologizing to my wife. When we was going in, we were given what to speak about. It wasn’t truly coming from us if you can understand. But I made that clear the last time I was able to speak that my wife is an angel. She can do no wrong. I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Ray also shared his thoughts on Janay publicly taking blame for his attack on her, and her defense of him and his reputation on social media, which she has been widely criticized for:
“In hindsight she was doing it because she knows what I do for a living. She understood my job and my profession. I think it was her doing that to try to take light off of the situation and I appreciated it, but that’s not what the big deal is. The big deal is for me to always protect her. That’s why I take full responsibility. She can do no wrong. As a man you have to own it and I’m horribly sorry for everything I put my family through. I still gotta live every day, go take my daughter to school. She’s going to grow up, and the way the Internet works, she’s going to Google her father’s name, and the first thing that’s going to come up is–we know what’s going to come up. That’s the reality of it. That’s what I’m more worried about fixing. I want my wife, my daughter and my family, we all just want our lives back.”
When asked about how the family will move forward if Ray won’t be picked up by another NFL team, Janay said she would do what she has to, if necessary, to provide:
“I know he wants to play football, but regardless, he’ll always support me in anything I want to do. God forbid he doesn’t play football again, then I’ll step in and maybe I’ll be the provider [smiles].”
Check out this part of the couple’s conversation with Matt Lauer below and share your thoughts:
The writing was certainly on the wall with Masika and Yung Berg. Immediately, after the details of Yung Berg’s assault against her leaked to the press, homegirl was conducting interviews, defending the former “Love and Hip Hop Hollywood” star.
Though Masika told police officers, that Berg hit her, drug her by her hair and then pinned her to the wall before grabbing her throat, it wasn’t long before she changed her tune.
Later, in her first interview on the matter, Masika claimed that she was not attacked. She blamed Berg’s behavior on the alcohol and said she was primarily focused on Berg becoming a better person.
But Mona Scott Young and ‘nem weren’t hearing it or taking any of Yung Berg’s foolishness. And they fired him from the show.
But while VH1 has cut ties, Masika is still hanging on.
Yesterday, he posted a picture of the two of them in bed together and she commented underneath it, “Daddy <3″
Then she posted the same picture on her own Instagram page. And as you might assume, people are going all the way off in the comment section. And both Masika and Yung Berg deleted the duplicate image shortly afterward.
What do you think about these two? Are you surprised?