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D.C. Woman Found Guilty of Killing Her Four Daughters: Lived Months With Their Mummified Bodies

In a case that bought scrutiny to the city’s child welfare system, Banita Jacks was found guilty of killing her four daughters and living with their mummified bodies for months.

Banita Jacks, 34, was convicted of four counts of felony murder, three counts of premeditated first-degree murder and four counts of first-degree child cruelty in D.C. Superior Court. She was acquitted of one count of premeditated first-degree murder in the death of her oldest daughter.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick H. Weisberg decided the case himself after Jacks waived her right to a jury trial. Bench trials are rare in murder cases, said Benjamin Friedman, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington.

Before reading the verdict, Weisberg said the case was one of his most challenging in three decades as a judge.

“It was a very lonely assignment,” he said. At the end of the hearing, he buried his face in his hands.

Jacks faces life in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 16.

U.S. Marshal deputies discovered the girls’ decomposing bodies in January 2008 while carrying out an eviction at their mother’s southeast Washington row house. The girls are believed to have been ages 5 to 16.

Jacks, who walked into the courtroom with a cane, looked at Weisberg as he read the verdict and at times shook her head, but did not show any visible emotion.

In a lengthy interview with police, she said her daughters were possessed by demons and inexplicably died one by one in their sleep. She believed they would be resurrected.

Weisberg said the extreme decomposition of the bodies provided strong evidence of Jacks’ guilt but also made it difficult for experts to determine how the girls died. Experts confirmed Brittany was stabbed, but there was not enough evidence to prove who did it and if that was what killed her. That’s why Jacks was acquitted on one of the premeditated first-degree murder charges.

But Weisberg said it was clear she contributed to Brittany’s death by mistreating her. That’s why he kept the felony murder charge, which indicated that Jacks caused her daughter’s death while committing a felony, in this case child cruelty.

“I can only imagine the torture and torment Ms. Jacks inflicted on her … must have really done damage to her psyche,” he said.

Weisberg said evidence showed the other three girls were strangled. He said Jacks also starved them and denied them basic necessities.

It was unclear why Jacks killed the girls, but evidence indicated she was extremely depressed. Nathaniel Fogle, her boyfriend and father of the two youngest girls, died from cancer in February 2007. Following his death, Weisberg said Jacks lost her last emotional and financial support and became frustrated with her daughters’ behavior.

It appeared that taking care of them placed “a huge burden on an increasingly stressed-out mother,” Weisberg said.

Prosecutors said they were pleased with the verdict but noted it would not bring back the girls.

“There’s no joy coming out of this courthouse,” prosecutor Deborah Sines told reporters.

Peter Krauthamer, one of three public defenders representing Jacks, said they will appeal.

“It’s not where we wanted to be,” Krauthamer said.

The case prompted the city to review hundreds of child welfare cases and make changes to the agency.

Six social workers were fired last year for not adequately responding to a report of abuse at the home months before the children were found.

A school social worker raised concerns about the family in early 2007 after she visited and thought Jacks was holding the girls hostage. But an investigation was closed because child welfare officials thought the family had moved to Maryland.

Earlier this month, city officials unveiled legislation named for the girls that aims to improve how health and human services agencies share information with one another and coordinate services.

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    Posted 5 years, 2 months ago at 10:04 pm. Add a comment

    Mobile Police Make Combridge Cops Look Good After Tasering a Deaf Man Who Could Not Hear There Request To Exit A Public Bathroom

    If you agree with the President that the Cambridge Police Acted stupidly in arresting Professor Henry Louis Gates inside his own home for disorderly conduct, you will agree that the Mobile, Alabama Police are stupid in tasering a deaf man for staying inside the bathroom of a Dollar General too long as a result of an upset stomach.

    Antonio Love, a deaf and mentally disabled Alabama resident, was pepper sprayed and Tasered when Mobile Police were unable to verbally get him to come out of a bathroom authorities report. To add insult to injury, the stupid officers attempted to book the 37-year-old on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a police officer, but the magistrate on duty at the jail refused to accept any of those charges.

    Why are the officers stupid? They are stupid because once the officers realized that Love was deaf and observed that he had mental challenges (they allegedly called him “crazy” in the police car), they still attempted to put him behind bars. And if that sequence of events isn’t enough to disgust you, then how about this:

    “I saw police laugh at me,” Love wrote [in a note describing his experience] “I don’t care them. I don’t want escape. I just wait long.” The magistrate refused to sign the arrest warrant, voiding the officers’ legal right to hold Love.

    The officers took him home.

    According to the note, Love gave directions as best he could.

    “Police told me that I’m crazy. I don’t understand,” the note says.

    The police eventually found his house.

    “When he walked in, his shirt was ripped and he was just in a daze,” his brother, Brodrick, said. “When I went outside, they [the police] took off. They stamped on that pedal.”

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      Posted 5 years, 2 months ago at 3:22 pm. Add a comment

      Reverend Ike Succumbs Two Years After Stroke

      Frederick Rev. Ike Eikerenkoetter

      Frederick "Rev. Ike" Eikerenkoetter

      Before there were television ministers and mega churches there was The Rev. Frederick Eikerenkoetter and his prayer cloth. Eikerenkoetter was known as Rev. Ike to a legion of followers across the nation to whom he preached the blessings of prosperity while making millions from their donations.

      A family spokesman revealed that Rev Ike died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, two years after he suffered a stroke from which he never recovered. He was 74.

      Rev. Ike’s ministry reached its peak in the mid-1970s, when his sermons were carried on 1,770 radio stations to an audience estimated at 2.5 million.

      He also preached his philosophy of self-empowerment on television and the Internet, in books and magazines, and on audiotapes and videotapes.

      From the stage of the former Loews movie theater on 175th St. in Washington Heights, which he restored and transformed into his United Church Science of Living Institute, Rev. Ike would tell thousands of parishioners “this is the do-it-yourself church. The only savior in this philosophy is God in you.”

      He then would exhort the believers to “close your eyes and see green … money up to your armpits, a roomful of money, and there you are, just tossing around in it like a swimming pool.”

      As payback for spiritual inspiration, Rev. Ike asked for cash donations from the faithful – preferably in bills not coins. “Change makes your minister nervous in the service,” he would say.

      Critics called Rev. Ike a con man, saying the only point of his ministry was getting rich from the donations.

      They noted that he made a show of sumptuous clothes, jewelry, posh residences and exotic cars. “My garages runneth over,” he would boast.

      But his supporters said Rev. Ike’s love of luxury had roots both in the traditions of African-American evangelism and the philosophies of mind over matter.

      Rev. Ike was born in Ridgeland, S.C., to a father who was a Baptist minister and a mother who taught elementary school. They divorced when he was 5.

      At 14, he became an assistant pastor for his father’s congregation. He briefly preached in Boston before coming to New York.

      He leaves his wife, Eula, and son, Xavier Frederick.

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        Posted 5 years, 2 months ago at 5:23 am. Add a comment

        A Wise Latino Woman And Teachable Moment(s)

        The Gates arrest is a story that just keeps on giving. Sgt. James Crowley arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on July 16, 2009 for disorderly conduct after he responded to a call for a possible break-in.

        The arresting officer and the former perp appeared to have been locked in a pissing contest until the President of the United States stepped in to defuse the escalating matter by retracting his “stupidly” remark he used in describing Sgt. Crowley’s behavior in arresting Gates for disorderly conduct in his own home.

        The focus of course is on race.

        Gates who was insisting on an apology and if not given, threatening a lawsuit and Sgt. Crowley who insist that he had done nothing wrong and also threatening a defamation suit against Gates are now both headed to the White House tomorrow to discuss their differences over a beer with the President.

        Yes the President called Sgt. Crowley after his union the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Assocation held a press conference to show their solidarity for their branded comrade. The police association took offense at the President’s use of the word stupidly. The law fighting rank and file mistakenly thought the President was calling them stupid, instead of referring to the action of Sgt Crowley as being stupid. Together they were asking for the President and Governor Deval Patrick who are both friends of Professor Gates to apologize for their solicited comments made with regards to the arrest.

        “This is every black man’s nightmare, and a reality for many black men. You want to be able to raise your voice in your own house without risk of arrest” exclaimed the Massachusetts Governor.

        During a news conference on health care. Lynn Sweet the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times asked the President what did the arrest mean to him and to race relations in America.

        In reviewing the clip above, the President made the following statements regarding the matter:
        I should say at the out set that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little bias here. I don’t know all the facts, what’s been reported though, is that, the guy forgot his keys; jimmied his way to get into the house. There was a report called into the Police station that here might be a burglary taking place. So far so good…. the police are doing what they should, there is a call and go investigates what has happen. My understanding that at that point Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in, I’m sure there is some exchange of words, but my understanding is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house, and at that point he get’s arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped. Now, I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say #1 any of us would be pretty angry, #2 that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and # 3 what we know separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos, being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact, when I was in the state legislative in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill, because there was indisputable evidence, Blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately and that is a sign, an example of how race remain a factor, in this society. That doesn’t lessen, the incredible process that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress tat has been made and yet, the fact of the matter is that this still haunts us and even when there are honest misunderstandings the fact that Blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently and times for no cause cast suspicion even when there is good cause. And that is why I think the more that we are working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we are eliminating potential bias the safer everybody is going to be.”

        In a impromptu news briefing the President informed the public about his beer drinking invitation to both men and stated that the situation could be used as a teachable moment.

        Today, Ed Davis the Cambridge police commissioner suspended Officer Justin Barrett for referring to the black scholar as a ” jungle monkey” in an email, written in reaction to media coverage of Gates’s arrest July 16. the email was allegedly sent out to Barrett’s National Guard colleagues.

        Justin Barrett

        Justin Barrett

        Remember Kent State? Well apparently this is not the same National Guard. They have also suspended Barrett.

        Anyway the President might need to adjust his words again and make it teachable moments. Because this situation is full of teachable moments.

        First of all, criminal defense attorneys know all too well that police officers will lie in their reports to justify their use of excessive force and/or abuse of authority. Now that we have had the chance to hear the 911 (see video above) and dispatch tapes (See Video at bottom) we can see that Crowley’s arrest report (see report at the bottom) on Professor Gates is latent with inconsistencies.

        Sgt James Crowley Cambridge Police Department

        Sgt James Crowley Cambridge Police Department

        Sgt Crowley reports that he was responding to the break-in by two black males with back packs. Not only does the caller Lucia Whalen not mention the race of the two men at the door, but she isn’t sure that there has been a break-in. Ms. Whalen only states that she thinks without certainty that one might have been Hispanic, after she is pressed to give a description. Ms. Whalen as well as the dispatcher states that there were two suitcases on the porch, and not back packs as Sgt Crowley wrote up in his arrest report.

        It should be noted that Ms. Whalen acted like a responsible citizen by calling authorities. Unfortunately, Sgt. Crowley attributed to her statements that she did not make thus making it appear that Ms. Whalen was practicing racial etiquette. A White House invitation should also be extended to this fine citizen.

        I think its safe to say that most people think of homeless individuals when they hear back packs. I think it is also safe to say that unfortunately many associate homelessness with crime. This scenario sets the scene for a sympathetic Sgt who only has Professor Gates safety in mind. This is certainly not the portrait of a racist.

        Now as we continue down the road of inconsistencies, other than the parking lot of a Donut shop, common sense will tell you that the presence of numerous police cars with police officers standing on the outside of them will draw public attention and gather on-lookers. The tape clearly indicates that this small gathering was a result of Sgt. Crowley. Crowley is heard on the tape acknowledging that Gates had provided the proper identification and appeared to be the owner of the house, yet he insisted on involving that more police be sent including the Harvard campus police. This continuing intrusion into of Gates privacy would set anybody off, including Colin Powell. Any insults hurled at Crowley was done in doors, and could in no way have disturbed anyone but Crowley. If the Professor was a little loud on his front porch in front of the small on lookers, good for him. It might have even saved his life. The Professor’s so-called behavior belligerent behavior would have brought attention to the appearance of the Professor in case the Sgt decided to get a little rough, or worse utilize excessive force.

        The teachable moment: Sgt. Crowley for personal reasons falsely arrested the Professor, and therefore, abused his authority.

        Now the teachable moment doesn’t stop there. As stated, Sgt. Crowley has attempted to paint himself as a Negro loving white police officer who had the professor’s best interest at heart. His report even states that he was so concerned about the professor that he changed the handcuffs from back to front and even with inside to get the professor’s cane. Well between Crowley and the Black Sgt on the scene, somebody is lying. The Black Sgt stated that it was he who convinced Crowley to change the cuffs to the front so that the Professor could use his cane. The good old Sgt also said that he wanted to make sure that the Professor’s house was secured, so when the maintenance man showed up to fix the door, he checked with the professor to make sure it was okay.

        Damn, what a nice Cop. Sgt Crowley could never be considered a racist. Especially since he was selected by a black police officer to teach about racial profiling. Wow!

        Sgt Crowley as well as many whites don’t want to be considered a racist, and I suspect they equate a racist with the likes of Bull Connors. No way you might say that Sgt. Crowley acted like Bull Connors the former Birmingham Alabama Police Commissioner who used fire hose and police dogs on peaceful demonstrators.

        Sgt. Crowley may in fact not be a Bull Connors, but he sought and achieved the same result for the same reason.

        The result was to humiliate the African American scholar for having the audacity to step out of the bounds of racial etiquette and challenge Crowley’s authority.

        Back in the 1960s Civil Rights era, African Americans demonstrated to have their constitutional rights as citizens recognized. Demonstrating was their right of freedom of expression which is afforded under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

        Bull Connors representing the sentiment of many white citizens was not about to consent to equal treatment of African Americans. African Americans cry for freedom of oppression in the form of demonstrating ran afoul of racial etiquette. This was something the white citizens would not tolerate. To quiet the non violent black civil rights protesters, Bull Connors humiliated them by having them (children included) sprayed unmercifully with fire hoses and attacked by police dogs as well as placing us under arrest for disorderly conduct. This did not sit well with numerous white citizens as they watched the horror unfold on the evening news. Bull Connors instantly became a racist monster.

        Bull Connors motivation was definitely the preservation of racial etiquette.

        Racial etiquette is the customs and rules of behavior created in the Jim Crow south during reconstruction and it’s chief purpose was to maintain white male dominance over minorities.

        Although, it is said that Charles Hamilton Houston slayed and buried Jim Crow, it must be recognized that Jim Crow had children who carried on with the Jim Crow practices and beliefs. These practices and beliefs migrated from the south.

        In his effort to preserve racial etiquette, Bull Connors, abused his authority.

        Crowley may not have used the same techniques as Connors but he too abused his authority in the name of racial etiquette.

        While many whites accepted Crowley at his word and feel that Gates was out of line, minorities in this country are far too familiar with the practices of racial etiquette. These practices goes back to slavery, and were utilized to break the spirit of the dark individuals brought to this country in captivity and made to labor for free. These Africans were treated no different than animals as they were shackled and branded to show ownership.

        U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

        U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

        The practice of racial etiquette continue today and was quite noticeable in the confirmation hearings of Sonia Sotomayor. In showing pride of her Latino roots, Judge Sotomayor was racked over the coals, labeled a racist and sexist and ultimately, made to regret showing such pride. Sotomayor’s admission of regret garnered her the vote of S.C Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and her nomination is now headed for vote before the full Senate.

        What Sotomayor experienced is something that all minorities face if they show pride in their culture. Minorities are only accepted if they assimilate to whites. Otherwise you are considered Un-American.

        CNN Rick Sanchez

        CNN Rick Sanchez

        Rick Sanchez of CNN came to this realization after filming a segment about wise Latino women which included his non- English speaking mother. Sanchez who has a popular show on CNN was visibly hurt after receiving negative comments about his mother’s inability to speak English. Sanchez responded in a blog about the sacrifices his mother made so he could speak English and realize the American dream.

        This was totally unnecessary. So was the arrest of Professor Gates.

        To not accept Gates’ Harvard identification which showed him to be employed by the distinguished institution was motivated by racial etiquette. It sent a loud message that this black man couldn’t possibly be a professor at Harvard. Gates could have done the same as Sanchez, but he decided to stand up for his rights and sent a loud message back to Crowley. Many whites and a few African Americans like Larry Elder think that he over reacted in challenging Crowley’s authority. Whites and apparently Larry Elder are not treated in the same matter constantly, so they have no idea how degrading it is. Yet they feel that it is better for minorities to submit to such treatment. To suggest that minorities continue to take these insults with a smile is unknowingly motivated by racial etiquette. Yes this includes the shallow Mr. Elder.

        Racial profiling is also another form of racial etiquette, where Latinos and African Americans are stopped for no reason other than their race. This segment of America society is falsely arrested and branded by way of finger prints, mug shots and issued a police identification number. It a way of control. The arrest record can prevent minorities from obtaining security clearance and certain licensing, thus eliminating them from certain types of employment and business ventures. It makes it difficult to create a economic base within legal means thus inducing violate crime within the community and acting as a barrier to the American dream.

        By arresting the Harvard Professor, Crowley shackled him and branded him with finger printing, and mug shots. Crowley made Gates a member of an exclusive club by issuing him a police identification number.

        Bottom line: Sgt. Crowley’s actions was a form of racial etiquette and just like Bull Connors he abused his authority.

        Over beer, Crowley should apologize for his behavior. Crowley should also publicly apologize to both Gates and Whalen. Further, the DA office should move to expunge Gates’ arrest record including finger prints mug shot and police identification number.

        The final teaching moment is that nothing is going to change until racial etiquette is eliminated and it can’t be eliminated if whites and Larry Elder continue to insist that minorities submit to disparate treatment.

        Elimination also requires that the U.S. Supreme court revisits the majority opinion in the Ricci v. DeStefano decision and rid it of the unequal duty of showing heightened disparate treatment before a Plaintiff can prevail.

        Maybe a wise Latino woman will lead the high court to a better conclusion. That for sure will be a teachable moment.

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          Posted 5 years, 2 months ago at 5:08 am. Add a comment