Today: 'Jim Crow' traffic stops. Iran's Decider Speaks.

Hello. I'm Davan Maharaj, the editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines you shouldn't miss today.


The Deadly Traffic Stop

It's almost as old as policing. If you're suspicious, find something -- say, a broken taillight -- as a reason for a stop and escalate from there. In North Charleston, S.C., blacks say it's a modern twist on the old Jim Crow laws. The fatal shooting of a black man there by a white officer, caught on video during such a stop, is focusing sharp attention on such practices.

Cops and Video, Again

This time it's in San Bernardino County. A suspect fleeing on a stolen horse is run down in the desert scrub as a TV news helicopter hovers. Video shows as many as 11 deputies converging on the man, who is beaten and kicked for two minutes as his arms appear to be held behind his back. The sheriff calls the video "disturbing" and orders an immediate investigation.

Iran's Decider Speaks

No matter what comes of talks on limiting Iran's nuclear ambitions, it'll be worthless without  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's blessing. He's talking tough: No deal until all sanctions are lifted, and no inspections in military sites. Those terms would be deal-breakers if he stuck to them. Some analysts say he's just helping Iran's negotiators get the best terms. Others see danger signs.

Obama and the G-Word

As a senator and national candidate, President Obama was a forceful voice for the term "genocide" to describe the killing of more than 1 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks. As president, he has abstained, partly to avoid riling NATO ally Turkey. As the 100th anniversary of the slaughter nears, Armenian Americans expect him to muster the nerve to utter the G-word.

The Rock of Ages

The Coachella music festival is widely seen as an epicenter of cool for the young and hip. Its roots are in alternative rock and electronic dance music. So what, exactly, are aging classic rock staples AC/DC and Steely Dan doing atop the bill on opening night? It's bold or misguided, depending on whom you ask, but it's certainly creating buzz.

A Sheriff Who Takes on the Law

He's a Vietnam War veteran who grew up working in the potato sheds around Bakersfield. He still lives in the modest suburban neighborhood where he grew up, on the city's now heavily Latino Eastside. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood is a rare voice of defiance in what has become the nation’s most welcoming state for people living in the U.S. illegally. At a time when the Democratic-controlled Legislature is allowing such immigrants to drive, practice law and pay in-state college tuition — 26 immigrant-friendly laws in 2014 alone -- Youngblood has largely refused to sign paperwork that immigrant crime victims need to apply for U visas. Read why some compare him to Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio.


-- California may shield from deportation certain immigrants charged with drug crimes.

-- Water officials are unsure just how tough they should get with users during drought restrictions.

-- L.A. orders the developer of a controversial hilltop mansion in Bel-Air to demolish all unapproved construction.

-- Columnist Robin Abcarian looks at the drought-driven surge in "lawn painting." It's becoming a big business.


-- Where to announce her candidacy? For Hillary Clinton, the stagecraft is fraught with potential pitfalls.

-- The U.S. could soon remove Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

-- An Oklahoma bill on using nitrogen in executions goes to the governor.

-- "China's Dick Clark" is in hot water over some unscripted mocking of Mao that went viral online.


-- Regulators fine PG&E a record $1.6 billion in the San Bruno natural gas pipeline blast.

-- Walgreens says it will close 200 stores nationwide as part of a cost-cutting plan.

-- Fewer than half of Americans invest in the stock market, a survey finds.


-- Adrian Gonzalez is riding a home run wave as the Dodgers head to Arizona and hitter-friendly Chase Field.

-- Red-hot Jordan Spieth burns up the Masters with a 64.

-- The defending champion L.A. Kings are eliminated from hockey playoffs in a 3-1 loss to Calgary.

-- The latest scores and stats.


-- TV review: Unfettered by TV restraints, Marvel's "Daredevil" is a hero tale for a new era.

-- No matter how vicious the character, Vincent D'Onofrio manages to find the humanity. A look at his new roles in "Broken Horses" and "Daredevil."

Passings: The "other" Ray Charles, 96, Emmy-winning composer who backed Perry Como. Richard Dysart, 81, best known for his role as senior partner Leland McKenzie in "L.A. Law."


-- President Obama has hosted the fewest state dinners since Harry Truman.

-- Ohio frees a wrongfully convicted man but won't call him innocent.

-- A gut-wrenching account of former major leaguer Milton Bradley's domestic violence history.

-- Re-reading L.A.: “Señor Plummer,”  the man who made himself a souvenir of “old Los Angeles.”

-- The past and future of one of the world's favorite toys, the yo-yo.


There's a new guy taking the reins in Hollywood -- Clint Eastwood's reins, that is. His son Scott is making his acting debut as a professional bull rider in "The Longest Ride." Turns out he's a lot like the old man: lean good looks, refuses to live in Hollywood and, oh yes, that squint. Read what he says about his dad -- the word "badass" pops up a lot -- and his hopes for his career. 

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Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.