All Articles Tagged "florida"
Back & Forth: Zimmerman’s Defense Attorney Tears Up Discussing Trayvon Martin But Attacks His Character
The Trayvon Martin family was right to ask for prayers in the upcoming trial against George Zimmerman. The 29 year old shot and killed a 17 year old Martin last year during a neighborhood watch shift. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a long, emotional road for all parties involved.
Recently in an interview with BET, George Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mike O’ Mara, sat down to talk about his ignorance considering race relations in this country. He admitted that before the trial he never thought:
“I’m not black. I can’t look at it with those eyes. I always thought I was sensitive to it [race], always thought I was aware of it, but this has really brought to the forefront the depth of concern that the Black community has of how they’re being treated. I guess I didn’t realize that we still have so far to go.”
The Florida attorney said that initially he believed that the country had come much farther since the Civil Rights Movement. When he was asked if the trial has been taking a toll on him emotionally, O’Mara wiped tears from his eyes.
Watch a video of the interview below.
While I don’t doubt O’Mara’s sincerity in his emotions, I also know he is still trying to win this case for his client and possibly for himself as well. O’Mara has been defending Zimmerman, shortly after charges of second degree murder were brought against him, for free. He hasn’t received a paycheck and is asking people to donate to Zimmerman’s defense fund because the previous donations have dwindled to just $5,000.
O’Mara is invested and obviously wants to win. He has launched a smear campaign attempting to attack Martin’s character. In a hearing on May 28, O’Mara stated that the defense team had a video from Trayvon Martin’s phone that showed “two buddies of his beating up a homeless guy.”
But that was incorrect, the video on Martin’s phone showed two homeless men fighting each other over a bike. He did apologize for mischaracterizing the nature of the video. The defense team released this statement:
“Though it was unintentional, it is a particular concern to us because we are and have been committed to disputing misinformation in every aspect of this case, not causing it. For that, Mr. O’Mara apologizes.”
O’Mara apologizes for this incident but it doesn’t erase the fact that he’s consistently tried to attack the character of a person, a teenager, who shouldn’t have to and is no longer here to defend himself. Earlier this year, Zimmerman’s defense team leaked pictures and text messages from Trayvon’s phone in an attempt to cast him in a bad light.
Whatever activities Trayvon may have been engaged in before his death, it really has no bearing on what George Zimmerman, and not Trayvon Martin, is standing trial for.
The Martin family attorney, Ben Crump had this to say about O’Mara’s error in describing the video and his subsequent apology.
“George Zimmerman’s defense team’s so called apology yesterday for manipulating and mis-characterizing information about Trayvon Martin would be laughable in any other context, if this case wasn’t about the murder of an unarmed teenager. Let’s not forget the defense team has spent weeks now engaged in a despicable campaign to assassinate the character of a dead teenager in an attempt to influence a potential jury pool. Thankfully, the judge in this case has sided with the laws of evidence in saying that such information is irrelevant to the case, reminding us all that Trayvon is not on trial, but George Zimmerman is for 2nd degree murder.”
What do you make of O’Mara’s reaction and his campaign against Trayvon?
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Florida student Kiera Wilmot was not only suspended and faced expulsion from Bartow High School, she was facing adult, felony charges for possessing a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. Those destructive devices were a household cleaner and aluminum foil which Wilmot mixed together in a water bottle for a science project. She was arrested at school when the chemicals exploded.
Fortunately, yesterday the State Attorney’s office announced that the charges against Wilmot will be dropped.
Wilmot’s attorney, Larry Hardaway, says that Wilmot served a 10 day suspension and is now attending an alternative school.
Though the felony charges were dropped, there are still conditions Wilmot has to meet in order to clear her name.
The State Attorney’s office said that they extended Wilmot an “offer of diversion of prosecution” meaning she would be enrolled in a probationary-like program where she’ll perform community service or meet other requirements to avoid a criminal record.
There are no details about the agreement Wilmot was offered but Brian Haas, a spokesman for the state attorney, said that both Wilmot and her guardian signed the agreement.
Hardaway, the family attorney, said now he’s focused on ensuring that Wilmot isn’t expelled so she can return to Bartow High for the next school year.
The Polk County school district released a statement saying that would “take the State Attorney’s decision into consideration in determining what, if any, further disciplinary action is appropriate.”
Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll has resigned from her post after an investigation found ties between a nonprofit organization that runs internet cafes, Allied Veterans of the World, and a gambling ring. She was interviewed by the state’s Department of Law Enforcement about her ties with Allied Veterans and resigned just a couple of days after. The now former lieutenant governor had previously proposed a bill that would benefit the internet cafes. The official statement from Gov. Rick Scott’s office is that she handed in her resignation so her “former affiliation with the company” wouldn’t distract from the work of the office. No further detail was offered.
Allied Veterans is accused of money laundering, using money from a nonprofit for personal gain and misrepresenting the amount donated to charities. Authorities say the group donated just 2 percent of its $290 million in proceeds to charities over about five years. They also say the former president received more than $1.5 million and the national commander got $250,000 from the organization.
A firm Carroll owned, 3N & JC, did consulting work for Allied Veterans, and she starred in a commercial for the nonprofit in 2010.
The paper goes on to say that there were previous reports that Carroll had falsified documents so that her firm would be approved for a state program to benefit minority companies. And an aide was arrested for secretly taping a conversation with Carroll.
Carroll was selected by Gov. Scott as his running mate in 2010. She’s a former Navy officer who spent 20 years with the military branch.
Nothing Stinks Like A Woman Scorned: Wife Poops In Husband’s Home After Finding Him In Bed With Another Woman
I saw this story yesterday and chuckled. But I kept stumbling across it, so I took it as a sign that I must need to share this gem of a story with the Madame Noire audience because it’s just too good to keep to myself.
Brenda Schumann, 51, of Indian River County, Florida was arrested for aggravated assault, domestic violence and resisting arrest after she found her husband in bed with another woman.
Brenda and her husband Donovan have been separated for a few months and are said to be in the process of divorce; but clearly, Brenda is not taking any of this too well. On December 21, Brenda drove to her husband’s home with a rifle. She barged into her husband’s bedroom where she found he and his girlfriend sleeping.
The girlfriend recalls Brenda threatening them saying, “I’ll [expletive] kill you both!”
But in a moment of distraction, Brenda lost focus and her estranged husband was able to wrestle the rifle away from her. During the tussle Brenda managed to kick the girlfriend in the stomach…twice.
After that, instead of going home, mission unaccomplished, Brenda proceeded to urinate in the carpeted hallway outside the bedroom. And as if that wasn’t enough, she made her way to the kitchen where she defecated on the floor. Somehow Brenda found another rifle and destroyed mirrors, pictures and Christmas decorations before heading back to her own apartment.
That’s where police found her sometime later. But Brenda wasn’t expecting them. When she opened the door, she immediately tried to close it back, creating a barrier between herself and the officers. It didn’t work.
As Brenda was being arrested, she waived her right to remain silent and asked the police officers, perhaps rhetorically:
“I found him in bed with a na ked chick. What was I supposed to do?”
If there were any chance of the Schumanns working on their marriage, I’m sure her threatening his life at gunpoint and taking a dump on his kitchen floor to boot, squashed all of that.
Ten months after her son was killed, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, says she’s ready for justice to be served in 2013. She spoke with ESSENCE.com about her first holiday season without Trayvon, her thoughts on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, and her hopes for 2013:
This year has been bittersweet. The bitter part is that I lost my baby boy. The sweet part has been the show of support that we have received from our community and from the world. We are thankful.
This is our first holiday season without Trayvon, and I have to admit, I’m having a difficult time. I’m an emotional rollercoaster. Trayvon loved the holidays, especially Christmas and Thanksgiving. He always looked forward to those holidays. But while I am sad I’m reminded that I have another son that I’m trying to help get through not having his younger brother around.
Sybrina continues to ve a very strong woman. You can read the rest of the touching message over at ESSENCE.
If there was ever a reason to start going to the doctor more regularly, the story of 12-year-old Jackson, Fla. resident might have you inspired to do better. What was supposed to be a fun-filled summer for the daughter of Janet Roberts (child’s name withheld of course) wound up being one of anguish and confusion. The 12-year-old’s classmates were gossiping all over town for months that she was expecting a child, an allegation that seemed more and more likely to be true after her mother, Janet, started to realize that the girl’s stomach was growing. Though the young girl denied that she was pregnant, with a large belly, Janet Roberts didn’t believe her, so she stocked up on pregnancy tests and got to work, according to First Coast News. “I tested her every two weeks and it was negative,” she said, “then I said ‘if you’re not pregnant something is going on here.’”
And something was definitely going on there. Roberts proceeded to take her daughter, who just turned 12 in August, to the doctor, and what they found out was that she was not with child, but with a massive tumor. “It was 19 pounds, well 20 pounds in size,” said Roberts, “but because of her size, they had to drain two liter bottle of it before they could pull it out of her.”
The young girl was rushed to emergency surgery at a nearby hospital where the tumor was removed. While it was a benign one, doctors are very worried that the tumor could come back in the future. They are keeping an eye on her stomach and her mother wants the young girl to seek counseling to not only get over the health scare, but to get over the way her classmates ridiculed her for months, tearing up her reputation:
“She has a hard time dealing with what happen to her. She’s writing notes about what happened and how the people treated her…Before you judge a child by how he or she looks, get to know that child.”
For those who want to see the tumor–it’s NSFL: not safe for lunch–you can click over to First Coast News to check it out and be astounded by its size…
Photos courtesy of First Coast News and The Daily Mail UK
For anyone who is second-guessing standing in line to vote tomorrow just think, if a 99-year-old woman can make her way to the polls to cast her ballot, you can too.
This year, Fort Myers, FL, resident Rosie Lewis voted for the first time in her life. She overlooked 24 elections, including the historic one of 2008, but the election of Barack Obama is what Ms. Lewis says motivated her to vote this year.
“I said I’m going to vote if the Lord spares my life this time,” she told WALB of her choice. “I made it up to my mind to vote.”
A family friend registered Lewis to vote and her grandson, Nelson Lewis, cosigned his grandmother’s momentous decision, saying:
“She’s an amazing person, 99-years-old and still has her right mind,” he said. “She completely understands what she just did. My grandmother never forgets anything.”
As local WALB points out, Lewis was 7-years-old when the 19th Amendment passed giving women the right to vote, and by the time Jim Crow laws were abolished she was in her 50s. Nelson says that’s likely why she hasn’t bother to cast a vote before now.
“She was already set in her ways, and wasn’t really thinking about politics,” he said.
This year, Lewis is definitely thinking about politics and one man in particular. As the woman who is just one year away from marking 100 years on this earth, plainly told reporters:
“I love Obama.”
There are lots of things mothers have to be concerned about with young children, but a 3-year-old potentially contracting gonorrhea usually isn’t one of them. Unfortunately that’s the fear a Jacksonville, FL, mother is facing after he daughter found a condom on her daycare playground and did what any other toddler would do, put it in her mouth.
According to Local News 4 in Jacksonville:
This happened in December 2011 at the day care which is part of the Head Start program run by the Jacksonville Urban League on Ionia Street. It is also the site of the city’s Robert F. Kennedy Community Center and Park. This incident has resulted in an entire year’s worth of fear and worry for her mother that the child has a sexually transmitted disease or possibly HIV because the condom tested positive for gonorrhea and it can take up to a year for these kinds of diseases to show up.
The child’s mom, Tiesha Sanders, was there on the playground that day and saw what happened. Now, she’s hired an attorney and plans to sue the Jacksonville Urban League because she says she wants to make sure other children won’t be exposed to the same danger that has changed her daughter’s life.
“I just really didn’t want that to happen to my baby,” said Sanders. “If it happens to my daughter, it can happen to yours.”
During an interview with Channel 4 anchor and reporter Adrienne Moore, Sanders cried while talking about that morning at the day care. She says she brought her daughter there and watched as she ran toward the slide and a group of children.
“I lift up my head and I saw her put something in her mouth and I was like, ‘get that out of your mouth!’ And someone said see what she had in her mouth and that’s when I found out she had a condom in her mouth,” explained Sanders.
Sanders said she washed her daughter’s mouth out with water and then called the Centers for Disease Control. After that, she took the toddler to the emergency room where the little girl was checked out and the condom was tested. Medical records show the 3-year-old was put through a series of rectal, vaginal, and throat exams which are repeated every four months so doctors can rule out the possibility of HIV and other STDs which may take up to a year to show up.
Meanwhile, it appears this situation was an accident waiting to happen given details uncovered in News 4′s investigation.
According to Florida’s Administrative Code for Childcare Standards, a facility’s outdoor play area “…shall be clean, free from litter, nails, glass and other hazards…” also “…fenced to prevent access by children to all water hazards…” and “…free from toxic substances and hazardous materials.”
The incident that occurred with Sanders’ daughter was never reported to the Department of Children and Families. And, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, no police report was ever filed. In fact, neither agency knew about the incident until Channel 4 started investigating. However, DCF tells us the day care was not required to report it.
“We certainly recognize the concern parents would have about an incident like this. We inspect childcare facilities at least three times a year,” said John Harrell with the Department of Children and Families.
Harrell says DCF has cited this Ionia Street day care facility five times for unrelated, minor violations in the last two years.
“There was a health exam where the child’s shot record had been expired, and there was information that was missing on a child’s enrollment form, and finally on a playground there was some rusty chains noted on a swing on this playground,” said Harrell as he explained the previous citations.
Once Channel 4 notified DCF and started asking questions about how a major incident like this could happen, DCF’s Childcare Licensing Department launched an investigation into this case. It found the facility was not in compliance with Florida code the day this happened and was cited for posing “…a threat to the health, safety or well-being of the children due to the presence of hazardous items.”
Despite this citation, the day care will not be fined this time. Channel 4 is told it’s because this violation is a first offense. But, if it gets similar violations in the next two years, the facility could face a $50 fine, an amount set by the state.
I can’t see a $50 fine being much of an incentive for the Urban League to clean up its act, literally, but a hefty lawsuit just might. Condoms on the playground are definitely not a good look.
Do you think this mom has a case?
*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Felecia Phillips goes hard for hers. Wednesday morning the Burnell, Fl, mom found herself in police custody after she took matters into her own hands, literally, and beat up a teenager she says was bullying her son.
CBS affiliate WKMG reports that Phillips, 35, went to the bus stop at 7 a.m. and confronted a 17-year-old Flagler Palm Coast High School student about a fight the student had the previous day with her son.
Deputies said pushed the student in the face and the teen then slammed Phillips to the ground as the bus arrived, according to the report.
Phillips then chased the teen onto the bus where she grabbed his hair, deputies said. The bus driver told Phillips she was trespassing and had to get off the bus, according to deputies.
Phillips was arrested at around 10 a.m. on child abuse charges and trespassing on school property. She was booked at the Flagler County Inmate Facility on $2,500 bond.
The station spoke to Phillips when she left jail. She said her son had been bullied by kids in the neighborhood for years and she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“He called me a (expletive), and I did push him in his face. I just want you to leave my son alone,” Phillips said. “He’s not that type of kid to go around messing with other kids. My son is trying to get an education. Leave him alone.”
Phillips told the station she didn’t regret attacking the teen because she was acting for her son.
“I don’t want anybody picking on him, and messing with him. Leave my son alone,” Phillips said. “He’s not looking for trouble. I don’t even raise my kids that way. He’s not messing him, why are you messing with him? So no, I don’t regret it.”
Though most kids would be mortified over their mother fighting their battles for them, 15-year-old Terec is grateful. He told CNN:
“I feel great about it because I know a lot of people wish they had a mom that will have their back.”
As for the alleged bully, Justin Mickens, he doesn’t have much of an explanation for the bullying allegations, simply saying:
“I don’t talk to her son. If they don’t say nothing to me, I won’t say nothing to them.”
Right now it’s not clear if he’ll face any charges for fighting on the bus along with Felecia, but most likely he’ll be covered under the guise of self-defense. If he was in fact bullying Terec, I bet he won’t anymore.
What do you think about what Felecia did?
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