05 24 2016
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Control the mind, mold the opinion, and you can capture the soul. In other words, as Thomas Paine once said, 'The pen is mightier than the sword.'
African Americans through the ages have been taught to obey authority and to hate or question each other; the mainstream press will slant the news against us. It will take our leaders and make them appear shady and delusional. Oh how quick they are to even name who our leaders should be. If we depended on the Associated Press, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc. to describe what takes place in our world we would be a race of mass confusion. We just can't trust them alone.
Thank God that for the last 180 years we have had our own news outlet. The word describing activities in our communities and around the world faithfully is reported in the Black news media. We get it as it is and understand what it means. As the old saying goes, 'If it is in Jet, believe it'. Jet and other weeklies such as the Chicago Crusader, Washington Informer, Los Angeles Sentinel, Amsterdam News and the daily, The Chicago Defender, describe the activities that go on in our communities.
The biggest proof of the importance of the Black Press was best exemplified with the overwhelming success of the Million Man March. While the mainstream media vilified the march's visionary, Minister Louis Farrakhan, and his able assistant, Ben Chavis, the Black Press, along with Black Radio, got the message out. It ran free ads and editorials about the planning and logistics.
We got there at 5 a.m. and there were already 150,000. That number swelled and swelled, and by noon there were more than 1.6 million Black men standing in place seeking atonement and swearing to a purer lifestyle and protection of the Black family. How many souls were saved at that event? Most likely every one of the 1.6 million.
Don't let anyone around you under estimate the power of the Black Press. It is a modern day drumbeat that delivers the word that no other medium can.  You just can't trust all that the mainstream press will print. Editorial liberties and literary malfeasance do exist and will sneak up on you in a heartbeat. A prime example was last week at the NNPA Press Week dinner.
The NNPA awarded the Honorable C. Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, its prestigious Newsmaker of the Year Award. Mayor Nagin was eloquent in his acceptance speech and gave the audience an update on the rebuilding of his city.  It was positive and upbeat for all who were there. Two days later, the Washington Post painted a totally different picture of the event. Never did they say he was given the prestigious award.  The article insinuated that his speech was full of accusation against the White establishment and was at best a racial commentary laced with victimization. The Post insinuated but then the New Orleans Times Picayune stated it as fact.
Luckily, the Mayor and I were holding a press conference in New Orleans on the day of the Times Picayune assault.  The press conference turned into an exchange about the accusations. We did a pretty good job clarifying and rebuking the 'hit' against the Mayor by the Washington Post and then the Times Picayune. A tape of the speech eventually emerged on the Internet and it vindicated the Mayor.
My people if you want the real story get it from your Black Press. Don't think that the story written by the mainstream is pure, true and has your best interest at heart. Support the Black Press.

Harry Alford is co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

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