A vigil for a teen who died in police custody turned violent in Durham, North Carolina, with riot police using tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd.
At least six people were arrested at the Thursday night march to protest the death of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta, according to police.
"I could not be more proud of the restraint and professionalism demonstrated by our officers," Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said in a statement to the media, adding that injuries to those marching were minimized because of his officers' actions.
"There was a march. The peaceful intent did not exist. We used the best practices in law enforcement," he said at a news conference Friday.
Protesters threw bottles and rocks at police officers and vandalized police property, Lopez said, defending his officers' reaction to the vigil.
The Durham Police Department says Huerta died on November 19 from a self-inflicted gunshot while handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. The teen was being taken to the police station by Officer Samuel Duncan about 3 a.m. for a second-degree trespassing violation.FULL STORY
Vandals defaced a statue of Jackie Robinson outside the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium, marking racial slurs and symbols on it, park and police officials said Wednesday.
A swastika, "anti-Semitic comments" and the N-word were written in black marker on the statue and its base sometime between the end of the Cyclones game Tuesday night and 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the New York City Police Department.
Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.
Politics took the reigns of Tuesday's fiery commenting discussions, followed by further debate over Mars exploration and a hard look at the influence of white supremacy groups in the United States. Here's the rundown.
1. Harry Reid vs. Mitt Romney
2. The big Mars rover question: Is it all necessary?
3. White supremacy groups
4. Lupe Fiasco gets heated response
5. Olympics update: Golden girls, dubious excuses
1. Harry Reid vs. Mitt Romney
This story generated more than 10,000 comments today, dominating conversation on the site. Republican sources say they're in a Catch-22 situation on how to reply to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's claims that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney went 10 years without paying taxes. They either play along with Reid and keep the conversation going, or they refuse to participate and risk rousing suspicions. Some of our readers say this situation is justified, especially after all the requests for President Barack Obama's birth certificate, while some other readers say they think Reid is playing dirty with Romney to harm his candidacy.
What's Reid really thinking?
NoGasBags: "Harry's a genius. The only way for this issue to die down is for Romney to release the returns and disprove him. There's obviously something in there. Romney's too smart to evade taxes, but by some form of manipulation he may have avoided paying them for several years. I'd say keep the issue going. It's one more issue of secrecy in regards Romney, his ideas, plans and faith. Go too it Harry!"
oddjob3422: "A genius indeed. The move might be politically effective, but it's just another example showing how Harry Reid is the biggest embarrassment in our entire government. The man is absolutely reprehensible to abuse his power as Senate majority leader to hawk his unsubstantiated claims. Doubtless there is someone else pulling the strings, though, because Reid can hardly put together a sentence on his own. To watch the man talk on the Sunday morning political shows is to cringe in embarrassment. I didn't see the footage of his asinine Senate floor screed, but I have little doubt that he was, as usual, looking down at a cue card, slowly and haltingly sounding out words written by others. This is what we are down to – outright slander being tolerated, and the U.S. Senate floor being used as the vehicle to spread it."
Who's hunting who? FULL POST
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Two decades ago, Rodney King became a divisive figure in American culture. His beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police brought our country’s racial debate to a boil and, for a time, brought the city of Los Angeles to its knees.
King, 47, was found dead today in his swimming pool. His passing has reignited debate on his legacy, the meaning of justice and the state of race of in America.
Here are some examples of what CNN.com readers and CNN iReporters had to say:
Rodney King: An ambiguous figure
thespiritguy: Rodney King wasn't really a hero or villain. Although he was an alcoholic who made a lot of mistakes and certainly deserved legal punishment, I can admire and respect his decision to talk about getting along, at a time when he could have screamed, 'burn down the city.' That act redeemed him, in my book, and he did deserve a settlement. At least it was a reminder to those who are sworn to uphold the law that they can't take prosecution into their own hands, which is healthy.
The debate continues
Brad Simmons: I'm very familiar with the case. Yes, he did rush the police and perhaps he needed to be restrained but there is what needs to be done to restrain a person and then what these people did. I saw the tape and it was excessive force, plain and simple and if you can't/don't see it, then that's your problem not mine.
Also, the jury doesn't ALWAYS get something right. OJ Simpson got acquitted for killing his wife and Goldman and he was guilty. The system isn't fail proof you know! I know, that must come as a shock to you.
apple597 Thank you, Brad. There was no reason why 2 officers could not have subdued him while the other 2 put his hands in cuffs and held his feet together. The beating was excessive and this video has been shown many times, so whatever happened before is pretty irrelevant. We don't pay taxes so that the police can beat whoever they feel like, so that my tax dollars additionally go to treating these people in the hospital ... their job is to subdue these criminals and take them away. The fact that the guy had to be taken to the hospital and have surgery for his injuries is enough evidence for me.
Another_Fine_Mess: Good man yourself!
A lesson learned
okatj: Rodney King is a symbol. He's not a hero, and I don't think anyone (including himself) in this country really believes that he was a hero. Those who were watching the television that day (not from their mother's womb where I think a lot of you pinheads were at the time), used to think racial profiling was an urban legend. I know I did until I saw what happened to him - and NO - not a single person on this earth deserves to be beaten nearly to death. Death is reserved for punishment befitting the crime that has occurred and has been proven in a court of law. (I say with some trepidations considering the number of condemned on death row that are being exonerated by DNA evidence.) That camera shot shed light on something that white America was really clueless about because it wasn't happening to them and nobody had shown America the truth.
I am stunned by the racism and ignorance in comments posted here. It's absolutely shameful how so many folks still believe the color of a person"s skin dictates who they are. How absolutely UNAMERICAN of any person in our country to really think in this manner. My grandfather, who I believe was a closeted Klansmen, would be proud of you! (PUTRID and DISGUSTING!!) Those who do think these things should read a little about our country's history.
Can’t we all get along?
Brational2: He wasn't a saint. He had demons. But he knew their names and called them his own. He didn't blame anybody else for them. He endured things most of us never will have to. He forgave what many of us could not. And he asked one really important question, for which he will be remembered, and which still needs an answer: Can we all get along?
Rodney King was thrust into the public spotlight when a camera captured him being brutally beaten by Los Angeles police in 1991. Four officers involved were acquitted, sparking infamous riots that shut down the city of Los Angeles and created a national controversy.
King was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday. Here is a look back on his life and legacy.
March 3, 1991 – Rodney King is beaten by LAPD officers after a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County. George Holliday videotapes the beating from his apartment balcony.
March 4, 1991 – Holliday delivers the tape to local television station, KTLA.
March 7, 1991 – Rodney King is released without being charged.
March 15, 1991 – Police Sgt. Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno are indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in connection with the beating.
May 10, 1991 – A grand jury refuses to indict 17 officers who stood by at the King beating and did nothing.
November 26, 1991 – Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg orders the trial of the four officers charged in the King beating to be moved to Simi Valley.
April 29 1992 – The four white LAPD officers are acquitted of beating King. Riots start at the intersection of Florence and Normandie in South Central Los Angeles. Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, is pulled from his truck and beaten. A news helicopter captures the beating on videotape. California Gov. Pete Wilson declares a state of emergency and calls in National Guard troops.
April 30- May 4, 1992 – Dusk to dawn curfews are enforced in the City and County of Los Angeles.
May 1, 1992 – Rodney King makes an emotional plea for calm, stating, "People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?"
August 4, 1992 – A federal grand jury returns indictments against Koon, Powell, Wind, and Briseno on the charge of violating the civil rights of Rodney King.
February 25, 1993 – The trial of the officers begins.
April 16, 1993 – The federal jury convicts Koon and Powell on one charge of violating King's civil rights. Wind and Briseno are found not guilty. No disturbances follow the verdict.
August 4, 1993 – U.S. District Judge John Davies sentences both Koon and Officer Laurence M. Powell to 30 months in prison for violating King's civil rights. Powell is found guilty of violating King's constitutional right to be free from an arrest made with "unreasonable force." Ranking officer Koon is convicted of permitting the civil rights violation to occur.
April 19, 1994 – The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles awards King $3.8 million in compensatory damages in a civil lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. King had demanded $56 million, or $1 million for every blow struck by the officers.
June 1, 1994 – Rodney King is awarded $0 in punitive damages in a civil trial against the police officers. He had asked for $15 million.
April 2012 – Rodney King's autobiography, "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption. Learning How We Can All Get Along," is published.
June 17, 2012 – Rodney King is found dead in his pool in Los Angeles. There are no preliminary signs of foul play, police say, and no obvious injuries on King's body. Police say they are conducting a drowning investigation.
By the numbers
- Fifty-five people died in the Los Angeles riots. 2,000 were injured.
- More than 1,00 buildings were destroyed or damaged causing an estimated loss of $1 billion.
- More than 3,000 disaster loan applications were filed.
- Government assistance awarded totaled $900 million.
- The Holliday video shows King being struck by police batons more than 50 times. More than 20 officers were present at the scene, most from the LAPD.
- Rodney King suffered 11 fractures and other injuries due to the beating.
- More than 9,800 National Guard troops were dispatched to restore order.
- The highest troop presence was on the night of May 3. There were 1,100 Marines, 600 Army soldiers, and 6,500 National Guard troops on patrol.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
You've probably seen those highway adoption signs emblazoned with the names of various local organizations. A North Georgia chapter of the Ku Klux Klan wants to adopt a one-mile stretch of Georgia State Route 515. The group is applying to receive state recognition for cleaning up litter in the Appalachian Mountains near the North Carolina border. The Georgia DOT is considering the matter, as are many of our readers.
Some readers said the KKK just might have something there.
Techsupp0rt: "Agreeing with the KKK kinda leaves me feeling a bit dirty. They've got a point. If other racist organizations can do it, they should be able to as well. Treat all racists equally. You do gotta pick up the trash though."
This person would beg to differ.
Thank your for your inquiry, but no, you KKKan't have it.
The Southerners that are not proud of you."
Some of our readers got ideas.
agentxyz: "At least I'll know where to dump my trash"
Is the move legit? FULL POST
The UEFA European Football Championship is second only to the World Cup in size and prestige, and it's equally rich in storylines. But right now, one storyline seems to overwhelm all others.
The story today is not whether Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo can shake his reputation as Europe's Lebron James, a man who wows fans all season only to choke in big games. Nor is the story about whether defending champion Spain can defend the title without two of its biggest stars. It's also not about how Franck Ribery and the French squad can rebound from an embarrassing, soap opera-esque campaign in the 2010 World Cup.
Heck, the media aren't even paying that much attention to German coach Joachim Low's promise to break world soccer protocol by allowing his team to smoke, drink booze and have sex during the tournament. That would normally be prime tabloid fodder.
Nope, the story today is about racism, especially within the stadiums of Poland and Ukraine, which are jointly hosting the Euro 2012 tournament beginning Friday. The day before the competition began, the Dutch national team opted to train on the opposite side of its training ground at Stadion Miejski in Warsaw because of racist chants, Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said Thursday.
And while a recent BBC investigation showed several instances of bigotry and racism at club games there - some of them violent - Polish and Ukrainian officials are insisting their countries have been misrepresented.
"There is a problem with racism and anti-Semitism in Poland, but it is blown out of every possible proportion in this material," Marcin Bosacki, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman, said of the BBC documentary. "We are hospitable and treat all people who come here as friends."
Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Volodymyr Khandogiy also defended his country, saying, "Ukraine is very well known for its tolerance and it has a long history of living together with other nationalities. In our national football championship, roughly half of all the players are from Asian, African and Brazilian countries."
Regardless, many players and former players are speaking out, and English police issued a warning to fans after the Ukrainian neo-Nazi group Donetsk Company threatened to attack black and Asian English supporters during the tournament, Sky Sports News reported.
The families of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, black English internationals who play for London's Arsenal, have said they will not attend the tournament because they fear becoming victims. Former English captain Sol Campbell, in the BBC documentary, warned his countrymen to stay out of the host countries.
"Stay at home. Watch it on TV. Don't even risk it because you could end up coming back in a coffin," he told a reporter.
This Saturday, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I'll Have Another is looking to win horse racing's first Triple Crown victory in 34 years at the Belmont Stakes. And for the first time in three races, oddsmakers say the horse is actually favored to win at odds of 4-5, according to the New York Racing Association.
I'll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez have come from behind to earn close, dramatic finishes in the previous two races in this year's Triple Crown, surprising nearly everyone, according to the Daily Racing Form.
The horse was "lightly raced" and only competed in two prep races leading up to the Derby. He competed in the shadow of Bodemeister, who was predicted to win the Kentucky Derby.
Bodemeister also set a "sizzling pace" at Preakness that I'll Have Another surprisingly beat by digging in and surging ahead. But with Bodemeister not running in the Belmont, the Form says I'll Have Another is the best horse that will enter a starting gate on Saturday.
In fact, I'll Have Another's only disappointing appearance was at Saratoga for the Hopeful Stakes in September 2011. The track became a "quagmire" due to heavy rains and the horse suffered because of it, DRF reported.
While I'll Have Another isn't expected to beat 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat's world record time for a 1.5 mile race on dirt, a Belmont win could cement legend status for the horse.
"That's the measuring stick for a champion," Daily Racing Forum's Dan Illman said. FULL POST
[Updated at 2:26 p.m. ET] As Joel Ward’s Washington Capitals teammates swarmed their new hero after his playoff series-winning goal against the NHL’s defending champions Wednesday night, more sinister emotions were swirling on social media.
A number of people took to Twitter with racist comments, calling Ward - one of about 20 black men currently on National Hockey League rosters - the N-word after the Capitals beat the host Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime of Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.
Perhaps to those tweeters’ surprise, someone collected 40 of those tweets and put them in one place: Chirpstory, a site where one can aggregate other people’s Twitter posts for posterity.
The posts included:
- “Haha that (slur) actually did something.”
- “The fact that a (slur) got the goal makes it ten times worse.”
- “We lost … To a hockey playing (slur)…. What kind of (expletive) is this.”
To what should be no one’s surprise, the posts caught the attention of sports celebrities and media Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
George Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the February 26 shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, a Florida state attorney announced Wednesday. State attorney Angela Corey said Zimmerman had surrendered to authorities and had been arrested. As the news developed, readers engaged in powerful discussions on the live blog.
Please share your reaction in the comments area below and on CNN iReport.
Some of the conversation was about Corey's motives.
TP: "For claiming that George Zimmerman wouldn't be tried in the court of public opinion, Angela Corey seems to be running for office with that speech of hers more than prosecuting a case."
This person said an investigation is necessary.
Jeannie: "Now maybe justice can be served. Let the facts and evidence be presented in a court of law. I'm so sick of hearing people whine about race and some stupid pictures and how old they are in them. My question is, why wasn't the case properly investigated in the first place? Why did it take Al Sharpton and (Jesse Jackson) to come on to the scene to get the national attention? So he was charged and the evidence will be presented. Why anyone would be angry about this is beyond me. I'm white and I hear more white people angry as can be that he was charged ... I don't get it."
Some said they thought Corey was playing to public sentiment rather than the facts of the case. FULL POST
[Updated Friday at 4:09 p.m. ET] Washington Councilman Marion Barry said Friday he could've rephrased his controversial remark about "dirty" Asian businesses in his district, but he refused to back down.
He said his adrenaline was flowing after Tuesday's primary victory, when he made the comment, and that he merely was trying to convey that the business community in his Ward 8 needs a new attitude. Asians run a large percentage of the ward's stores and small shops, he said.
“I said something that I probably could have phrased differently. What you mean is the same. You’re not going to have people who are exploiting us in this community. They’re going to be part of the community. We welcome all businesspeople here … but give us some jobs.”
Several lawmakers, including the D.C. mayor and some of Barry's fellow council members, condemned his remarks - criticism Barry downplayed earlier this week. CNN's Athena Jones, who interviewed Barry on Friday, also spoke to Korean shop owner Helen Lee, who said she was angered by the councilman's castigation.
"We work really hard to keep our facility clean and to serve, like, this community. We've been here for over 20 years now," said Lee's daughter, Miriam. "So it's really insulting for him to come out of the blue and say that we're dirty and that, you know, we should be replaced, basically because we've been here for so long."
Told of the Lees' sentiments, Barry again disregarded the criticism, saying, "Leadership requires leadership."
"If she’s mad at me, tell her put some money in this community. Hire some people in this community. Give money to various organizations in this community, " he said. "If she’s mad, then do something about it.”
Against the backdrop of the Trayvon Martin case, CNN is taking a look at race in America. We asked readers to post short video comments answering the question of whether racism still exists and where it comes from, in response to the commissioned study about children and race.
CNN.com readers had a lot to say about the study. We got a number of fascinating responses that branched in three distinct directions.
1. We need to look at the black community's leadership
Jerome Almon of Detroit says he used to be a political science lecturer. He says the black community needs new leadership and is not served well by the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons and Spike Lee. He said he believes these men should be viewed with more skepticism.
"How do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton make a living?" He asked. "You see them after a tragedy takes place." FULL POST
Editor's Note: This post is a recap of the top five videos on CNN.com from the past week. So in case you didn't catch our best videos during the week, here is your chance to see what you missed.
The most popular videos on CNN.com were led by an enormous boulder that smashed into a house. The other top videos consisted of a political confrontation from Bristol Palin, a toddler belting out Adele, the first lady's secret shopping trip and Trayvon Martin's father recalling his sons last moments.
A large boulder breaks free from a hillside in Athens, Ohio, hitting two vehicles and crashing into a house.
Bristol Palin writes a letter to President Obama asking for a phone call. CNN's Mary Snow reports.
A 2-year-old girl singing Adele's "Someone Like You" is taking the viral video world by storm.
First lady Michelle Obama describes a recent trip to Target to David Letterman.
Trayvon Martin's father tells Anderson Cooper about the heartbreak of hearing his son's voice before he died.
Follow us on Twitter: @CNNVideo
Both the number of interracial marriages and the acceptance of such couples is growing, according to a new study. But the relationships themselves still stir a bit of conversation, and we saw some fiery debates among our commenters. We also heard some stories from couples in interracial marriages.
This reader talked about her own interracial marriage.
lchristma: "As an Asian-American who married a white man, my race was not a factor to him. I had more concerns than he did. I knew he had never faced racism, and he would be judged. Culturally, it was not an issue, since my adopted parents are white. People should remember that the U.S. adopted many Asian children, which contributes to the increase. I just get annoyed with people wondering if I am a mail-order bride, can speak English, must be submissive, etc. Just more stereotypes that are not always true. Fortunately we live in a very educated, diverse, and liberal college town. We live there so we can give our children a safer and healthier environment. No one should grow up feeler lesser than others, due to others people’s ignorance."
For some couples, race is just about a nonissue.
casselli: "I am married to a 'white' man, and I don't see us as an 'interracial' marriage. I love him to death and adore his beautiful skin. I am Mexican, and he feels the same way about me. Needless to say our kids are gorgeous and lucky."
East Haven, Connecticut, Police Chief Leonard Gallo will retire following the arrests of four police officers for their alleged role in the mistreatment of Latinos, city officials said Monday.
The arrests stemmed from a federal investigation into racial profiling in the town.FULL STORY
Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans on covering this week:
Martin Luther King Jr. documents go online
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, one of 10 national holidays in the United States.
Besides marking the day as a federal holiday for the 26th time, January 16, 2012, begins a new age of online accessibility for those wanting to know more about King and his work.
The King Center Imaging Project, which makes 200,000 of the civil rights leader's documents quickly accessible online, goes live Monday. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and his letter from a Birmingham, Alabama, jail are among the documents available.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta and JPMorgan Chase & Co., working in partnership with AT&T Business Solutions and EMC, are responsible for the project.
Taking King at his words
The memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. has sparked controversy, and perhaps this is fitting. He was a controversial man whose humanity - and words - still speak volumes today.
Papa John's Pizza fired a cashier at one of its New York restaurants and apologized to an Asian-American customer for a receipt that identified her as "lady chinky eyes."
"We were extremely concerned to learn of the receipt issued in New York," the company said in a statement posted on its Facebook page Saturday.
Minhee Cho, a communications manager at nonprofit investigative journalism group ProPublica, posted a photo of the receipt on her Twitter account Saturday morning and by the afternoon it was picked up by a local newspaper.
Along with the receipt, Cho tweeted "just FYI my name isn't 'lady chinky eyes.'"
The receipt had been viewed online almost 200,000 times by Sunday afternoon, according to the counter on the Twitpic page.
Cho did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment, but her boss did.FULL STORY
In what may be one of the most expensive car wrecks in history, 14 high-end luxury cars were demolished in a highway pileup in Japan this weekend. The totaled supercars included eight Ferraris, three Mercedes-Benz cars and a Lamborghini. Today, we decided to take a look back at some of the craziest highway moments.
Multi-million dollar wreck – A group of luxury car enthusiasts were driving on Chugoku Expressway in southwestern Japan when witnesses say one driver skidded out of control and started a chain-reaction crash. Several drivers were hospitalized but no one was seriously injured.
A recent high school graduate from Arkansas is suing her school district, claiming it refused to recognize her as the school's sole valedictorian because she is black.
Kymberly Wimberly, 18, earned the highest grade point average in McGehee Secondary School's 2011 graduating class. She did so as a young mother, according to the complaint she submitted to the U.S. District Court for Arkansas' Eastern District. She was named the school's valedictorian and then later given co-valedictorian status with a white student who had lower grades, her complaint says.
No legal response has been filed by lawyers for the school district or any other school or district representatives, according to court officials. Superintendent Thomas Gathen said he has yet to be served with any sort of court documents. Because of this, Gathen said he was unable to comment on several individual issues brought up in Wimberly's complaint.
"The issue that someone’s trying to paint is that this was a racially motivated," Gathen told CNN. "That wasn’t an issue with (the co-valedictorians). This is strictly an academic issue and a policy issue, not a racial issue."
Wimberly is seeking punitive damages of $75,000 and recognition as the sole valedictorian of her class. Wimberly's complaint also argues the McGehee school district, in southeastern Arkansas not too far from the Mississippi River, habitually withheld access to challenging classes from black students.
Wimberly said students were told at a schoolwide assembly that advance placement classes were very rigorous and that only those who really thought they would thrive with intense workloads should elect to take them. Then, individual students were taken aside and told that the classes really weren’t all that bad, she told CNN. The overwhelming majority of those students were white, she said, adding that she was the only black student in her AP literature class and one of two in calculus.
“Black students are meant to stay in regular course levels and mostly play sports,” Wimberly said. “That’s what were good at that that’s what we should stick to - that’s the mentality of McGehee.”
Wimberly said she had one teacher, for AP biology, who encouraged all students to take the class. Its racial makeup was half black, half white, and was more reflective of McGehee's student population, which is 46% black.
The case has been gaining increasing attention since Courthouse News Service reported on it Monday.
Kids. One minute they're crawling and the next they're driving - all before the tender age of 10. That's right. Today's Gotta Watch is all about kiddies and cars. Whether they're leading police on a high-speed chase, steering the wheel to save grandma or narrowly avoiding car crashes, these videos of children and their vehicular exploits are a must-see.