Zumiez, a Columbia Mall skateboard and snowboard apparel store, has reopened nearly four months after it was the scene of a double homicide of two mall employees during an apparent shooting rampage. The store has been closed since Jan. 25 when, police said, Tyler Johnson 25, and Briana Benlolo 21, were killed by Darion Aguilar, 19, who went on a shooting spree at the Maryland mall after entering the dressing room of the store and assembling a shotgun hidden in his backpack. Aguilar died at the scene, police said, from an apparently self-inflicted shotgun wound.The mall reopened a few days later, but the Zumiez store remained boarded up until May 19. The store has been remodeled. But even after several memorials and vigils in honor of the victims, Zumiez managers contacted the victims’ families before reopening.Zumiez officials said in a statement “We all continue to keep the victims and their families in our hearts and together remember and honor them in many ways,” according to WBAL TV.As part of the remodeling, store officials said, “quietly recognizes Brianna and Tyler with two simple tiles that bear their initials: ‘B’ and ‘T.’ ” Reaction among mall customers to the reopening was mixed. Tony Ramelmeir, 17, a Columbia who had just left the mall before the shooting, said he understands the need for it to be opened. “Maybe it [should have been] closed for a year or two or a whole season, but if they feel it’s the right time then it’s the right time,” said Ramelmeir. Karra Winnard 22, a Marriottsville resident, said she is a regular shopper at the mall and is happy to see the store open again. “I definitely think it needed to be reopened. I think for the store’s sake they couldn’t keep it closed forever because something happened, but I’m kind of glad it’s reopened. I was sad when it was closed, but understood why,” said Winnard. Following an investigation, Howard County police concluded that Aguilar was a troubled young man. Police said that Aguilar said in a journal that he had been suffering from what he believed were symptoms of mental illness. Police said he was fixated on the 1999 shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., a shooting rampage that he wanted to emulate. According to wusa9.com, two memorial funds were set up in honor of the shooting victims. For more information go to http://www.zumiez.com/memorial-fund.
The empty chairs of members at the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (JPR) hearing on the Law Enforcement Officers Bill Of Rights (LEOBR) reform measure could be a sign. If Maryland is to see changes to the controversial law, it will have to find a way around the Senate JPR’s objections to reform.The hearing on Senate Bill 566 (SB 566) – which strips the LEOBR of it’s the provision giving officers 10 days before they can be questioned by superiors about an alleged incident of misconduct, creates new classes of people able to bring forth misconduct allegations, and gives police chiefs an enhanced role in meting out discipline to officers – did not begin until about 7:20 p.m., scheduled to be heard last on a day with testimony on 16 bills.SB 566’s sponsor, vice chair of JPR Sen. Lisa Gladden (D-Baltimore City), was not in the room when the hearing began. So duties to present the bill’s provisions, normally the responsibility of the sponsoring senator, fell to David Rocah of the ACLU, Maryland. When presenting, senators are generally afforded some difference, being allowed to complete their presentation before fielding questions from their colleagues. This accommodation was not extended to Rocah. He was challenged by JPR chair Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) when he suggested the 10-day rule drives a perception that police officers are afforded special treatment.“That’s 10 days so that [an officer] can obtain council though, right?” asked Zirkin. “And the reason for that, just to be clear also, the reason for that is because often, if they’re going to be interrogated, or if they’re going to be questioned, this could also lead to criminal charges as well, so the idea, I think, behind that – I’m just trying to be clear on that issue. It’s not just that they are going to the beach for 10 days, it’s 10 days in order to get a lawyer so that they can be advised on their rights, not only within the agency but also any ramifications of a potential criminal charge.”Rocah said in many jurisdictions in Maryland, counsel is available immediately but that the 10-day rule is still adhered to, and that the rule is in play in situations where the alleged misconduct could not lead to criminal charges, making reference to a civil suit against a Maryland State Police officer who accidentally left racist remarks on a woman’s answering machine, something for which he could not be held criminally liable in any way.Zirkin’s approach to the hearing shifted as the hearing went on, however, and particularly when the myriad heads of police departments and Fraternal Order of Police (the police union) officials began testifying in opposition to SB 566. Opponents treated the LEOBR as little more than a piece of employment legislation, delineating rights of public employees with respect to employer initiated disciplinary proceedings and having no bearing on criminal investigations whatsoever.“When people are saying that the officers have never been charged, or have never been in front of a judge, that doesn’t have anything to do with this, does it?” asked Sen. Wayne Norman (R-Cecil and Harford Counties) of Chief John Fitzgerald of the Chevy Chase police department, representing the Maryland Chiefs of Police, and invoking earlier testimony by people who had lost loved ones at the hands of police.“No,” replied Fitzgerald. “As a matter of fact, typically, in a very bad case where there could be criminal charges, the entire employment part of this, the LEOBR is stayed, nothing happens. The 10-day rule – I would like to see perhaps that be shorter – but the point is the 10-day rule is irrelevant. I don’t have somebody interview this person perhaps for a year or more because everything sits still until the conclusion of the criminal investigation and whatever trial might occur.”At this point, the 10-day rule had been presented by those opposed to the bill as both a protection for officers in the event of the possibility of criminal charges, and as irrelevant to criminal investigations altogether. By this late point in the hearing , the interaction between Norman and Fitzgerald occurred around 9:10 p.m., Zirkin had suspended questioning to move things along. The result was that those testifying in opposition to SB 566 rarely had their views challenged, a privilege not extended to supporters of the firstname.lastname@example.org
Across the street from Hope’s Corridor, the 100th block of Wayne Place SE is transitional housing for homeless vets, transitional housing for youth transitioning out of foster care, anchored (and supported!) by a neighborhood of middle class homeowners, which enable Washingtonians, of all ages, to enjoy a new lease on life.
Listen at WEAA Live Stream: http://amber.streamguys.com.4020/live.m3u A review of some of the top news stories of the week, directly from the pages of the AFRO, with managing Editor Kamau High. Among the stories we’ll discuss is the public, alleged death threat against Pastor Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple. Plus, the Mod Squad, Taya Graham and Stephen Janis of The Real News Network, report on Baltimore politics and law enforcement. These stories and much more, coming up this evening on AFRO’s First Edition with Sean Yoes.
Ricky Smith, the executive director and CEO of the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA), who leads BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, has presided over record breaking growth at the airport during his tenure, which began in July 2015. But, he cites the good fortune of a relatively strong economy (at least by some metrics), as much as his work ethic and leadership skills.Executive Director and CEO of the Maryland Aviation Administration, Ricky Smith. (Courtesy Photo)“I have to be frank, as much as I would like to take absolute responsibility, a lot of it has to do with the economy,” Smith told the AFRO. “I’m not trying to be political, but the fact of the matter is people want to use the most economical transportation…the economy is humming and people have the disposable income to fly. They are choosing to fly out of BWI because we offer more low fares…more non-stop destinations than any of the other airports in the Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia area…that’s part of the reason why we’re winning D.C.”Specifically, he says the airport can offer lower fares because it maintains lower operating costs than its regional competitors. According to Smith, BWI Marshall’s operating cost is about $9.53 per passenger, versus Reagan National at about $15 per passenger, Dulles at $24 per passenger and Philadelphia International at $14 per passenger.According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), BWI Marshall is the busiest airport in the Baltimore-Washington region (July marked 25 consecutive monthly passenger records according to MDOT). More than 24 million domestic and more than one million passengers traveled via BWI Marshall during the airport’s last fiscal year, which ended in July 2017.Before coming back to Maryland, Smith, a native of West Baltimore operated in essentially the same capacity in Cleveland (CEO of the Cleveland Airport System) as his current position at BWI Marshall. However, he says a call from Gov. Larry Hogan changed the trajectory of his career.“I was in Cleveland doing pretty well for 10 years…Cleveland was good to me,” said Smith. “I got a call from Gov. Hogan…he didn’t like that I went to Cleveland in 2006. He reached out to me and I thought I could take the airport where he thought the airport could go. He is the reason why I’m back in Maryland,” added Smith.Smith, the state’s first Black executive director and CEO of the MAA, is originally from the West Baltimore neighborhood once known as Whitelock City (within the larger community of Reservoir Hill). He continues to be inspired by the people from his old neighborhood who invested in him in multiple ways.“It’s not just the fact I’m African American, when I speak to groups I let them know I’m from Whitelock Street. I take a lot of pride in it,” Smith said. “I represent a lot of people who put me on their backs to help me make it through.”Smith says he is purposeful in crafting opportunities for others who may have come from circumstances similar to his own.“There are more women and (people of color) working at this airport than most other airports,” Smith said. “It is because we create an environment where they can get here and make a career working at the airport.”He points to the, “Launchpad Program,” which recruits smaller businesses owned by women or people of color, many from economically challenged communities to set up shop at BWI Marshall. “About 75 applied and we narrowed it down to four…Four African-American females won out. They are now operating here at the airport and are doing very well,” Smith said. “The airport is open for business or employment for anybody interested in pursuing an opportunity here. If we can get that person in the airport…and teach them how to operate in this very complex environment, that can make a huge difference for that person.”Ultimately, Smith’s overarching vision for BWI Marshall is tied to the level of buy in on the part of the people he leads.“The most important thing that I’ve accomplished…I’ve created a performance driven culture,” Smith said. “We have a vision to be better and a very aggressive strategic plan. Every employee is tied to the strategic vision of the organization. They feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.”
The Global Women’s Institute is scheduled to host a panel “Connecting the Dots: Exploring the Intersection of Violence Against Women and Violence Against Children” on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, 950 New Hampshire Ave., NW. The panel will discuss common factors that lead to such cases of violence as well as challenges and opportunities to survive from such abuse. The event is open to the public. Refreshments will be served. To RSVP, visit globalwomensinstitute.gwu.edu
By Lenore T. Adkins, Special to the AFROWords matter and are not to be taken lightly, University of the District of Columbia Professor Bernard “Bernie” Demczuk told nearly two dozen Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recruits on their mandatory Black History tour along U Street April 20.In his opinion when people say “riot,” they’re talking about Black people violently reacting to tragedy. That’s why Demczuk instead calls the unrest along U Street following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968 an uprising or rebellion.Bernie Demczuk speaks to officers during the U Street tour. (Photo by Lenore Adkins )“Thug means Black, middle-class means White,” said Demczuk, who is White and teaches African-American history and culture at the University of the District of Columbia. “Urban means Black, riot means Black. I don’t have time to give you a long history lesson on how much there was White rioting against Black people over the last 250 years. Do they call them riots? No, they don’t call them riots.”The police department has partnered with UDC to deploy a training program for D.C.’s roughly 3,800 police officers and 660 civilian personnel to help them understand the city’s rich African American history and the historic racial tension between Black communities and law enforcement.While violent crimes have fallen in the District, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser, negative interactions between Black residents and police officers continue to be a point of contention — a larger issue when considering African Americans comprise 47.7 percent of the District according to the 2016 U.S. Census.Meanwhile, demographic data from D.C. police shows Blacks represent 52.12 percent of the force, while 35.1 percent are White, nearly 9 percent identify as Hispanic, 3.61 percent are Asian, and the rest are either Native American or biracial.The one day program requires several hours of lectures led by Demczuk and professor Sharita Thompson, as well as tours of the Smithsonian African-American Museum of History and Culture and the U Street Corridor. Training started in January and 550 officers have gone through it as of April 20, Demczuk said.On the tour, Demczuk took the recruits along a vibrant five-block stretch of U Street that was once home to “Black Broadway,” and formed in response to segregation on New York City’s Broadway. With its jazz clubs, Black businesses, famous residents and its proximity to Howard University, U Street was ground zero for Black life, society and culture.Today, tension simmers in the rapidly gentrifying corridor between long-time Black residents who saw the neighborhood through its tough times and the new, young White residents moving in, Demczuk said. It’s a something he said police need to know and understand when it comes to doing their job.The two-hour tour led officers through alleys to see vibrant murals, including the one near the landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl (where Demczuk serves as its historian), past Lee’s Flower and Card Shop and Industrial Bank, two other longtime Black businesses, to the African American Civil War Memorial and other historic points of interest.Many people on the street stopped in their tracks, curious about why so many cops were walking up and down U Street — several others joined the tour for short stints. Along the way, Demczak introduced the officers to some of the people who make U Street tick, including Tony, a homeless man who implored the cops not to arrest him if they’re ever walking the beat and Shun Pittman, owner of Corps d’Elite hair salon.“I am so amazed and grateful for this program that Bernie is doing and I hope it takes off nationwide because it’s something that’s needed,” Pittman told the AFRO. “Education is the key for everything, you know? It brings people together.”The police department isn’t relying on data or evidence to show the program works, public affairs specialist Karimah Bilal told the AFRO. It instead acts as an initiative that offers insight into the culture and background of the Black communities D.C. police serve, while drilling down on the historic mistrust between law enforcement and Blacks.Through the training, veteran officer Sarah Snapko learned there’s a reason D.C. doesn’t have vagrancy laws on the books — because they were often used to target Blacks who were hanging out when it was too hot in their homes.She’s hopeful that her fellow officers don’t close their mind to learning something new and wishes she had this training when she joined the force 15 years ago.“A citizen looks to you as the person who can solve the problem for them and yet there’s so much more you don’t realize, you don’t know especially when you’re coming from an outside city and you’re growing up in a different culture,” said Snapko, who is White and is from suburban Cleveland. “Here, it’s a culture shock and to have this type of training and to serve that community, it’s a benefit.”
The final day of competition will feature the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, and the 400 free relay. Print Friendly Version The University of Louisville stands in second place after three days of racing at the 2019 ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships. The Cardinals had two gold and a pair of silvers Friday night at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. NC State took the lead with 968.5 points with Louisville following with 817 ahead of Virginia (724), FSU (600.5), Virginia Tech (579.5), Duke (507), Notre Dame (479), Georgia Tech (396), Pitt (371), North Carolina (312), Miami (161) and Boston College (111). In the 100 backstroke, sophomore Nick Albiero, swimming his second event of the session, stalked the leader and touched in 44.88 to win silver and put up an NCAA A-Cut. Mitchell Whyte touched fourth fourth place in the A-Final with a time 45.38 just ahead of teammate Nikkos Sofianidis, who was sixth with a time of 46.09. The event was won by Coleman Stewart of NC State, who touched in 44.44 for an A-Cut. In the 100 fly FSU’s Kanoa Kaleoaloha won gold with a time of 44.93, the fastest time in the country to date. Nick Albiero touched fourth in the A-final for the Cardinals. Teammate Nikkos Sofianidis went 46.61 in the B-final and freshman Mitchell Whyte won the C-final with a 46.48. In the 200 free, Louisville freshman Bartosz Piszczorowicz won his first individual ACC championship with a 1:33.51. Cardinal senior Zach Harting swam an excellent back half and moved from fifth at the 150 mark, nearly touching out his teammate, who won by one-hundreth of a second. Colton Paulson checked in seventh in the A-final with a 1:34.52. Andrej Barna won the B-final with a time of 1:34.56 and Sam Steele finished fourth in the B-final with a time of 1:35.15. Marcelo Acosta touched second in the C-final, posting a 1:35.56 to wrap up scoring for UofL. The Cards won silver in the 400 medley relay with Nick Albiero (45.55), Evgenii Somov (51.90), Zach Harting (44.80) and an anchor of 41.50 by Andrej Barna combining for a 3:0375. NC State took gold with a time of 3:03.26. 2019 ACC Men’s Friday Finals results Story Links Louisville sophomore Evgenii Somov successfully defended his title the 100 breast, winning gold in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 51.90. The 400 Individual Medley was won by Virginia’s Brendan Casey, who went 3:39.93. UofL’s Daniel Sos swam a 3:42.96 in the A-final to touch fourth. Jarrett Jones went from 7th to third in the B-final in a great back half of swimming. clocking a 3:45.58.
Live Stats Louisville (18-6, 6-3 ACC) entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 4-3 and the first two hitters were retired on a fly out and strikeout. ACC Network Extra Story Links Photo Gallery Video: Dan McDonnell Postgame It was the third walk-off victory for the Cardinals this season, having also done so against Brown and Ole Miss. Next Game: Miami (Ohio) 3/26/2019 | 6:00 PM PDF Box Score Listen Live Watch Live Full Schedule Roster Justin Lavey led the UofL offensive with a 3-for-4 day at the plate. Fitzgerald, Wyatt and Davis each had two hits as part of Louisville’s 12-hit attack. Video Highlights Bobby Miller got the start for Louisville on Sunday, moving into the rotation for the first time on the season. The first three batters of the game reached against the sophomore, but Miller settled down and limited the damage to just one. The game held at three-all until the Yellow Jackets plated a run via a triple and wild pitch in the seventh. Leonard then rolled a ball back through the middle that was stopped by the diving shortstop. There was no force play to be made and Binelas never stopped running from second. The throw to the plate was high and Binelas dove across the plate for the winning run. Preview Michael Kirian (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory on Sunday, working 1.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Louisville took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, getting a run-scoring knock from Fitzgerald and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Logan Wyatt. The lead was short-lived however, as Georgia Tech (16-8, 5-4 ACC) answered right back with a two-run single in the fifth to tie the score up at three apiece. Henry Davis worked a seven-pitch walk to keep the game going, and Alex Binelas followed with a walk of his own. Zeke Pinkham pinch-hit for the Cardinals with the tying and winning runs on base and battled to draw a third straight walk to load the bases. The Cardinals stranded a pair in their half of the seventh and another in scoring position in the eighth, leading to the drama in the ninth. LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trey Leonard’s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the fourth-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Georgia Tech at Jim Patterson Stadium. Tyler Fitzgerald helped the Cardinals get the run right back in the bottom half, singling with one away and stealing second and third. Binelas then knotted the game up at one with a two-out single into centerfield. Louisville continues its eight-game homestand on Tuesday with a visit from Miami (Ohio). First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. Print Friendly Version
Listen Live Watch Live Full Schedule Roster Binelas, Fitzgerald and Lavey each had two hits, as the Cardinals tallied double digit knocks for the third time on the weekend. Binelas finished the series with seven hits, four of which went for extra bases. SEC Network+ Shay Smiddy and Michael Kirian took care of the final six outs on Sunday, sending the Cardinals to the series sweep. Live Stats Louisville immediately cashed in on the momentum, with Binelas tallying his second double of the day and Davis singling to right off the new pitcher to bring the run home. Louisville will head to Lexington on Tuesday for its second matchup of the season against in-state rival Kentucky. The Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 8-3 on April 2 at Jim Patterson Stadium. First pitch on Tuesday night is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., ET. Print Friendly Version Story Links Bobby Miller recorded his third straight shutout inning in the bottom half and the Louisville offense helped the cause with another run in the fourth. Danny Oriente reached with a one-out single and Alex Binelas doubled to the gap in left-center. Henry Davis then doubled UofL’s lead with a groundout. NC State (29-8, 12-6) had its first true scoring chance in the fifth, getting a one-out double and two walks to load the bases with two outs. Miller buckled down though and picked up a huge strikeout to strand the three runners and keep the Cardinals in front. Miller (2-0) picked up the win with five shutout innings. The sophomore allowed just two hits and struck out six. Next Game: at Kentucky 4/16/2019 | 6:30 PM Preview NC State plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh to cut the margin in half, but Louisville answered right back with two of its own. Lucas Dunn lined a two-out single to right with the bases loaded to score Binelas and Davis to give the Cardinals a four-run lead once again. Miller ran into trouble again in the sixth, issuing walks to the first three hitters to once again load the bases. The Cardinals turned the ball over to Bryan Hoeing, who immediately extinguished the Wolfpack rally. Hoeing struck out the first two batters he faced before inducing a soft comebacker to get out of the jam with the lead still intact at 3-0. Tyler Fitzgerald tacked on a fourth run for the Cardinals in the seventh with a long solo home run, his fourth of the season. RALEIGH, N.C. – After a strong showing in Saturday’s doubleheader, the 12th-ranked Louisville baseball team capped off the weekend with a 6-3 victory on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of second-ranked North Carolina State. The three-game ACC series was played at Doak Field at Dail Park. Justin Lavey dropped down a bunt for a base hit and proceeded to steal second. On the stolen base attempt, the throw ended up in centerfield allowing Lavey to move up 90 feet to third. Jake Snider would take advantage of the scoring opportunity, just missing on a three-run home run as his fly ball died on the warning track for a sacrifice fly. As was the case in Saturday’s second game, neither side threatened through the first two innings, but the Cardinals broke through in the third. PDF Box Score Louisville (28-8, 13-5 ACC) now sits alone atop the ACC Atlantic Division standings. It was the Cardinals third sweep in conference play this season and 10th road conference sweep since joining the ACC in 2015.