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Gay rights activist charged with killing cabdriver

Gay rights activist charged with killing cabdriver

A Chicago man--who was a director with the city's health department and a founder of a nonprofit group that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Chicago's gay men and lesbians--has been charged with killing a city cabdriver. On Monday, Michael L. Jackson, 37, was ordered held without bond at Cook County Jail, and his job working with the city's HIV/AIDS division was terminated, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday. Police officials say that on Thursday night Jackson got into a fight with cabdriver Haroon Paryani, 61, over an $8 fare. The argument escalated, and the cabdriver fell face-first into the street. Jackson then commandeered the cab and repeatedly ran over Paryani, according to witnesses. Jackson maintains that he was defending himself. His lawyers say that Paryani was the aggressor. Paryani, a married father of four, died of heart lacerations apparently caused by massive rib fractures, authorities said. Four people have been able to identify Jackson at the scene or leaving the cab, authorities said, according to the Chicago Tribune. Jackson is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated vehicular hijacking. Relatives of Jackson, including his mother, were in court Monday after arriving in Chicago from central Illinois. Chicago health department spokesman Tim Hadac said Jackson was officially terminated from his city job Monday, according to the Tribune. Michael Bauer, a friend of Jackson's and a former Hearts Foundation board member, said the charges against Jackson came as a shock. "It's unfathomable," he said outside Monday's bond hearing at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building, the Tribune reported.

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