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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David Banner is a featured speaker at the Black Parent Initiative

The Portland-based Black Parent Initiative’s 5th Annual Parent Symposium features a keynote performance by Grammy-winning rapper David Banner and a wide array of free workshops designed to put better parenting tools into the hands of moms and dads.  

The daylong event is Saturday, Sept. 6 at Warner Pacific College, 2219 SE. 68th Ave. in Portland.  Registration starts at 9 a.m. with refreshments and a wellness village, then a welcoming address and a spoken-word performance by Warner Pacific student Wesley Guy.

Organizers say this year’s event comes at an unusually fragile time for Black families – and that a new campaign they are launching at the Symposium is designed to enlist the entire city in wrapping positivity around kids.

The campaign takes a page from an annual Portland Public Schools event called, “Young, Gifted and Black,” which seeks out and celebrates successful kids in the community at a special annual ceremony.

The BPI is calling on families, friends, educators and “anyone who loves Black children and wants to do good by them” to use social media and call out the positive accomplishments of community youth using the hash tag #YGBnoble.

“Here is what you need to do to capture your child or a youth you know and showcase them in their moments of being noble and shining in their giftedness,” the group’s campaign says.

“Post pictures, accomplishments, or just everyday moments that capture their brilliance.

“Our children are worthy, valued and important. We are the ones that must let them know.”

“Every American generation has its moment -- for our generation Ferguson, Mo., should be it,” says BPI President and CEO Charles McGee III.

“As I watched and reflected on the situations as they unfolded I felt helpless,” he says. “As my 4 year old asked me questions about God’s presence I felt a deep sense of pain and hurt, knowing that no answer would be ‘right’ and that ultimately no matter how much my wife and I teach him, the reality of being a Black man in America still leaves a slight possibility he might be one of those causalities of perception.

“The most hurtful part was that even as I was seeking to collect my thoughts, locally Black children were killing each other,” he says. “I felt such a great contradiction.

“Then one day while watching CNN I heard actor, activist and rapper David Banner speaking. In his rage I felt something; I felt some weird sense of hope.”

McGee says he has known Banner and his music career for years, but then he learned about the rapper’s study towards a Ph.D.

“David is not your ordinary Grammy award winner – something is different about him. So I called David and invited him to come to Portland,” McGee says. “David needs to help us have a different conversation -- a conversation that I hope leads to our own community revolution.”

The BPI Symposium’s workshops on Saturday unfold with community speakers including Sheila Warren of the Portland Parent Union; Woodlawn School first-grade teacher Lionel Clegg; Passage to Higher Education program founder Noni Causey; and artist/educational administrator/international aid worker Seth Rue.

Then in the mid-afternoon McGee plans a presentation on the #YGBnoble campaign before Banner’s performance – that session starts at 1:15 p.m.

“We feel right now there is no greater time to encourage our children to be the best that they can be despite the odds, despite the violence, despite the challenges that come,” says BPI’s Parent University Manager Velynn Brown.

“This symposium is timely because of the events in Ferguson; we're all a little anxious,” she said.

“We are all shaken up and what we want to do is call on the community and educators and supporters to stand up and be noble in the face of ugliness,” Brown says. “We are a people that can rise above and we can call our children to do the same.”

“Every American generation has its moment – this is ours,” McGee says. “Let’s do something new – let’s embrace young, gifted, Black and noble but let’s challenge every element of our community to action.

“Let’s flip the script.”

For more information go to www.thebpi.org.

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