LISTEN: Michael Slager Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation (UCNN 05/02/17)

1. AP – A former South Carolina police officer is pleading guilty to violating the civil rights of an unarmed black motorist he shot and killed as the man ran from a 2015 traffic stop, according to a copy of the plea agreement obtained by The Associated Press. The 13-page document also notes that as part of the deal, state prosecutors are dropping a pending murder charge against Michael Slager, effectively bringing to a close both parallel cases against the former North Charleston police officer. Slager, 35, had been scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday for motions ahead of his federal trial planned for later this month in the April 2015 death of Walter Scott.

2. AP – Police say a 14-year-old girl was fatally shot on the front lawn of a church near her middle school in Alabama. News outlets quote Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley as saying the girl was shot on her left side about 3 p.m. Monday after students were released from Bellingrath Middle School. The shooting happened at St. James Missionary Church, which is located next door. She was pronounced dead at a hospital. Finley says police are looking for two suspects who may also be students at the school. He did not release any description of the suspects.

3. NBC News – In February, Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels made history twice when he became the first black person and the youngest official to hold the state legislative position. Out of 105 representatives in the state legislature, the 34-year-old Democrat is one of 27 black representatives — and his election to the post reflects the state’s changing political landscape. Recent political scandals such as the resignation of former governor Robert Bentley and former chief justice Roy Moore’s suspension from the state Supreme Court, have sent both Republicans and Democrats in search of something new, David Wasserman, political analyst for the Cook Political Report, said. However, Wasserman cautioned, Daniels has his work cut out for him as the young leader of Alabama’s minority party.

4. CT – Global Mapping International (GMI) will close its doors on June 30, more than three decades after it began as a two-year global mapping project. “We thought we’d get it done and disband in two years,” GMI president and CEO Jon Hirst told CT. “Then we realized the monumental nature of gathering information for the Great Commission was essentially never-ending, and that led to GMI becoming a third-party independent research organization supporting the global church.” Long before Google Maps, GMI began as an innovative way to support the church, helping foreign missionaries become more effective with custom maps, infographics, and other resources. This week, the organization announced that its changing funding structure—underscored by a changing approach to mission—will force it to close.

5. AP – United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is likely to face pointed questions as Congress examines customer service by U.S. airlines and how air travel can be improved. The hearing by the House Transportation Committee comes amid worldwide outrage sparked when a passenger was dragged off a United flight after refusing to give up his seat to a crew member. The April 9 incident ignited a debate about poor service and a lack of customer-friendly policies on U.S. airlines. Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania said the hearing will give lawmakers “an opportunity to get much-needed answers about airline customer service policies and what is being done to improve service for the flying public.”

6. The Guardian – The first Church of England vicar in a same-sex marriage is leaving his parish and claims “institutional homophobia” in the church means he is blacklisted from getting another job. Andrew Foreshew-Cain, 53, a member of the General Synod, resigned from his London parish on Sunday, telling parishioners it was a “relief” because his ministry, and that of other gay and lesbian clergy, was “barely tolerated rather than fully accepted and celebrated”. The vicar of St Mary with All Souls, Kilburn, and St James in West Hampstead is moving to Manchester where his husband, Stephen, whom he married in 2015, is now working.

7. Chicago Tribune – A jury on Monday recommended criminal charges against seven Milwaukee County jail staffers in the dehydration death of an inmate who went without water for seven days. The jury’s recommendation came after a six-day inquest that included testimony from jail staff and evidence from county prosecutors. The jury found probable cause for “abuse of a resident of a penal facility” in the death of 38-year-old Terrill Thomas on April 24, 2016. The jurors recommended charges against two jail supervisors, Nancy Evans and Kashka Meadors, and five officers: James Ramsey-Guy, JorDon Johnson, Thomas Laine, Dominique Smith and John Weber. It’s up to prosecutors whether to file charges.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Maya Angelou said, “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!