Queens D.A. No Charges for Man Put in Chokehold by NYPD Cop

Breaking News 6/21/20
UNNECESSARY CHOKEHOLD
@NYScanner / Twitter

10:43 AM PT -- 6/22 The Queens DA reportedly says the man who was placed in a chokehold by an NYPD cop will NOT face any charges.

4:13 PM PT -- The officer who was caught on camera applying a chokehold to a man he and other cops were trying to detain has now been suspended from the force ... and won't make a dime while he's out.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea made the announcement Sunday, saying ... "Accountability in policing is essential. After a swift investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau, a police officer involved in a disturbing apparent chokehold incident in Queens has been suspended without pay."

He added, "While a full investigation is still underway, there is no question in my mind that this immediate action is necessary. We are committed to transparency as this process continues."

3:52 PM PT -- The NYPD just released body cam footage of the minutes leading up to the chokehold out by Rockaway Sunday, and it's incredibly telling.

The face-off with officers actually started with three different men, two of whom were white, and they were all talking trash to the cops trying to understand why they were out there approaching them to begin with. The guy who ended up getting cuffed was among the group too, but he was the only one to get tackled and roughed up in the end.

It's not entirely clear why the cops decided to bum-rush him -- you hear in the body cam footage that one of the officers felt he "squared up" and got into a fighting stance, and apparently the cops felt threatened. It doesn't look like he did though from what we can tell.

In any case, after the police pounced ... one of the officers wrapped their arm around the guy's neck, which caused his buddies to scream in a panic. He was only held down for a few seconds, and it does not appear he lost consciousness during the ordeal.

You can also hear multiple people standing around and watching, openly asking why the black guy was the only one to get arrested -- when the other two guys (one in particular) was mouthing off just as much, if not more so. No clear answers for that one, but check it out for yourself.

Less than a week after New York City said no more chokeholds to cops, an NYPD officer used one while making an arrest ... to the point the person he's subduing loses consciousness.

A handful of NYPD officers were filmed Sunday near Rockaway Beach attempting to detain and arrest a black man -- with one of the cops wrapping his entire arm around the guy's neck and putting his body weight on him from the ground, while the others put cuffs on.

You hear bystanders -- who are filming the whole thing -- start to scream out in a panic, telling the officer to stop choking him, which eventually gets him to release.

At that point, it appears the man being arrested has gone limp and is unresponsive -- some of the folks standing around say "he's out." He had indeed passed out and was led away by police moments later.

It's unclear if and when he regained consciousness -- his current condition is also unknown.  We also don't know why he was being arrested, and the NYPD isn't saying.

The NYPD did say, "We are aware of the video and there is an active investigation underway by the Internal Affairs Bureau. This matter is taken extremely seriously and we expect to have an update this evening as the investigation unfolds."

Bear in mind ... the City JUST made it illegal for cops to do this, unless their lives are in immediate danger. They even named the law after Eric Garner.

Again, and again ... what is so remarkable about these encounters is that cops know they're being videotaped but it doesn't seem to deter much.

Originally Published -- 6/21 1:59 PM PT

Eric Garner Mock Trial Prosecutor Talks George Floyd Case, Proving Intent

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WHAT CAN HAPPEN?
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If George Floyd's case goes to court -- prosecutors must do their best to prove Derek Chauvin's intent was to harm -- and they've got a damning piece of video on their side ... so says the man who served as a prosecutor in Eric Garner's mock trial.

"American Trial: The Eric Garner Story" gives viewers a glimpse into what the outcome of Garner's case could have been if it went to court. Attorney Thomas Kenniff is part of the prosecution team in the mock trial and tells us if George Floyd's case goes to trial, the video of Derek Chauvin will be the pivotal piece to landing a guilty verdict.

Kenniff makes it clear ... prosecutors will have to prove Chauvin's intent and jurors will have their undivided attention on the video.

EXCESSIVE FORCE
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As we reported, Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck for almost 9 minutes while he stated he couldn't breathe, bled from his face and begged for his dead mother.

Kenniff says the video makes it hard to argue that there was any intention outside of harming Floyd ... and prosecutors should lean on that the hardest.

"American Trial: The Eric Garner Story" will make its TV premiere Saturday night at 8 PM ET on Reelz Channel.

'A Bay Bay' Rapper Hurricane Chris Busted for Murder

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Rapper Hurricane Chris -- best know for the hit track, "A Bay Bay" -- has been arrested for murder in Louisiana ... TMZ has confirmed.

The rapper, who's real name is Christopher Dooley, Jr., was arrested and booked for second-degree murder after cops say he shot and killed a man early Friday morning at a Texaco gas station in Shreveport, Louisiana ... according to the Shreveport PD.

Cops say Chris initially told them there was an alleged struggle over his car, so he shot the man multiple times in self-defense. But, cops say surveillance footage painted a much different picture ... resulting in Chris' arrest for second-degree murder.

What's more ... cops say the car Chris was riding in was actually reported stolen out of Texas, which resulted in the rapper also getting booked for illegal possession of stolen things.

The Shreveport native is best known for his 2007 album "51/50 Ratchet" which includes his hit single, "A Bay Bay." That track's music video has nearly 30 million views on YouTube.

Billie Eilish Gets Permanent Restraining Order Against Obsessed Fan

Billie Eilish is getting long-term court-ordered protection against an obsessed fan she says kept showing up at her home.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge just made Billie's temporary restraining order a permanent one for the next 3 years. The order, granted Thursday, prevents the man from attempting to contact or coming within 100 yards of the singer or her parents.

We broke the story ... Billie got a temporary restraining order last month after claiming Prenell Rousseau began showing up over and over again at her residence, ditching a face mask and touching the doorknob and doorbell without gloves, making Billie and her fam fear for their lives.

The permanent restraining order also bars Rousseau from assaulting or harassing Billie and her family, or from getting close to her workplaces.

Billie and her legal team at the law firm McPherson LLP were gunning for 5 years of court-ordered protection, but the judge granted it for 3 years. The order can still be extended or amended, if the judge thinks its necessary.

George Floyd Foundation Might Be in the Works ... Fam Files for Trademark

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George Floyd's name seems to be heading toward foundation status -- 'cause his family is already making moves to lock up the rights to something called just that ... TMZ has learned.

George's brother, Philonise Floyd, recently applied to trademark the phrase "The George Floyd Foundation" -- and if he gets it, he'll be able to use it to teach and advocate.

Philonise is looking to put "The George Floyd Foundation" on downloadable software for mobile phones that educate on police reform, downloadable media files featuring documentaries about George and other digital materials like DVDs, and audio and video files.

A PLEA FOR CHANGE
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He also wants to feature "The George Floyd Foundation" on a website dedicated to police reform, as well as downloadable documents and PDFs with information on the topic too.

But, there's more -- if Philonise gets this trademark, he'll also be able to slap that phrasing on COVID-19 face coverings, sweatshirts and T-shirts, baseball caps ... and even charitable fundraising events to support families who've fallen victim to police brutality.

Philonise also reveals in the application that he and the fam aim to conduct business seminars on social justice and police reform. So, yeah ... it looks like they're going for the works here in terms of starting a full-blown nonprofit for their deceased relative.

Considering how much change George Floyd's death has spurred thus far, setting up a foundation for the guy certainly feels like a logical next step. Here's hoping they get it.

MLB's Miguel Sano Denies Kidnapping Man In D.R. ... Twins Investigating

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MLB slugger Miguel Sano is callin' BS on claims he kidnapped and beat up a man in the Dominican Republic ... but the Minnesota Twins say they're now looking into the allegations.

In a new video released this week ... an attorney accused the 27-year-old infielder and other men of taking his client on May 6 and beating the hell out of him.

In the footage, which is in Spanish, the attorney also says Sano and the others threatened to hang his client in the alleged attack.

But, Sano released a flat-out denial to D.R. newspaper El Nuevo Diario this week ... saying he played no role whatsoever in a kidnapping or beating of the man.

Sano, in fact, accused the alleged victim of sexually assaulting his younger stepbrother. The MLB player also told El Nuevo Diario the attorney is trying to blackmail him over the allegations ... asking for serious cash to make the case go away.

Sano says he's going to be filing a lawsuit against the attorney over the allegations.

According to the newspaper, Sano was asked to go to the prosecutor's offices in the D.R. on Tuesday over the claims ... but the Twins player says that meeting got postponed to next week because he received notice too late.

Sano's team, which inked the third baseman to a 3-year, $30 MILLION extension this offseason, told the StarTribune it's aware of the accusations and is gathering information.

Sano was an All-Star in 2017 ... but struggled at the dish and with injuries in 2018. He rebounded for a solid 2019, hitting 34 home runs in 105 games.

Danny Masterson L.A. County D.A. Charges Him w/ Rape ... Three Alleged Victims

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3:09 PM PT -- Danny was taken into custody Wednesday morning around 11:30 AM PT -- at which point he was booked and eventually released the same day after posting bail.

"That 70's Show" star Danny Masterson has been charged with rape -- this after being accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct and assault over the years.

The charges against Danny were announced Wednesday by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who says her office has charged the actor with three counts of felony forcible rape involving three different women ... all of whom are being identified as Jane Does.

The alleged rapes -- according to the D.A. -- occurred between 2001 and late 2003 ... right in the middle of the sitcom's run.

Danny's attorney, Tom Mesereau, tells TMZ ... "Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify."

He adds, "Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false."

The actor has been publicly accused of rape before, and each and every time ... he's vehemently denied it.

If convicted on all charges, Danny faces 45 years to life behind bars. It's unclear if he's been taken into custody yet, but the charging documents state that his recommended bail be set at $3.3 million.

Originally Published -- 2:55 PM PT

'The Wire' Star Andre Royo Wife Files for Divorce Ending 22-Year Marriage

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Andre Royo -- best known for his role as "Bubbles" on "The Wire" -- is about to live life in the single lane, his wife's filing for divorce after 22 years of marriage.

The actor's wife, Jane Choi, filed the divorce petition in L.A. County Superior Court to end the marriage, citing irreconcilable differences ... this according to docs obtained by TMZ. She lists the date of separation as December 5, 2019. They were married on November 21, 1997.

It seems this divorce case has all the makings of a smooth sailing -- they have 1 daughter together but she's not a minor. Jane also checked the box blocking the court from awarding either of them spousal support.

Andre's got TONS of TV and film credits ... most notably during his 5 seasons on the hit HBO series. He's also appeared on "Fringe," "Party Down" and "How to Make It in America." He also appeared as Thirsty Rawlings on "Empire" ... playing Terrence Howard's character's attorney.

Beyonce & Jay-Z Sued Your 'Black Effect' Ripped Me Off ... In Effect, Without Pay!!!

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One of Jay-Z and Beyonce's songs, "Black Effect," leans heavily on a Jamaican artist, who claims she was never given proper credit or compensation ... despite being the leading voice on the track.

Dr. L'Antoinette Stines says she's renowned in Jamaica for "her artistry and wisdom" -- and to that point, she says the Carters sought her ought in March 2018 to provide dancers for a video promoting their upcoming tour.

According to a lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, Dr. Stines claims she hooked 'em up with dancers, and then Jay and Bey wanted to record her views on love. She claims she was told the interview would be used in the video ... "for promotional purposes" only.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, she says she was shocked when she heard "Black Effect" -- from The Carters' "Everything Is Love" album -- because the whole first minute of the track is just her voice.

Hearing herself on the song -- uncredited, mind you -- left Dr. Stines feeling "artistically raped" ... according to her lawsuit.

The doc claims a contract for her services was only thrust in front of her on the day of the shoot, and she alleges the Carters' reps told her not to worry ... after all, her interview would only be used for promotion.

So, she signed, but she's pissed she never got a chance to have it reviewed by her own lawyer -- and worst of all, claims she hasn't been paid a dime for her vocal work.

Dr. Stines is suing Jay and Bey for copyright infringement and violation of her right to publicity ... PLUS damages, of course. She also wants a writing credit, and everything that comes with that ... meaning, cash money.

We've reached out to reps for the Carters, but no word back yet.

Pete Buttigieg SCOTUS Ruling Wins Battle for LGBTQ+ ... But Not the War!!!

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IT'S A GOOD START
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Pete Buttigieg says the Supreme Court ruling making workplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ members illegal in the U.S. is a step forward -- but there's way more walking to do.

The ex-Democratic presidential candidate was on "TMZ Live" Tuesday to discuss the historic 6-3 decision SCOTUS handed down on the issue of civil rights at work. Pete says a lot of Americans might be surprised that, before Monday, it was still legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identification.

He goes on to explain there was a huge sign of progress in that Trump-appointed conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch saw the Civil Rights Act and its workplace protections afforded to citizens naturally extend to gay and trans people too.

BTW, the President's other appointee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, was one of the 3 dissenting votes.

Pete warned it's not time to fly victory banners just yet, because there are several outstanding issues for the LGBTQ+ community that aren't being addressed, and he detailed some of them.

Still, he says Monday's ruling should be taken for what it is -- a good omen for equality in America. True equality.

Bhad Bhabie Skai J. Drops Restraining Order ... No Need to Extend It

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Bhad Bhabie has one less legal issue on her hands while she's in rehab -- because one of her foes, Skai Jackson, is tearing up her restraining order.

The former Disney star just filed to have the order against Bhabie dismissed, and we're told a judge has signed off on it ... so it's official. There's no question ... this move comes as a direct result of Danielle seeking treatment.

Skai tells TMZ ... "Because Danielle stopped threatening me after the Court ordered her to do so, and now that she's made the decision to work on herself through rehab and therapy, I’m pleased that I don’t need to extend my restraining order." Now, she left a window for herself ... because Skai's dismissal was granted without prejudice, meaning she can refile if things heat up again.

Feb. 2020
"I'LL KILL YOU!"
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On that point, Skai adds, “If she goes back to her old ways, of course, we’ll have to change that, but I hope and believe that it won’t be necessary. I think it’s great that Danielle is getting the help she feels she needs. I wish her nothing but the best on her road to recovery."

You'll recall ... Skai got the restraining order against Bhabie in February after a squabble over NBA YoungBoy turned nasty.

BB was ordered to back off and stay away from Skai -- but in light of her recent pivot toward a road of recovery ... it appears that's no longer an issue. Happy ending for all.

Jenelle Evans Hubby David Eason Arrested Gloomy Mug Shot Released

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7:09 AM PT -- 6/15 -- David Eason allegedly used a handgun to hit Jenelle Evans' friend on the neck, and threatened to take his life ... this according to the arrest warrant in the case.

TMZ got a hold of David's arrest warrant, and while the details of how everything unfolded are still a bit hazy -- one thing is absolutely clear ... the alleged victim, James Spivey, claims David made a deadly threat.

According to the docs, Spivey claims David hit him on the back of the neck with a Springfield handgun, and then allegedly said ... "I will blow your f***ing brains out."

Eventually, David was arrested and booked for 2 misdemeanors - assault with a deadly weapon and communicating threats  ... and he posed for this gloomy mug shot.

Ex-'Teen Mom' star Jenelle Evans appears to be leaving her volatile husband, David Eason, for good -- this after the guy allegedly pistol-whipped a man and got arrested.

We confirmed Eason was busted and booked Friday night out in Columbus County, North Carolina on two different charges -- assault with a deadly weapon and communicating threats.

As for what happened leading up to this ... reports say, and Jenelle seems to confirm on social media, that a scuffle broke out between a couple of her guy friends and David ... when she returned to the house to get some of her things. Eason allegedly pistol-whipped one of the dudes over a misunderstanding over keys.

Jenelle is reportedly staying with a relative now.

Waiting for your permission to load the Facebook Post.

She wrote on FB, "I just want to let the public, tabloids, and my fans know that IM OK, IM SAFE AND SO ARE THE KIDS! I'm going to take a few days out to myself to gather my thoughts and focus on what's going on so I won't be on social media much. I love you all for the support that you all have shown me and I'll be stronger and better than ever soon!"

Jenelle also told Celebernation that it was time she and David went their separate ways ... again.

Cops released Eason on an unsecured bond.

Originally Published -- 6/13 3:21 PM PT

San Bernardino Police Shoot, Kill Homeless Man ... Claim He Might've Had Gun

San Bernardino Police gunned down what's been described as a homeless man, who they say waved what might have been a handgun at them ... but it's not clear if he was actually armed.

The shooting occurred Saturday night at a gas station, where cops were responding to reports of a man brandishing a gun on the premises. When they showed up, cops say the guy was still carrying what appeared to them to be a firearm, and refused to put it down.

In bystander video, you can hear the officers giving the order ... and seconds later, they fire multiple rounds. The man was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead. It's unclear what made the cops shoot, but SBPD released an image seemingly hinting at the reason.

They put up this photo, which they say shows the suspect pointing what was perceived as a possible weapon at the officers. Interestingly, though, SBPD has not yet confirmed if a gun was in fact found.

Witnesses on scene told the L.A. Times they'd seen the guy there earlier in the day rummaging through trash cans and panhandling. A cashier at the Circle K across the street says she believes the police mistook a flashlight he had as a gun, adding he was harmless.

The investigation is ongoing, but considering the boiling point we've reached with officer-involved shootings lately ... people are giving this a much-deserved hard look.

Beyonce on Breonna Taylor Open Letter to K.Y. AG ... Charge the Cops Who Killed Her

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Beyonce is shining a light on Breonna Taylor's case ... calling on Kentucky's top prosecutor to bring charges against the cops who killed her during a "no-knock" search warrant in March.

The pop star penned and posted an open letter on her site Sunday to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, highlighting the fact that while a new law has been passed in her name banning the use of no-knock warrants ... her family has still not received true justice.

She says it plainly, writing ... "Three months have passed -- and zero arrests have been made, and no officers have been fired. The LMPD's investigation was turned over to your office, and yet all of the officers involved in the shooting remain employed by the LMPD."

Beyonce adds, "Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison must be held accountable for their actions." They're the ones who busted into her apartment -- believing it was being used to house drugs -- and opened fire upon her and her boyfriend inside ... unloading 20 rounds, eight of which struck and ultimately killed Breonna.

The three officers were put on administrative leave -- the case is still under investigation.

Bey ends her letter with a list of demands for AG Cameron, saying she and the community want to see criminal charges brought against the three men, transparency in the investigation and subsequent prosecution of them, and then calls for a separate investigation into the Louisville Metro Police Department's handling of the case from the jump.

Beyonce caps it off with a heartfelt plea ... "Don't let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy. With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern. Take swift and decisive action in charging the officers."

She finishes by saying, "The next months cannot look like the last three."

Bay Area Richmond Cops Sued Excessive Force on 2 Black Men Caught on Video

EXCESSIVE FORCE
Daniel Horowitz/YouTube

The City of Richmond, CA and a handful of their police officers are being hauled into court over an incident that reeks of police brutality ... and it's all on video.

According to court docs -- obtained by TMZ -- two black men will sue the city, along with three to four cops who were involved in detaining and eventually arresting these guys over a weed bust back in late April. The body cam video tells the story.

Per the lawsuits -- filed by attorney Daniel Horowitz -- Dejon Brown and Johnathan Spragan claim they were roughed up bad and wrongfully arrested for something they never should have been hassled for in the first place.

Long story short ... cops responded to a call for someone sitting in a car and possibly smoking weed in a residential neighborhood, and when they arrived, they came with a bunch of squad cars ... which was met with curious/outraged neighbors watching it unfold.

CONFRONTATION AT 2:15
Daniel Horowitz/YouTube

As the officers dealt with the two men in the car, another man from the sidewalk starts to call them out for bothering them at all. He gets into a shouting match with one of the officers, ID'd in the suit as Ahmed Khalfan, and eventually turned his back on the officer.

Apparently, the cop didn't like that -- or what Dejon said -- and proceeded to rush over and throw him on the ground as more of his fellow officers came over to help detain Dejon. We're told Dejon's brother, Dareron, tried pushing some of the officers off his brother, and then ran away ... which led to a brief chase and eventual tasing, all caught on camera.

Enter Johnathan, a bystander watching this all unfold, who tried intervening to deescalate the situation, per his attorney, Dan Horowitz. You can see what happened to him when he wouldn't back down. He, too, was manhandled and arrested.

What's crazy ...  before they jump on Johnathan, you can hear a couple cops apparently discussing what they could possibly arrest him for ... and bring up not wearing a mask.

All three guys were arrested for felony resisting of an executive officer. They say the charges are BS, as they were simply giving their two cents from a safe distance ... claiming the arrests were unwarranted, not to mention violent and brutal.

Faith Evans Domestic Violence Case Dropped

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Faith Evans is off the hook in her felony domestic violence case ... TMZ has learned she won't be prosecuted for allegedly attacking Stevie J.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office tells TMZ ... they are declining to prosecute the singer because the alleged victim, her husband, declined to testify against her.

We broke the story ... Faith was arrested last month after she allegedly got into a heated argument with Stevie at their L.A.-area home, which at some point turned violent.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Stevie was the one who called cops to their home the night of the fight. We're told he just wanted her out of the house, and never wanted her arrested or prosecuted in the first place.

Our sources also tell us cops had no choice but to arrest Faith for domestic violence because Stevie had visible scratches on his face when officers arrived at the scene.

July 2019
NO TROUBLE IN PARADISE
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You'll remember ... it was just last year when rumors started that their marriage was in trouble. As we first reported ... there was palpable tension after our camera guy got the couple leaving the Essence Festival in New Orleans.

However, things seem to be OK -- even after this arrest -- the couple is still together and Stevie recently told The Shade Room he's not going anywhere.

Bottom line ... case closed.

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