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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Trudy Nan Boyce

NEW YORK (AP) — In "Underground Airlines," an upcoming novel by Ben Winters, a Black bounty hunter rides through a poor neighborhood in Indianapolis alongside a white policeman.

"As we crossed Broad Ripple Avenue," Winters writes, "we passed a small knot of black kids, laughing and walking together on the narrow sidewalk; one of them, a short kid pushing a bike, wore a hoodie pulled low over his eyes. Cook slowed down and gave a blurp of the siren, gestured at the kid to make sure his face was showing. I caught the kid in the mirror with his middle finger aloft, a miniature of impotent rage frozen in the side-view as we drove away."

Winters could imagine the scene simply by following the news. The wave of police killings that helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement is also influencing a genre that captured tensions between police and non-white communities well before the rise of social media and cellphone videos. Publishers and writers say that story lines known to readers of Gary Phillips or Walter Mosley or Eleanor Taylor Bland will likely become more common and intense.

"When you're writing a book, you're not in an isolation chamber," said Winters, who in "Underground Airlines" depicts slavery still being legal in the U.S.

"This particular issue has long and faithfully been represented in crime fiction," said Joshua Kendall, editor-in-chief of the crime fiction imprint Mulholland Books, Winters' publisher. "It's simply that much of the fiction has been overlooked, just as the actual rate of abuse overlooked by media until now. That said, we need and want more fiction about it. The curiosity, concern and appetite seem to have finally grown."

David Baldacci's novel "The Last Mile," scheduled for April, tells of a black man on death row and the likelihood he was wrongly convicted. Mosley, best known for "Devil in the Blue Dress" and other novels featuring the black detective Easy Rawlins, says he has been working on a book about a former New York City policeman investigating the shooting of two officers by a black man and learning that the officers had tried to kill the man first.

"In the end he realizes that he has to come to some kind of understanding about how the system works, that his own sense of law and justice is never going to work for him," says Mosley, who is calling the novel "Detective, Heal Thyself."

Louise Penny's "The Great Reckoning," coming out in August, focuses on a corrupt police academy in Quebec and how trainees absorb a hostile mentality toward non-whites. In one passage, a white cadet confronts a black woman, Myrna Landers, and glares at her as he tells her not to advance any further.

"Myrna Landers had seen that look many times," Penny writes. "When stopped for traffic tickets. While walking in civil rights marches through Montreal. She'd seen it in reports of riots and police shootings. She'd seen it in color and in black and white. In recent news reports and in old newsreels. And archival photographs. Of the deep South. And the enlightened North."

But crime fiction is no more diverse than much of the book world and, at least in the near future, many narratives that take on race will likely come from white authors such as Baldacci, Winters and Trudy Nan Boyce. Kendall is trying to change that. He has agreed to a multibook deal with Attica Locke and says he is looking to sign up other black writers.

Phillips, who set his 1994 novel "Violent Spring" in the aftermath of the Los Angeles police beating of Rodney King, said he was hoping that such younger authors as Aaron Philip Clark and Desiree Zamorano would tell stories reflecting more recent events.

"The old days of the PI with just a file and an address and a sexy secretary are long dead," said the 60-year-old author. "Back in the 1980s and '90s writers like me and Walter Mosley and Paula Woods pushed the envelope forward and looked at different issues. I think the younger folks will do even better pushing it forward more. You have writers in this field who are going to be able to use things like Ferguson and what's happening on college campuses."

"Everyone knows of Walter Mosley, and there have been other excellent black crime writers published in recent years, such as Paula Woods," says Mark Tavani, vice president and executive editor of G.P. Putnam's Sons. "But in my experience these writers are a small percentage of those I see. As the larger discussion about race and justice engages more people, I can see that changing."

Boyce is a former Atlanta police officer whose debut novel, "Out of the Blues," came out last month. She said she is currently working on a book about the murder of students at Spelman College, a prominent black liberal arts school in Atlanta, and the protests that follow when the suspects are not identified. Boyce added that the new novel, currently untitled, was inspired in part by the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"As in many cases where there's a violent confrontation between the police and citizens, that incident did not begin with the encounter between the officer (Darren Wilson) and Mr. Brown. That incident had its roots in the systemic racism and the legacy of slavery that survives today," she said.

"So the next novel I have written has an even stronger thread exploring some of the issues between the police in Atlanta and citizens who are confronting a justice system that they do not trust."

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