2008 YEAR OF CHANGE
Cyril Josh Barker | 4/12/2011, 4:35 p.m.
Rev. Al Sharpton led a march in Suffolk County after John White was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter for shooting 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro, Jr.White, a Black man, shot Cicciaro, who is white, after White believed a "lynch mob" was in his front yard to attack his son and rape his wife. The case involving activist Viola Plummer continued. Plummer sued City Council Speaker Christine Quinn after Quinn fired Plummer from her position as Councilmember Charles Barron's chief of staff. The controversy stemmed from Quinn deciding to stop the renaming of four Bed-Stuy blocks after activist Sonny Abubadika Carson. The 2008 presidential race started the year off when Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire in the Democratic primaries over Barack Obama. Joe Biden dropped out of the presidential election.In the quest for justice, the Sean Bell case prepared for trial as lawyers for the three officers charged requested a change of venue, contending that potential jurors in New York City had been bombarded with biased media coverage. The motion was denied and the trial remained in Queens. President George W. Bush announced an economic stimulus package that gave American households between $800 and $1,600 in tax refunds. The state of New Jersey became the fifth state to apologize for slavery. New Jersey governor Jon Corzine vowed to increase tolls in the state by 50 percent every four years to reduce New Jersey's $32 billion debt. Protesters voiced their outrage after an 18-year-old Black youth was beaten and arrested after taking a picture of a New York Police Department officer sleeping on the job in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Reverend Calvin O. Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Anxiety about a recession lingered as stock markets around the world plunged as a result of the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2007. The nation's oldest Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, celebrated 100 years. A headquarters for Barack Obama opened in Harlem. Sen. Bill Perkins led a march celebrating the opening of the office. The editor of Golfweek Magazine was fired after placing a noose on the magazine's front cover. The display stemmed from a comment made on the Golf Channel by an anchor who said that a "lynch mob" would attack Tiger Woods for dominating in the PGA.
Black History Month was celebrated in its 82nd year. The theme was "Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism." In Westchester an off-duty Black police officer was shot and killed by his own colleagues of the Mount Vernon Police Department. Officer Chris Ridley attempted to arrest a homeless person who had assaulted another man. Officers responding to the incident mistakenly shot Ridley. A judge honored the wishes of the attorney for the three officers charged in the shooting death of Sean Bell to have a bench trial. Rather than having jury rule on the case, Judge Arthur Cooperman was named to oversee the trial. John Edwards dropped out of the presidential race. The New York Giants won Super Bowl XLII, beating the New England Patriots 17-14.The FDA approved the sale of meat from cloned cows, goats and pigs.A march held in Harlem commemorated the 11th anniversary of the police killing of Amadou Diallo. On Super Tuesday Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in the "Potomac Primaries," taking D.C., Virginia and Maryland. "The Color Purple" ended its run on Broadway after 910 regular performances. At the 50th Grammy Awards Barack Obama won Best Spoken Word Album for his book "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream." Big winners also included Kanye West and Herbie Hancock. Fidel Castro retired as president of Cuba after 49 years. Opening statements began in the Sean Bell trial. Actor Wesley Snipes was found guilty for failing to file income tax and sentenced to three years in prison. The trial of ex-Newark Mayor Sharpe James began. James was charged for embezzlement, bid rigging and ethics violations. Civil Rights Movement pioneer and friend to Rosa Parks, Johnnie Carr died at age 97.