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Baltimore Ravens Send 12 Players To The Pro Bowl, Tying Record

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Twelve Baltimore Ravens, including second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, and seven New Orleans Saints, highlighted by league-leading receiver Michael Thomas, have made the Pro Bowl.

Baltimore tied the record for Pro Bowl players set by Miami in 1973. The NFL released the rosters Tuesday night for the game in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 26.

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Joining Jackson from the Ravens, who at 12-2 have the league’s best record, are tight end Mark Andrews, long snapper Morgan Cox, cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, running back Mark Ingram, linebacker Matthew Judon, fullback Patrick Ricard, tackle Ronnie Stanley, safety Earl Thomas, kicker Justin Tucker, and guard Marshal Yanda.

“This honor is all about my teammates and our coaches, because without them, the success we’ve had as a team wouldn’t be possible,” Jackson said. “I’m also grateful for all the fans who continue to support us and who have helped make this season so special. Ultimately, it’s about winning, and we still have a lot of work to do before we accomplish our biggest goals.”

Thirty teams had at least one player selected and 24 clubs had multiple players chosen. The New York Giants and Miami Dolphins failed to get any Pro Bowlers. Players on the two Super Bowl teams will withdraw from the Pro Bowl and be replaced.

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Twenty-five of the players selected made it for the first time, including three rookies: San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa, Kansas City return specialist Mecole Hardman and New Orleans return specialist Deonte Harris.

The Pro Bowl coaching staffs will be from the losing teams in the AFC and NFC divisional playoffs with the best regular-season records.

Other AFC quarterbacks are Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City and Deshaun Watson of Houston. The NFL QBs are Drew Brees of New Orleans, Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Russell Wilson of Seattle.

Perhaps the most star-studded spot on offense is tight end with San Francisco’s George Kittle, Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz, Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Baltimore’s Andrews.

Defensive standouts include Buffalo’s Tre’Davious White, who is tied for the league lead with New England’s Stephon Gilmore with six interceptions. They are the top AFC cornerbacks.

NFL sacks leader Shaquil Barrett of Tampa Bay is on the AFC squad, along with perennial Pro Bowlers Aaron Donald of the Rams and Richard Sherman of the 49ers.

“To make the Pro Bowl, it’s a dream come true,” Barrett said. “That’s the best way I can sum it up. I dreamed of this growing up. It’s a huge honor and I can only hope that I’ll have more to follow.”

Two other Buccaneers, wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, were chosen.

“This is a special moment, and while I’ve worked hard to get to where I am in my career, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my teammates and coaches,” Godwin said. “I’ve had the chance to play alongside some of the best in the NFL, including Mike Evans, and sharing the honor with Mike makes it even better. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

 



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How Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Plans To Diversify The Legal Weed Industry

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Lori Lightfoot Is Sworn In As Chicago's First Female African American Mayor

Source: Scott Olson / Getty

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a plan in the works to diversify the mostly white entrepreneurs who are gearing up for the sale of recreational marijuana.

According to The Chicago Sun-Time, Lightfoot explained on Monday that she is “very serious” about the city growing its own recreational marijuana and she wants people of color to have a chance to learn the business and share the wealth.

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Lightfoot said that up to $15 million generated by tax-increment financing could act as the seed money for a “cooperative cultivation center” that residents of color could “buy into” — either with a “modest cash investment” or with “sweat equity.” She said that the plan is intended to overcome the biggest impediment to minority ownership: access to capital.

“This is a very, very expensive business to get involved with. The basics to be a cultivator requires about a $13 million to $15 million investment. There are not a lot of people that have that, particularly in a market that a lot of banks and traditional lenders won’t touch,” she said. “I think the only way to really crack this nut is for the city to invest its own resources to get engaged, get diverse entrepreneurs involved in the most lucrative part of the business, which is cultivation.”

Along with the TIF money, Lightfoot said the $15 million can come from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Catalyst Funds, which was created by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It uses funds generated by developers. In order to build taller and bigger buildings in a broader downtown area, these developers contribute to a fund that is then used to rebuild long-neglected neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

Ligthfoot discussed a city-owned cultivation center last week in response to a renewed threat by the City Council’s Black Caucus chairman to delay the start date for selling legal marijuana in Chicago from January 1 to July 1. However, the “rules are still being written” on whether it’s possible to issue a grow license to a public entity under the law, according to Kirsta Lisser, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture. “We really haven’t been posed with that question as of right now,” she said.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) is livid that Black people — who bore the brunt of the war on drugs — have “zero representation” among the owners of 11 medical marijuana dispensaries that would get a head start when recreational weed sales begin January 1. These 11 medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to instantly transition to recreational marijuana sales during the first year of legalization and have the exclusive right to open a second dispensary until late spring, when new businesses would finally have their moment to bid in.

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Lightfoot hopes her co-op is an answer to this.

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I would like to have the opportunity for the city to create a cooperative cultivation center so we can bring a professional in, let the professional run it. But then, people will buy into the cooperative — either with modest cash investment or sweat equity — and eventually, after they learn the business from top-to-bottom, turn that over to them,” she said. “This is a challenging issue. No question about it. This is a marketplace that was already created with medical marijuana. The vast majority of the people that are the entrepreneurs and business owners are white men. We know that. We will work as a city to make sure that we give opportunities for other people to be participants in this thriving market.”

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Van Crashes Into Crowded Store Near Seattle, Injuring 11

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BURIEN, Wash. (AP) — A van apparently being used as a getaway vehicle crashed into a crowded store near Seattle, injuring 11 people, including a 2-year-old child who was in critical condition, police said.

The driver of the van tried to take off at high speed after a woman, who had apparently shoplifted inside the Ross Dress for Less store in the suburb of Burien, got into it Monday night, said Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

The van first hit an unoccupied car in front of the store and then crashed through the store’s windows.

The vehicle hit a stroller with a 2-year-old boy in it and several other people. The boy and two men were critically injured and taken to Harborview Medical Center, according to the sheriff’s office. Eight others were injured and taken to hospitals.

The van’s driver was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, Abbott said. The female passenger was arrested on a previous warrant.

The van could be seen sitting in the front of the store, with glass and other debris from the storefront all around it.

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UPDATE: Missing NYC 16-Year-Old Girl Found

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UPDATE 12/17/19: 

16-year-old Karol Sanchez has been found.

Journalist Kemberly Richardson is reporting that the teenager was returned at a park near the location she was kidnapped from.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

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Karol Sanchez, 16, was snatched off a Bronx street right in front of her mother Monday night. According to NBC4 police are investigating the case as a possible kidnapping, and an Amber Alert was issued at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Sanchez and her mother were reportedly walking near Eagle Avenue and East 156th Street in the Bronx when four men in a tan sedan pulled up, police said. Two men then got out of the car, pulled Sanchez in and drove off.

According to reports her 36-year-old mother was pushed to the ground in the scuffle but she was not physically hurt. The suspects, described as men in their 20s, left her behind and she called 911. Dark surveillance footage shows the grab; two men leap out of vehicle and grab Sanchez off the street as rain appears to pour down. The car flees the scene with the girl.

The state Amber Alert page says, “The child was taken under circumstances that lead police to believe that they are in imminent danger of serious harm and/or death.”

Sanchez is described as being about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 150 pounds with short black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a dark blue short jacket, a white sweater, blue jeans and black sneakers, according to the NYPD. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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Chicago Family Details Horrific Death Of Loved One Waiting Nearly 10-Minutes For Ambulance [Video]

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A Chicago family is speaking out about the city’s poor emergency services after their loved one died while waiting for an ambulance.

“I wouldn’t wish this pain on anybody,” Sandra Williams told CBS Chicago. “I wouldn’t wish what I saw and witnessed last night on my worst enemy.”

According to the report, Williams’ mother Tina had just returned from the hospital, after having her IV access fixed for dialysis treatments, when the IV access began to bleed.

“It was coming out like water,” said Tina’s other daughter, Tiffany. Several family members made a total of five calls to 911 for an ambulance. Nearly ten minutes would pass before one showed up — and by that time, it was too late.

Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford initially lied and said the 911 callers failed to express the urgency of the situation. But after CBS 2 Investigators obtained the recordings, they confirmed that’s not the case.

The following transcription of the calls comes from CBS Chicago:

Can I have an ambulance at (address) W. Wilcox?” Arieal said in the first call, sounding worried. It was 8:33 p.m. “My grandma just came home from the hospital and now she’s bleeding out fast,” she added, frantically.

“She’s losing a lot of blood,” a man can be heard saying in a second call at 8:34 p.m. Moments after, he said, “Looks like she’s gushing out blood here from her arm.”

“Tell them to get a dry clean cloth, a towel or something, hold pressure to where she’s bleeding from okay?” the operator replied. “Tell them you’ve already called for an ambulance. We’re on the way.” Screams from the family can be heard in the background.

“She’s lost a lot of blood. I need an ambulance immediately,” the male caller said in the third call to 911 at 8:37 p.m.

“Somebody already called. They don’t just pop out of thin air unfortunately,” the operator replied. “Somebody just called, so an ambulance is on the way to you now.”

Arieal called 911 again at 8:39 p.m. – this time, in tears.

“My grandma’s bleeding out on the porch,” she cried. “She’s not responding. There’s blood everywhere.”

Arieal placed the last call at 8:41 p.m, saying: “Where are you? She’s bleeding out. And we need an ambulance. What’s taking you all so long?”

Eight minutes later, an ambulance finally arrived and began working on Tina. However, the family said it was too late.

“She died in my arms,” Tiffany said.

Her mother had recently turned 56.

“Way too young to die,” Arieal added.

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What Really Happened To Karol Sanchez? The Truth Comes Out About ‘Kidnapping’

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After a 16-year-old Black girl was reported as kidnapped in New York City late Monday night, social media sleuths got on the case quickly and helped the name Karol Sanchez go viral. Concerned tweets about her whereabouts and suspicions of possible child sex trafficking filled timelines across the internet until it was reported Tuesday afternoon that Sanchez had miraculously turned up in the same part of the Bronx from where she was reportedly kidnapped.

But while people were rejoicing that Sanchez turned up safe, others were having a problem making the entire ordeal make sense. Turns out, that was because Sanchez reportedly made the entire story up, according to a CBS New York report.

But considering how things played out Monday night, there were still more questions than answers. Namely, why?

The “kidnapping” was captured by a nearby surveillance camera that showed Sanchez and her mother walking in the rain with umbrellas when a sedan raced up to them, Two men jumped out and grabbed Sanchez and put her in the car with at least two other men before the car drove off.

It appears that Sanchez’s mother was not in on the apparent plan, though it’s still not clear exactly what that plan was and what it was supposed to accomplish.

“She was just screaming ‘My daughter, my daughter, my God, someone please help me.’ She was screaming hysterically. And I was looking, wondering what was going on. She was just screaming in the street,” one witness told CBS New York.

Sanchez confessed to staging the kidnapping after she was reunited with her mother at the 40th Precinct stationhouse on Tuesday, CBS New York reported.

Sanchez was reportedly crying and disheveled when she turned back up near 775 Eagle Avenue in the South Bronx on Tuesday. When she identified herself to the police, they whisked her away in their cruiser to safety.

“She was shaken up. She was bending over, grabbing her knees, and discussing with the police. And that’s when they took her into the parking garage for questioning,” witness Zani Koxha told CBS New York.

CBS New York said Sanchez was not immediately charged with a crime. However, that could change considering the resulting Amber Alert from the reported kidnapping hoax.

In the wake of a high-profile murder of a college student in upper Manhattan, people had been blaming that killing and Sanchez’s reported kidnapping on the NYPD being too soft on crime.

SEE ALSO:

Blackface Is ‘Absolutely Normal’: Russian Ballerina Responds To Misty Copeland Calling Out Racism

Chicago Mayor Plans To Diversify The Lily White Legal Weed Industry. Here’s How

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Blackface Is ‘Absolutely Normal’: Russian Ballerina Responds To Misty Copeland Calling Out Racism

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Misty Copeland and Svetlana Zakharova 2.0

Source: Splash News / Splash News

U.S. ballet dancer Misty Copeland is calling out racism in Russian ballets and the Russians don’t seem to be too happy about it.

Copeland first made waves when she posted a picture earlier this month on Instagram of ballerinas in blackface. According to BBC, she said the Russian production of La Bayadére was racially insensitive. Later she wrote on Twitter, “I get that this is a VERY sensitive subject in the ballet world but until we can call people out and make people uncomfortable, change can’t happen.”

“It is painful to think about the fact that many prominent ballet companies refuse to hire dancers of color and instead opt to use blackface,” she added.

Copeland’s comments sparked a lot of support and recently Russia’s Bolshoi Theater has responded to the discussion by saying they will continue to use performers who wear blackface make-up despite the criticism. The theatre’s director Vladimir Urin said the ballet has been produced this way for many years. “The ballet La Bayadère has been performed thousands of times in this production in Russia and abroad, and the Bolshoi Theatre will not get involved in such a discussion,” Urin told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency in response to Copeland’s thoughts.

Other Russian theatre experts and ballet dancers have defended the Bolshoi production, citing a lack of Black performers in the country for the reason blackface is used. “Finding some sort of deep insults in this is simply ridiculous,” Urin added. “No-one has ever complained to us or saw… an act of disrespect.”

Russian ballerina Svetlana Zakharova even told broadcaster Moscow 24, “There is nothing strange here, it’s absolutely normal for us… this is art.”

La Bayadére takes place in India and it’s a romantic tragedy that has featured black-faced performers since its premiere at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1877.

Copeland, who isn’t involved in the Russian production, made history in 2015 when she became the first Black female principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre. Copeland has been outspoken about the lack of diversity in the ballet world and she’s given her thoughts on race relations in America. She was considered a prodigy during her first couple of years in dancing, despite not starting ballet until she was 13. In just eight months after her dance career started, Copeland’s first show was “The Nutcracker”, where she took on the lead role of Clara.

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Say It Ain’t So, Joe! Did Obama Finally Hint At His Preferred Candidate?

Voter Suppression At Work: Registrations For 500,000+ People To Be Removed



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Chicago Mayor Plans To Diversify The Lily White Legal Weed Industry. Here’s How

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Lori Lightfoot Is Sworn In As Chicago's First Female African American Mayor

Source: Scott Olson / Getty

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a plan in the works to diversify the mostly white entrepreneurs who are gearing up for the sale of recreational marijuana.

According to The Chicago Sun-Time, Lightfoot explained on Monday that she is “very serious” about the city growing its own recreational marijuana and she wants people of color to have a chance to learn the business and share the wealth.

Lightfoot said that up to $15 million generated by tax-increment financing could act as the seed money for a “cooperative cultivation center” that residents of color could “buy into” — either with a “modest cash investment” or with “sweat equity.” She said that the plan is intended to overcome the biggest impediment to minority ownership: access to capital.

“This is a very, very expensive business to get involved with. The basics to be a cultivator requires about a $13 million to $15 million investment. There are not a lot of people that have that, particularly in a market that a lot of banks and traditional lenders won’t touch,” she said. “I think the only way to really crack this nut is for the city to invest its own resources to get engaged, get diverse entrepreneurs involved in the most lucrative part of the business, which is cultivation.”

Along with the TIF money, Lightfoot said the $15 million can come from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Catalyst Funds, which was created by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It uses funds generated by developers. In order to build taller and bigger buildings in a broader downtown area, these developers contribute to a fund that is then used to rebuild long-neglected neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

Ligthfoot discussed a city-owned cultivation center last week in response to a renewed threat by the City Council’s Black Caucus chairman to delay the start date for selling legal marijuana in Chicago from January 1 to July 1. However, the “rules are still being written” on whether it’s possible to issue a grow license to a public entity under the law, according to Kirsta Lisser, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture. “We really haven’t been posed with that question as of right now,” she said.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) is livid that Black people — who bore the brunt of the war on drugs — have “zero representation” among the owners of 11 medical marijuana dispensaries that would get a head start when recreational weed sales begin January 1. These 11 medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to instantly transition to recreational marijuana sales during the first year of legalization and have the exclusive right to open a second dispensary until late spring, when new businesses would finally have their moment to bid in.

Lightfoot hopes her co-op is an answer to this.

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I would like to have the opportunity for the city to create a cooperative cultivation center so we can bring a professional in, let the professional run it. But then, people will buy into the cooperative — either with modest cash investment or sweat equity — and eventually, after they learn the business from top-to-bottom, turn that over to them,” she said. “This is a challenging issue. No question about it. This is a marketplace that was already created with medical marijuana. The vast majority of the people that are the entrepreneurs and business owners are white men. We know that. We will work as a city to make sure that we give opportunities for other people to be participants in this thriving market.”

SEE ALSO:

Banned ‘Racial’ NBA Heckler Sues Russell Westbrook, Cites ‘Ferocity’

The New Cyntoia Brown? Teen Accused Of Murdering Sex Trafficker Faces Life In Prison



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Judge Drops Hate Crime Charge In Student’s Fatal Stabbing

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday dismissed a hate crime charge against a white man who stabbed a black college student to death at a bus stop on the University of Maryland’s campus.

But a jury trial will continue Wednesday for Sean Urbanski, 24, on a murder charge in the May 2017 killing of Richard Collins III.

Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. granted a defense motion to acquit Urbanski of the hate crime charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to defense attorney William Brennan and state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Denise Roberts. News outlets report that the judge ruled prosecutors didn’t meet their legal burden of showing that racial hatred motivated Urbanski to stab Collins.

Brennan said the judge will instruct jurors on both first- and second-degree murder charges before they begin deliberating. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of life without the possibility of parole if Urbanski is convicted of first-degree murder. The maximum prison sentence for a second-degree murder conviction would be 30 years.

Prosecutors rested their case on Monday. Defense lawyers finished presenting evidence on Tuesday. Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments on Wednesday before deliberations begin.

RELATED: Slain Maryland Student Honored During Graduation Ceremony

During the trial’s opening statements last week, deputy state’s attorney Jason Abbott said a toxic mixture of alcohol and racist propaganda emboldened Urbanski to act on his hatred of black people. Urbanski had saved at least six photographs of racist memes on his cellphone and liked a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation,” according to prosecutors.

Brennan denied the killing was racially motivated. The defense attorney said there was no evidence that Urbanski hated or advocated violence against any ethnic group or race.

Urbanski doesn’t dispute that he stabbed Collins. His lawyers say he was extremely drunk after a night of drinking with friends near the University of Maryland’s College Park campus, where he was enrolled as a student.

Collins had been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army shortly before his death and was days from graduating from Bowie State University, a historically black college. Collins was celebrating with a friend at bars near the College Park campus on the night of his killing.

It was just after 3 a.m. on a Saturday when Urbanski approached Collins while he waited for an Uber driver with a friend, a white man, and an Asian woman whom they met at the bus stop. Urbanski had watched them for more than 10 minutes before he briefly left and then returned, brandishing a folding knife as he approached the friends from a wooded area, according to Abbott.

“Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” Urbanski told them, according to police.

“No,” Collins said before Urbanski stabbed him once in his chest.

Brennan said an expert witness for the defense concluded that Urbanski’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit at the time of the killing, making him too drunk to have the intent or premeditation necessary to support a first-degree murder conviction.

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The New Cyntoia Brown? Teen Accused Of Murdering Sex Trafficker Faces Life In Prison

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Courtroom And Gavel

Source: imaginima / Getty

Another teen said to be the victim of child sex trafficking and abuse is facing a grave punishment after allegedly shooting her abuser.

According to the Washington Post, Chrystul Kizer faces life in prison for killing Randy Volar, a man she met when she was 16 and he was 33 years old. According to Chrystul’s testimonies and investigations from detectives, Volar sexually abused Chrystul multiple times and filmed it without her knowing. She was one of many.

Back in February 2018, cops arrested Volar on charges including child sexual assault, but they released him without bail. Volar, who is white, remained free for three months, even after authorities found evidence that he was abusing about a dozen underage Black girls.

Volar was free until Chrystul, then 17, went to his house one evening in June and allegedly shot him in the head twice. Police say she also lit his body on fire and fled in his car. A couple days later, she made a confession and District Attorney Michael Graveley, whose office was aware about the evidence against Volar but held off on prosecuting him, charged Chrystul with arson and first-degree intentional homicide, an offense that carries a mandatory life sentence in Wisconsin. Gravely believes Chrystul’s crimes were premeditated and text message evidence shows that she intended to murder Volar so she could steal his BMW.

Chrystul, now 19, argues that she was defending herself. “I didn’t intentionally try to do this,” she said. Chrystul says that when she told Volar that she didn’t want to do anything sexual that night, he pinned her to the floor. The situation resembles another high profile case involving Cyntoia Brown, who was serving a life sentence for killing and defending herself against a 43-year-old man, Johnny Mitchell Allen, soliciting her for sex when she was only 16. Thanks to the work of activists, a social media campaign, and clemency granted by then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Cyntoia was released from prison back in August.

 

Chrystul met Volar in the midst of financial struggle for her and her family. At the end of 2015 Chrystul, her mom, her brother and her two sisters left Indiana and moved to Milwaukee. Her mom, Devore Taylor, was fleeing an abusive boyfriend at the time and she stayed with her kids at a Salvation Army shelter in Milwaukee before finding an apartment.

While Taylor worked shifts at Denny’s, her son started stealing cars while Chrystul began skipping school and hanging with Delane Nelson, her boyfriend who was three years older than her. Soon, Chrystul and Nelson were physically fighting to the point where one witness said they saw Nelson holding Chrystul in a headlock and hitting her “with a stick more than 10 times while dragging her through the parking lot.” Nelson eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of battery and Chrystul stayed with him.

Chrystul met Volar in 2016 after he responded to an ad she had posted on Backpage.com. Chrystul said she needed money for snacks and school notebooks and a girl she knew taught her how to use the site. Volar was the first to respond and she told him she was 19 at the time, although she was 16. Soon she would see Volar every other week as he began to groom her with a new phone, a heart-shaped locket, shopping trips and he gave her money that she could share with her sisters, sometimes $500 at a time. Chrystul thought up excuses to explain the cash and items to her mom. She knew Volar wanted sex in return, but at the time, Chrystul said she didn’t think it was wrong. “He was the only friend that I actually had,” she said. Chrystul even said she believes Volar knew her real age because in the summer of 2017, he invited her to his house to celebrate her 17th birthday.

Soon, Volar became more demanding, especially after he bailed her out of jail when she caught a charge for trying to flee the cops after driving a car her brother stole. Volar made it clear the sex acts he wanted. “I told him that I never wanted to do that,” Chrystul said. “He said that I had to owe him that.” She tried cutting him out of her life by moving in with Nelson, to her mother’s dismay. She said that she told Volar she couldn’t see him anymore because she was getting serious with Nelson. This didn’t make Volar happy. “He had started to talk violent and stuff,” she said. “I was going to stop talking to him, and he said if I did that he was going to kill me.”

Chrystul said she didn’t know about the other girls Volar abused, some of which were caught on camera or via child pornography videos confiscated by cops. Eventually, Chrystul confessed that he would even sell her through Backpage.com to other people. He would drive her to hotels in Milwaukee, where men his age or older would spend 30 minutes with Chrystul and she gave Volar the money she received. Sometimes Volar would have her meet with more than one guy in a day.

In May 2018, Chrystul’s boyfriend, Nelson, started to get suspicious, thinking someone might be following Chrystul. So he gave her a .380 pistol and taught her to shoot it in his backyard. He instructed her to carry it everywhere.

On June 4, after appearing in court for her fleeing charge, she had a fight with Nelson and, worried that he would hit her, Chrystul said she texted Volar to ask if she could come over. At 8:42 p.m. an Uber picked her up and she was carrying the pistol in her purse.

“I had went into the house. … He had ordered some pizza. We were smoking, and he asked me if I wanted to drink any liquor,” Chrystul said. “And then he had gave me this drug. I don’t know what it’s called. And after that, we started to watch movies. … And then, the drug, it made me feel weird or whatever.” She said Volar sat next to her. “He started to touch my leg and then like I had jumped and tell him that I didn’t want to do that. I just thought that I didn’t want to do that stuff anymore because I was trying to change,” she said.

Volar, Chrystul explained, told her what she owed him. “I tried to get up, to get away from him but I had tripped, and I fell on the floor, and he had got on top of me,” she said. “And he was trying to like, rip my pants off, my jeans that I had on. … I was, like, wiggling. Cause once me and [Nelson] had fought, he had tried to pin me down, but I’ll wiggle to get loose.”

Chyrstul said she doesn’t remember going to get the pistol, although, she remembers the sound it made. “Like a pop. A high pop,” she said. “I started to panic.”

Chrystul initially told a different story to detectives on the day she was arrested, saying she didn’t know Volar. She changed up her story a couple times before finally admitting that she was tired of Volar touching her.

“Kizer said that she watches the show Criminal Minds, and she decided to make a fire,” an account of the interview says. “Kizer said she poured red liquor everywhere … grabbed tissue or toilet paper and started the fire.”

Chrystul claims she doesn’t remember the fire. She also said Volar was planning to give her a laptop and a new car for her 18th birthday so that’s why she took them. She explained that she lied to detectives at first because she was scared.

Today, under federal law, all kids who are bought or sold for sex are trafficking victims, regardless of the circumstances. Thirty states and the District have ceased charging minors with prostitution. Most states, including Wisconsin, also have a law that gives sex-trafficking victims an “affirmative defense,” meaning if they can prove at trial that they committed a crime because they were being trafficked, then they can be acquitted of certain charges. Chrystul and her public defense tried to use this law, despite the law never having been used in a homicide or any other violent crime.

In December 2019, in a courtroom that included Chyrstul’s mom and activists defending Chrystul, a judge decided that Chrystul doesn’t have access to the affirmative defense law for trafficking victims. From the judge’s perspective, neither would other trafficking victims charged with violent crimes. Chrystul’s lawyer plans to appeal the ruling, which could delay the jury trial for months. Meanwhile, Chrystul remains in a Wisconsin prison.

SEE ALSO:

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Black Woman Judge To Preside Over Vigilante’s Murder Trial In Road Rage Killing



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