On the playground was where I spent most of days

Plea for Silence

“Five days after well-known Black attorney Milton Raiford spoke out against racism in the criminal justice system, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. emailed all of his deputy prosecutors forbidding them from offering any plea deals to Raiford or his clients.” 

Raiford’s Comments: “I just want to say that it is very disheartening that in this county, that we had no comment from the district attorney’s office, no comment from our administrative judge at this division, no comment from the supreme court, who seems like they are totally ignoring which way the wind is blowing nationally, that all of these people are being shot for nothing, all of these people are dying for nothing. And we’re trying to get back to normal.”

When asked by Judge Mariani if he felt his Black and brown clients were given worse plea deals because of their race, Raiford replied, “Your honor, I think the DA’s office is systematically racist. And I think that the criminal justice system is systematically racist.”

D. A. Stephen A. Zappala Jr.’s email: “On May 13, we experienced another issue of unprofessional conduct in the courtroom of Judge (Anthony) Mariani, this one involving Attorney Milt Raiford. The transcript will evidence what is presently considered a convoluted critical diatribe. You are being advised of what actions will be taken. Zappala went on to instruct the prosecutors that “no plea offers are to be made.” The Root: District Attorney in Pennsylvania Responds to Accusations of Systemic Racism by, uh, Being Systematically Racist TribLive: Zappala: No plea deals to Black attorney who called his office ‘systematically racist’ Well this is B.S.  The D.A.’s office gets called out for being systemically racist and the response is to further discriminate against all clients of a particular attorney. NO plea offers? Really. A plea bargain does not just mean guilty pleas. It also means negotiating sentencing, leniency like reduced charges, and concessions from both prosecution and defense. This D.A. was butt hurt that this attorney “had the nerve” to call him and his office out and his response is childish. Additionally, nowhere in his ranting email does he address the allegation of systemic racism. This just highlights the importance of local elections. 

Teenage Courage

“The valedictorian at a Texas high school went off script while delivering her graduation speech. School administrators signed off on Paxton Smith’s pre-written speech on how TV and media have shaped her worldview. But, when it came time to address the graduating class of Lake Highlands high school, she pivoted.

“In light of recent events, it feels wrong to talk about anything but what is currently affecting me and millions of other women in this state,” she said, her voice shaking as she began. .. . I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail me, that if I’m raped, then my hopes and efforts and dreams for myself will no longer be relevant,” she added. “I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body taken from you.” The speech has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on TikTok and drew the attention of prominent political figures. Guardian: ‘It’s dehumanizing’: Texas valedictorian goes off script to attack abortion ban No lies detected. 

Cognitive Tackle

“The NFL announced it would no longer use “race-norming” as part of its calculus to determine which former players were entitled to compensation as part of a billion-dollar settlement on players’ traumatic brain injuries. As a part of the 2017 settlement, the league was able to use so-called racial cognitive norms when evaluating the extent to which a player was suffering from the effects of a brain injury, which, in turn, determined the amount of compensation that player would get. The racial aspect of that equation is as outrageous as you can imagine: the NFL compensation calculation was predicated on the theory that race could be used as proxy for a number of other socioeconomic factors in determining a baseline for cognition. The practical result of the practice was that when assessing the harm done to a player, the NFL’s equation held that Black players started with lower cognitive function, which made impairment harder to prove and, in turn, compensation less likely to be paid than to white former players. “More than 2,000 NFL retirees have filed dementia claims, but fewer than 600 have received awards,” according to ESPN. “More than half of all NFL retirees are Black, according to lawyers involved in the litigation. The awards so far have averaged $516,000 for the 379 players with early-stage dementia and $715,000 for the 207 players with moderate dementia.” Slate: NFL Halts “Race-Norming” to Calculate Brain Injury Compensation for Former Players  I’m not sure why I am still shocked by the NFL, but here I am.  Race-norming was established in 1990 by a psychiatrist who did a study on how socioeconomic factors affect a person’s health, in San Diego, CA. The sample of black people in the study was so small that it is not possible to extrapolate that to all black people across this country.  This is simple, the NFL was looking for a way to lower their payouts and per usual, they sacrificed black people. 

Probation Station

“Derek Chauvin asked a judge to sentence him to a term of probation or a shorter prison term than suggested by Minnesota guidelines in a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday. The memo cites Chauvin’s lack of previous criminal history, his previous work as a police officer and the risk he could be victimized in prison as factors the judge should consider as he weighs a sentence. Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced June 25 on the top count of second-degree murder. Last month, Judge Peter Cahill found “aggravating factors” exist that allow for him to sentence Chauvin to a term longer than the suggested 15 years.” CBS News: Derek Chauvin asks for probation as prosecutors seek 30 years ahead of sentencing Eye Roll. Chauvin you murdered a man in the street in front of a crowd. That is not probation worthy. Who cares if it’s the first time you ever murdered someone?