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GMA host: ‘Colored people’ remark ‘was a mistake’

Following a social media firestorm about her use of the phrase “colored people,” Good Morning America host Amy Robach issued an apology.

“This morning during a segment about Hollywood casting, I mistakenly said ‘colored people’ instead of ‘people of color,’” said Robach, a graduate of Brookwood High School in Snellville and the University of Georgia. “I sincerely apologize. It was a mistake and is not at all a reflection of how I feel or speak in my everyday life.”

“Colored people,” a label used during segregation, was replaced in the late 1960s by “black” and later by “African-American.” To some, “colored people” is the equivalent of a racial slur.

MORE: The Journey From ‘Colored’ To ‘Minorities’ To ‘People Of Color’

Robach’s reference to “colored people” came during a segment about actress Zendaya potentially playing Mary Jane in an upcoming “Spider-Man” reboot. Mary Jane is a character traditionally filled by white actresses, and Zendaya is half black and half white.

“Now we all know Hollywood has received recent and quite a bit of criticism for casting white actors in what one might assume should be a role reserved for colored people,” Robach said.

She asked former People magazine managing editor Larry Hackett if Zendaya’s casting is “potentially the industry trying to right itself.”

The outrage on social media was swift.

ZsaVette Ellis-Frye, a management leader in Atlanta, posted a video clip of the segment on Twitter.

She said “colored people” is “outdated, antiquated, and offensive,” not just to “people of color but many people.”

Read more responses on Twitter here.

The reaction to Robach’s apology, issued nearly four hours after the segment aired, was mixed.

“#notabigdeal don’t make more out of it than it was,” user Randall Ingram wrote in a Twitter post.

“amazing… (not in the good way) … i mean what do you call black people in the privacy of your home?” user @solomonmissouri wrote.

Police: Florida man upset he was late for probation meeting chokes dog

Kyle Oloughlin woke up Thursday afternoon and realized he was late for his probation meeting, he told Boynton Beach, Florida, police.

Upset, Oloughlin yelled at his stepfather, and that’s when 4-year-old pit bull Lilly started barking.

Frustrated by his situation and the dog, he grabbed Lilly up off the ground by her neck and choked her, according to the police report.

Oloughlin, who was arrested Thursday, refused to come to court for his first appearance hearing Friday morning on charges of animal abuse and domestic violence. The 33-year-old will be held without bail at the Palm Beach County Jail until Saturday, when he’s expected back in court.

Oloughlin’s stepfather told police he and someone else in the home on the 100 block of Southeast Fifth Avenue, just south of Boynton Beach Boulevard and west of U.S. 1, told him to let the dog go but he refused. The man said the 100-pound dog was struggling to breathe and making choking noises, according to the report.

When Oloughlin wouldn’t let go of the dog, his stepfather grabbed a metal softball bat and struck Oloughlin twice on his shoulder, police said.

Once he dropped the dog, Oloughlin went after his stepfather and pushed him against a wall. Lilly went to defend the stepfather and bit Oloughlin just as police arrived, according to the report.

Police said the dog didn’t seem to have any injuries, but was “definitely frightened.”

Oloughlin, who has a long history of arrests for domestic batteries but only a few convictions, is serving 12 months of probation for reckless driving and possession of paraphernalia.

Violent arrest of teacher caught on video; officers face investigation

Officials are investigating an Austin police officer’s violent arrest of an African-American elementary school teacher who was twice thrown to the ground during a traffic stop for speeding and comments by a second officer who told her police are sometimes wary of blacks because of their “violent tendencies.”

Video from the previously unreported June 2015 incident was obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV this week. The video shows the traffic stop escalating rapidly in the seven seconds from when officer Bryan Richter, who is white, first gives a command to 26-year-old Breaion King to close her car door to when he forcibly removes her from the driver’s seat, pulls her across a vacant parking space and hurls her to the asphalt.

Richter wrote in his report of the incident that he acted quickly because King demonstrated an “uncooperative attitude” and was “reaching for the front passenger side of the vehicle.” He didn’t know whether she had a weapon, he wrote. He said King resisted by pulling away from him and wrapping her hands and arms around the steering wheel.

Police charged King with resisting arrest, but the Travis County attorney dismissed the case after reviewing the police dashcam video.

As King was being driven to jail, a separate police video recorded a conversation between King and officer Patrick Spradlin in which he said whites may be concerned about interacting with blacks because they can appear “intimidating.”

The Austin Police Department issued the lowest level of discipline to Richter — counseling and additional training — after Richter’s supervisors looked into his use of force, but his conduct was never formally investigated by internal affairs. Spradlin was not punished for his comments because the department only learned about them after the Statesman began inquiring.

In an interview this week, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department has opened an administrative review into how Richter’s supervisors evaluated his actions and a separate criminal investigation. Officials are also investigating Spradlin’s comments. But Acevedo said that, under state civil service law, he cannot take disciplinary action beyond a written reprimand against the officers for this incident because it happened more than six months ago.

“After reviewing both videos, I and our leadership team were highly disturbed and disappointed in both the way Ms. King was approached and handled and in the mindset that we saw on display in those videos,” Acevedo said. “But there is another piece, which has caused concerns as to our review process and the systems we have in place.”

He said he regrets that he didn’t know about the situation sooner and that he is taking renewed steps to help citizens learn how to respond when they feel mistreated by officers.

“We need to help our community overcome the fear or reluctance, which I understand, to file a complaint,” he said. “This is critical if we are to weed out bad officers and bad behavior.”

Neither officer has previous suspensions with the department.

A year later, public scrutiny

The 2015 case had received no outside scrutiny until prosecutors flagged it in recent weeks.

Travis County Attorney David Escamilla said he ordered a resisting arrest charge against King immediately dropped — King paid a $165 fine and court costs for speeding — once he reviewed the videos earlier this year and sent it to felony prosecutors to review Richter’s actions.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said her office viewed the video about two weeks ago and asked the Austin police Special Investigations Unit, which looks into cases of possible officer misconduct, to assist them. Lehmberg said the case likely will be presented to a grand jury.

The emergence of the video comes at an intensely strained time nationally between police and many in the minority community that has played out over the past two years, marked by protests after high-profile controversial police use of lethal force and the recent killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.

Texas officials are still grappling with the aftermath of the Sandra Bland case last year, which made national headlines after she was wrestled to the ground by a state trooper during a traffic stop. Part of the arrest was caught on dashcam video; Bland later committed suicide in a county jail. The officer was fired.

And in Austin, many are still reeling from the February shooting of David Joseph, a naked, unarmed 17-year-old shot and killed by former Officer Geoffrey Freeman after police said Joseph charged at the officer. Freeman was fired, but a grand jury declined to indict him.

In an interview this week, King said she is contemplating a lawsuit against the officer and the Austin Police Department and has hired attorneys Broadus Spivey and Erica Grigg to represent her.

“When I looked at this video, I was heartbroken because I thought, ‘That would never happen to me because I’m white,’ ” Grigg said.

‘It happened really fast’

King’s account, police reports and dash camera videos help provide a narrative from the incident on the afternoon of June 15, 2015.

King, who grew up in Austin and is finishing a master’s degree at Texas State University, said she was driving on a lunch break. Richter said he clocked her Nissan Versa speeding at 50 mph in a 35 mph zone traveling eastbound on Riverside Drive.

King got out of her car in a Wendy’s parking lot, and Richter is seen approaching her in the dashcam video. What’s being said is not entirely clear on the video, but Richter wrote in his report that King told him she was going inside for lunch and that he suspected she was trying to elude him because she didn’t appear to have a wallet. He asked her return to her car.

King sat in the driver’s seat but kept the door of her car open and her legs and feet outside the car. Richter is heard instructing her to sit fully in the car so that he could close the door.

“I did this so that if she decided to exit the vehicle again, it would give me some sort of reaction time to her doing so, versus her being half way out of the vehicle with the door open giving her an easy escape,” he wrote.

“At this point I was worried her uncooperative attitude would only escalate once I returned to my vehicle (to write the ticket),” Richter said in his report.

At that point, the video shows Richter reaching inside and grabbing King, who told police she weighs 112 pounds, as she begins to scream. The car’s horn is blaring during the struggle, and then, King is heard asking Richter, who had been shouting, “Stop resisting!” to allow her to get out on her own.

The struggle then continued, and Richter is seen throwing King to the ground. He yells for her to put her hands behind her back. King said in an interview that she struggled to do so as the two continued tussling.

The officer is then seen throwing her to the ground again.

King said that she did not think Richter gave her an opportunity to respond to his commands.

“It happened really fast,” said King, who suffered minor scrapes and bruises and saw a doctor the following day. “I wasn’t given enough time.”

In subsequent videos, King is seen distraught and handcuffed in the back of a police car, yelling at other officers to keep Richter away from her and her property. Spradlin’s comments came as he and King neared the jail and engaged in a conversation about race and police.

“Why are so many people afraid of black people,” Spradlin asks King.

She replies, “That’s what I want to figure out because I’m not a bad black person.”

“I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way,” the officer tells her. “Violent tendencies.”

When she asks if he thinks racism still exists, he says, “Let me ask you this. Do you believe it goes both ways?”

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, when you hear about stuff like that, it is the black community that is being violent. That’s why a lot of the white people are afraid, and I don’t blame them. There are some guys I look at, and I know it is my job to deal with them, and I know it might go ugly, but that’s the way it goes.

“But yeah, some of them, because of their appearance and whatnot, some of them are very intimidating,” he says.

Austin police policy requires officers to use the minimum amount of force necessary in dealing with suspects. Departmental policy also requires police to maintain an impartial attitude, saying officers “will not express or otherwise manifest any prejudice concerning race, religion, national origin, age, political affiliation, sex or other personal characteristics in the performance of their duties.”

More than a year later, King said she remains distraught about what happened and that it has forever changed how she views police.

“I’ve become fearful to live my life,” she said. “I would rather stay home. I’ve become afraid of the people who are supposed to protect me and take care of me.”

'Pokemon Go' players not welcome in city's cemeteries

NEWNAN, Ga. — Officials in a west Georgia city say "Pokemon Go" players are no longer allowed in its cemeteries.

The Newnan Times-Herald (http://bit.ly/2aePqAR ) reports the Newnan City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday that prohibits people from playing internet or cellphone games at the city's three cemeteries.

Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips says the city has received multiple complaints about people damaging a fence, blocking roadways and running on and across gravesites.

Newnan Police Chief Douglas Buster Meadows says that recently 50 people were in the cemetery at one time.

The city about 38 miles southwest of Atlanta is among the latest locations to object to the game.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery requested earlier this month that smartphone users refrain from "catching" Pokemon when visiting the landmarks.

___

This story has been corrected to show the dateline is Newnan, Ga., not Washington.

Copyright The Associated Press

Back to School

Back to School Start Dates July 28th (Thursday) 
  • Rockdale County

 

July 29th (Friday)  
  • Lamar County Newton County 

 

August 1st (Monday)
  • Cherokee County: New school opening – the new/replacement Dean Rusk Middle School.  The new facility will accommodate current and projected enrollment and allow for the transition to the State’s Grade 6-8 model, which provides for more challenging coursework and career and fine arts electives for sixth-graders.  The 255,000-square-foot school, in addition to instructional classrooms, also includes a gymnasium, cafetorium, art and music rooms, cyber café media center, global learning center and computer labs.  
  • Cobb County Schools
  • Barrow County 
  • Clayton County 
  • Henry County 
  • Morgan County
  • Paulding County 
  • Pickens County 

 

August 2nd (Tuesday)  
  • Floyd County 
  • Greene County
  • Haralson County

 

August 3rd (Wednesday) 
  • Bartow County
  • City of Atlanta
  • City of Marietta
  • Gilmer County
  • Griffin-Spalding 
  • Oconee County
  • Walker County
  • Walton County

 

August 4th (Thursday) 
  • Carroll County
  • Chattooga County
  • City of Buford
  • Fannin County
  • Forsyth County 
  • Gordon County
  • Stephens County
  • Towns County

 

August 5th (Friday) 
  • West Georgia College Move-In date for First Year students  
  • Banks County
  • Coweta County
  • Dawson County
  • Habersham County
  • Hall County 
  • Heard County
  • Jackson County
  • Jasper County
  • Lumpkin County
  • Madison County
  • Monroe County 
  • Oglethorpe County
  • Union County

 

August 7th (Sunday) 

 

August 8th (Monday) 
  • City of Calhoun
  • Dekalb County 
  • Douglas County
  • Fayette County
  • Fulton County 
  • Gwinnett County 
  • Rabun County
  • White County
  • Whitfield County

 

August 9th (Tuesday)
  •  University of West Georgia – 2nd Move-in Day for Returning students.  
  • Clarke County 

 

August 10th (Wednesday)  
  • Butts County
  • City of Decatur
  • Troup County

 

August 11th (Thursday)  
  • Thomaston-Upson County

 

August 12th (Friday)  

 

August 13th (Saturday) 

 

August 15th (Monday)  

 

August 18th  (Thursday)

 

August 19th/20th (Friday and Saturday) 

 

August 20th (Saturday)  

 

August 22nd (Monday)  
  • Chattahoochee Tech goes back to school.  First day (No dorms) 
  • Pike County

 

Wright State withdraws from holding first presidential debate

Wright State president David Hopkins announced Tuesday the university has withdrawn from hosting the first presidential debate in September.

He said Tuesday that Wright State is withdrawing as host of first presidential debate scheduled for Sept. 26, citing escalating costs for security and the inability to raise enough money.

Hopkins said in an exclusive interview that he was motivated in part by security concerns raised by the recent attack in Nice, France.

“I can’t assure the safety of our students and the community,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins informed the Commission on Presidential Debates at noon Tuesday, and hopes to recoup at least some of the $2 million fee that was paid to the commission in advance. Approximately $500,000 had been spent already on Nutter Center upgrades.

The university has raised about $3.5 million in contributions, state funding and in-kind pledges.

Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, was listed as the debate’s backup site.

The Commission on Presidential Debates posted this announcement on its website:

“In light of Wright State University’s announcement of earlier today, the September 26, 2016 Presidential Debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The Commission very much appreciates Wright State’s efforts. Hofstra University served very successfully as a presidential debate site in 2012. On September 23, 2015, the Commission announced that Hofstra University had agreed to serve as an alternate site this debate cycle if needed. The Commission looks forward to working with Hofstra once again.”

The president of Wright State’s faculty union, Martin Kich, said canceling the debate was probably for the best.

“I think It’s unfortunate we’ve gotten two months away from it and we have to pull the plug on it. I don’t think that makes anyone look good," Kich said. "But if the alternative is we would be left with a sizeable financial liability because of this, then I think it’s the smart thing to do,” he said.

Kich said he felt the university was low-balling what the debate was actually going to cost.

“Under ideal circumstances, I think it would be a nice thing for the university to host this kind of an event, but given the financial issues the university is grappling with, from the start this seemed like a kind of dubious proposition.”

Read more here.

How Atlanta-area teachers can get free school supplies

Atlanta-area teachers can get free school supplies at the 2016 Kroger teacher supply giveaway.

The event is Thursday, July 21 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center (2000 Convention Center Concourse, College Park) and the Infinite Energy Center (formerly known as the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth).

Each teacher with a valid school ID will receive a reusable bag he or she can fill with school supplies including copier paper, tape, dry erase markers, tissues and hand sanitizer, while supplies last.

Mega Millions jackpot hits $540M after nobody wins Tuesday's drawing

The Mega Millions jackpot has hit an estimated $540 million after no tickets matched all six numbers in Tuesday’s drawing.

According to the Mega Millions official site, there were no winners of the estimated $454 million jackpot from Tuesday’s drawing.

>> Read more trending stories

Seven people matched five numbers but did not match the Megaplier, winning $1 million.

Tuesday’s winning numbers were 29-46-53-64-73 with the Megaplier 10.

The next drawing is Friday.

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