Seventh Memphis police officer suspended in Tyre Nichols death investigation

The Memphis Police Department has disciplined two more officers involved in the arrest, beating and death of Tyre Nichols, the department said Monday, widening the circle of punishment for a killing that has already led to the murder indictment of five officers and outraged the nation with another display of police brutality.

Officer Preston Hemphill, who is white, was relieved of duty shortly after Nichols’ Jan. 7 arrest, the department said. Five Black officers were fired and charged last week with second-degree murder and other offenses in Nichols’ beating and Jan. 10 death.

Late Monday, the police department said another officer had been relieved of duty. Officials did not give a name or specify what role the officer played in the arrest. In total, seven Memphis officers have been disciplined.

Also Monday, Memphis Fire Department officials announced the firing of emergency medical technicians Robert Long and JaMicheal Sandridge and fire Lt. Michelle Whitaker in connection with Nichols’ death.

Fire Chief Gina Sweat said in a statement that the department received a call from police to respond to a report of a person who had been pepper-sprayed. The workers arrived at 8:41 p.m. as Nichols was handcuffed on the ground and leaning up against a squad car, the statement said.

Long and Sandridge, based on the nature of the call and information they were told by police, “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” the statement said. Whitaker and the driver remained in the engine.

An ambulance was called, and it arrived at 8:55 p.m., the statement said. An emergency unit cared for Nichols and left for a hospital with him at 9:08 p.m. — 27 minutes after Long, Sandridge and Whitaker arrived, officials said.

An investigation determined that all three violated “multiple” policies and protocols, the statement said.

The killing of Nichols, who was Black, has led to days of public discussion of how police forces can treat Black citizens with excessive violence, regardless of the race of both the police officers and those being policed.

On body camera footage from the initial stop, Hemphill is heard saying that he stunned Nichols and declaring, “I hope they stomp his ass.”

Nichols’ death was the latest example in a long string of early police accounts regarding use of force that were later shown to have minimized or ignored violent and sometimes deadly encounters.

Memphis Police Department officers used a stun gun, a baton and their fists as they pummeled Nichols during the nighttime arrest. Video shows Nichols running away from officers toward his house after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving. Nichols, a 29-year-old father, was heard calling for his mother and seen struggling with his injuries as he sat helpless on the pavement, video footage released Friday showed.

The five officers chatted and milled about for several minutes as Nichols remained on the ground, but there were other authorities on the scene. Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies have been relieved of duty without pay while their conduct is investigated.

In the Nichols case, the police department has been responsible for internal disciplinary measures, such as firings, while the Shelby County district attorney has handled the criminal charges.

Hemphill was the third officer at a traffic stop that preceded the violent arrest but was not at the scene where Nichols was beaten, his lawyer Lee Gerald said. Hemphill turned on his body camera, in line with department policy, he added.

Lawyers for the Nichols family questioned Monday why the department did not disclose Hemphill’s discipline earlier and why he has not been fired or charged.

“We have asked from the beginning that the Memphis Police Department be transparent with the family and the community — this news seems to indicate that they haven’t risen to the occasion,” attorneys Ben Crump and Anthony Romanucci said in a statement. “It certainly begs the question why the white officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and protected from the public eye, and to date, from sufficient discipline and accountability.”

Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said information on disciplinary action taken against Hemphillwas not immediately released because Hemphill was not fired. The department generally gives out information about an officer’s punishment only after a department investigation into misconduct ends, Rudolph said.

Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that a “lack of supervision in this incident was a major problem.”

“When officers are working, you should have at least one supervisor for every group or squad of people,” Davis said. “Not just somebody who’s at the office doing the paperwork, somebody who’s actually embedded in that unit.”

Calls for more officers to be fired or charged have been loud and persistent from the Nichols family, their lawyers and community activists who have peacefully protested in Memphis since the video was released. The video was evocative of the arrest of George Floyd in 2020 and officers’ failure to intervene.

On Saturday, Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told The Associated Press that the family was going to “continue to seek justice and get some more officers arrested.”

“Questions were raised before the video was released, I raised those questions,” Wells said. “I just felt there was more than five officers out there. Now, five were charged with murder because they were the main participants, but there were five or six other officers out there that didn’t do anything to render any aid. So they are just as culpable as the officers who threw the blows.”

Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones said Monday that police policies on rendering aid and de-escalation appeared to have been violated.

“When everybody saw the video, we see that you have multiple officers just standing around, when Mr. Nichols is in distress, that just paints a totally different picture,” Jones said

Jones said he believes more officers should be disciplined.

“At this point, what’s going to be helpful for this community is to see how swiftly the police chief deals with those other officers now that everybody has seen the tape and knows that is wasn’t only five officers who were at the scene the entire time,” Jones said.

The five fired officers and Hemphill were part of the so-called Scorpion unit, which targeted violent criminals in high-crime areas. Davis, the police chief, said Saturday that the unit has been disbanded.

Nichols’ funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday at a Memphis church.

(AP)

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Memphis police dissolve unit charged with murder of Black motorist Tyre Nichols

The Memphis police chief disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit on Saturday, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist.

Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying she listened to Nichols’ relatives, community leaders and uninvolved officers in making the decision. Her announcement came as the nation and the city struggled to come to grips with the violence of the officers, who are also Black. The video renewed doubts about why fatal encounters with law enforcement keep happening despite repeated calls for change.

Protestors marching though downtown Memphis cheered when they heard the unit had been dissolved. One protestor said over a bullhorn that “the unit that killed Tyre has been permanently disbanded.”

Referring to “the heinous actions of a few” that dishonored the unit, Davis contradicted an earlier statement that she would keep the unit. She said it was imperative that the department “take proactive steps in the healing process.”

“It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the Scorpion unit,” she said in a statement. She said the officers currently assigned to it agreed “unreservedly.”

The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers whose stated aim is to target violent offenders in areas beset by high crime. It had been inactive since Nichols’ Jan. 7 arrest.

Scorpion stands for Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Davis had said she would not shut down a unit if a few officers commit “some egregious act” and because she needed it to continue to work.

“The whole idea that the Scorpion unit is a bad unit, I just have a problem with that,” Davis said then.

Davis became the first Black female chief in Memphis one year after George Floyd was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police. At the time, she was chief in Durham, North Carolina, and had called for sweeping police reform.

Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, lawyers for the Nichols family, said the move was “a decent and just decision.”

“We must keep in mind that this is just the next step on this journey for justice and accountability, as clearly this misconduct is not restricted to these specialty units. It extends so much further,” they said.

The five disgraced officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — have been fired and charged with murder and other crimes in Nichols’ death, which came three days after the arrest. They face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

The video images released Friday show police savagely beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker for three minutes while screaming profanities at him in an assault that the Nichols family legal team has likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King. Nichols calls out for his mother before his limp body is propped against a squad car and the officers exchange fist-bumps.

The video also left many unanswered questions about the traffic stop and about other law enforcement officers who stood by as Nichols lay motionless on the pavement.

“Nobody tried to stop anything. They have a duty to intervene, a duty to render care,” Brenda Goss Andrews, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, said in an interview after viewing the video.

She also was struck by the immediate aggression from officers as soon as they got out of the car: “It just went to 100. … This was never a matter of de-escalation,” Goss Andrews said, adding, “The young man never had a chance from the moment that he was stopped.”

Davis has said other officers are under investigation, and Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said two deputies were relieved of duty without pay while their conduct is investigated.

Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, said the family would “continue to seek justice” and those who failed to render aid are “just as culpable as the officers who threw the blows.”

A Memphis police spokeswoman declined to comment on the other officers’ conduct.

Cities nationwide had braced for demonstrations after the video emerged, but protests were scattered and nonviolent. Several dozen demonstrators in Memphis blocked the Interstate 55 bridge that carries traffic over the Mississippi River toward Arkansas. Protesters also blocked traffic in New York City, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.

Blake Ballin, the lawyer for Mills, told AP in a statement Saturday that the videos “produced as many questions as they have answers.”

Some of those will focus on what Mills “knew and what he was able to see” and whether his actions “crossed the lines that were crossed by other officers during this incident,” Ballin said.

Davis acknowledged that the police department has a supervisor shortage and said the lack of a supervisor in the arrest was a “major problem.” City officials have pledged to provide more of them.

It’s not clear why the traffic stop happened in the first place. One officer can be heard on video saying that Nichols wouldn’t stop and then swerved as though he intended to hit the officer’s car. The officer says that when Nichols pulled up to a red light, the officers jumped out.

But Davis said the department cannot substantiate the reason for the stop.

“We don’t know what happened,” she said, adding, “All we know is the amount of force that was applied in this situation was over the top.”

After the first officer roughly pulls Nichols out of the car, Nichols can be heard saying, “I didn’t do anything,” as a group of officers begin to wrestle him to the ground.

One is heard yelling, “Tase him! Tase him!”

Nichols calmly says, “OK, I’m on the ground,” and that he was just trying to go home. Moments later, he yells at them to “stop.”

Nichols is then seen running as an officer fires a Taser. The officers start chasing Nichols.

Others are called, and a search ensues before Nichols is caught at another intersection. His mother’s home, where he lived, was only a few houses away, and his family said he was trying to get there.

The officers beat him with a baton, and kick and punch him. The attack continues even after he collapses.

It takes more than 20 minutes afterward before any sort of medical attention is provided.

During the wait for an ambulance, officers joke and air grievances. They complain that a handheld radio was ruined, that someone lost a flashlight, that multiple officers were caught in the pepper spray used against Nichols.

Throughout the videos, they make claims about Nichols’ behavior that are not supported by the footage or that the district attorney and other officials say did not happen. In one, an officer claims that during the initial traffic stop Nichols reached for the officer’s gun and almost had his hand on the handle, something not shown in the video.

After Nichols is in handcuffs and leaning against a police car, several officers say he must have been high. Later one says no drugs were found in Nichols’ car, and another immediately counters that he must have ditched something while running away.

During a speech Saturday in Harlem, the Rev. Al Sharpton said the beating was particularly egregious because the officers were Black, too.

“Your Blackness will not stop us from fighting you. These five cops not only disgraced their names, they disgraced our race,” Sharpton said.

(AP)

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Graphic video released of US police officers beating Black motorist Tyre Nichols

The city of Memphis released shocking, graphic video footage on Friday of the violent encounter between Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, and the five police officers charged with murder in his beating death after a traffic stop earlier this month.

One video clip shows officers dragging Nichols from the driver’s seat of his car as he yells, “Damn, I didn’t do anything … I am just trying to go home,” then force him to the ground as they order him to lay on his stomach and squirt him in the face with pepper spray.

Nichols then breaks free, scrambles to his feet and sprints away down a road with officers chasing him on foot; at least one fires a stun gun at him.

A separate video shows a subsequent struggle after officers catch up with Nichols again, and are beating him. Two officers are seen holding him down as a third one kicks him and a fourth delivers blows with what appears to be a rod before another punches Nichols.

Nichols is heard repeatedly screaming, “Mom! Mom!” as he struggles with officers. His mother has said her son was only about 80 yards (meters) from home when he was beaten. A stretcher is seen arriving 19 minutes after the first emergency medical personnel get to the scene.


The four segments of highly anticipated footage from police body-worn cameras and a camera mounted on a utility pole were posted online a day after the officers were charged with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and oppression.

The officers, all Black, had already been dismissed from the police department last Saturday following their Jan. 7 confrontation with Nichols after pulling him over.

He succumbed to his injuries and died three days later while hospitalised.

Outrage

Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis and lawyers for Nichols’ family who watched the video with his relatives before it was released, warned that the images were brutal and likely to cause outrage, while appealing to the public for calm.

“You are going to see acts that defy humanity,” Davis told CNN in describing the footage.

As the video first appeared and was being aired on CNN and other news outlets, television images showed a large group of protesters gathering in Memphis, shouting, “no justice, no peace” and carrying signs that said “The people demand: End Police Terror.” The demonstrators appeared to be blocking traffic at one point on Interstate 55.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Nichols’ family, called earlier in the day for the city police department to disband its SCORPIONS unit, a squad that is supposed to focus on violent street crime and to which at least some of the officers involved were assigned.

“No mother should go through what I am going through right now, no mother, to lose their child to the violent way that I lost my child,” Tyre Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said on Friday.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he was “outraged” and “deeply pained” after watching the Memphis video.


The footage was likely to transform Nichols, the father of a 4-year-old described as an affable, accomplished skateboarder who recently enrolled in a photography class, into the next face of the US racial justice movement.

Raised in Sacramento, California, Nichols moved before the coronavirus pandemic to the Memphis area, where he lived with his mother and stepfather and worked at FedEx, taking a break each day to come home for a meal prepared by his mother.

Biden speaks to family

Nichols’ family and President Joe Biden have appealed for protests to stay peaceful in Memphis, a city of 628,000 where nearly 65% of residents are Black. Schools were scheduled to close early and Saturday morning events were canceled.

Biden spoke with RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, on Friday afternoon to express his condolences, the White House said, adding that it was coordinating with relevant government agencies in case protests turn violent.


Nichols’ death marked the latest high-profile instance of police officers accused of using excessive force in the deaths of Black people and other minorities in recent years. These have been publicly condemned as systemic racism in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Protests under the banner of the “Black Lives Matter” movement against racial injustice erupted globally following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.

Antonio Romanucci, another lawyer for Nichols’ family, told National Public Radio in an interview on Friday that Nichols was a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and “basically died for his own cause.”

US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday announced a federal civil rights investigation into Nichols’ death, while law enforcement agencies in some major cities, including New York, Atlanta and Washington, said they were preparing for possible protests following the video’s release.

Traffic stop began chain of events

Police have described the circumstances of Nichols’ arrest in vague terms. Even Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy, who sought the officers’ indictment, was circumspect when announcing the charges.

After Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving, “an altercation” ensued in which officers doused him with pepper spray, and Nichols tried to flee on foot, Mulroy said. “There was another altercation at a nearby location at which the serious injuries were experienced by Mr. Nichols.”

Davis said her department has not yet been able determine whether there was probable cause for the officers to pull Nichols over for reckless driving, a traffic stop which set in motion the violent events that followed.

Crump said the speed at which the criminal charges were brought against the officers – fewer than three weeks after Nichols’ death – should be a standard for police-involved killings.

In some other high-profile cases, such as the police killing of Laquan McDonald in Chicago in 2014, more than a year elapsed before the release of police video and the filing of charges.

Crump compared the encounter to the 1991 videotaped beating of Black motorist Rodney King by four police officers whose subsequent acquittal of criminal charges sparked days of riots in Los Angeles.

Records show Justin Smith, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Demetrius Haley and Tadarrius Bean, who were fired along with one other officer after Nichols’ death, were released on bond after they were booked into the Shelby County Jail on Thursday morning.

(REUTERS)



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Brazil’s Lula seeks to reverse Amazon deforestation

Shaking a traditional rattle, Brazil’s incoming head of Indigenous affairs recently walked through every corner of the agency’s headquarters — even its coffee room — as she invoked help from ancestors during a ritual cleansing.

The ritual carried extra meaning for Joenia Wapichana, Brazil’s first Indigenous woman to command the agency charged with protecting the Amazon rainforest and its people.

Once she is sworn in next month under newly inaugurated President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Wapichana promises to clean house at an agency that critics say has allowed the Amazon’s resources to be exploited at the expense of the environment.

As Wapichana performed the ritual, Indigenous people and government officials enthusiastically chanted “Yoohoo! Funai is ours!’’ — a reference to the agency she will lead.

Environmentalists, Indigenous people and voters sympathetic to their causes were important to Lula’s narrow victory over former President Jair Bolsonaro.

Now Lula is seeking to fulfill campaign pledges he made to them on a wide range of issues, from expanding Indigenous territories to halting a surge in illegal deforestation.

To carry out these goals, Lula is appointing well-known environmentalists and Indigenous people to key positions at Funai and other agencies that Bolsonaro had filled with allies of agribusiness and military officers.

In Lula’s previous two terms as president, he had a mixed record on environmental and Indigenous issues. And he is certain to face obstacles from pro-Bolsonaro state governors who still control swaths of the Amazon. But experts say Lula is taking the right first steps.

The federal officials Lula has already named to key posts “have the national and international prestige to reverse all the environmental destruction that we have suffered over these four years of the Bolsonaro government,” said George Porto Ferreira, an analyst at Ibama, Brazil’s environmental law-enforcement agency.

Bolsonaro’s supporters, meanwhile, fear that Lula’s promise of stronger environmental protections will hurt the economy by reducing the amount of land open for development, and punish people for activities that had previously been allowed.

Some supporters with ties to agribusiness have been accused of providing financial and logistical assistance to rioters who earlier this month stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court.

When Bolsonaro was president, he defanged Funai and other agencies responsible for environmental oversight. This enabled deforestation to soar to its highest level since 2006, as developers and miners who took land from Indigenous people faced few consequences.

Between 2019 and 2022, the number of fines handed out for illegal activities in the Amazon declined by 38% compared with the previous four years, according to an analysis of Brazilian government data by the Climate Observatory, a network of environmental nonprofit groups.

One of the strongest signs yet of Lula’s intentions to reverse these trends was his decision to return Marina Silva to lead the country’s environmental ministry. Silva formerly held the job between 2003 and 2008, a period when deforestation declined by 53%. A former rubber-tapper from Acre state, Silva resigned after clashing with government and agribusiness leaders over environmental policies she deemed to be too lenient.

Silva strikes a strong contrast with Bolsonaro’s first environment minister, Ricardo Salles, who had never set foot in the Amazon when he took office in 2019 and resigned two years later following allegations that he had facilitated the export of illegally felled timber.

Other measures Lula has taken in support of the Amazon and its people include:

  • Signing a decree that would rejuvenate the most significant international effort to preserve the rainforest — the Amazon Fund. The fund, which Bolsonaro had gutted, has received more than $1.2 billion, mostly from Norway, to help pay for sustainable development of the Amazon.
  • Revoking a Bolsonaro decree that allowed mining in Indigenous and environmental protection areas.
  • Creating a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, which will oversee everything from land boundaries to education. This ministry will be led by Sonia Guajajara, the country’s first Indigenous woman in such a high government post.

“It won’t be easy to overcome 504 years in only four years. But we are willing to use this moment to promote a take-back of Brazil’s spiritual force,” Guajajara said during her induction ceremony, which was delayed by the damage pro-Bolsonaro rioters caused to the presidential palace.

The Amazon rainforest, which covers an area twice the size of India, acts as a buffer against climate change by absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide. But Bolsonaro viewed management of the Amazon as an internal affair, causing Brazil’s global reputation to take a hit. Lula is trying to undo that damage.

During the UN’s climate summit in Egypt in November, Lula pledged to end all deforestation by 2030 and announced his country’s intention to host the COP30 climate conference in 2025. Brazil had been scheduled to host the event in 2019, but Bolsonaro canceled it in 2018 right after he was elected.

While Lula has ambitious environmental goals, the fight to protect the Amazon faces complex hurdles. For example, getting cooperation from local officials won’t be easy.

Six out of nine Amazonian states are run by Bolsonaro allies. Those include Rondonia, where settlers of European descent control local power and have dismantled environmental legislation through the state assembly; and Acre, where a lack of economic opportunities is driving rubber-tappers who had long fought to preserve the rainforest to take up cattle grazing instead.

The Amazon has also been plagued for decades by illegal gold mining, which employs tens of thousands of people in Brazil and other countries, such as Peru and Venezuela. The illegal mining causes mercury contamination of rivers that Indigenous peoples rely upon for fishing and drinking.

“Its main cause is the state’s absence,” says Gustavo Geiser, a forensics expert with the Federal Police who has worked in the Amazon for over 15 years.

One area where Lula has more control is in designating Indigenous territories, which are the best preserved regions in the Amazon.

Lula is under pressure to create 13 new Indigenous territories — a process that had stalled under Bolsonaro, who kept his promise not to grant “one more inch” of land to Indigenous peoples.

A major step will be to expand the size of Uneiuxi, part of one of the most remote and culturally diverse regions of the world that is home to 23 peoples.

The process of expanding the boundaries of Uneiuxi started four decades ago, and the only remaining step is a presidential signature, which will increase its size by 37% to 551,000 hectares (2,100 square miles).

“Lula already indicated that he would not have any problem doing that,” said Kleber Karipuna, a close aide of Guajajara.

(AP)

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Legendary US folk-rock singer and songwriter David Crosby dead at age 81

David Crosby, one of the most influential rock musicians of the 1960s and ’70s and who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with two different groups, has died at the age of 81.

Crosby was a founding member of two revered rock bands: the country and folk-influenced Byrds, for whom he cowrote the hit “Eight Miles High,” and Crosby, Stills & Nash, later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, who defined the smooth side of the Woodstock generation’s music.

“It is with a deep and profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed,” Graham Nash, his longtime collaborator and sometime sparring partner, said in a statement.

“I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times, but what has always mattered to David and me more than anything was the pure joy of the music we created together … and the deep friendship we shared,” Nash said.

Crosby’s wife, Jan Dance, announced the death in a statement published by Variety. It did not specify when he died, nor the cause. Crosby’s British-based representatives could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

Musically, Crosby stood out for his intricate vocal harmonies, unorthodox open tunings on guitar and incisive songwriting. His work with both the Byrds and CSN/CSNY blended rock and folk in new ways, and their music became a part of the soundtrack for the hippie era.

“I don’t know what to say other than I’m heartbroken to hear about David Crosby. David was an unbelievable talent – such a great singer and songwriter. And a wonderful person,” Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson said on Twitter.

Personally, Crosby was the embodiment of the credo “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” and a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine article tagged him “rock’s unlikeliest survivor.”

In addition to drug addictions that ultimately led to a transplant to replace a liver worn out by decades of excess, his tumultuous life included a serious motorcycle accident, the death of a girlfriend, and battles against hepatitis C and diabetes.

“I’m concerned that the time I’ve got here is so short, and I’m pissed at myself, deeply, for the 10 years – at least – of time that I wasted just getting smashed,” Crosby told the Los Angeles Times in July 2019. “I’m ashamed of that.”

He fell “as low as a human being can go,” Crosby told the Times.

He also managed to alienate many of his famous former bandmates, for which he often expressed remorse in recent years.

His drug habits and often abrasive personality contributed to the demise of CSNY and the members eventually quit speaking to each other. In the 2019 documentary “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” he made clear he hoped they could work together again, but conceded the others “really dislike me, strongly.”

Crosby fathered six children – two as a sperm donor to rocker Melissa Etheridge’s partner and another who was placed for adoption at birth and did not meet Crosby until he was in his 30s. That son, James Raymond, would eventually become his musical collaborator.

“Thank you @thedavidcrosby I will miss you my friend,” Etheridge said on Twitter alongside a photo of the two of them.

Looking back at the turbulent 1960s and his life, Crosby told Time magazine in 2006: “We were right about civil rights; we were right about human rights; we were right about peace being better than war … But I think we didn’t know our butt from a hole in the ground about drugs and that bit us pretty hard.”

Crosby was born on Aug. 14, 1941, in Los Angeles. His father was a cinematographer who won a Golden Globe for “High Noon” in 1952 and his mother exposed him to the folk group the Weavers and to classical music.

Music and women

As a teenager, Crosby found that one of his passions aided him in the pursuit of another. “It (playing music) was absolutely joyous to me,” he wrote. “I always loved it. I always will love it. And I did get laid.”

After a stay in New York’s Greenwich Village music scene, Crosby was back in California in 1963 and helped Roger McGuinn start the Byrds, whose first hit, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” came in 1965, followed by “Turn! Turn! Turn!”

Crosby was kicked out of the Byrds because the band did not want to play his songs, with the flashpoint being “Triad,” about a menage a trois, and disputes over on-stage political rants.

Crosby and Stephen Stills, whose band with Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, had fallen apart, then began playing together. Graham Nash of the Hollies, who met Crosby in 1966 and went on to become his closest collaborator and a closer friend, joined them. Their first album, “Crosby, Stills and Nash,” was a big seller in 1969.

Guitarist and singer/songwriter Young fell in with them that year and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came to be considered one of the greatest amalgams of talent in rock history.

Their second performance together was the landmark Woodstock music festival in 1969, and their 1970 album, “Deja Vu” contained hits “Teach Your Children,” “Woodstock,” and one of Crosby’s signature songs, “Almost Cut My Hair.”

Girlfriend’s death

As CSNY was taking off, Crosby was in a drug-fueled downward spiral caused by the 1969 death of girlfriend Christine Hinton in a car accident.

“Nothing in my life had prepared me for that,” wrote Crosby, who had added cocaine and heroin to his drug repertoire.

The next decade was a blur of drug arrests, album releases and women. “I was not into being monogamous – I made that plain to everybody concerned. I was a complete and utter pleasure-seeking sybarite,” he wrote in his autobiography.

Crosby had a daughter with a girlfriend but soon left her for Jan Dance, who moved in with him in 1978. That relationship lasted and they had a son, Django, in 1995.

Crosby introduced Dance to heroin and the free-basing method of smoking cocaine. “We went down the tubes together but we did it with our hearts intertwined,” he wrote.

There were several failed attempts at rehab and Crosby developed a reputation as a bloated, hapless addict. In 1985, Nash told Rolling Stone: “I’ve tried everything – extreme anger, extreme compassion. I’ve gotten 20 of his best friends in the same room with him. I’ve tried hanging out with him. I’ve tried not hanging out with him.”

Crosby beat a series of drug charges but lost in Texas after being arrested with a drug pipe and gun at a club in Dallas and went to prison in 1985. The prison system required him to shave his trademark bushy mustache, but he found solace in playing in the prison band during his year of incarceration.

After his release, Crosby told People magazine he had beaten his addictions.

He was also arrested on gun and marijuana charges in New York in 2004.

In 2014 he released “Croz,” his first solo album since 1993, but his tour to promote the record was interrupted in February by heart surgery.

He continued recording and was an active presence on Twitter, in addition to writing an advice column for Rolling Stone.

In March 2021, the Guardian reported that Crosby sold the recorded music and publishing rights to his entire music catalog to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group for an undisclosed sum.

(REUTERS)

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Perspective – ‘Quite possible’ Bolsonaro won’t accept results of Brazil’s presidential election



Issued on:

It was a nail-biting race, but in the end Brazil’s former – and now future – left-wing president came out on top. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has defeated far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a highly polarised presidential run-off. The win marks an incredible comeback for Lula, who after spending 580 days in prison on corruption charges will return to office for a third term. But can he lead such a divided country and will Bolsonaro accept the results? We discuss this and more with our Perspective guest Marieke Riethof, a senior lecturer in Latin American politics at Liverpool University in the UK.



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