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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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The original charges were shocking: Six San Francisco police officers were accused of stealing from drug dealers. Then federal prosecutors released racist and homophobic text messages.

Those texts have now turned a small-time police corruption case into a racially charged scandal, thrusting a diverse and liberal city into the national debate over policing in minority communities.

"We now know this can happen in San Francisco," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said. "We're certainly not immune to the problems that we have seen in Baltimore, Staten Island, South Carolina."

The San Francisco turmoil comes amid growing tensions between police departments and communities of color. Large, sometimes violent protests over police treatment of black suspects have occurred in several cities over the last two years.

That has put police under a microscope. Three Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officers were fired last month and a fourth resigned after they were found to have exchanged racist messages about colleagues and the predominantly black neighborhood they patrolled.

In San Francisco, Police Chief Greg Suhr has moved to fire eight officers, two of whom have since retired. Six others also are facing some kind of discipline.

The district attorney, meanwhile, is looking into whether the department's racial problems run deeper than the officers implicated.

"In the process of looking at the text messages, increasingly I became uneasy that this may not be localized to the 14 officers that were being reported, but that we may have some systemic issues," Gascon said.

San Francisco Police spokesman Albie Esparza says the department supports the district attorney's examination, but disputes any suggestion that the police force of 2,100 sworn officers may suffer from systemic racism.

"This was an isolated incident," Esparza said. "To say it's systemic is unfounded."

The San Francisco police department hasn't faced widespread allegations of discrimination since Officers for Justice, a group of minority officers, sued the department in 1973. After the Department of Justice joined the lawsuit, the department settled the case in 1979 and agreed to hire more minorities and women. Nearly half of the sworn officers are minorities today.

News of the racist texts prompted outrage among community leaders. The Rev. Amos Brown, president of the NAACP's San Francisco chapter and minister at Third Baptist Church, said he wasn't surprised.

"We have seen this. We have lived this. We have breathed this discrimination," he said.

Lawyers for several implicated officers characterized the text messages as "banter" and failed attempts at humor. In one, Sgt. Yulanda Williams was called racist and sexist names by one of the texting officers when she was promoted to sergeant in 2011.

"We really have not moved as forward as we thought," she said. "I'm not prepared to say this was an isolated incident. This is just the tip of the iceberg."

At least one of the accused officers, Michael Robinson, is white and openly gay. Another, Sgt. Ian Furminger, is white. Police officials have so far declined to release the racial composition of the other implicated officers.

Officer Rain Daugherty said in a lawsuit filed Monday to halt his termination that he is "deeply ashamed" of the texts he wrote and that they are "unreflective of his strong commitment to exemplary community policing of all San Francisco's diverse citizens." Daugherty argues that he and the other officers shouldn't be fired because the department obtained the inflammatory texts in December 2012 but didn't start the disciplinary process until two years later.

The department says the texts were part of the corruption investigation and couldn't be disclosed to administrators until the criminal cases concluded.

It all started at the Henry Hotel in San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin neighborhood.

Hotel residents arrested in police raids began complaining in late 2010 to their public defenders that officers had entered their rooms without warrants and, on occasion, stole their valuables.

Public defender Jeff Adachi and his staff then obtained and sifted through 18 months of video surveillance captured by the hotel's security cameras. The videos showed officers entering the building then leaving with bags and other items that were never accounted for in evidence logs or court proceedings. The video also appeared to show officers entering rooms without warrants or permission from the residents.

The public defenders used the videos to confront and contradict officers' testimony, leading to several criminal cases being dismissed. Adachi also called a news conference to announce his findings, releasing the incriminating videos.

Taking note, federal authorities launched an investigation and charged six police officers with corruption and related charges. Investigators twice searched Furminger's cellphone, unearthing numerous offensive and racist texts with fellow officers. They included slurs against blacks, Mexicans, Filipinos and gays, and feature officers repeatedly using the phrase "white power."

Furminger is currently serving a 41-month prison sentence in a Colorado prison. He is appealing his conviction, and his attorney Mark Goldrosen declined comment.

In a court filing, Furminger denied that he was "a virulent racist and homophobe." The court filing said Furminger's "close friends include many persons of different races and different sexual orientation."

7/87/87/8___

AP writer Terence Chea contributed to this report from San Francisco.

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