Things That Matter

An Ohio Cheerleader Is Only Going To Get Three Years Of Probation For Killing Her Newborn Daughter

A young woman accused of killing her newborn baby and burying her in the backyard of her family’s Ohio home two years ago was found not guilty of murder, USA Today reports. On Thursday, 20-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson was acquitted of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter for the May 2017 death of her daughter. The former cheerleader was instead found guilty of abuse of a corpse and sentenced to seven days in jail and three years probation. 

However, the judge said that Richardson, who was behind bars for most of her eight-day trial, was free to go home for time served.

The young woman, who said she had learned and grown over the past two years, was mostly silent throughout her trial, with the exception of her repeated apologies.

“I am forever sorry,” she said. Moments later, she turned to the late baby’s father’s family adding, “I’m sorry.”

In July 2017, when Richardson was a senior in high school, she was accused of killing and burying her newborn baby days after her prom. Prosecutors allege she did not want to be an 18-year-old single mom. They pointed to circumstances like Richardson not returning for an ultrasound, bloodwork or any other treatment weeks after learning of her pregnancy and ignoring calls from the doctor and assistants. She also told police that she looked into an abortion, but it was too late to have one. However, she has adamantly denied that she administered an abortion on herself.

Assistant prosecutor Steven Knippen said in court that days after the baby’s death Richardson sent two text messages bragging about her weight loss.

“Shortly, after murdering her daughter and placing her daughter in the dirt, and not even having the decency to cover it with a blanket, she sent two elated text messages: My belly is back, my belly is back,” Knippen said, as reported by NBC News. According to Richardson’s attorneys, the baby was stillborn, meaning she did not meet the legal criteria to be considered a child. They allege that the young woman, scared, buried her baby, who she named Annabelle, in her backyard.

The baby’s remains weren’t found until two months after the birth. During a news conference on Thursday, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said it’s still unclear how the newborn was killed because of decomposition.

“Brooke Richardson created the situation that prevented us from being able to conduct an autopsy on that baby girl,” he said. He added that he was “absolutely convinced she caused the death” of the child.

Richardson was up against charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.

 After deliberating for four hours and 25 minutes, the jury found her guilty of only gross abuse of a corpse. Judge Donald Oda released Richardson but informed her that she had acted with “grotesque disregard for life.” 

“In all of this mess that we have in this, what often gets overlooked is how precious life is. It should be protected. It should be guarded,” Oda said, adding that the law restricted the sentence he could pass down. Oda also ruled the baby’s remains would be turned over to the Richardsons after the young woman’s father, Scott Richardson, promised to give the late infant a proper burial that would also be accessible to the family of the baby’s father, Trey Johnson.

The past couple of years have been emotional for the relatives involved as well. 

Before the sentencing, Johnson’s mother, Tracy Johnson, spoke in court. 

“Two years, four months and one week,” she said through tears. “That’s how old my granddaughter would be if she were here.” Tracy, who noted that the experience has made it difficult for her to hold babies anymore, also said that her son is a “totally different person” now. “I’ve watched my son become a different person,” Johnson said, according to PEOPLE. “I won’t disclose his medical diagnosis because she’s done enough to him.  I can personally tell you that I’ve personally been seen for depression, panic attacks, and I’m a shell of the person I was.”

She also said that while Richardson knew that Johnson, the young woman’s ex-boyfriend, was her baby’s father, that the Johnson family wasn’t aware until six months after her son took a DNA test.

“I would have taken her in with Trey without a question,” Tracy said. “Now, instead, every May 7, I don’t get to have a birthday party for my first grandchild. Instead, I send her balloons to heaven, to tell her how much her daddy loved her, and how much I loved her.”

Before the sentencing, Richardson’s father also addressed the court and discussed his daughter’s own mental health. 

“My daughter is suffering from an eating disorder and we are concerned about her health,” he said, asking for Richardson to be released. Richardson is currently free but on probation. If she violates her probation, she can spend up to a year in jail. When she completes her three-year sentence, she could be eligible to remove the charges from her criminal record.

Read: A 23-Year-Old Latina And Her Baby Died During Labor, Now Her Parents Are Suing Her OBGYN

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Are The Women Fighting To Find The Stolen Children During The Argentine Dictatorship

Things That Matter

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Are The Women Fighting To Find The Stolen Children During The Argentine Dictatorship

Sundance Institute

During the 1970s a group of desperate Argentinian mothers began protesting government officials and holding them accountable for the human rights violations that had been committed in the military junta  known as the Dirty War. The determined women violated the government’s law against mass assembly and risked the ire of Argentina’s military dictatorship to expose the government’s human rights violations. The biggest part of their fight however had been to expose the kidnapping of over 30,000 individuals known today as “Desaparecidos” or “the disappeared.”

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (or, the Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo) is a movement of Argentine mothers who campaigned to find out what happened to their children who had “disappeared” during the 1976 government takeover.

The mothers’ tragic stories began in 1976. At the time the Argentine military had toppled the presidency of Isabel Perón. According to History.com, “it was part of a larger series of political coups called Operation Condor, a campaign sponsored and supported by the United States.” The new military dictatorship resulted in the Dirty War, which was ultimately a fight against the Argentinian people. It opened doors to a period of state-sponsored torture and terrorism and saw the government turn against Argentina’s citizens, targeting those suspected of being aligned with leftist, socialist or social justice. As part of the rule of terror, the government kidnapped and killed an estimated 30,000 people. They also made great efforts to cover up the dead and missing people.

But the family members and friends of the missing victims fought for the truth.

The mothers and relatives of people who went missing during the war searched for their loved ones and began to stage protests at the Plaza de Mayo in the 1980s. 

According to History.com “Some of the mothers of the disappeared were grandmothers who had seen their daughters whisked away and presumably killed and their grandchildren given away to other families. Even after the Dirty War ended in 1983, the Grandmothers of the Plaza Mayo have searched for answers and worked to identify children who grew up without any knowledge of their true parents.”

Today the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have verified the identities of 128 stolen children, thanks to DNA identification techniques but the fight of these mothers and grandmothers lives on. Sadly, thousands of Argentinian children remain missing.

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo is a 1985 Argentine documentary film that highlights the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

At the time of its release, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and in 2013, received an update on “Abuelas: Grandmothers on a Mission” which highlights the work of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.

The Police’s Reaction To The Black Lives Matter Protests For George Floyd Vs. Anti-Quarantine Demonstrators Says A Lot

Things That Matter

The Police’s Reaction To The Black Lives Matter Protests For George Floyd Vs. Anti-Quarantine Demonstrators Says A Lot

Stephen Maturen / Stringer

Derek Chauvin (a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department) pinned George Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck for seven minutes.

For the first three minutes of being restrained Floyd (a 46-year-old Black man) pled for his life begging Chauvin to remove his knee because he couldn’t breathe. After four minutes Floyd stopped moving, and bystanders capturing video of the request determined that he was unresponsive. The aftermath of his death after sparked explosive protests and reminders, yet again, that Black people are not safe in this country and continue to. be subjected to inequality.

On Tuesday morning, video of the incident that took place on a sidewalk in Minneapolis surfaced online fueling anger and protests.

There’s so much in the video that is distressing, but hearing Floyd begging the officer to let up and repeating “I can’t breathe” is only a small part that has once fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. After all, we’ve heard those words before. In 2014, Eric Garner, uttered the same ones while dying under police brutality in New York.

At the time of his death, Floyd had been facing arrest. The officers involved in the incident had been called to the scene due to a “forgery in progress” in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. Note, forgery while a serious crime is a non-violent one.

Darnella Frazier is the woman who captured the video on her phone and posted the footage on Facebook for the world to see.

On Tuesday, May 26, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced that the officers involved had been placed on leave. Later on in the day, four responding officers were fired and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the incident was being reviewed.

Reactions to the protests show another glaring reminder of the treatment of Black people in the United States vs. white.

Reactions to anti-mask protests and demonstrations against government stay-at-home orders in the past few weeks have been met with stoic reactions.

You’ve seen the images. In the face of demonstrators furious about the safety restrictions implemented to combat COVID-19, police officers and government officials have responded primarily with nonviolence. We’ve seen no stun grenades or tear gas.

But the crowds of Black protestors rallying for “Justice for George” have been met with riot gear and chemical agents. According to reports around 8:00 pm of the protests police in riot gear fired sandbag rounds, rubber bullets, and pepper spray.

Once again, Black people are being forced to fight for their lives while non-Black people of color get off easy while saying or doing little from the sidelines.