PITTSBURGH — Activists have called for prosecutors to investigate the stabbing of a 24-year-old black man outside a Pittsburgh bar as a hate crime after video emerged of the white suspect using a racial epithet.
Joden Rocco has been charged with homicide in the death of Dulane Cameron Jr. Police allege he had just been ejected from Tequila Cowboy around 2 a.m. Sunday when he started a confrontation with Cameron and Cameron’s friend, who also is black, on a sidewalk. The men scuffled and police said Rocco stabbed Cameron in the neck and fled.
According to an affidavit, a shirtless Rocco was arrested shortly after the stabbing after flagging down police hoping for a ride home.
An Instagram video posted by WPXI-TV shows 24-year-old Rocco saying that he’s trying to see how many times he can use a racial epithet before being thrown out of bars. It wasn’t clear when the video was posted to his account. Instagram stories expire 24 hours after they are posted.
A spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala said Thursday the investigation is ongoing.
“We are certainly aware of some of the attitudes, opinions and positions that the defendant has posited, but we have not made a decision as to whether or not additional charges are warranted,” said Mike Manko.
The Allegheny County Public Defender’s office, which is representing Rocco, said Thursday it can’t comment on the case.
Activists with the group Partners in Justice tell the Tribune Review they have unearthed Facebook posts on Rocco’s account espousing racist and white supremacist views.
The group formed in the aftermath of the June police shooting of unarmed black teenager Antwon Rose.
Ashely Palmer said the group started receiving messages about Rocco’s Facebook activity and screenshots of allegedly racist postings shortly after his arrest. Her group is urging the district attorney to investigate the stabbing as a hate crime.
Cameron’s father told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he was made aware of Rocco’s allegedly racist postings but said he harbors no anger.
“He has my forgiveness,” Dulane Cameron Sr. told the newspaper Tuesday. “As Jesus, humble on the cross, said, ‘Father forgive them; they know not what they do.’ And I’m feeling the same way.”
He believes evil forces pushed Rocco to act.
“My heart goes out to that man and it goes out to his family for what he has to face,” he said.
A school superintendent in Georgia repeatedly used racial slurs during recorded conversations and once threatened to kill black workers at a construction site, a lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 1 in US District Court in Atlanta, alleges that Buford City Schools Superintendent Geye Hamby uttered the slurs toward black temporary workers a total of eight times while criticizing them in conversations captured on audio, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“[Expletive] that [n-word],” the person identified as Hamby, 49, said, according to the lawsuit. “I’ll kill these [expletive] — shoot that [expletive] if they let me.”
Hamby — who has declined to comment on the allegations, citing the advice of attorneys for the district — also repeatedly used the term “deadbeat [n-word]” while referring to black people, according to the lawsuit filed by plaintiff Mary Ingram, a 66-year-old paraprofessional who worked for the district for 18 years before getting fired last year.
The lawsuit doesn’t indicate exactly when Hamby allegedly made the comments or toward whom they were directed. The lawsuit also doesn’t specify how the recordings were obtained, according to the newspaper.
Ingram’s attorney, Ed Buckley, declined to specify how he obtained the recordings or additional details pertaining to them, aside to say he’s certain Hamby is the person heard on the recordings.
Ingram’s troubles within the school district started after she questioned Hamby as to why the color gold — which stood for the city’s black school district prior to integration in 1969 — wasn’t included in the district’s green and white logo. She later led a petition in support of adding the color and brought it up to the school board in 2014 before floating the idea during City Hall meetings, according to the Journal-Constitution.
“I was afraid we were about to lose our heritage,” Ingram told the newspaper recently. “I wanted them to know it was important to the community.”
Ingram had an unpleasant run-in with Hamby in a hallway weeks later and she was subsequently called into a meeting with Hamby during which he told her he wanted her to tell him in advance what she planned to say during future school board and city commission meetings, according to the lawsuit.
After she refused, saying that would infringe on her First Amendment rights, Ingram started receiving negative performance reviews after years and years of positive feedback. She was also told to stop encouraging students to smile after they got off the bus before school, the lawsuit claims.
Ingram ultimately was fired in June 2017 for “being disrespectful, argumentative and unfriendly” as well as not being a “good fit” in a school environment.
“I couldn’t move,” Ingram said of being fired. “I just froze. My legs felt weak … Before this happened, I looked forward every morning to getting up and going to work to do things for the children.”
Ingram didn’t file her lawsuit until after hearing the audio recordings, she told the newspaper.
“This is the man who is over our children,” she said.
Hamby, whose base salary was $308,000 last year, characterized the lawsuit in a statement as a “personnel and legal matter pertaining to a disgruntled employee.”
An attorney for the school board also questioned the veracity of the “purported” recordings.
“Our investigation continues into this matter, but we are hamstrung in that the plaintiff has failed or refused to produce the original recording for testing or provide any information concerning the background or foundation of the recording,” attorney Walt Britt said.
Eleven percent of students in the district are black, compared to about 53 percent who are white and 30 percent who are Latino, state education records show. The district’s five-member school board, meanwhile, is entirely white, according to the Journal-Constitution.
(FOX 11) – A man told his story about an experience he described as racial profiling in a neighborhood where he was parked in his car.
Ezekiel Phillips said if he weren’t black, a white woman would have never felt threatened by his presence.
“You don’t have to call 911 on me. Talk to me. Ask me my name,” Phillips said.
The incident happened around 1 p.m. in May 30.
Phillips had just dropped someone off near 1470 Ramillo Avenue in Long Beach and decided to take a 30-minute break before going to his yoga class, which was around the corner.
He was listening to his bikram yoga CD in when a woman walked up to his car.
“You’re not supposed to be here. This is a good neighborhood. At that moment I’m like, ‘wait hold up’. Have a good day ma’am. Namaste. And I rolled my window up,” he told FOX 11 reporter, Leah Uko.
The verbal exchange escalated from there.
“She took her phone out; started taking pictures, filming doing whatever she was doing. Hey I went to film school. I can take film as well. So I got out the car, I started filming her as soon as I start filming her, ‘what are you doing?’ Leave me alone! I’m feeling threatened. Help! Help!’ It was one of those.”
The woman called for Long Beach police to come to her street.
In the 911 audio obtained by FOX 11, the woman is heard addressing the operator.
“I noticed him two houses up from my parents’ house and I’m like, you know and he’s waving to me. I don’t know who he is.“
She added, “I go ‘why are you sitting in your car in our neighborhood? And he goes ‘I’m resting’ and I’m like you weren’t two blocks back’’.”
As she walked to a neighbor’s house, Phillips followed her.
“I can’t get away from him! Get away from me!” She yelled over the call.
Phillips said he was going to leave, but decided to stay.
“I thought about it. ‘If I leave, it’s looking like I’m guilty of whatever she’s talking about.”
We spoke with the neighbor whose house the woman went over to. He didn’t want to speak on camera, but said he only called 911 because the woman asked and was screaming for help.
Other neighbors, including Kelly Odom, agreed with Phillips that the woman’s actions were racist.
“We all don’t feel that way,” Odom said referring to white people.
“I don’t think if somebody were white sitting in the car, somebody would have called the police. I don’t. I don’t,” She continued. “I think it’s horrible. It’s acting ‘Trumpish’. It’s okay to be a racist and it’s not.”
FOX 11 tried finding the woman’s home and called her several times.
There was no answer from her as to why she felt threatened or why she stated Phillips attacked someone, which according to the 91 audio call, was not true.
“Ma’am. When you say he attacked other persons, what did he do to them?” the operator is overheard.
The woman responded saying “He’s trying to give his business card to this other guy that I’m proof that he didn’t do anything to me.”
LBPDbdid not file an incident report and said no crime was committed. A spokesperson said that whenever people see something, they should say something.
Therefor in this case, the woman felt threatened, LBPD said calling 911 was within reason. It was then up to police who arrived on scene to determine no crime had occurred.
Phillips said he hoped this whole incident would be a teachable moment.
“It’s no longer cool to allow your discomfort to say that my discomfort is more valuable than the potential fact that this call, your life can be taken.”
A white feminist activist has been dubbed a ‘racist’ after tweeting that she was ‘confused’ to see a black man driving a BMW which had pro-NRA and Tea Party bumper stickers on it.
Kimberly Johnson, a Washington DC-based author and activist, published the offending tweet on Thursday.
It said: ‘Out on the road the other day I saw an affluent black man driving a BMW with two bumper-stickers.
‘One was pro-NRA and the other one was a Tea Party sticker that read, “Don’t tread on me.” This left me very confused.’
She was immediately bombarded with complaints from followers who accused her of racism.
‘It’s your kind that do not have a mind of their own and are followers.Blacks and Hispanics do have a mind of their own.
‘You are a RACIST. Your actions and words confirm that,’ fumed one critic.