Hearings began today in Baltimore for the six police officers charged for the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was arrested on April 12, and died one week later in police custody after suffering a fatal spinal injury.
The hearing will be the first verbal argument for a case that has spanned over five months in written motions.
Today’s arguments will focus on three motions: a call for the case to be dismissed, the state’s attorney to be recused, and whether the six officers charged will face trial together or separately.
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) September 2, 2015
Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who drove the police van that Gray suffered injuries in, is charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers are charged with manslaughter: Officer William G. Porter, Sgt. Alicia D. White and Lt. Brian W. Rice. Facing lesser charges are Officers Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero. All officers involved pleaded not guilty and waived their right to attend the hearing.
Attorneys representing the officers called for the dismissal of the case or the recusal of Moseby because they allege that Moseby’s office issued orders to crack down on law enforcement in the location Gray was arrested. “Mrs. Mosby herself is now an integral part of the story and as such is a central witness,” the motion reads. “In the charges relating to the initial arrest and/or detention of Mr. Gray, Mrs. Mosby herself has become essential exculpatory evidence.”
In the weeks following Gray’s death, nationwide protests occurred against police brutality and treatment of black people at the hands of the state. Protestors gathered at the steps of the courthouse in Baltimore at around 8 a.m., along with protests happening throughout cities across the country.
Twitter user @kwamerose was apparently arrested today at a Freddie Gray protest in Baltimore.
Today’s hearing will also see a call to move the hearing to a different location.
Stay with Rise News as we continue to cover this developing story. Send tips to email@example.com.
Cover Photo Credit: POLICEDIVER2/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
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About the AuthorSetareh Baig is a writer and editor. She recently graduated from Florida State University and served as the editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper, the FSView & Florida Flambeau. You can follow her on Twitter at @heysetareh_.
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By Ana Cedeno
For most people their daily job consist of a day at the office, losing vision in front of a computer monitor and telling jokes amongs coworkers during lunch, all for the a salary that allows them to life a comfortable and sensible life with limited to minimal free time or breaks in routine.
That’s the reality of work for many of us.
For Kristen Sharp however, the routine is a little different. Her workday starts when she puts on body paint and dresses up as the Statue Of Liberty.
Sharp is part of the The Liberty Learning Foundation, which provides civic education to children by taking a theatrical approach.
According to their website the Libby Liberty Foundation aims to tackle the financial situation and aims to get kids college-ready and job-ready by bringing back Civics into the classroom.
They do this by training volunteers and teachers to “teach beyond the test” and giving students lessons that supplement what they learn in the classroom.
This is where the person Libby Liberty comes in.
Having a love for acting, and a practice in it since age 14 Sharp, has been putting those talents toward teaching children about the importance of civic duties for a little over a year.
“It is a bit of a whirlwind being thrust into a costume and green paint on a first interview so I was pretty terrified,” Sharp said adding that that first performance she did on that interview didn’t actually go so well.
In spite of that early hiccup, Sharp and the staff at the foundation sat down to exchange ideas and got to know one another.
“We became a family,” Sharp said. “A family with a common vision and goal and that changed things. That’s when I decided to be a part of the team.”
Kristen from then on became part of the Libby Liberty team, dressing up as the Statue Of Liberty and taking on the moniker to help children learn about civics and patriotism in a more interactive way.
As Libby Liberty, Sharp travels around the country delivering to students a message of hope and liberty.
The students themselves take part in the Super Citizenship program, a ten-week long course intended to teach civic duty, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Kristen, or rather Libby, usually surprises the students by jumping off her pedestal and ‘coming to life’.
She then tells them her history-America’s history- and explains to the young citizens how even young students can someday have an effect on the country they live in and make a difference.
This is something that Kristen, along with the Libby Liberty foundation, feel is truly missing from a lot of the kids in the country.
A photo posted by Libby Liberty (@libbyliberty) on
“It is important because most, if not all, of these students haven’t heard this message,” Sharp said. “I am not standing up delivering a fluffy message for the students to clap and cheer to, I am empowering them to break out of the mold and to not be oppressed by what they may or may not have been born into. I am showing and telling them that because of what Lady Liberty stands for, they can make a tremendous impact in their lives and the lives of people around them.”
The impact this message has on the children is according to Sharp, palpable and invigorating all at once.
“The best part of what Libby does is to light a fire of hope and excitement in the eyes of these children,” Sharp said. “They go on to do incredible things in the Super Citizen Program, in their schools, homes and communities. I get to see first hand what a difference Libby makes in the lives of these students.”
This feeling of making an impact is what really cemented her commitment to the Libby Liberty foundation.
“I did not choose to truly love Libby until I watched my first Super Citizen Kickoff,” Sharp said. “Hundreds of children in crowns, waving flags and singing ‘YOU in the USA’ at the top of their lungs. I sat surrounded by them and cried.”
Sharp has a long history of performing, and has been acting since the age of 12.
She did her first musical theater role in high school and started touring with Broadway shows at the age of 16.
She then proceeded to act professionally for many years.
She traveled back south 9 (she’s originally from Alabama) after 9/11 saying the attack made her “refocused to what was truly important to me “
While the theater is her first love and passion, and she still performs from time to time Sharp states that she doesn’t consider Libby Liberty to be a performance.
“Acting is not really a part of Libby for me,” Sharp said. “While I may have to muster up some energy backstage, once I see the faces of the students, it is just my heart to tell the story and see the change happen in their lives.”
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By Jordan Patterson
“The Game knows.”
Throughout my career as a college softball player at the University of Alabama, I heard that statement hundreds of times.
From teammates, from coaches, and even from family.
There was always a part of me that wanted to believe that the Game really did know.
That it saw all of the extra work I put in.
That it appreciated my genuine happiness for the teammates who played over me.
That it sensed just how badly I wanted to succeed. And because of that, my time would eventually come.
On the day that my collegiate career came to an end, if you had asked me whether I believed that the Game knows, I probably would have said yes.
It wouldn’t have been a lie, but my words would have lacked conviction.
Throughout my career, I worked hard. Very hard.
I tried to do things the right way and be a good teammate. And yet, things never really clicked for me on the field. So yes, I thought that “the Game knows” was a nice idea to cling to, but it didn’t ring true for me at the time.
Ask me that question today, however, and I will look you dead in the eyes and tell you with an unwavering voice that the Game really does know. You can’t fool it- it sees your heart. It knows who deserves to be rewarded, and it will do so accordingly.
So what changed? Why am I now a believer? Well, let me tell you a story.
I arrived on Alabama’s campus in the fall of 2010, making the 10 minute drive from my parents’ house down the road.
This was what I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember- to wear the script A on my chest. I was excited, nervous, and full of hope. My classmates quickly became my best friends (#SS forever). I was working my butt off in the weight room, coming to practice early, staying late, and loving every minute of it.
I was a catcher, and there were two junior catchers on the team who were both wonderful players and even better people.
They taught me so much, and I truly loved getting to learn from them (shout out to Kendall Dawson and Olivia Gibson- BS da best).
I didn’t play much at all during those first two years- a few pinch hit opportunities here and there. The two of them handled almost all of the catching responsibilities.
I missed being on the field every day, but I knew what I signed up for when I decided to play at Alabama.
I knew that catching time would be limited in the first two years. It didn’t matter to me- I just wanted to WIN.
I figured that I would spend those first two years learning, getting stronger, and improving all aspects of my game.
By junior year, I would be ready. Ready to lead the infield, ready to manage the pitchers, ready to get the job done at the plate.
I have never worked as hard as I did during those two years. I improved, but not as much as I hoped that I would. As I said, I didn’t play much, but I stayed the course.
I tried to be a great teammate and contribute from the bench through positive energy and enthusiasm.
We ended up winning the National Championship my sophomore year, and it was the most rewarding experience of my life.
That team was truly something special. So special that one of my dearest teammates wrote a book about our journey that year- Finish It by Cassie Reilly-Boccia. READ IT. You won’t regret it.
Coming off of the National Championship, I was more determined than ever.
We had two catchers coming back- myself and a sophomore, Chaunsey Bell. I knew that both of us would be given opportunities to prove ourselves early on, and I was going to give it everything that I had.
I had played the role of supportive teammate for two years and really took pride in that. It’s so important. Every team needs role-players who take pride in their job on the bench.
But now, I wanted to be on the field more than ever. The Game knew, right? It had seen all of the hard work over the past two years. It knew my heart. In the back of my mind, that little phrase gave me hope that it was finally my time.
I’m not exactly sure when, but I remember getting a call from my coach the summer before my junior year.
“We are adding a transfer to your class. We know that y’all are very close, but we trust you to take her in and make her a part of your family.”
Absolutely. No-brainer. I had full trust in our coaches and knew that they would not bring anyone into our family that didn’t belong there. I wasn’t sure who the transfer was, but I was excited to find out.
A couple of weeks later, I was sitting at my desk at my summer internship when I got a text from coach Patrick Murphy or as we affectionally call him, Murph.
“Molly Fichtner is going to be a part of our family! Here is her number. Please reach out to her and make her feel welcome.”
I excitedly got onand read the article about Molly’s transfer, and my heart sunk.
While Molly had played shortstop at her old school, the press release said that she would probably be working at catcher here.
I can’t explain the feeling that I got- I just remember thinking that this was going to change everything.
It was such a selfish reaction, and it is the moment that I am most ashamed of from my four years at Bama.
Well, it did change everything. Molly arrived on campus that fall and I immediately knew that she was special. She fit in perfectly with our team and quickly became one of my best friends.
On the field, she was stellar. She swung a great bat and consistently threw baserunners out stealing. She beat me out, plain and simple.
That year was a roller coaster of emotions.
I was so happy that Molly had ended up at Bama. She belonged on the big stage. She was one of the best people I had ever met, with a heart bigger than her home state of Texas.
On the other hand, I was heartbroken. While no spots in the lineup are ever set in stone, and I kept working hard, I simply knew that my next two years were going to be much like my first two.
If coaches read this, they will probably cringe at that statement, and they would be right in doing so.
You never want your players to give up on themselves. There are so many stories of players who turn it around their senior year and are basically a completely different player.
If I was a coach, I would preach that to all of my non-starters. You are never stuck in that role. There is always something you can do to get better, and don’t ever stop trying.
I knew that Murph still believed in me.
However, looking back, I think that there was a reason that I got the “feeling” that I was going to remain a role-player. W
hen I began to accept that my job as an upperclassmen was going to be leading from the bench, I was able to truly commit to it.
I kept working hard, still came early and stayed late, but my motivations for doing so began to change. Instead of being motivated by the desire for personal success, I was motivated by the desire for team success.
I needed to work my butt off so that I could demand that others do the same. I needed to keep getting better at blocking and framing so that the other catchers were pushed to get better.
While I had always been a “team player” on the surface, I had finally morphed into a “team player” at heart.
There were still times during those two years that were hard. As an athlete, you always want to be on the field.
It’s something that’s inside of you- a burning desire that doesn’t just go away.
Tears fell on occasion.
It didn’t happen often, but sometimes I would wonder why it just never clicked for me on the field, even though I tried so hard and cared so deeply.
Now, I’m two years removed from the game, and I wouldn’t trade those moments of sadness and frustration for anything.
You know what? That’s life.
Sometimes, you are going to put every ounce of your being into something, and it’s not going to work out exactly the way you wanted it to.
Get over it.
No, I never became a starter. But I did have the best experience of my life.
I learned lessons that I never would have learned otherwise.
When I walked off the field at the Women’s College World Series in 2014 after Florida beat us in the championship series, I had no regrets. I was truly thankful to the Game for everything it gave me, and I didn’t expect anything else from it.
I had experienced so much team success at Bama, and that truly was enough for me.
Little did I know, the Game would give me the biggest personal reward of all two years after I walked off the field.
I chose to go to law school after I got done playing. The legal market is pretty tough right now, and jobs can be hard to come by.
If you want to work in a law firm, the best way to secure a job for after graduation is to get a Summer Associate position.
Most firms hire law students the summer after their second year of school, with the intention of extending a full-time offer after the summer is over if you do a good job. Competition for these positions is fierce and the interview process is lengthy.
After living in Tuscaloosa for my whole life, I have been itching to move to a big city.
When it came time to start applying for Summer Associate positions, I knew that Washington, D.C. was my top choice geographically.
The problem was that it can be pretty hard to get your foot in the door at D.C. law firms.
They do not typically recruit students from Alabama, tending to get their Summer Associates from more “prestigious” schools. Side note: I would put my school up against any in the country and am so thankful that I ended up there. But I digress.
A family friend of my family is a partner at arguably one of the best law firms in the world, and I expressed my desire to end up in D.C. to her.
She graciously offered to set me up with another partner at her firm who knew a lot about the D.C. market.
I was thankful for any help that I could get, and booked a flight up to go meet with him. I had nothing to lose- I wasn’t even thinking about asking this man for an interview.
He was just going to give me some advice on how I should go about applying to smaller D.C. firms that might be willing to interview a student from Alabama who was not at the top of her class.
As it turned out, he ended up being the Hiring Partner- in charge of hiring all of the firm’s Summer Associates.
Well, lucky for me, he happened to Google my name before meeting me for breakfast. When he did, he found a Tuscaloosa News feature article that was written about me during my senior year.
The article basically told the story that I’ve been telling you here: that I was a hard worker and always tried to be a good teammate.
The Hiring Partner brought it up at breakfast, saying that those are the qualities he looks for when hiring law students and that it’s not often that he has tangible proof that someone possesses them.
He then proceeded to ask me “if I was opposed to interviewing with them.”
The firm flew me back up to D.C. the next week.
I had five 30 minute interviews with different attorneys.
The first four went very well. I walked into my last interview with one of the attorneys that was on the recruiting committee (so it was really important that this one went well).
He was a big sports fan, so we immediately started talking about softball.
He asked me if I had played much, and I truthfully answered no. Then I got THE question: “What did you learn from that?”
There is not a single interview question in the world that is more suited for me than that one.
I proceeded to explain to him for over 45 minutes precisely what I learned from being a role-player throughout my four years at Bama, rather than a starter. Resiliency. Selflessness.
How to take pride in your role, whatever it may be. What it really means to put the team first. I walked out of his office knowing that it was the best I had ever done in an interview.
Two days later, the Hiring Partner called and offered me a job. I lived in D.C. for the summer, working at the firm, and loved every minute of the experience. I was surrounded by former Supreme Court clerks, attorneys at the very top of their fields, and genuinely wonderful people.
On paper, I had no business being here. I do not have the same level of qualifications that my fellow Summer Associates had. Yet, there I was. All because I chose to keep working hard even though I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted.
My coaches and teammates noticed.
A reporter chose to care about a story that almost no one else would. And then, of all things, someone Google’d me.
Do not tell me that the Game doesn’t know.
So, to any players out there struggling with being a role-player: keep working hard. Keep putting the team above yourself.
Keep trusting your coaches. Believe me, I know that it hurts at times. But the Game sees you, and it will reward you.
It won’t always be in the way that you wanted or pictured it, though. Sometimes the reward will come years later, in a way that will have a much greater impact on the course of your life than getting more playing time ever will.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jordan Patterson is a former University of Alabama softball player. She is currently in law school at Alabama.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Jordan Patterson/ Facebook
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With a seemingly endless war going on in Syria, Arab states slowly coming apart, terrorist cells continuously operating and economic as well as military interests from countries like Russia and America, the Middle East has become a complicated and turbulent region.
While the role of the world’s greatest hegemonies inside the Middle East seems clear, there are regional powers whose presence is often underestimated or forgotten.
So, with a strained relationship with the Unites States and failed negotiations to form part of the European Union, what is Turkey’s international and regional role?
“Every decision Turkey makes, even the ones that affect the international sphere, are related to their domestic policies.” Agustín Berea a Middle East specialist said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “Everything Tayyip Erdoğan does is for his public and his public is the Turkish people.”
In a developing country where the society is divided between those in favor of business and liberalism and those who are much more conservative and traditionalist, Tayyip Erdoğan came in as a reformist, progressist and with strong ties with the conservative sectors of the Turkish society.
In the beginning of Erdoğan’s mandate, talks about joining the European Union were strong.
READ MORE: Why Turkey Should Be Removed From NATO
However, such discourses have gradually faded over time.
Historical issues, such as the occupation of Cyprus, and the recent violation of human rights, as well as the authoritarian government, have been enough to declare that Turkey does not reach the standards to form part of the union.
Although the Republic of Turkey was founded with the objective of having a legitimacy based on secularity and laicism, the Turkish society remains strongly attached to its religious basis.
“Demographically, there’s a lot more people who identify themselves with the East than with the West. Geographically, the part of Turkey located in Europe and the Mediterranean, although highly populated, represents a minority,” Berea said.
Not only that, but the agenda of Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan does not tie with the agenda of other international actors such as Russia and the United States.
“His main goal is to solve internal conflicts,” Berea said.
The inability to tie Turkish interests with those of other countries has resulted in strained relationships with the American president Donald Trump and the Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Moreover, it has also resulted in the breaking of diplomatic relations with the Iranian president Hasán Rouhani.
While Erdoğan’s ability to project his influence at an international level is questionable, with one of the world’s largest and most powerful armies, Turkey’s regional power is undeniable.
“Turkey cannot reach just any part of the world. However, its mobility and ability to effectively achieve its goals within the Middle East are higher than the one of countries like Russia or even the United States,” Berea said.
These goals include neutralizing the threat of ISIS within Turkish borders, the liberation of the city of Raqqa, and toppling the Assad regime. However, this would require more time, planning, and manpower than the one Turkey currently has in Syria.
This year, as early as February, former prohibitions considered to be secularization measures, such as the banning of the of Islamic veil and religious demonstrations, have been lifted. This has led many to believe that Turkey is no longer the champion of secularism.
“Muslim sectors are much closer to the government and it would seem like Turkey’s regional allies are projects that align with the agenda of political Islam,” Berea said.
Turkey is not the only nation of the Middle East that seems to be going back to projects and governments based on the Muslim religion.
“Countries in the Middle East have experienced with secular governance models and it is the opinion of many that such projects have not worked so far,” Berea explained.
Iran, Syria and Egypt are some of the countries that have experienced with these secular governance models.
The idea of going back to a caliphate comes from these failed projects of democratic nations and the people in the Middle East want to go back to a moment in which society and political structures worked better.
Could we expect Tayyip Erdoğan’s government to fail or to be toppled by a revolution in Turkey?
“The only way that there could be a successful coup against Erdoğan is if he openly spoke about religious structures within the state. This is unthinkable for the Turkish army,” Berea said.
Although political leaders have known how to handle their differences and act with moderation, the future of the Middle East is now more uncertain than ever.
With so many international actors involved in a small region, the situation seems to be bound to escalate to major proportions.
“My fear about Trump is that he may not know how to handle himself in moments of tension,” Berea said.
While conflict is possible, it doesn’t seem likely yet.
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