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Top 5 Live-Wednesday November 25

Top 5 Live-WURD Wednesday November 25
1. After override threat, budget talks resume

Republicans and Gov. Wolf huddled behind closed doors late Tuesday, trying to salvage some shred of a state budget deal. After a day of back-and-forth, negotiators said they would work through the weekend with hopes of reaching an agreement.

The two sides resumed talks after frustrated Senate GOP leaders signaled they were prepared to call a vote to override Wolf’s veto of their temporary spending plan. Such a step, if successful, would end the five-month freeze on state spending and represent a stunning defeat for the first-term governor.

The scrambling came a day Wolf had declared the so-called budget framework he struck with GOP leaders this month in “deep peril” and challenged lawmakers to craft a budget that both sides could accept.

One plan being floated by Republicans, according to a source close to the talks, called for expanding the state sales tax to previously exempt items, or at least enough to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue that Wolf wants for education.

Gone from the discussions, at least for the moment, seem to be a proposed hike in the sales tax and a reduction in property taxes.


2. Man pleads not guilty in NYPD officer’s death

 A 31-year-old man accused of shooting a New York City police officer in the head during a chase has been indicted on murder charges, Manhattan’s district attorney announced Tuesday.

The indictment lays out a multiple charges against Tyrone Howard, including aggravated murder, first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

Howard pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday to the charges, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

“The defendant in this case … is charged with willfully and maliciously murdering one of New York’s finest,” New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. “This prosecution will not bring back this brave public servant, but we hope, by seeking justice, it will bring a measure of comfort to Detective Holder’s family, his colleagues in the NYPD and the city as a whole.”

Randolph “Randy” Holder, 33, a native of Guyana who had joined the New York City Police Department, was shot in the head while chasing a suspect in an East Harlem housing complex on October 20.


3. Board to decide whether to charge justice in email scandal

The board that investigates misconduct allegations against Pennsylvania judges said Tuesday it will soon decide whether charges are warranted against state Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin over his email practices.

Eakin is under investigation for his role in an explicit email ring that also involved other judges and the state attorney general’s office. He has publicly apologized for what he described as insensitive and out-of-character emails from an account at under the name “John Smith.”

The Judicial Conduct Board wrote Eakin’s lawyer to say its rules probably did not permit them to stop an investigation and send the case directly to the Court of Judicial Discipline, as Eakin requested.

“The board’s completion of the investigation is necessary to fulfill our responsibility to determine if probable cause exists to file formal charges in the Court of Judicial Discipline and, if appropriate, present the case in support of the charges,” wrote board member James Schwartzman in a letter to Eakin’s lawyer.

If the court determines there is sufficient evidence of misconduct, it can impose discipline that includes reprimand, suspension with or without pay, or permanent removal from office.


4. Is racism on the rise? More in U.S. say it’s a ‘big problem,’ CNN/KFF poll finds

Debra Aust sees it in videos of recent police shootings.

Alex Sproul reads about it in his Facebook feed.

Sheryl Sims senses it when she walks down the street.

They are three Americans from three different demographic groups living in three different states. And they believe the same thing: Racism is a big problem.

Their voices are just a few in a country of more than 322 million people. But they are far from alone.

In a new nationwide poll conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation, roughly half of Americans — 49% — say racism is “a big problem” in society today.


 5. Chicago officer who shot Laquan McDonald charged with murder

 The Chicago officer charged in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald has been charged with first degree murder and is no longer being paid by the police department, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters Tuesday.

“The officer in this case took a young man’s life and he’s going to have to account for his actions,” he said in announcing the release of the video of the shooting.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that the officer, Jason Van Dyke, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday.

“It is my determination that this defendant’s actions — of shooting Laquan McDonald when he did not pose an immediate threat of great bodily harm or death, and his subsequent actions of shooting Laquan McDonald while he lay on the ground after previously being struck by gunfire — were not justified and they were not a proper use of deadly force by this police officer,” she told reporters.

The announcement of charges happened one day before the city’s deadline to release video that shows the shooting.

Click here to read these stories on 900amWURD.

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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon

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