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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Rev. LeRoy Haines (R) with Bernie Foster, publisher of The Skanner News.

The historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is 50 years old this month. So all around the country activists will rally to celebrate the victories of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, while gathering strength for the civil rights battles that lie ahead.

In Portland, protesters will meet up at 10am on August 24th, at Terry Schrunk Plaza before heading to Waterfront Park. The rally, speakers, and music will begin at 1pm. The regional event is planned for the same time as the national event in Washington DC. Confirmed speakers include: Sen. Jeff Merkley, Governor Kitzhaber and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

Whether you're concerned about racial profiling, voting rights, the lack of jobs and economic opportunities or disparities in policing, education, justice and health systems, organizers say this event is your opportunity not just to remember history, but to make history.

"We are seeing an attempt to turn back the clock on civil rights," says Rev. Leroy Haynes of the Albina Ministerial Alliance coalition. "So we feel there is a critical need to draw attention to racial profiling, stand your ground laws, mass incarceration and equity in education and employment. These are great issues that we still have to challenge and deal with.

"One major goal of the Washington DC march and our regional march here is to get Congress to rewrite Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which was recently struck down the Supreme Court. We need to hold states accountable when they attempt to suppress African American and Latino votes, as well as seniors and other people."

Not everyone can travel to Washington DC, Haynes said. Yet many people believe in Martin Luther King's dream and want to make their voices heard for equity for all Americans.

And Michael Alexander, executive director of the Urban League of Portland, says we know that action is needed locally as well as nationally.

Leaders of the march (from right to left) Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice; (seated with glasses) Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of the Demonstration Committee; (beside Robinson is) A. Philip Randolph, organizer of the demonstration, veteran labor leader who helped to found the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, American Federation of Labor (AFL), and a former vice president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); (standing behind the two chairs) Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President of the American Jewish Congress; (wearing a bow tie and standing beside Prinz is) Joseph Rauh, Jr, a Washington, DC attorney and civil rights, peace, and union activist; John Lewis, Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; and Floyd McKissick, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality.]

 "In Portland, unemployment for African Americans is often double the rate of the majority population, and a 2012 federal inquiry found that Police Bureau engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force," he says. "The issues that compelled the 1963 March of Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including lack economic opportunity and police brutality, are still the pressing issues of today."

Between 200,000 and 300,000 people rallied at the mall in the U.S. capitol for the 1963 March on Washington for jobs and freedom. The organizers included A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Whitney Young, president of the Urban League; Roy Wilkins, president of the NAACP, John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.;  and James Farmer of the Congress for Racial Equality. 

Bayard Rustin, was in charge of logistics. The longtime civil rights leader and gay activist, who created the first Freedom Ride was this week honored by President Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Crowds  of supporters came to demand jobs and freedom. They left with the words of Martin Luther King Junior's dream speech lighting up their hearts and minds. And they went to work for change.

One result of the mass protest was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

"This was the culmination of the struggles of the modern civil rights movement that started in 1955 with Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott and led eventually to the Birmingham campaign," Rev. Haynes said. "The end of segregation, the voting rights act, President Obama in the White House: That would not have happened without the push of the civil rights movement."

But as communities across the country celebrate how far we have come since the 60s, they also will be highlighting the continuing injustices and recent setbacks that have placed civil rights back on the national agenda. Statistics show that Black Americans and other people of color remain severely disadvantaged when it comes to jobs, education, equality of opportunity, and justice.

"For me as we reflect on the issues addressed by the March on Aug 28th 1963: Jobs, police brutality, education, housing, economic opportunity, I can't help have a heavy heart for the failure of my generation to pass on those lessons to our kids," says JoAnn Hardesty, of the Campaign to end the New Jim Crow.

"Today these issues are still the unfinished business of the civil rights movement and we must re-dedicate ourselves to protecting the civil rights of everyone because we see how quickly civil rights disappear under a culture of fear."

A broad range of civil rights organizations are sponsoring the march,  including the Urban League of Portland, the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, the NAACP, the ACLU, Ecumenical Ministries, Peace and Justice Works, the International Brotherhood of Electricians and others.

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