*The mentally ill Black man in Texas whose arrest sparked national outrage after white officers mounted on horses led him by rope across town to the jailhouse, is now suing the city of Galveston and its police department for $1 million.
Donald Neely, 44, was homeless at the time when he was arrested for trespassing at the Park Board of Galveston on Aug. 3, 2019, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Galveston police previously released bodycam video from the two horse-mounted white officers who led Neely down the street by a rope with his hands cuffed behind him (see clip below).
“This is going to look really bad!” Officer Patrick Brosch can be heard telling Officer Amanda Smith in the footage. The officers claim there were no police vehicles in the area at the time to properly transport Neely to the precinct.
“We’ve just gotta do what we’ve gotta do,” Brosch can be heard telling Neely.
After an image of Neely being escorted down the street by the two officers went viral, Galveston Police Chief, Vernon Hale, issued the following statement: “First and foremost I must apologize to Mr. Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” he said. “Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest.”
The department said it changed the policy so the technique will never be used again, Complex reported. “[We] will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Hale added
Donald’s sister-in-law also addressed the incident, saying he is mentally ill, homeless, and that he “gets arrested often for trespassing.”
Many noted across social media that images of the mounted white officers leading Neely using a rope was reminiscent of pictures showing slaves in chains.
The lawsuit filed in Galveston County court last week argues the officers “knew or should have believed that Neely — being a Black man — being led with a rope and by mounted officers down a city street as though he was a slave, would find this contact offensive.”
Neely is seeking $1 million in damages for emotional distress, malicious prosecution, and negligence. He’s also demanding a trial by jury, per Fox News.
“Neely felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,” the lawsuit states, according to KPRC. “He suffered from fear because one of the horses was acting dangerously, putting Neely in fear of being drug down the street by a run-away horse.”
27 More Black Ex-Franchisees Join Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against McDonald’s
*MIAMI – Twenty-seven new plaintiffs, all former Black McDonald’s franchisees, joined an ongoing federal lawsuit against the fast-food chain claiming the company engaged in systemic discrimination and denied them the same opportunities as White franchisees.
The new amended complaint now has 77 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit originally filed by 52 Black former franchisees on Sept. 1, 2020.
The claims now include nearly 300 stores with compensatory damages that average between
$4 million and $5 million per store, exclusive of punitive damages.
The plaintiffs allege McDonald’s sold itself as a recruiter and developer of Black talent, profited from its Black consumer base and maintained a two-tier system that pigeonholed unsuspecting Black owners and assigned them horrible locations guaranteed to fail.
This suit comes on the heels of a federal class action lawsuit filed October 29 by current Black franchisees.
“McDonald’s is now fighting a four-front legal war. They are being sued by current and former Black operators, Black employees and senior executives,” said James L. Ferraro, the lead attorney for both the current and former franchisee lawsuits. “As the pool of plaintiffs grow, there will be more pressure on the company to dispense with the public relations ploys and focus on how it can help its Black employees and franchisees.”
At the same time there are calls for state pension funds to drop McDonald’s stock. States like New York, California, Ohio and Florida have massive investments in McDonald’s. In Tennessee, Rep. Joe Towns has requested Treasurer David H. Lillard to divest the state’s holdings and reallocate the money toward companies “practicing good corporate citizenship.”
Ferraro said all these challenges are coming together because the company has turned a blind eye to obvious racial problems while promoting its public image.
McDonald’s once boasted a high of 377 Black franchisees in 1998. That number now stands at 186 even though McDonald’s has increased its stores from 15,086 to 36,059. The cash flow gap for Black franchisees more than tripled from 2010 to 2019, per National Black McDonald’s
Operators Association (“NBMOA”) data.
Plaintiffs’ average annual sales of $2 million was more than $700,000 under McDonald’s national average of $2.7 million between 2011 and 2016 and $900,000 under the national average of $2.9 million in 2019.
The lawsuit claims McDonald’s was ruthless in steering Black operators toward the oldest, most decrepit stores in the toughest neighborhoods routinely rejected by Whites franchisees. This severely limited opportunities for expansion and growth, and far too often set in place a chain of events – low cash flow, decreased equity, debt and bankruptcy – that led to financial ruin.
The plaintiffs argue McDonald’s violated federal civil rights laws by:
- Excluding Black franchisees from the same growth opportunities found at safer, higher- volume, lower-cost stores offered to Whites.
- Retaliating against Black franchisees for rejecting strong-arm offers to continue operations in crime-ridden
- Denying Black franchisees meaningful assistance during financial hardships while White franchisees were routinely given such
- Failing to provide any legitimate business reasons for repeated denials of franchise opportunities over many
- Unfairly grading the operations of Black restaurants, which resulted in poor internal reviews, effectively pushing Black franchisees out of the McDonald’s system by denying them the eligibility for growth and favorable franchise
- Providing misleading projections which induced Black franchisees to purchase undesirable franchises.
The amended complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. To download the complaint, click here.
Wiz Khalifa and Michael Strahan Hit with Lawsuit Over Khalifa Kush Cannabis Brand
*Rapper Wiz Khalifa and Michael Strahan have been hit with a lawsuit by one of the business partners of their cannabis brand Khalifa Kush.
According to court documents provided by The Blast, the director and managing agent for Cuzzi Consulting, Inc., Carlos Arias, claims that Wiz and Strahan “pilfered more than $100,000,000 in assets from Nominal Defendants.”
Arias’ lawsuit also claims a “breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting fiduciary breaches, conversion, corporate waste, tortious breach of an express or implied agreement, unjust enrichment, money had and received, professional negligence, civil conspiracy, and declaratory judgment arising out of Defendants’ wrongful conduct concerning the usurpation and misappropriation of assets from Nominal Defendants KKE USA and the Khalifa Kush Joint Venture.”
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Arias’ lawsuit accuses Wiz of concocting the scheme with help from “his entourage who conspired with the illicit assistance of outside counsel Pryor Cashman” in order to “funnel the proceeds from to themselves and certain third party beneficiaries.”
The suit also alleges that Wiz and Strahan engaged in “wrongful conduct concerning the usurpation and misappropriation of assets” regarding Khalifa Kush.
The lawsuit comes after Wiz launched his delivery-only restaurant, HotBox By Wiz, a partnership with Nextbite. The company serves comfort food to customers in Los Angeles, San Diego, and other cities, through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub.
Ex-Husband of Naya Rivera Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit on Behalf of Their Son
*Naya Rivera’s ex-husband Ryan Dorsey has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their 5-year-old son Josey, following the boating accident that claimed her life four months ago.
Rivera was found dead in July, nearly a week after she disappeared during a boating outing in Ventura County, California, with her son. She was 33.
According to the investigative report, Josey said they counted “1, 2, 3” and jumped off the pontoon boat together at Lake Piru in Ventura County, California. Once in the water, the child said his mother told him to get back on the boat.
“She helped him onto the boat and then he then heard [Naya] yell ‘help’ and she put her arm in the air. She then disappeared into the water,” the investigative report states, per PEOPLE.
According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Dorey is suing Ventura County, the county’s Parks and Recreation Management, and the United Water Conservation District for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit claims the boat Rivera rented did comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety standards.
“[The boat] was not equipped with a safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio or any security mechanisms to prevent swimmers from being separated from their boats,” the complaint states. “Disturbingly, later inspection revealed that the boat was not even equipped with any flotation or lifesaving devices, in direct violation of California law, which requires that all pontoons longer than 16 feet be equipped with flotation devices.”
The court documents also cite the lake’s “deadly history” and notes that there wasn’t “a single sign anywhere — not at the entrance, at the dock, at the popular swimming area of Diablo Cove, not anywhere — warning of the lake’s strong currents, low visibility, high winds, changing water depths, underwater caves, ledges and drop offs, or the trees, brush and other debris that congest its waters due to the vastly changing water levels and winds.”
Rivera was reportedly in good health at the time of her death, but she had a history of vertigo “that would get worse when she was in the water.”
“The decedent would have vertigo to the point of vomiting, but she learned to control the symptoms with antihistamines,” the investigative report states.
According to the report, the “Glee” star had been treated at Cedars Sinai hospital for vertigo prior to her death.
She also had “no known history of suicidal ideation or attempt,” according to the report.
Riveria’s cause of death remains an accidental drowning.
The actress and Dorsey, 37, were married from 2014 to 2018.
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