TTR News Center

Family of man seen handcuffed, led by Texas officers on horseback demand body camera video: 'The clock is ticking'

No Comments

Erin Toberman/Facebook(GALVESTON, Texas) — The family of the man who could be seen in a viral photo last week handcuffed and bound with rope as two white police officers in Texas led him down the street on horseback are calling for the police to release body camera video of the arrest.

Donald Neely, 43, was arrested on charges of criminal trespassing on Aug. 3 by Galveston police officers P. Brosch and A. Smith. But there is no record that the charges have been pursued by the city’s district attorney, according to Neely’s defense attorney, Melissa Morris.

The viral image caused outrage throughout the community and beyond. Galveston Police Chief Vernon L. Hale III later released an apology on behalf of the department, saying the officers “showed poor judgment.”

Neely’s civil attorney, Benjamin Crump, said seeing that image was “like they were dragging our entire community down the street by rope.”

“These horrific images…conjure up historical memories of when slave owners…dragged black slaves by rope around their necks back in the 1700s and the 1800s,” Crump said. “This isn’t 1819, this is 2019, Galveston!”

“If these officers are good people, of good character, then the Galveston Police Department should have no problem releasing the police body cam video,” Crump said. “[The video will show] the content of their character when they talked to, and how they treated an unarmed black citizen who was suffering from mental illnesses.”

Crump said Neely was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.

In a statement on Monday, the Galveston Police Department said it was “committed to a thorough, complete and timely review of all the facts” related to Neely’s arrest.

“As such, the department has asked the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Texas Rangers Division and the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office to perform independent investigations of the August 3rd arrest of Mr. Neely,” the statement continued. “This review is now with those agencies and we have full confidence they will thoroughly and justly evaluate the incident. We anticipate the body camera footage will be released after the investigations are concluded. The Texas Occupations Code…prohibits the release of the videos before that time.”

Tara Neely, Donald Neely’s younger sister, said during a press conference on Monday that the image of her brother’s arrest “tore” her heart. “I’m still in shock,” she said. “My brother has suffered since he was an infant.”

“He cared for us, he took on a role too young. He’s not a bad person, he’s very loving,” she continued. “He’s just lost his way somewhere… We love our brother, we’re not out here for money. We just want justice for him.”

Donald Neely’s younger brother, Andy Neely, also spoke at the press conference on Monday in which the family sought the police body camera video on Monday. He said his brother is a “loving, kind person [who] wouldn’t harm a fly.”

“The way the officers treated him, it just ain’t right… They dehumanized my brother on the streets,” he said. “Why would they do that after several encounters with him? It was just to humiliate him. No man, no women, black, brown, purple, should be embarrassed the way my brother was.”

The Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office agreed last week to conduct a third-party investigation into the arrest.

“This is such a polarizing event that it is imperative that we have an independent, third-party investigation to ensure we address any potential issues,” said Brian Maxwell, the city manager of Galveston.

Crump said Neely’s team and family are organizing a march in Galveston if the police do not release the video.

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has also officially requested the body camera video be released to the public, Crump said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Martina McBride will unwrap The Joy of Christmas for the ninth time in 2019

No Comments

ABC/Mark LevineIt’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays — especially if you’re Martina McBride. The four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year will launch her ninth The Joy of Christmas tour November 29 in Biloxi, Mississippi.

“This show is so much fun to do,” Martina says. “We have everything from classic hymns like ‘O Holy Night’ to fun, big band swing classics like ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town.’”

“It’s all very visual, the songs are well-loved, and you leave with a warm feeling,” she adds. “I love to think of entire families, from grandparents to grandchildren, enjoying The Joy of Christmas. It’s really a show for the whole family.”

The set list will include music from Martina’s multi-platinum 1998 White Christmas album, as well as tunes from It’s the Holiday Season, which came out last year.

Here’s the complete itinerary for Martina McBride’s 2019 The Joy of Christmas Tour:

11/29 — Biloxi, MS, Beau Rivage Theatre
11/30 — Lake Charles, LA, Golden Nugget
12/1 — San Antonio, TX, Majestic Theatre
12/3 — Tyler, TX, R. Down Cowan Fine & Performing Arts Center
12/5 — Green Bay, WI, Resch Center
12/6 — Springfield, IL, Sangamon Auditorium
12/7 — Prior Lake, MN, Mystic Lake Casino
12/12 — Wallingford, CT, Oakdale Theatre
12/13 — Philadelphia, PA, The Met
12/14 — Boston, MA, Lowell Memorial Auditorium
12/15 — Newark, NJ, Union County PAC
12/19 — East Lansing, MI, Wharton Center
12/20 — Chicago, IL, Rialto Square Theatre
12/21 — St. Louis, MO, Lindenwood University

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Watch Eddie Murphy transform into Rudy Ray Moore in first trailer for 'Dolemite Is My Name'

No Comments

Francois Duhamel/Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — Ahead of its Toronto International Film Festival premiere next month, Netflix has dropped the first trailer for Dolemite Is My Name.

The film, based on real-life actor and producer Rudy Ray Moore, stars Murphy as the legendary comedian/actor, who made a name for himself in the ’70s by creating the character Dolemite, an eccentric pimp and hustler.

Moore initially performed the character on comedy albums, which he sold in the inner city. Eventually, he financed his first film, Dolemite, in 1975. Moore followed the success of that film with three sequels.

“A man slams a door in my face, I just find another door,” says Murphy as Moore in the trailer. “I want the world to know I exist.”

In addition to Murphy, the film stars Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, T.I., Keegan-Michael Key, Tituss Burgess and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

Hustle and Flow’s Craig Brewster directed Dolemite Is My Name, which is set to hit theaters this fall.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bureau of Prisons faces more scrutiny after the death of Jeffrey Epstein

No Comments

Vesnaandjic/iStock(NEW YORK) — The death of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is just the latest in a string of incidents that have plagued the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the last year.

Last October, mobster Whitey Bulger was stabbed to death within hours of his arrival at the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton in West Virginia. Bulger’s death could have been prevented if the Hazelton penitentiary was properly staffed, a source told ABC News.

In January, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, experienced a power outage for a week that was dangerous for both staff and inmates, prompting protests and calls from Congress to fix the situation.

“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” Attorney General William Barr said on Monday. “We will get to the bottom of it and there will be accountability.”

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found unresponsive in his cell around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Bureau of Prisons said. He was transported while in cardiac arrest at 6:39 a.m. to New York Downtown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to sources.

His death came less than three weeks after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the federal prison in Lower Manhattan, with marks on his neck that appeared to be self-inflicted, sources told ABC News. He was placed on suicide watch following the July 23 incident but had been removed at the time of his death.

Two sources familiar with prison conditions at the Metropolitan Correctional Center told ABC News that staffing there is “deplorable” and it was “only a matter of time” before staff and inmates would get hurt. One source familiar with MCC conditions said more than 30 staff positions are still vacant.

Some have said the hiring freeze at the Department of Justice, which has since been lifted, and the non-competitive salaries have affected staffing at these prisons.

The two guards that were at the Special Housing Unit where Epstein was housed were both working overtime. One officer was working a mandatory overtime shift. The other officer was working his fifth overtime shift of the week.

The BOP is one of several federal agencies operating under leadership of an acting director.

The facility has played host to some of the most high-profile inmates in the country, like former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Jail protocols requiring routine checks on the well-being of MCC inmates like Epstein appear to have not been followed in the hours before the millionaire was found hanging in his cell, sources told ABC News.

Epstein should have been checked on by a correctional officer every 30 minutes, according to Bureau of Prison protocols. But sources told ABC News that protocol was not followed prior to Epstein’s death.

In recent weeks, the correctional officers’ union has complained of understaffing. Those gripes are now part of the investigation into whether the 30-minute checks were happening.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sarah Silverman claims she lost movie role due to blackface photo, slams "cancel culture" as "righteousness porn"

No Comments

Mark Davis/Comedy Central(LOS ANGELES) —  When The Sarah Silverman Show was on Comedy Central back in 2007, the comedienne appeared in an infamous sketch in which she appeared in blackface — and she’s just revealed that it’s still costing her. 

During an interview on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Silverman explained, “I recently was going to do a movie, a sweet part. Then, at 11pm the night before, they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode.”

Silverman declined to explain which movie it was, but she revealed, “They hired someone else who is wonderful but who has never stuck their neck out. It was so disheartening.” 

She tells Simmons of the firing, “It just made me real, real sad, because I really kind of devoted my life to making it right.”

Then, as others who make their living being outspoken have done, Silverman slammed so-called “cancel culture.”

“I think it’s really scary and it’s a very odd thing that it’s invaded the left primarily and the right will mimic it,” she noted, calling it, “righteousness porn.”

“It’s like, if you’re not on board, if you say the wrong thing, if you had a tweet once, everyone is, like, throwing the first stone…It’s so odd. It’s a perversion,” she continued. “It’s really, ‘Look how righteous I am and now I’m going to press refresh all day long to see how many likes I get in my righteousness.'”

In 2015, she called the blackface sketch her most “regrettable joke,” but blamed the outrage about it today on a lack of context.

“I tweeted it when Twitter was new and the people who followed me watched that show and it was from that show,” she told The Wrap. “…Now it’s forever there and it looks…totally racist out of context and I regret that.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: