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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The revolutionary and iconic stance of the great Muhammad Ali rang in my mind this morning as I woke up and thought about writing a new sports column for The Black Athlete. With a bonanza weekend of American sports that includes the NFL Draft, The NBA Playoffs, The Kentucky Derby, the Yankees and Red Sox baseball game, and the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight, all I could think about is downtown Baltimore burning down with reports of 100 Black American men killed by police in the past year, while we still have our first African-American president in office at the White House.

Excuse me for being political in a sports column, but athletes are people first. They come from families with mothers and fathers. They come from communities in cities and towns. They come from fanbases of loyal people who have supported them. But once they make it to the highest professional level of sports, where they voices, wallets and social/political impact becomes the greatest, they are then advised to leave politics alone and keep their personal views private, or else suffer the consequences of repulsion from those American citizens who would rather not hear it.

Typically, in America, the mainstream white community has been the main culprits of wildly supporting athletes, while rejecting where they come from, what they stand for, or what their families and communities are still having to deal with in their lives daily.

“Hey pal, don’t push that stuff on me. I have anything to do with all that. I’m only here to watch the game.”

Nevertheless, American sports leagues have been allowed to support cancer awareness and wear pink every year, support military veterans who return home to their families from active duty overseas, and a half dozen other mainstream campaigns. But only if the professional sports leagues—controlled by billionaire white men—allow it.
Surely, I understand that to bring certain injustices to light before, during and after each and every game would be a bit overkill and undesirable, even for me. But these athletes should at least be able to speak about it as they see fit in interviews, particularly when they are often forced to answer questions about the game. Allow them to also address a few questions about what’s going on their lives, in their families and in their communities, if they choose to do so.

But why are so many professional athletes punished for that? Is it to control the social/political impact that they would have? Is it fear of moving the status quo of America into spaces that it still refuses to discuss or transition from? Is it to continue the stereotype that athletes are brainless and physically gifted brutes who are better off seen than heard?

The sports world has now become grossly hypocritical. Do we not now witness these same sports league authorities coming out strongly against domestic violence, abuse of children, cheating through performance enhancing drugs, driving while under the influence, smoking marijuana, and many other societal infractions of its athletes? These stronger league stances and rules of discipline for professional athletes are mainly in play because buying public now demands it. Thousands and millions of supported will no longer accept such transgressions, and the leagues’ owners are forced to feel it in their bank accounts from negative public relations. However, no such fear happens from the desires and demands of economic freedom, justice, equality and certain protective rights of black people, who now make up the majority of professional football and basketball players.

So I watched a 20-minute interview on YouTube this morning of Muhammad Ali and “Why I Refuse To Go To Vietnam” on the Malcolm X channel and was blown away by how astutely this uneducated black man and boxer from poverty in Louisville, Kentucky, could speak about the obvious politics of a black people, who were being forced to fight a war for America abroad, while not being allowed to fight a war at home to for the safety, education, dreams, aspirations and hope of their people at home in America. You need to watch it too for an historical perspective and update on how America continues to avoid the elephant in the room, even in year 2015.

Muhammad Ali was willing to go to jail and give up everything for a message of defiance and justice for his people, and he surely suffered for it as he quickly became Public Enemy Number #1 of mainstream white America, simply for voicing his honest opinions that were all based on the facts of our country’s treatment to millions of black people, a people who Muhammad Ali—previously named Cassius Clay—happened to be an extremely popular and respected member.

And I will say more. Go online and watch the tape and be proud of a man who deserved our respect FOREVER. The brother is indeed a special man, not just for blacks, but for all people.

 

Omar Tyree is a New York Times bestselling author, an NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Fiction, and a professional journalist, who has published 27 books, including co-authoring Mayor For Life; The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr. View more of his career and work @ www.OmarTyree.com

 

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