05 24 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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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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In the midst of heated gun control debate on Capitol Hill, Florida Atlantic University researchers say one startling statistic is going unnoticed. Homicide is the number one killer of young Black men.

"Mortality from homicide among young Black men is killing more young Black men than all other causes put together," says Dr. Charles H. Hennekens, a professor at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at FAU. "This is in dire contrast to young Black women, White women, young White women, young White men, whose chief cause of death is accidents."

In fact, he says that homicides among Black men ages 15 to 24 accounted for more deaths than unintentional injuries, suicide, cancer, HIV and other diseases combined. In a recent commentary in the American Journal of Medicine, entitled "A New American Tragedy," Hennekens asserts that there needs to be more research on this disparity.

"Our main message is to try to get researchers and policymakers to understand that this is a huge public health problem that hasn't been explored," he says.

Organizations within the Black community have been discussing this for years but the conversation rarely gets mainstream attention. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement published a report last year, stating Black people are the victims of extrajudicial murders every 40 hours (it was recently updated to 36), following the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin.

In terms of Black on Black homicide rates, many link this phenomenon with the Willie Lynch Letter, which dates back to slavery and instructs slave masters to create distrust amongst slaves in order to control their minds.  During a 2001 interview on BET, former Los Angeles gang member and author Sanyika Shakur described this self-hatred as a sickness in the community.

Part of the Willie Lynch Letter, as quoted in The Final Call, reads, "I HAVE OUTLINED A NUMBER OF DIFFERENCES AMONG THE SLAVES; AND I TAKE THESE DIFFERENCES AND MAKE THEM BIGGER. I USE FEAR, DISTRUST AND ENVY FOR CONTROL PURPOSES. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On top of my list is "AGE," but it's there only because it starts with an "a." The second is "COLOR" or shade. There is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, SIZES OF PLANTATIONS, STATUS on plantations, ATTITUDE of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine hair, course hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action, but before that, I shall assure you that DISTRUST IS STRONGER THAN TRUST AND ENVY STRONGER THAN ADULATION, RESPECT OR ADMIRATION. The Black slaves after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for HUNDREDS of years, maybe THOUSANDS."

Hennekens points to firearms related deaths for specific examination. Citing data from the publically available Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database, he says it's not just a problem for young Black men. The overall rates of homicide in the U.S. are seven times higher than they are in other developed countries and the rates from firearms are 20 times higher. Even in the young age groups, the mortality rates from firearms are 43 times higher, says Hennekens.

"Combating the epidemic of mortality due to firearms without addressing firearms is analogous to combating the epidemic of lung cancer due to cigarettes without addressing cigarettes," he says. "There have been a lot of emotions that are very high on both sides of this question and I think we need more reliable evidence as soon as possible.

"We want to optimize the health of the public, we want to look at the existing evidence and do the research necessary to test the questions and weigh that in view of the constitutional right of individuals to bear arms."

Hennekens says he's glad that academic medical research will play a role in the national plan to reduce mortality from firearms. Medical centers should be a central part of the research to prevent these occurrences, instead of just being the institutions that delivery of care, he says.

"I think it was Mark Twain who said, 'You can always tell when academics are in dispute because the emotions are high and the stakes are low,'" says Hennekens. "Well here, the emotions are high and the stakes are high but we have an absence of a sufficient body of evidence on which to make the best judgments on what to do."

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