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Four Black Female Officers Speak Out Against Baltimore Police Department For Alleged Discrimination & Harassment

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Four Black Female Officers Speak Out Against Baltimore Police Department For Alleged Discrimination & Harassment

Four veteran Black female officers are speaking out against a culture of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation they say they faced while working for the Baltimore police department.

According to The Baltimore Sun, these women have all experienced discriminatory acts against them resulting in them speaking out regardless of the consequences. One officer reported that she had a fake rat left on her desk while another said she was harassed by fellow officers while on maternity leave. Another female officer said she was involuntarily transferred and passed over for a promotion when she made a complaint against a white male officer, per the Baltimore Sun.

 

All four women spoke at a news conference organized by their attorney, Dionna Maria Lewis, Friday outside City Hall. Their attorney set out to call attention to what she called the underlying culture of the department that mistreats minorities, especially Black women, per the Baltimore Sun.

“At what point will the BPD self-monitor against the department’s own known complicit, insidious and institutional culture of sex- and race-based discrimination and sexual harassment, and severe retaliation?” she said. “At what point will there be accountability and oversight?”

According to The Baltimore Sun, the allegations come as the department undergoes sweeping reforms mandated by a federal consent decree. The agreement was reached in 2017 after a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found officers routinely violated citizens’ civil rights, especially in predominantly poor black neighborhoods.

“If leaders of the Baltimore Police Department cannot get justice, cannot get respect, cannot be treated in a way that honors their civil rights, then what do the rest of us here in Baltimore have to hope for. When will the culture of corruption in the Baltimore Police Department finally change? There is still much work to be done.” said Kobi Little, president of the local NAACP, at Friday’s news conference.

Joining Little was Major Sabrina Tapp-Harper of the Baltimore City Sherriff’s Office who also serves as chair of the National Black Police Association.

The first officer suing was Sgt. Danika Yampierre. She filed her lawsuit in May, alleging she was discriminated against and harassed while she oversaw the City Hall security unit, and that the harassment continued even as she was on maternity leave.

“Officers colluded with the accused officers involved by tipping them off with confidential information pertaining to my complaint … the moment I spoke out I became the black sheep” and targeted by frivolous internal affairs complaints. “There are so many more Black women in the police department who are suffering in silence and terrified to speak out because of severe retaliation,” Yampierre said.

The next officer suing the department was Jasmin Rowlett who said at the news conference that toy rats were placed on her desk in an effort to intimidate her and that she was called a b***.

Her complaint filed in May also stated that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by another officer who worked with her when she was assigned to the Northeastern District.

Rowlett said Friday that her complaints to internal affairs were closed without investigation. Rowlett previously claimed in another lawsuit that she was unfairly accused of fraternizing with a male Hispanic officer and she received a $77,000 settlement from the city, per The Baltimore Sun.

The third officer to sue was Welai Grant. According to The Sun, she said that in 2019 she reported a police major for misconduct for calling an applicant an n-word. Her suit, filed in August, said she reported the complaint to the Inspector General’s Office, and that Police Commissioner Michael Harrison pulled her into a meeting in 2019 to discuss the complaint. After that, she said she was involuntarily transferred and passed over for promotion without a valid reason.

The last officer to sue was Tashawna Gaines, a former sergeant. According to The Sun, she said she used to work for the police department and, in 2017, sought to be reinstated at her former rank of sergeant but was denied by then-Commissioner Kevin Davis. She said the denial came at a time the force was severely understaffed.

Gaines said Friday at the news conference that she left in good standing and that white men were reinstated while she was the only Black female seeking the reinstatement at the time.

“I wasn’t one of the boys,” she said. “Discrimination and retaliation is an ongoing issue within the Baltimore Police Department.”

All four women have pending federal lawsuits against the department.

 

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Kate McKinnon Joins Ariana DeBose For ‘West Side Story’ Themed Opening Monologue On ‘SNL’

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Kate McKinnon Joins Ariana DeBose For ‘West Side Story’ Themed Opening Monologue On ‘SNL’

Ariana DeBose spiced things up for her first-ever ‘SNL’ hosting gig! The actress had an assist from cast member Kate McKinnon for the ultimate ‘West Side Story’ medley.

Ariana DeBose, 30, hosted the first 2022 episode of Saturday Night Live. The West Side Story actress paid tribute to the film she just starred in with some help from the one and only Kate McKinnon, who revealed she’s a massive fan of the musical (but somehow didn’t see the movie). “I’ve loved it since I was in elementary school,” Kate said, giving COVID-19 as her excuse for not watching Ariana’s version of the film. “I don’t leave the house because of COVID, and also because I don’t leave the house,” she quipped.

Regardless, Kate proved her die-hard status as the two ladies belted out some of the most famous songs from the musical turned film, including “I Feel Pretty,” “Tonight,” “America” and “Something’s Coming.” After Ariana described Kate’s performance as “pretty good,” the comedian revealed she had, indeed, been on Broadway — only to clarify she had visited “the street” itself.

Shortly after the news was announced on Jan. 9, Ariana took to Instagram to share the career highlight with her 238,000 followers. “I’m hosting @nbcsnl,” she wrote with a mind exploding emoji, adding the caption onto the iconic post-it note that announces the show each week on SNL‘s social media page. “Hold please while I go collect my extremities, as I have exploded from excitement and sensible fear,” Ariana also said on the post, which got over 40,000 likes.

Several famous fans and pals and jumped into the comments section with love, including SNL cast member Cecily Strong. “WE LOVE TO SEE IT!!!” Cecily commented. Eva Longoria, Joshua Henry, Gabrielle Union, and many others also chimed in. “Omg!!!!’ Eva, who hosted back in 2005, gushed with clapping emojis. “Wait- whaaaat?! Go Ariana GO!” Joshua wrote, while Gab simply added heart and fire emojis as a sign of support.

Ariana earned some serious accolades after appearing as Anita in the Steven Spielberg take on West Side Story, which was conceived by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein in 1957. Rita Moreno, now 90, appeared in the 2021 version alongside Ariana as Valentina (however, she was Anita — the same character Ariana plays — in the original 1961 film).

This week’s episode — much like the final one of 2021 — wasn’t without plenty of last minute change, however: rapper Roddy Ricch was initially set to make his Studio 8H debut until he was pulled due to being exposed to COVID-19. Jack Antonoff‘s band Bleachers was booked to play last minute on Jan. 12 instead, filming promos with Ariana shortly after. “the hardest attempt to date of taking the sadness out of saturday night… bleachers are the first musical guest of 2022,” the band wrote via social media.

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‘Joe Biden’ Blames Omicron On New ‘Spider-Man’ Film & Escapes To Multiverse On ‘SNL’

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‘Joe Biden’ Blames Omicron On New ‘Spider-Man’ Film & Escapes To Multiverse On ‘SNL’

James Austin Johnson’s Joe Biden urged Americans to ‘stop seeing Spider-Man’ to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

James Austin Johnson’s Joe Biden had one goal during the cold open on Saturday Night Live: stop seeing Spider-Man: No Way Home to prevent the spread of Omicron. Johnson’s Biden was convinced that the hit film — which stars Tom Holland and Zendaya — was responsible for the massive spread of the virus. “Think about it,” he said on the January 15 episode. “When did Spider-Man come out? December 17th. When did every single person get Omicron? The week after December 17th. Stop seeing Spider-Man,” he urged.

The variant was spreading rapidly in mid-December, so perhaps Johnson’s Biden had a point. In fact, SNL was also majorly affected by COVID on the final episode of 2021, forcing the series to cancel its live sketches and audience (Tom Hanks was a last minute addition to the Paul Rudd hosted episode, alongside Tina Fey who filled in for Colin Jost). Johnson’s Biden went on to make some additional suggestions to reporters and Americans. “See anything else,” he added. “I saw the first half hour of House of Gucci. That’s more than enough movie for anyone,” referencing Lady Gaga and Adam Driver‘s film.

A reporter then suggested that perhaps there was another version of Biden in the “multi-verse” that “wants people” to see the movie. In the MCU, a multi-verse concept exists — which is how previous Spider-Man actors like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were able to appear in the latest film with Tom Holland.

“Finally, a good question!” Johnson’s Joe explained. It turns out the concept had crossed his mind “I’ve actually thought about this a lot. I’ve consulted with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Strange [played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the films]. As far as I can tell there are at least three Joe Bidens. One of them is me,” he added.

“One of them is a Joe Biden that lost to [former president Donald] Trump. That Biden hosts a show on CNBC called ‘T-birds, Tacos and Trains.’ And then there’s a third Joe Biden that was the greatest president in history. My approval ratings are sky high, I’m actually supported by my own party, and I understand the show Euphoria,” he went on. Turns out one of the Joe’s was Pete Davidson from the “real universe” with a message for Johnson’s: that his universe was going to be destroyed!

“Everyone on Earth is better off in the real world except one man named Pete Davidson,” Pete’s Joe, rocking futuristic sunglasses and a blazer with nothing underneath, urged. “This world is maybe more fun for him,” Pete added.

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Britney Spears Says She ‘Loves’ Jamie Lynn ‘Unconditionally’ Amid Feud: ‘I Know Your Real Heart’

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Britney Spears Says She ‘Loves’ Jamie Lynn ‘Unconditionally’ Amid Feud: ‘I Know Your Real Heart’

Britney Spears posted a heartfelt open letter to Jamie Lynn after calling her younger sister a ‘scum’ person, saying it’s ‘tacky’ for a ‘family to fight in public.’

Britney Spears, 40, loves her sister Jamie Lynn Spears, 30, “unconditionally” — despite the current drama between the pair. The In The Zone singer took to Twitter to post a lengthy open letter to her youngest sibling after drama pertaining to Jamie Lynn’s book Things I Should Have Said and subsequent GMA interview. “I said some harsh things because you obviously hurt me by the things you are making up about me!!!” Britney wrote in the screen shotted iPhone note posted to Twitter on Saturday, Jan. 15. The letter was in clear reference to Brit’s earlier post, in which she called Jamie Lynn a “scum” person.

“When I said only a scum person would make up things like that about someone, I could have sworn I said ‘but you’re not’ … but it doesn’t make sense at all to me what you are saying,” Britney explained. “I know you worked hard for the life you have and you have done amazing!!!! But I think we would both have to agree to the fact that the family has never been remotely as hard on you as they have been on me!!!” she penned, referencing Jamie Lynn’s teen acting career on Zoey 101 and successful song writing accolades.

Britney Spears and Jamie Lynn Spears are seen presenting at the Teen Choice Awards in 2002. (Lucy Nicholson/AP/Shutterstock)

Britney went on to discuss her difficult 13 year long conservatorship, which placed her under the control of their father Jamie Spears, 69. As conservator of her estate, Jamie oversaw Britney’s business affairs, career and music catalogue, amongst other things. When the arrangement went into place in 2008, Jamie Lynn was then 17-years-old and pregnant with daughter Maddie, now 13 — and said on GMA she was simply focused on becoming a mother at the time. She also stated she “took no steps” to become a part of the conservatorship as she got older.

Her older sister, however, seemed to disagree with that statement. “What Dad did to me, they don’t even do that to criminals … so for you to sit back and act completely aloof to what has happened to me is honestly insane to me!!!” Britney said in her lengthy Jan. 15 post. “You guys treated me like nothing and that’s not even half of it !!! I’m honestly shocked Dad isn’t in jail !!! Come on !!! We are supposed to have each other’s back … but what you’re saying just truly confuses me!!!” she added.

Britney then made it clear that no matter the drama, she “loves” Jamie Lynn no matter what. “All I know is I love you unconditionally !!! So go ahead and say whatever you want … it’s so tacky for a family to fight publicly like this !!!” she wrote. “You say you love me … yet your loyalty is still with the people that hurt me most….I know your real heart.” Jamie Lynn has yet to respond to the latest post.

During the interview, Jamie Lynn made it clear she’s on Britney’s side. “I’ve always been my sister’s biggest supporter,” she said to ABC. “When she needed help, I set up ways to do so. Went out of my way to make sure she had the contacts she needed to possibly go ahead and end this conservatorship and end this all for our family — if it’s gonna cause this much discord, why continue it?”

“I love my sister,” she also said on camera through tears. “I’ve only ever loved and supported her and done what’s right by her, and she knows that, so I don’t know why we’re in this position right now.”

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