05 25 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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Kwame Ture

Author and community organizer Ahjamu Umi is building a new chapter of the international All African People's Revolutionary Party in Portland, starting with Pan-African Film/Discussion Nights on the last Wednesday of every month. Their first event is, "From Black Power, Forward to Pan-Africanism! A Tribute to the Life and Contributions of Kwame Ture (formally Stokely Carmichael),” on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 6 to 9 p.m. at the Smith Memorial Student Center at Portland State University, Room #329.

Umi is well-known to readers of The Skanner News for his work in support of elderly homeowners facing foreclosure and also his writing, which includes a novel about race and racism in rural Oregon, “Find the Flower That Blooms.”

Kwame Ture was born in Trinidad and at the age of 10, moved with his family to New York City. While attending HowardUniversity he joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, enduring dozens of beatings in the 1960s while organizing in Mississippi and Alabama.  In 1966 he was elected SNCC's national chairperson and soon afterward he became internationally known for his articulation of "Black Power."  

The Skanner News spoke with Umi last week on the life and legacy of Ture (1941-1998) and why the respected Civil Rights figure’s work resonates today.

TSN: I bet a lot of young people today have never heard of Kwame Ture. What made you decide to celebrate him?

Umi: The important thing about Kwame’s life is that he was always dedicated to organized struggle. He understood, and he constantly preached the message, that change comes about through mass participation. So if a law is passed that represents forward progress – if something gets done -- there’s always a movement behind that. Kwame was in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, when he left that one he was in the Black Panther Party, when he left that -- when he moved to Africa -- he was a member for the rest of his life of the All African Peoples’ Revolutionary Party, so he constantly promoted that.

The other thing that’s important about Kwame’s life is he was totally committed to integrity and principal. Here’s a man who was internationally renowned for his participation in the Civil Rights Movement. He could have become a mayor of any big city, he could have become a chancellor of any large university like the political contemporaries that he had at the time – people like John Lewis, Jesse Jackson, etc – but instead he chose to move to Guinea, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, no electricity, no running water. He chose to live the last 30 years of his life dedicated to the revolutionary principals in organizing work that he was committed to.

TSN: There’s another piece that comes into play, and that is the African and African American divide. Can you talk about that?

Umi: I think that’s at the core of what Kwame’s life represents – that African people are the same no matter where we are in the world. He often quoted Kwame Nkrumah, who he took part of his name from. Nkrumah was a great Pan-Africanist who was the first president of Ghana, actually, and Nkrumah went to school here in the United States, he went to TempleUniversity in Philadelphia. Nkrumah, who was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, returned to Ghana and led the independence movement there and became president of that country. Nkrumah talked all the time about how we have differences wherever we’re born, but our similarities outweigh our differences.

The reason that makes sense is because, if you look at it, the reality of why African people are scattered all over the world – there are political reasons for that. It’s not as if we were all in the same place and decided individually that we wanted to live here and we wanted to live there. It’s colonialism and slavery that for the most part are responsible for the fact that we live today in 113 countries around the world.

And it’s also a major reason why we have such distrust among each other, because of the colonial system that trained us to be distrustful of each other and to have a lack of appreciation for who we are, where we’re from and what we’ve contributed to the world. Even understanding that we’ve contributed anything.

So this is the message in the work that Kwame was involved in, eradicating those negatives and bringing out the positive that no matter where we are we are still part of the same nation and our future is tied to one another.

TSN: For people who are motivated by these issues, is there a group or an effort that they can plug into to participate and learn more?

Umi: Yes absolutely. Like I said earlier, Kwame was a member of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, an organization that I belong to that I am initiating a chapter here in Oregon. It’s a pan-African, independent, revolutionary political party that’s based in Africa, our base is in Guinea Bissau. We are an organization that has chapters all over the world, we’re working for this pan Africanism that I’m talking about. We also work and support other peoples’ struggles, that are not of African descent who are also struggling for justice.

So it’s something that everybody needs to get involved in. People can learn more about us, they can contact us at aaprporegon@gmal.com.

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