Urban News

By PAT NASON, United Press International

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Mayor Anthony A. Williams said this week that former mayor Marion Barry may need help, but Barry said what he really needs is "a deep apology" from Williams for suggesting such a thing.

U.S. Park Police reported last week that they found traces of marijuana and a small rock of crack cocaine in Barry's car. They said the amount of drugs involved were not enough to arrest Barry.


Mayor Williams told reporters he wished Barry well.

"I've asked people all over the city as I've met with groups," he said, "to have the former mayor in our prayers that he get the help that he needs."

The Washington Post reported that when the mayor was asked later what he meant, he said he did not know whether Barry needed professional help -- but said he "may" need help.


Barry -- who has denied that he possessed drugs -- said Williams "should be ashamed of himself for taking the lies of the U.S. Park Police as facts."

Barry made national headlines in 1990 after federal agents videotaped him smoking crack cocaine in a downtown hotel. He says he has kicked his addiction to drugs and alcohol -- and resents Williams' suggestion that he has a problem.

"I don't," he said. "He owes me and the citizens of Washington a deep apology."

A spokesman for Williams told the Post that Barry "misunderstood the intention" of the mayor's statement.

"Mayor Williams was not drawing any conclusions, nor was he making any suggestions as to the personal conduct of Marion Barry," said the spokesman. "He was, in fact, expressing concern for the well-being of the former mayor, whom he considers both a friend and an adviser."

(NEW YORK) -- Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder were a big problem for Manhattanites in the weeks immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to researchers who measured the psychological toll of the attacks.

The team of researchers -- from the New York Academy of Medicine, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and Bellevue Hospital Center, New York -- interviewed 1,008 adults, and found that 7.5 percent reported "symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of current post-traumatic stress disorder related to the attacks."


The researchers said that 9.7 percent reported symptoms consistent with current depression (occurring within the previous 30 days).

Post-traumatic stress was considerably more prevalent among those who lived near the World Trade Center -- with 20 percent of them showing signs of the disorder.

Researchers recommended that health officials take into account the psychological damage done by the terror attacks on the general public, not just the direct victims of the attack.

(MILWAUKEE) -- Federal authorities have indicted 16 members of a gang called the Ghetto Boys, who are suspected of carrying out at least eight murders and an unknown number of other violent crimes.

Sources close to the investigation told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that law enforcement officials -- ranging from the U.S. attorney's office to the Milwaukee Police Department -- rousted alleged gang members from their homes at sunrise Wednesday and hauled them off to federal custody.

According to the paper, the Ghetto Boys have terrorized a small sector of the city's north side. One member of the gang has been linked to the shooting death last year of an 18-month-old boy as he sat on his father's lap -- the father apparently mistaken for a drug dealer.


Some of those named in indictments Wednesday were already in prison or jail -- being held on old charges -- when they were informed of the new charges against them.

The Ghetto Boys are believed to be allied with the Murda Mobb, a group of rappers thought to be involved in a series of murders and drug holdups.

(ST. CLOUD, Minn.) -- Basketball legend Erwin "Magic" Johnson seemed to back off a bit on Wednesday from earlier talk about running for mayor of Los Angeles when he appeared before a crowd estimated at 3,000 at St. Cloud State University.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week on Johnson's open flirtation with the idea of running, but now he says running L.A. is a full-time job -- and he isn't sure he "wants to give up all the things I do now."

Johnson -- one of the most successful black entrepreneurs in America -- was at St. Cloud State to talk about diversity and racial tolerance. A federal report released last month found that faculty and staff at the school are convinced that the place is plagued by institutionalized prejudice, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.

"Every community is going to have blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians and you're going to encounter all kinds of people through school, through business," Johnson told his audience. "We've got to learn to work together."


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