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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Carrie Mae Weems
 

As a youth, Carrie Mae Weems remembers protesting for civil rights and an end to the Vietnam War in front of the Portland Art Museum. Now, the museum houses her latest exhibit.

"We were beat up and clubbed and tear gassed," says Weems. "As a young girl, walking up and down these streets and demonstrating in front of this museum, I never thought that I'd be in this museum showing any body of work."

Weems' exhibit "Three Decades of Photography and Video" opened on Feb. 2 and is running through Mar. 19. The collection of over 200 photos and videos seeks to engage audiences in complex discussions on the Black experience.

Weems became interested in the arts while growing up in Portland. There were a number of musicians in her family but the only one visual artist was her aunt Katie.

She was heavily influenced by artists who had moved to Portland from the east coast and began getting involved in street performance, dance and radical theater when she was around 15 or 16 years old.

Weems says her interest in social justice came from her relationship with her father.

"Early on my father influenced how I looked at race, class and gender because my father was so eloquent and so hip," she says. "He gave us a great sense of the importance of our own humanity and the insistence that we had a right to be who we were and that there's no one better than you. That sense of coming from a family like that, with a father that taught me from the earliest age I can remember, had a profound impact on how I thought about life."

Although her work is internationally recognized for exploring subjects like race, gender and class, Weems doesn't want her art to be reduced to "race relations."

She insists that Black subjects can be used to express more than just the idea of Blackness, as evidenced by two of her series, "Family Pictures" and "The Kitchen." When we see white actors and actresses in popular media, we automatically assume they represent more than whiteness, she says. By making her subjects more three dimensional, she aims to challenge power dynamics.

"I want my subjects to stand in for more than themselves -- shifting the balances of power, engaging the audiences in a new way, asking them to think about not just the work but themselves in a new way," says Weems. "To the extent that you can get people to move beyond their own narrow confines and to a new dimension, is to the extent that work can be powerful and to that (extent) it can change your life."

Power is a recurring theme in Weems' work. She likes to unpack it, both in terms of individual relationships and on a larger societal level.

For example, in her series "From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried," Weems looks at power in photography. Specifically, she looks at the three intertwining stories of the history of photography, how Blacks have been depicted historically and the history of Blacks in America, in general.

One particular photo of an elderly Black man reads, "Descending the throne you became footsoldier & cook." Another photo of a Black woman reads, "You became mammie, mother & then, yes, confidant – ha."

Weems says the questions of who holds the power is especially profound in that series.

As she reflects on both her work and her days protesting, Weems notes that she is on a journey to understand the possibilities of life and this historical moment. In particular, she is interested in how this generation of youth engages with social justice, noting that her generation's radicalism was sparked by the turbulent events of the 60s.

"What made us possible were all the assassinations that took place," she says. "The assassination of Kennedy. The assassination of Martin. The assassination of Malcolm. That's what made you and I sitting at this table right now possible."

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