Tuesday, May 5, 2015

First Slice 5/5/15: Body found inside trash can at Old Fourth Ward dog park

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Atlanta Police last night found a woman stuffed inside a trash can in the Freedom Barkway dog park in Old Fourth Ward. “We love being able to take our dogs here,” Freedom Barkway Board Member R.J. Morris said, “and the area is very much improving. Hopefully, this is a very, very isolated incident.”

Why won't Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill speak with Gwinnett County Police about an alleged shooting involving him? His lawyer said he was too "shaken" to do so. But he did hand over evidence to police.

Rick Warren, the Buckhead investor who has purchased around 10 percent of homes in the English Avenue area, may face jail time for repeated violations of the city's housing code.

R.I.P., state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, who helped Georgia Republicans rise to power and took strong stances on issues including solar power and horse racing.

Christopher Sparkman, a 29-year-old security guard injured during a FedEx shooting in Kennesaw last year, has filed a lawsuit against the delivery corporation for negligence, battery, and other damages.

Atlanta journalist Maria Saporta has some major concerns about Tyler Perry's tendencies to build walls around his studios — and why that might be bad for Fort McPherson. "It didn’t have to begin or end this way," she said.

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5 things to do: Cinco de Mayo

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 7:00 AM

5 things to do in Atlanta today

1. Cinco de Mayo at Tin Lizzy's Cantina

2. Cinco de Mayo at the Original El Taco

3. King of Pops Free Yoga in the Park at Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park

4. Ava Luna, Red Sea, and more at 529

5. Elizabeth Berg at Margaret Mitchell House

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Activists: APD should immediately release camera footage in Alexia Christian police shooting

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 4:15 PM

We dont have the complete picture, said state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, at a press conference calling for release of camera footage related to Alexia Christians death. We dont have all the information.
  • Joeff Davis
  • "We don't have the complete picture," said state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, at a press conference calling for release of camera footage related to Alexia Christian's death. "We don't have all the information."
A group of activists are demanding that the Atlanta Police become more transparent with their investigation into the death of 26-year-old Atlanta resident Alexia Christian.

Outside APD's headquarters this afternoon, about a dozen activists called for police to release surveillance footage available from an officer-involved shooting that led to Christian's death. They also urged APD to allow an independent investigator handle an internal probe into conduct of two of its police officers.

Around 5 p.m. on April 30, APD Chief George Turner said, Christian was detained and placed in handcuffs near Underground Atlanta for allegedly stealing a pickup truck. After being placed in the back of a squad car, she managed to get one hand free from her restraints and subsequently shot a pistol three times at Officers Jeffery Cook and Omar Thyme. Both officers, who were sitting in the same car's front seat and narrowly escaped injury, fired back a total of 10 bullets at Christian. The female suspect was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where she later died.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, today demanded the immediate release of footage from the front dashboard camera of the squad car, any obtained cell-phone footage, and at least two surveillance cameras in the surrounding area. Having that footage, Fort said, would provide greater clarity about what happened in the moments leading up to Christian's death.

"The fact of the matter is, in this post-Ferguson era, that the public demands transparency and openness," Fort told reporters. "That's not what we're getting in this instance. Atlanta has its own legacy of police misconduct going back a long time including the murder of Kathryn Johnston in 2006. That video [in the Christian shooting] is the property of the public."

According to Miracle Jones, a representative speaking on behalf of Rise Up Georgia, APD's release of the video tapes would help Christian's family find closure and show Atlantans that the police department prioritizes transparency. Since Christian won't be charged with a crime, Jones said APD investigators have no good reason to withhold the tapes in their possession.

"Alexia Christian was a mother, a daughter, a sister," Jones said. "Her family and friends deserve to know how she died. A narrative has been released about her death. So releasing the tapes will not compromise anything."

Rev. Joe Beasley, southeast director of the Rainbow Push Coalition, said he and other local religious leaders have asked APD to hand over Christian's case to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Beasley, who said he has spoken with APD Chief George Turner about the shooting, has not heard back from the police chief after being invited to a media press conference last week.

"It's hard to investigate yourself," Beasley said. "But if there's nothing to hide, why not ask the GBI to come in and do the investigation. I suspect Atlanta has as many capabilities as GBI, maybe more. But nonetheless, if there's nothing here, it seems that the chief would be happy to put the onus on someone else."

At a media briefing last week, Turner said the department would not release the footage from the squad car while investigators look into the case. Cook and Thyme are currently on routine administrative leave and face an internal investigation about whether they violated protocol in failing to properly search Christian.

APD spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon today tells CL no additional information will be released regarding either the ongoing criminal or internal investigation at this time. He says APD's investigation currently includes the department's homicide unit and Office of Professional Standards, along with the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. Lyon declined to elaborate on why APD would not ask the GBI to conduct a third-party investigation.

"This is our standard protocol with officer involved shootings," Lyon says. "We have a specialized unit of investigators that handle officer involved shootings such as the one that occurred on Thursday."

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Hundreds gather for 'Rest in Power' memorial for black lives

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Activists join hands in a circle to remember those lost to police violence.
  • Eric Cash
  • Activists join hands in a circle to remember those lost to police violence.
On Saturday afternoon, a black Cadillac hearse topped with a flashing red light and draped in a sign saying "Rest in Power" traveled nine miles from West End to Oakhurst. Hundreds of people rode in cars and on bicycles as part of a funeral procession.

The symbolic memorial, which ended with more than 300 people gathered inside Oakhurst Baptist Church, was held to celebrate the lives of black men and women killed in Georgia. Family members of three African-American metro Atlanta men who recently died in officer-involved shootings sat together in the church's front row. The families took turns recalling the lives of their loved ones in front of a raucous crowd. Together they sang gospel songs, cried out in anger and sadness, and listened to the stories of black lives that were unnecessarily lost.

DeLisa Davis, whose younger brother Kevin Davis was shot by a DeKalb County Police officer and later died in police custody at Grady Memorial Hospital, said her family will continue to "fight like hell for justice" for the former Sawicki's cook in Downtown Decatur. Surrounded by family members wearing black-and-white shirts bearing Kevin's name, DeLisa said her brother was a kind and caring person who took spare bike parts, built bikes, and gave them to children.

Bridget Anderson described her boyfriend Anthony Hill as one of the most inspiring and gentile people she's ever met. The U.S. Air Force veteran was shot and killed by a DeKalb police officer during what was believed to be a bipolar episode. Rather than discuss reforms needed following his death, she spoke about Hill's plans to become a soul singer and make a documentary about his mental illness in hopes of helping others.

Felicia Thomas, mother of Nicholas Thomas, a Goodyear Service employee and father of an infant daughter, said she was "forced into the movement" after her son was killed by a Smyrna Police officer in March. After initially finding herself in disbelief following her son's death, which occurred after police tried to arrest him for a probation violation, Felicia said she's found resolve in fighting for justice.

"I work, I interview, I rally, I work, I interview, I rally," she said. "That's my purpose."

The three metro Atlanta officer-involved shootings, three of the latest police incidents resulting in the death of black people during the past year, are now being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But those investigations are not currently required and have only occurred after police department officials either voluntarily chose or were pressured to hand over cases to independent investigators.

Nelini Stamp, co-director with Rise Up Georgia, a local advocacy group that helped organize the memorial, told the crowd that the proceeding needed also to serve as a call for action to create change in the wake of police violence. Stamp and other protesters yesterday followed up with a protest in Smyrna, Ga., that blocked traffic at a major intersection and staged a "die-in" at a nearby mall.

"This battle in not just in Baltimore, this battle is not just in Ferguson, or in New York," said Tiffany Smith, a Rise Up Georgia members and one of the memorial's hosts. "But this battle is right here."

We've include a few photos of the "Rest in Power" memorial after the jump. Check out CL's full photo gallery of the memorial here.

Continue reading »

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Comic's Weekly Roundup: Emily Heller comes to the Village Theatre

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Atlanta has one of the best comedy scenes in the country, and each week is filled with plenty of opportunities to see some of Atlanta’s best local comics and visiting national touring acts. He’s your best bets for getting into some funny business.

Mon., May 4
It’s Monday, which is comedy fans favorite day of the week thanks to Star Bar. Atlanta’s longest-running, and arguably best show, is Monday Night Comedy at Star Bar in Little Five Points. No cover, cheap beer, and the city’s best comedic talent make this Monday night tradition a can’t-miss. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., Show starts at 9 p.m. It’s simply the best.

Tues., May 5
New addition to Tuesdays is the Standup Hour at Midtown Tavern, having previously been a Wednesday show. This week features local talents Will Copeland, Ryan DeNisco, Shayl Patel, and Will Newton with the hilarious Andrew Michael closing out the show. Show starts at 9 p.m. and is absolutely free.

Wed., May 6
My newest favorite show is back this week, Song Missing at the Village Theatre. Hosted by comedian Chris Ledford, Song Missing (a spinoff of the great film-based show Scene Missing) features comedy, music, and other performancs based on a selected musical artist. This month Ledford and crew will draw inspiration from the songs of Madonna. This month’s line-up includes Greg Behrens, Cherith Fuller, Ben Popkin, Bobbin Wages, Rita Nicole Leslie, Topher Payne, Blast-Off Burlesque, and dance by Jenny Nichols and Tiffany Williams. Accompanying each performer will be band leader Noel Stephen, covering some of Madonna’s greatest hits. Last month’s Hall and Oates show was one of the most entertaining nights I’ve had in a long while. This concept makes for an amazing live show, and if you haven’t been you need to make it a priority. Doors open at 8 p.m., Show at 9 p.m. $10.

Fri., May 8Another very exciting show will be taking place at the Village Theatre this week. On Friday, the absolutely hilarious Emily Heller will be headlining a special one-nighter. Based out of L.A., Heller has performed at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival and on Comedy Central’s John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show, @Midnight, "Conan" (twice), and just last month performed on "Late Night with Seth Meyers." She previously wrote on the Fox series "Surviving Jack" and starred on the TBS sitcom "Ground Floor." Heller is also creator and star of the Above Average web-series "The Future," one of my personal favorites. Heller is a brilliant comedian and performer with an starkly original and relatable voice. This is my No.1 pick of the week. Show starts at 9 p.m. $15.

The Weekend
>>> I recommend heading over to the Laughing Skull Lounge. This weekend, the Midtown comedy club will be hosting a Best of Atlanta weekend featuring six shows fulls of the best local talent. Shows run Thursday through Sunday.

>>> On Saturday, the Hangar in Old Fourth Ward brings back their newest (and one of their most unique) show, B.Y.O.P. The “P,” in this case, stands for “parents.” Comedians will invite their parents or other relatives on stage with them to discuss their favorite stories, discuss some of their issues, and bond in the funniest way possible. This month’s edition will feature stand-up from Austin Chardac and Remi Treuer, with duets from Jeffrey Stephenson, Preston Douglas, Michael Humphrey, John-Michael Bond, and Phoebe Perry and their respective family members. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., Show starts at 9 p.m. Free.

Marlon Wayans at the Improv (May 7-9)
John Witherspoon at Uptown Comedy Corner (May 7-10)
Second Shift Comedy Tour at Big House on Ponce (May 8)
1AM Secret Show at Smith’s Olde Bar (May 9)
Fresh Comedy at Highwire Comedy Co. (May 10, at 8 p.m.)

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Goat Farm and Hambidge raise the bar for annual art auction

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 10:23 AM

  • Courtesy of the Hambidge Center

The Goat Farm Arts Center and the Hambidge Center are raising the bar for this year’s 20th Annual Hambidge Art Auction and Performance Gala. In addition to a silent auction with work from over 175 established and emerging artists (selected by manager of Kibbee Gallery, Ben Goldman, and director of curatorial affairs at the Zucherman Museum, Teresa Bramlette Reeves), there will also be new performances and installations from the five finalists of Field Experiment. Field Experiment, a public action initiative aimed to help realize the project of an individual or collaborative creative talent, seeks interactive, cross-disciplinary, and community driven ideas that would be accessible to the public. Each of the risk-taking, big-dreaming creatives was commissioned $2,000 for beta-projects of their final concepts to present at the event.

Attendees get to vote for their top choice. At the end of the event, the fan-favorite team will receive a Hambidge residency. Later, on June 5, the curatorial team for Field Experiment will select their winner, who will be awarded a $20,000 commission to realize their vision to its full potential on the streets of Atlanta in fall of 2015. The finalists, who were chosen from over 130 submissions of artists, scientists, architects, performers, and visionaries around the world, include Jeffrey Collins; Micah and Whitney Stansell; Mark Wentzel; Kris Pilcher, Kevin Byrd, and Dale Adams; and Mel Chin and Severn Eaton.

The bidding for silent auction items will be completed digitally through mobile devices on site during the event and remotely through the Hambidge auction website. Online viewing and bidding will begin on Mon., May 25 and end on the day of the auction, Sat., May 30. A private preview party will be held at 5 p.m. on the day of the event, while general admission begins at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $50-$225, and all proceeds will go to the Hambidge Center. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

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First Slice 5/4/15: Sheriff Victor Hill involved in accidental shooting — and not cooperating with police

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 8:27 AM

Gwinnett County Police say Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill refused to cooperate with officers after an accidental shooting involving the controversial lawman. The woman who was shot is in critical condition.

OK, Nobel Peace Prize enthusiasts: you have one week to resolve the soap opera that could prevent this year's summit from taking place in Atlanta.

Beware the wicked optical illusion on the I-285 and I-20 interchange! More than 10 tractor trailers vehicles have crashed on the turn in the last year and a half.

Kiss that tax credit goodbye, electric-car drivers. Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign into law the $900 million transportation funding bill that would... basically maintain the status quo.

And finally, Ponce City Market has a new sign:

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

'Game of Thrones' recap: 'The Sons of the Harpy'

Posted By on Sun, May 3, 2015 at 11:04 PM

CRACK THAT WHIP: Jessica Henwick as one of the Sand Snakes.
  • Courtesy of HBO
  • CRACK THAT WHIP: Jessica Henwick as one of the Sand Snakes.
Mobs of violent men roam the streets in two nations on this week’s episode, “The Sons of the Harpy,” and have obvious parallels. Both the Sons of the Harpy in Mereen and the Faith Militant in King’s Landing wear symbols on their faces, with the former wearing gold masks and the latter carving seven-pointed stars in their foreheads to show their religious fervor.

Both run rampant in cities under female rule, with Danaerys the unquestioned queen of Mereen and Tommen under the sway of either his wife or mother, which varies from week to week. While they both have different agendas, they both also come across as male-dominated insurgencies lashing out against political structures under female control.

Cersei certainly thinks the Faith Militant is under her influence and part of a long plan. First, she sends Mace Tyrell to Braavos to negotiate better terms for the kingdom’s debts to the Iron Bank. That’s her stated reason, at least: more likely, she just wants the Tyrell patriarch out of the way. Then she meets with the High Sparrow and suggests they revive a church tradition called the Faith Militant, which arms the devout to enforce the gods’ laws. “Perhaps the gods need a sword of their own,” Cersei says, and later adds, “What would you say if I told you of a great sinner amid our very midst, shielding by gold and privilege?”

Continue reading »

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First Slice 5/3/15: Ga. 400 is metro Atlanta's most innovative and backwards roadway

Posted By on Sun, May 3, 2015 at 9:31 AM

When it comes to Ga. 400, there's good news and there's bad news.

The state needs to regulate summer camps to ensure counselors don't have criminal backgrounds or like to wear hockey masks.

Atlanta Police are investigating what sparked a shooting on Peachtree Street near Underground Atlanta — and the location of the shooter —  over the weekend.

The efforts of some South Fulton residents to join the City of Atlanta are moving ahead. Loch Lomond, Sandtown, and Southoaks communities recently filed petitions to be annexed into the city.

A brief history of Sandtown-Winchester, the community that Freddie Gray called home.

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