A federal judge on Monday denied an attempt to lump together in a class-action suit thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims who were exposed to poisonous fumes in trailer homes issued by the government. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said that each person’s claim is unique and cannot be bundled with the claims of other alleged victims. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has acknowledged that the trailers had unsafe levels of the preservative formaldehyde, which can cause cancer and other ailments.
Archive for "Victims"
The Philadelphia mother whose three children died in a raging three-story fire Friday night took time Sunday morning to warn others about the importance of outfitting their homes with smoke detectors. As cries of mourning rose from the pews of Christ International Baptist Church, Michelle Dosso held up pictures of her deceased children, Philly.com reports. “This is Zyhire. He was 1 year old,” Dosso said. “This is Ramere, he was 8. … This is my baby girl, Mariam. She would have been 7 on the 27th. I promised her a party and … she’s going to get it. Don’t let them die in vain. Get smoke detectors. Get it done.” In addition to Dosso’s three children, four adults lost their lives amid the choking smoke of the blaze, even though the fire was brought under control within a half-hour. “Six people were found huddled together at one end of the room; a seventh was found near the basement’s only exit to the outside. Investigators said the interior basement stairs had been removed,” The Associated Press reports. Ironically, fire officials said, there were no alarms in the house, but they probably still would not have prevented the tragedy. A survivor Harris Murphy, 54, told authorities that the fires started when a kerosene heater exploded as it was being refilled with fuel. On Sunday, Murphy told members that he told his friend to have everyone run through the flames, but his friend replied, “The firefighters will come and get us.” The victims died from smoke inhalation before the firefighters reached them.
National News: LA Authorities Offer $500,000 For Info On Serial Killer; Md. Lawmakers Skeptical About New DNA LawSeptember 5th, 2008
LA authorities offer $500,000 for info on serial killer. Somebody’s killing a lot of Black people in Los Angeles, and authorities are offering a half-million to anyone who can help them catch the murderer. The killings, which date back to 1985, occurred during two separate periods in the same South Los Angeles neighborhood, according to police. Many of the women are believed to have been prostitutes, police say. Ballistics reports show that seven women and a man were slain by the same weapon between 1985 and 1988. The women had been raped and dumped in the same alley, police say. On Wednesday, the City Council approved the $500,000 reward, proposed by Councilman Bernard Parks, an African American. Parks was the Los Angeles Police Chief in 2001 who ordered his department to investigate the unsolved murder cases. Porter Alexander, whose youngest daughter, Alicia Monique Alexander, was the last known victim in the first round of killings, told The Associated Press that he never saw her again after she left for a quick trip to the store in September 1988. “I said make sure you go to the store and come back. She says, ‘OK,’” Porter Alexander said. “She left, and that was the last time I saw my baby.” Four days later, police found the body of the 18-year-old in a nearby alley with a gunshot wound in the chest, according to AP. It took 13 years before the next related case. “What accounted for that gap, we still don’t know,” police Capt. Denis Cremins said at a news conference Wednesday. “We try not to engage in conjecture.” In March 2002, Princess Berthomieux was found beaten and strangled in an alley in the city of Inglewood. DNA samples linked her to the suspect in the earlier murders, AP reports. The next year marked another killing. Most recently was the 2007 murder of Janecia Peters, a 25-year-old who was shot to death and found in a garbage bag in an alley. Only one description of the so-called “Grim Sleeper” exists. A victim who survived a 1988 attack described her attacker as a Black man in his 30s, driving an orange Pinto, according to AP. “But that’s one person’s account who was traumatized,” Cremins said.
Md. Lawmakers skeptical about new DNA law. Members of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus are skeptical about a new law that permits authorities to collect DNA samples from suspects charged with anything from a violent crime, such as murder or rape, to a burglary. But caucus members, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, are concerned that the DNA gatherers are not being properly monitored. The members say that when they negotiated with the governor to enact the law, he guaranteed certain protections to ensure that DNA would not be mishandled, and that samples would be destroyed and records expunged when appropriate. The Baltimore County Crime Lab, the State Police Crime Lab and the Baltimore City crime lab have all had serious problems over the past decade when it comes to handling DNA evidence. Maryland Sen. Delores Goodwin Kelley of Baltimore County is one of the lawmakers who says the law is flawed. But Assistant Attorney General Sharon Benzil contends that “if the law is sort of the blue print, then the regulations are the instruction manual that provides the specifics to the local jurisdiction about how, when, where and what the law requires.”
Republicans said they will not support it until an energy bill has been passed
The move to seek justice for Civil Rights Era lynching victims came to a screeching halt Monday as Republican members of the U.S. Senate said they will not support any legislation until they can get a vote on an energy bill. The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act would give the U.S. Justice Department $10 million per year to prosecute those responsible for killing Blacks and supporters of civil rights initiatives. In addition, the bill called for $3.5 to aid local law-enforcement agencies involved in the investigations. The bill was among about three dozen pieces of legislation aimed at helping mentally ill people, homeless youths, stroke victims and child-porn prosecutors. Leading the charge against the measure was Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, who consistently fights new spending measures. He was joined by 39 colleagues. The 52 votes in favor were eight short of the number needed to force a final vote on the bill bundle. Democrats argue that the Republicans want to keep the money on hand for the war in Iraq. “History will tell whether this is a setback or a setup for ultimate victory of the Till bill,” Alvin Sykes of Kansas City, president of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign and drafter of the bill, told The Clarion Ledger newspaper in Mississippi. “Every justice-seeking American should be calling and e-mailing their U.S. senators, strongly urging the passage of the bill.” The “Till bill” is named after Emmett Till, the Black teen from Chicago who was kidnapped and brutally beaten before being shot to death by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1955. Why do you think the bill didn’t pass?
Prisons, colleges and state agencies got supplies intended for people suffering.
Instead of going to Mississippi’s Hurricane Katrina victims – many of whom are still struggling three years later to pull their lives back together – tens of millions of much-needed household items went to everybody from inmates to state administrators, CNN reports. Last month, the news network reported that officials in Louisiana, the state slammed hardest by the killer storm of 2005, turned down the surplus goods from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sparking an outcry from activists and aid agencies over the seeming ongoing neglect of that suffering population. But unlike Louisiana, which turned down a share of the $85 million in dinnerware, bed linens, coffee pots, cleaning supplies and other supplies, Mississippi was one of the 16 states that collected the wares. Kym Wiggins, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Surplus Agency, said, “There may be a need, but we were not notified that there was a great need for this particular property.” But critics want to know how it was determined that those most in need were the state’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, whose staff wound up with coffee makers; Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration staffers who landed some nifty plastic containers; and prisons, colleges and volunteer fire departments, who reeled in scads of other items. “You would have to be living under a rock not to know there is still a need,” Cass Woods, the project coordinator of Coastal Women for Change, told CNN. Sharon Hanshaw, director of Coastal Women for Change, a nonprofit group helping storm victims, agreed. “It’s scary to know that there are supplies that they are harboring and people [are] in need right now as we speak today.”