- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2007



UVa. board apologizes for using slave labor

The University of Virginia’s board marked founder Thomas Jefferson’s birthday this month with an apology for the school’s use of slave labor between 1819 and 1865.

The board of visitors unanimously passed an apology resolution April 13, the 264th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth, but did not announce the action until this week.

The measure was inspired by the Virginia legislature, which passed a resolution in February expressing its “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery. Legislatures in Maryland and North Carolina approved similar apologies this year, and another measure is under consideration in Alabama.

Slaves in Virginia helped build some of the first buildings at UVa., which opened in 1825, and the university continued to use slave labor for four decades after that.

“The board expresses its particular regret for the employment of enslaved persons in these years,” the resolution reads. “The notion of involuntary servitude is repugnant and incompatible with the ideals upon which this university was founded.”

Nine percent of the university’s undergraduate students are black, university spokeswoman Carol Wood said.


Student with BB gun for film is charged

A University of Virginia student has been charged with one count of brandishing a firearm after using a BB gun during a film project on campus Monday.

Christopher Allen Smith faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for the misdemeanor, if convicted, as well as university penalties.

University police said Mr. Smith was in a courtyard when he flashed the imitation .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

Police say they received several 911 calls reporting a man with a gun in the area about 11 p.m. When they arrived, students told officers that the 19-year-old was in a group acting out a robbery scene.

The incident came a week after a mentally disturbed student shot 32 students before killing himself at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

Mr. Smith was released yesterday on $10,000 bail.



Millions in cash, property unclaimed

The Maryland Comptroller’s Office is looking for the 75,000 owners of about $50 million in unclaimed cash and property being held by the state.

The funds from bank accounts and the contents of safe-deposit boxes are turned over to the state if the bank can’t find the owners after three years. The state publishes an annual list of the absent owners.

The state has a year to return or auction off the property.


Low crab count causes concern

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is concerned about what appears to be a low number of younger blue crabs this season in the Chesapeake Bay.

The count was made during the annual Maryland-Virginia winter dredge survey.

While the overall crab population was found to be about the same as last year, there were fewer crabs that were smaller than 2 inches across. Those are the crabs that typically reach harvest size later in the season.

The dearth of smaller crabs could mean trouble for watermen after August. But officials point out that the crab population bounced back after similar low numbers of young crabs in 2004 and 2001.


‘Most Wanted’ leads to another suspect

A man wanted in an August 2005 homicide in Boston was arrested last week in Baltimore, two days after he was profiled on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted.”

Earnest Ferguson, 34, had been doing construction work in Baltimore.

Two viewers called the show’s tip line the day after the show aired with information placing Ferguson on Furrow Street.

It was the third time that the show had appealed for help finding Ferguson. He was wanted in the fatal shooting of Brian Whitsey of Brockton, Mass. He previously has served prison time on manslaughter charges.

Boston police said Ferguson will be charged with murder after he is extradited.


Counselor convicted of sex assaults

A jury in Salisbury has convicted an addictions counselor for sexually assaulting two female patients.

Emerson Davis, 51, was found guilty Tuesday on four criminal counts. He worked at the Hudson Center on Harting Drive.

According to court documents, Davis called the women into his office separately on Aug. 13 and sexually assaulted each of them. Davis was charged with second-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree sex offense a few days later.

Sentencing is expected to be held within the next month.


Toddler who fell from window OK

A 2-year-old girl was seriously injured in a fall from a second-story window but is expected to recover, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said.

Authorities said the girl was standing at the window of an apartment in the 8100 block of Great Bend Road about 7 a.m. Tuesday watching some children at a bus stop when the screen gave way.

The girl fell about 10 feet and suffered head, neck, back and internal injuries. She was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.


Officer hit by cruiser in ‘very grave’ condition

A Montgomery County police officer was in grave condition yesterday after he was struck by a police cruiser while pursuing a suspect.

The incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. near the intersection of Rossmore and Georgia Avenue in the Aspen Hill area.

Officers had chased a man suspected of driving under the influence into the parking lot at an apartment complex. The suspect got out of his vehicle and ran toward woods along Old Georgia Avenue.

The first officer got out of his cruiser and chased the man along the dimly lit road, police said. As the officer began to cross Old Georgia Avenue near Montpelier Road, he was struck by a police cruiser driven by another officer who was responding to provide backup.

Police spokesman Lt. Eric Burnett said the officer in the cruiser was injured when his vehicle swerved off the road and down an embankment before striking a tree.

Both officers were transported by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The officer struck by the cruiser is in “extremely grave” condition, police said. The other officer is in serious but stable condition.

Authorities did not identify the officers or the man they were chasing, who remained at large.


Woman pleads guilty to sex with inmate

A Reisterstown woman pleaded guilty yesterday to using a false ID to enter a corrections facility and have sex with an inmate.

Tiffany Weaver, 29, was charged with identity theft and use of false government identification. She used a false Maryland State Bar Association ID badge to gain access to inmates as an attorney, prosecutors said.

In November 2006, prosecutors said she pretended to be Jason Moody’s attorney when she entered the Maryland Reception Diagnostic and Classification Center in Baltimore and had sex with Moody.

Corrections officers who monitor all prison visits noticed their activity and ended their meeting.

Weaver will be sentenced in June.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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