Philip Banks III, the top uniformed official in the New York City Police Department, has resigned as chief of department on the eve of a promotion. In a move that has shocked many, the force’s highest-ranking African American stepped down just before he was to take a new position as first deputy commissioner under William Bratton. According to multiple reports, Banks worried that the new position was too bureaucratic and not as hands-on as his old position. A replacement has not yet been announced. Banks had been a proponent of the NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk policy of questioning and detaining people, a practice that disproportionately targets Blacks and Latinos. Read more.
Was Race a Factor in the Sayreville, N.J. Hazing Case?
The arrest of seven high school football players earlier this month has placed a small New Jersey town in the center of national controversy. Some are beginning to wonder if racism influenced the reaction to the allegations. The seven football players who were taken into custody for alleged hazing and sexual abuse are all African-American; all of their victims are white. “I can 100 percent say that none of this would have happened if white kids were involved,” said Isaiah Roberts, a former African-American Sayreville football player. “They stick together, the white kids, and the white teachers. We’re outnumbered.” Local officials, including New Jersey state assemblyman John Wisniewski, are denying that race was a factor in the decision to charge the students. Read more.
Are Southern Democrats Using Racially Charged Ads to Get Black Votes?
Democrats in the South are reminding black voters what’s at stake in the mid-term elections through advertising that some believe are racially charged. Some of the advertisements mention Trayvon Martin’s death, the Ferguson controversy, and the injustices of the Jim Crow era. One leaflet that was sent to voters bore the words ““Enough! Republicans are targeting our kids, silencing our voices and even trying to impeach our president.” Read more.
NBA Star Russell Westbrook Launches Literacy Initiative
NBA star Russell Westbrook is using his platform as a way to give back to the next generation. In partnership with Scholastic, the Oklahoma City Thunder player recently launched “Russell’s Reading Room,” as part of a literacy initiative that encourages children to log 100,000 minutes of reading over the span of a year. “Reading is a key to success,” said Wesbrook. It’s great, he added, “when people in my position are able to do things like this, give kids something exciting to see, give them some type of encouragement, give them access or some type of way to reward them for reading.” Read more.