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Florida girl dies after 325-pound adult sits on her as punishment

A 9-year-old Florida girl died on Saturday afternoon after her 64-year-old cousin allegedly sat on her as punishment for misbehaving.

Veronica Green Posey has been charged with cruelty towards and child and homicide in the death of her young cousin, Dericka Lindsay, according to an arrest report from the Escambia County Sheriff, People reports.

Posey, who weighs 325 pounds, told police she sat on the girl for being “out of control,” the report alleges. Posey said that when she stood up and realized Dericka was unresponsive, she started CPR and called 911.

Grace Joan Smith, 69, and James Edmund Smith, 62 – listed in the police report as Dericka’s parents –  were also arrested and charged with child neglect for allegedly failing to report the abuse. The parents allegedly called Posey to the house for help in disciplining Dericka. According to Grace Smith’s arrest report, Posey allegedly hit Dericka with a ruler and a metal pipe during the altercation.

In James Smith’s arrest report, he told police that Posey allegedly sat on Dericka in an armchair for “about 10 minutes.” Dericka “complained of being unable to breathe,” the report states. James Smith told deputies that Posey allegedly sat on Dericka for an additional two minutes before standing up.

Posey has been released from jail on $125,000 bond. Grace Smith was released on $75,000 bond. James Smith was still being held on $50,000 bond at press time.

Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said in a statement that the state’s child welfare system is familiar with the family — and vows to conduct an inquiry.

“Dericka’s death is appalling and DCF will continue coordinating with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her death accountable,” Carroll said in the statement. “As the family has a prior interaction with the child welfare system, a thorough quality assurance review will be conducted to review all prior interactions this family has had with the child welfare system.”

Philando Castile fundraiser nets over $72,000, eliminates students’ lunch debt

Philando Castile is still ensuring that the students he served in Saint Paul, Minnesota, are eating a good lunch, despite his death last year at the hands of a police officer.

Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, visited J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School on Friday to help deliver a special gift — a check for $10,000 to pay off the lunch debt for the school’s students. The money was part of more than $72,000 raised by a project designed to honor the beloved nutrition supervisor, who was known to pay for students’ lunch out of his own pocket if they had no money.

The remaining $62,000 raised in his name will go toward eliminating the lunch debt of students throughout Saint Paul Public Schools, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported. The funds raised so far are enough to pay off students’ debt for a year.

Philando Castile was shot to death July 6, 2016, after he was pulled over by St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez and a colleague in nearby Falcon Heights. The immediate aftermath of the shooting was live-streamed on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was also in the car, as was Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter.

Yanez, who pulled the trigger, was charged with manslaughter in Castile’s death, but was acquitted in June. The shooting and the officer’s acquittal touched off protests across the country.

The fundraising project, called Philando Feeds the Children, was started by Pamela Fergus, a professor at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, as a project for her diversity and ethics class.

“Philando was ‘Mr. Phil’ to the students at J.J. Hill. He supervised their food program and interacted with the kids every day,” the fundraising page at YouCaring.com reads. “He knew their names and their diets. He loved his job!”

The page states that Castile’s death affected all the children who knew and loved him.

“This fund hopes to provide the kids with a lasting connection to Mr. Phil,” it states.

The Star Tribune reported that Fergus set a goal of raising $5,000 for the project. Within the first two weeks, donors gave more than $50,000.

“We just had this little idea that we were going to help do Mr. Phil’s job and make sure you guys have good lunch to eat every day,” Fergus told the children gathered in the lunchroom where Castile worked, according to CBS Minnesota.

About 70 percent of students in Saint Paul schools qualify for free lunch, the Star Tribune reported. About 2,000 students end up owing the district lunch money at the end of each school year.

Fergus told the students Friday that the project would continue to raise money so they could “always get a good lunch,” the newspaper said.

The fundraising website bears out that promise. As of Tuesday morning, the total funds raised had jumped to almost $74,000.

Valerie Castile said the feedback on the project had been overwhelming and that she was considering involving other school systems across the country.

“No child should go hungry,” she said. “And this project helps keep my son alive.”

The project received praise from a commenter on the fundraising site, who called Philando Castile’s death “senseless.”

“Philando worked at Chelsea Heights Elementary before J.J. Hill,” one woman wrote. “My oldest two boys remember him. I remember him hairnet and all.”

The woman called Castile a “gentle soul.”

“Thank you for giving voice to the importance of his life,” she wrote.

Tamar and Vince’s New Season Drops Bombshells

Secrets revealed on the new season of Tamar and Vince’s reality show.

It airs Thursday, November 9th at 9pm EST on WeTV.

Take a sneak peek: https://trib.al/2ciOhEr

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