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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Cameron Whitten

When Cameron Whitten arrived in Portland, he was a homeless youth trying to find his way in the city. He became an advocate for marginalized communities during the Occupy Portland movement and ran for Mayor of Portland. In June 2012, Whitten went through a 55-day hunger strike to bring attention to the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp.

Since then, Whitten has served on many advocacy boards such as the City Club of Portland’s Advocacy and Awareness Board and the Transit Equity Advisory Committee for TriMet. He is in his final year of a bachelor of arts in economics at Portland State University. Most recently, he was chosen as the executive director of the art and social justice non-profit Know Your City.

Founded in 2009 by former executive director Marc Moscato, Know Your City has spearheaded a variety of public engagement and art projects – ranging from themed city tours to concerts to publications (including two series of historical comic books, a renters’ rights comic published with the Community Alliance of Tenants and the Jade Journal, a monthly newspaper published by fifth graders in East Portland).

Whitten spoke to The Skanner News about Know Your City and how he hopes to expand the organization’s reach to include more disenfranchised voices into Portland community-building. Here are excerpts of the interview, edited for space and clarity.


The Skanner News: Congratulations on becoming the Executive Director at Know Your City. Why did you choose this job?

Cameron Whitten: Portland needs Know Your City. Portland is going through a lot of changes right now. We're seeing Black Lives Matter, climate crisis, affordable housing. We're seeing a climax of social and political issues happening right now. There's a need for social justice in our community, for movements pushing us forward for progress for all people. People are paying attention. They are talking a lot more about these issues than I've seen since I've first came here to Portland. That's a huge deal.

We are even looking at our demographics. We are looking at our youth, who are more diverse than ever -- and it’s going to be our youth who are going to topple the image and reputation as Portland's Whitest major city in America. 

But are we ready for that right now? No. We need to change the conversation at the institutional level, at the societal level. We need to change the conversation to make sure that all people have their identities welcomed and celebrated in our community. Right now is the moment for Know Your City to be doing this work, and this is where I am called to be. 


TSN: What can Portlanders expect to see from Know Your City under your leadership?

CW: I think they can expect an organization that is honest, that is committed to the beauty of our culture and is committed to being on the cutting edge of community issues as they are happening. I want Know Your City to be a responsive, proactive organization and it should be one that is all-inclusive to Portlanders and Oregonians.


TSN: In what ways will Know Your City focus on the Black community in Portland?

CW: We are working on expanding our Jade Journal we did in Harrison Park elementary last year. We worked with fifth graders who were journalists for 12 whole weeks.

They interviewed people like state representative Alissa Keny-Guyer and APANO. They read about justice issues in their communities, pedestrian safety, food deserts. These youth were able to understand where they are, their community and also understand how they can use their voice to shape and benefit their community.

We want to have that kind of presence and empowerment in North Portland and also in East Portland. We see that kind of support happen at Lincoln and Grant High School, but there are so many areas where they aren't expected to have a voice and we want to change that.

We are looking at our schools and how every school between third and fifth grade is supposed to do Oregon studies. You go into these schools and what they are talking about is mostly Lewis and Clark, Ben Holladay, George Whitaker maybe. Maybe Carrie Brownstein comes up once or twice, but it's not my Oregon, it's not your Oregon. It silences the voices and lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

We need to have all-inclusive studies of Oregon and we expect our city to be a partner and champion in making that happen. That's what I am advocating right now, civic equity in all Portland schools and we want to spread that to the region.


TSN: What are you most excited about in this upcoming year?

CW: I am excited to see how Know Your City can expand and it's going to take a lot. I see this being a movement that spans the region. I think we have communities we are advocating for who do not live in Portland proper and we need to get out in Beaverton and Hillsboro and Gresham and Oregon City. We need to be able to get out there.


TSN: Is there anything else you want The Skanner readers to know?

CW: I want this to be an opportunity for The Skanner community and the community at large to really sit down with me. My phone number and my e-mail address are out there. Please have us as a resource. We are writing grants, we are fundraising, we are trying to find ways to leverage our resources that we have with the arts, with civics, with education to be really bent towards justice.

We really rely on community working with us to make projects available that help benefit all people and make everyone feel like their culture and identity is welcome and celebrated.

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