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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Kemba Roots FestivalIf you want to know Kemba Shannon, watch her dance.

"Any of the emotions that I can't release on the street, I put it into my dancing," she says. "I express that through movement to get away, to escape the false reality of real life."

Shannon has performed on Broadway and toured the world with the likes of Celine Dion, Pink and Madonna for 20 years. Currently, she runs the Kemba Shannon Dance Center in the Kenton neighborhood. In addition to training teens in her company, the center also provides youth and adult classes for residents interested in getting fit.

The Baltimore native is a recent Portland transplant. During her four years in the city, she has dealt with challenges in getting her art to the community and expressing her culture. Dance allows her to exercise the stress and get her point across without being silenced. In many ways, Portland is her latest challenge.

One of Shannon's first obstacles was learning to deal with alopecia. Instead of letting the condition get her down, she turned it into a point of strength. Some people who see her bold, high energy performances assume her bald head is a fashion choice.

The Kemba Shannon Dance Center"It's funny because in L.A. they look for characters," she says. "I felt like if I had wigs on and had the Beyoncé look, they wouldn't have chosen me. They chose me because I was different."

Shannon knew dancing was her calling in middle school. Even then, she pictured herself on prominent stages like the Emmys and Oscars.

"I was drawn by the excitement of dance and it became my passion," she says.

In addition to performing, Shannon also took an interest in choreography at a young age. She would create her own routines while practicing the ones assigned by her teacher.

Shannon was inspired by Michael and Janet Jackson, as well as legendary choreographers Bill T. Jones and Alvin Ailey.

"They've really inspired me as an ongrowing choreographer," she says. "I'm always learning.

"I don't choreograph just to choreograph."

She brings her emotions to her work and depicts what she sees. Her work explores themes like war, love and poverty. The goal is to help heal some of the community's issues by illustrating them through the lens of dance.

She hopes the community will support the dance center more.

When Shannon first opened its doors, the neighborhood didn't seem interested. Eventually, she had to close the doors and focus on her company.

Initially, she struggled with the lack of interest.

Kemba Dancers Dia Tribe

Shannon's Company performs at Diatribe in the Park

Family and local community members helped get her through. Shannon cites her parents, teachers, Todd Strickland and her daughter for constant support throughout the journey. She gives special thanks to Bobby and Liz Fouther, who helped her push on despite setbacks in developing her dance center.

Now that the program has grown, more people are coming to peer in on her training.

In response to the increase in community interest, Shannon opened up the doors again and is offering youth and adult classes.

Still, her primary focus is on the dancers in her company.

"My teaching style is raw," says Shannon. "I'm really hard on them.

"To be a part of my company you must have passion to work hard and know that we are pushing you because we care."

As an instructor, she is a stickler for being on time, abiding by the dress code and journal writing.

The no-nonsense approach is due in large part to Shannon's experience working with Madonna. She says the music icon taught her how to be a businesswoman.

Madonna would show her dancers every mistake she made and even fired crew on the spot. At the end of the day, she held herself accountable for everything she invested money in and refused to put blind trust in people.

Shannon says that has stuck with her to this day.

Touring with the likes of Madonna also allowed her to experience a broad range of cultures. Wherever she traveled, she would go to the clubs to learn the dances.

Shannon prides herself on being able to take styles from other countries and make them her own. This involves changing anything, including timing, costumes and music. She dissects the dances to recreate her own movements.

"Everything is re-created," says Shannon. "There are so many people that did the moonwalk before Michael Jackson but Michael branded it."

Ultimately, she leads by example. When it comes to aspiring dancers, her advice is simple.

"Put the work in and you shall be rewarded."

The Kemba Shannon Dance Center is located on 2017 N. Kilpatrick St, Portland, Ore. Currently, the center is looking for sponsors for its students. For more information, call 323-691-6409 or email the center.

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