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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"Wow! I love this work." "These are amazing." "The colors are so vibrant, and look at those textures." Those were just a few of the comments from a group of people invited to the dedication ceremony for five stunning murals created by artist Arvie Smith and teens at Multnomah County Juvenile Detention Center.

But Multnomah County chair Jeff Cogen may have said it best: "They are so moving. I'm far from an art critic, but it's hard not to feel it deep inside. You look at this work and it's so beautiful, emotional and inspirational."
The murals are all part of Project Hope, created by Smith and more than 100 young people in detention, over the course of two years. Each one is rich with images and cultural references from America's multicultural heritage. And each tells a different story of hope. Smith, whose body of work has received international acclaim, mines the history of marginalized and disempowered people to create provocative, compelling images filled with beauty and meaning.
Mural; Project Hope 
Carol R. Smith, RACC board chair (not the public schools superintendent), was one of the speakers at the dedication ceremony.  Creating art has a transformative impact, she said. And this project clearly had a powerful effect on the teens who worked with Smith.
"It really reaches their heart and soul and gives them a tool beyond the written word."
About 40 people were invited to the unveiling and dedication ceremony at the detention center, including representatives from Mayor Sam Adams office, representatives from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Multnomah County staffers, detention staff and artists. They were lucky to be able to view all five murals together in one room. That won't happen again soon. At 8 feet by 15 feet, the murals are larger than life. But they were made in panels so they could easily be deconstructed and moved. Two of the murals will stay in the detention center: one in the public lobby,  and the other behind locked doors where youth await trial or serve time. You will have a chance to view the other three murals in all their real-life splendor simply by visiting the downtown police precinct and the Multnomah County Courthouse. Eventually they will return home to the detention center to be a beacon of hope for the teens there.
Funding for the project came from Multnomah County's 2 percent for art program, set aside in the mid-90s when the Juvenile Justice Center  was built.  The Regional Arts and Culture Council commissioned the project as part of its artist-in-residence program, 'Intersections'.
In his speech, Cogen talked about the value of art, especially in places of confinement and despair.
"It is going to change lives," he said. "We believe in the power of transformation and that there is potential in these young people: potential to contribute to our community.
"They are learning they have something to offer and that they can be part of something bigger than themselves, something beautiful, something transformational."

Richard Hall, who has spent 19 years working with youth in the detention center, told the Skanner News that detention staff get close to the teens and want to see them succeed.
"We get all kinds of kids," he said. "Some should be here; others, it is their situation that got them here. We form relationships, and it's hard to see them come back."
Hall said sometimes he will be out and about when he will hear his name called. A young man will come up and say 'Hi Richard, remember me?' Maybe he is now married, working, or a father living a normal, happy life.
"That happens sometimes," he said. "Just not often enough."
Artist Arvie Smith also spoke, quoting Cornel West and W.E.B. Dubois. But perhaps his most moving words were about the fate of those youth he came to know well during his time as their art teacher.
"We must show them the spirit of love and forgiveness that gives hope to those who have been cast aside," he said.
"Most of the children charged under Measure 11 are of a darker hue. We can't let these children land on the garbage heap of disappointment and despair. These children are looking for hope; hope for a better future; hope for a better world. We must give them that."
The first names of the young artists who worked with Smith are etched into an extra panel. That panel is all the more poignant because at least one of those students is now dead: a victim of gun violence.

 

PHOTOS from top: Project Hope mural; Project Hope mural; Project Hope mural; detail from mural; Project Hope mural; detail from mural; Project Hope mural; Richard Hall; detail from mural; Detention staffers (from left) Belinda Pascual, Izzy Lefebvre, Don Lincoln, Tami Cox and Sualua Falaleuao;  panel with names of teens who worked on the murals; detail from mural; Artist Arvie Smith, at left, with attendee; Artist Arvie Smith, second from left, with a participant at left, and Carol Smith, Jeff Cogen and Department of Community Justice Director Scott Taylor.

More about teens in juvenile detention: Inside Multnomah County's teen jail

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