the county news
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 through Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 through Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Habari Gani:
A Focus on Recent Events
Charles Jones Banner
Photo by Ron Ross
By Makheru Bradley
Makheru Bradley
Celebrating the life and legacy of J. Charles Jones
On November 5, an event organized by Sister J'Tanya Adams, the Founder and Executive Director of the Historic West End Partners, and Brother Reggie Singleton, the Founder and Executive Director of The Males Place, paid tribute to Charlotte’s most renown civil rights activist, our Esteemed Ancestor, Joseph Charles Jones. I was honored to be the keynote speaker for that event, which was attended by Brother Jones wife and children, and other family members including Arthur and Alicia Elston Griffin.

The history of J. Charles Jones is well known, so there is no need to retell that whole story here. However, I think there are many interesting nuggets which are worth recounting.

His paternal grandparents were born during Chattel Slavery. They produced nine children who became college graduates. The four males graduated from Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), and the five females graduated from Barber-Scotia College. Inspired by all of that academic achievement, a very young Charles Jones concluded he had to do something. More ↠
NC Appellate Court upholds punishment for attorney accused of swindling innocent Black Men
Leon Brown and Henry McCollum
By Cash Michaels
Cash Michaels

On November 1st, the NC Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the State Bar to suspend the law license of an attorney accused of swindling two Black mentally impaired half-brothers who had served more than 30 years in prison for a rape and murder of an 11-year-old Red Springs teenager they did not commit.

The attorney, Patrick Michael Megaro, reportedly took hundreds of thousands in restitution money from Henry McCollum and Leon Brown.

Both men were once sentenced to death in 1983 for the crime. Upon appeal, they were both found to be intellectually deficient, and re-sentenced to life in prison until they were exonerated in 2014 when DNA evidence proved their innocence.

Upon McCollum and Brown’s release, they were represented by attorneys for free in filing civil lawsuits against the Red Springs Police Dept. for alleged misconduct. Those lawyers also filed pardon petitions for restitution by the state for their wrongful convictions and 30 years’ incarceration. More ↠

Beasley Loses, GOP Takes Majority on High court; Columbus County Sheriff Re-Elected
By Cash Michaels
She ran a close race for most of midterm Election night, but by 11:18 p.m. EST, Democrat Cheri Beasley fell short in her effort to become the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate from North Carolina, unofficially losing to Republican Trump-backed Congressman Ted Budd, 51% to 47%.

Beasley was leading Budd substantially after statewide polls closed, at one point as much as four percentage points thanks to early voting and mail-in absentee ballots. But once the Election Day voting began to be counted, Budd was able to slowly by surely eat away at Beasley’s substantial lead, and ultimately unofficially win the race.

Once his victory is confirmed, Budd will take the seat being vacated by outgoing Republican Sen. Richard Burr.

During her concession speech, Beasley told an Election Night crowd in Raleigh, More ↠
Cheri Beasley
Cheri Beasley

Democrats declare victory with NC High Court Leandro decision

By Cash Michaels
NC Democrats may not be thrilled with all of the November midterm election results, but the state Supreme Court’s pre-election 4-3 ruling in the 25-year-long Leandro case upholding a lower court’s order to the Republican-led NC General Assembly to begin funding public education according to the court-approved Comprehensive Remedial Plan, overwhelmed state Democrats.

“It’s our constitutional duty to ensure every child has access to a sound basic education,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a statement. “As the NC Supreme Court has affirmed…. we must do more for our students all across North Carolina."

The chair of the NC Democratic Party, Dr. Bobbie Richardson, was also ecstatic.
“This ruling is a massive victory for public education in North Carolina, for our students, and for the future of our state. Access to a quality public education should be a right for every child. Today, we are grateful that the court has agreed. Now, after years of Republican failure to adequately fund public schools, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued a ruling mandating that our General Assembly fully fund the Leandro Education Plan — providing our public schools with over $5.6 billion in education spending through 2028.

What are Democrats crowing about?

Finally, after 2 years of litigation, North Carolina’s public schools, from the richest counties to the poorest, will be funded by the state at the same levels, affording each student no matter where he or she lives, the same resources for learning, Democrats say.

More ↠
Statesville Police Department Holds
Citizens Academy Graduation Ceremony
See Figure Caption
Pictured front: Natasha Smyre and Jessica McCleese.
Pictured standing L-R: Terry Joyner, Mayor Costi Kutteh, Turkessia Brown-Evans, April Nesbit, Konni Bell, John Robert Templeton Jr., Joshua Kearney, Donnie Goodin, Officer Chan Austin, and Chief David Onley

The Statesville Police Department completed its 15th Citizens Academy with a graduation ceremony and dinner at the Statesville Civic Center on November 3. Participants in the class met for eight (8) consecutive weeks learning about various units of the department including criminal investigations, forensics, patrol, community services, records and communications, crime analysis, traffic, K-9, Special Response Team, and administration. In addition to the class hours, participants spent time observing dispatch, riding with a patrol officer, and completing the firearms and situational awareness training simulator. On hand to present the certificates were Mayor Costi Kutteh, Chief David Onley, and Crime Prevention Officer Chan Austin. More ↠