Family Remembers Loved One Killed By Police Four Years Ago

Ms. Narene Stokes JamesBy Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

Ryan Stokes was shot and killed at 2:58:27 a.m. by a Kansas City, Mo. Police officer on July 28, 2013.

His death came 45 seconds after Officer Villafain initiated a foot pursuit and 20 seconds after Officer Thompson heard his breathy radio call. “Two black males, white T-shirts, stealing, alley at 12th and McGee.”

The dispatcher asks him to repeat the location, and then Villafain can be heard yelling, “Watch your cross-fire man.”

Officer Lutz yells at Thompson. “was he armed?” as he rolls Stokes now lifeless body over, only to discover he was in fact, unarmed.

Moments later Villafain asks dispatch to send a car to handle the friends of the “victim” as they worked to push witnesses out of the crime scene. That was the only time that Stokes was ever called a “victim’.

As the narrative is created Stokes, a high school graduate, an emplyee, a son, a father, a cousin and a member of our community is transformed into a thief, thug and a young man who refused to drop a weapon that Officer Thompson, who shot and killed Stokes, searched his car and found after the shooting. The Police, through the media, shifted the burden of proof from the Police shooting Stokes, an unarmed man to Stokes having to defend his character from the grave.

Currently, Stokes’ mother Ms. Narene Stokes James and her family, friends as well as witnesses, are in depositions for the lawsuit that they filed against the Board of Police Commissioners concerning what they feel needs to be changed in the Department’s policies.

One of the things that surprised both Ms. James and her attorney during deposition were some of the responses by the officers.

“The officers stated that they did not want the awards that they were given and that they were made to accept the awards,” Ms. Stokes James said.

The issue was the narrative that the review panel presented to justify the awards. Both Officers Thompson and Jones didn’t feel that the narrative that was used was reflective of what happened that July 28th morning.

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Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II Honors Mrs. Ruby Arnold With Congressional Record

Ruby ArnoldBy Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, recently honored the life of Mrs. Ruby Arnold who saved the Black Archives of Mid-America several years after Horace Peterson founded the Archives.

“Years after Peterson’s accidental death, the BAMA experienced internal tumult that unfortunately played out in the Kansas City media. The unflattering press resulted in funding shortfalls and eventually, the exodus from Vine street, sometimes referred to as the ‘Firehouse,’” Rep. Cleaver said.

As BAMA began to fade, in part, because it did not have an adequate home or sufficient funding nor the extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Longtime supporters began searching for funding and a new location. Mrs. Arnold was among those diehard fighters.

“During the Spring of 1998, Ruby Arnold, a BAMA diehard Board member began a personal crusade to secure a new home for the organization that she held dear. One Monday morning , during a heavy Spring rain, Mrs. Arnold appeared at the desk of the 29th floor of City Hall. The security guard asked if she had an appointment with anyone in particular. ‘I don’t have an appointment, but I have come to see Mayor Emanuel Cleaver,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry, but the Mayor is not in,’ Ms. Cheryl Richards, an assistant to the Mayor stepped in and stated,” Rep. Cleaver said.

Mrs. Arnold was told that on Mondays the Mayor attends the Mayors Corp. of Progress meeting, which was a meeting of a group of Kansas City business leaders.

“Thank you I will wait. It’s raining pretty hard anyway,” Mrs. Arnold said.

And wait she did. She waited until Mayor Cleaver and his security detail stepped off the elevator and greeted the Mayor.

“Mayor Cleaver, I need your help to locate a home for the Black Archives. We don’t have any money, but we need a place large enough to grow,” she said.

Mayor Cleaver responded, “Well, I don’t know for sure what I can do. You know the Black Archives was suppose to be the main museum on 18th, but Horace wanted something different than we could not do legally.”

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O.J. Simpson Granted Parole In Nevada Robbery

OJ Simpson

LOVELOCK, Nev. (AP) — O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America’s enduring fascination with the former football star.
Simpson, 70, could be a free man as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year armed-robbery sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia and other mementos he claimed had been stolen from him.

O.J. Simpson appeared thinner and grayer at his parole hearing than when he was last seen four years ago. Simpson is pleading Thursday on live TV for his release from a Nevada prison.

He got the four votes he needed from the parole commissioners who heard his case. In agreeing to release him, they cited his lack of a prior conviction, the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and his release plans.
During the more than hour-long hearing, Simpson forcefully insisted — as he has all along — that he was only trying to retrieve items that belonged to him and never meant to hurt anyone. He said he never pointed a gun at anyone nor made any threats during the crime.
“I’ve done my time. I’ve done it as well and respectfully as I think anybody can,” he said.
Inmate No. 1027820 made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in rural Nevada as four parole commissioners in Carson City, a two-hour drive away, questioned him via video.

Simpson, gray-haired but looking trimmer than he has in recent years, walked briskly into the hearing room dressed in jeans, a light-blue prison-issue shirt and sneakers. He laughed at one point as the parole board chairwoman mistakenly gave his age as 90.
The Hall of Fame athlete’s chances of winning release were considered good, given similar cases and Simpson’s model behavior behind bars. His defenders have argued, too, that his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and that he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of during his 1995 “Trial of the Century” in Los Angeles, the stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Before the hearing concluded, one of the dealers Simpson robbed, Bruce Fromong, said the former football great never pointed a gun at him during the confrontation, adding that it was one of the men with him who did so. Fromong said Simpson deserved to be released.
“He is a good man. He made a mistake,” Fromong said, adding the two remain friends.

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