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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PSU students protest against armed patrols on campus

A decision on whether to add armed Portland Police to the campus of Portland State University draws closer with the school’s board of trustees set to make the final decision in December. Photo by Donovan M. Smith

 

The final decision on whether to add armed police officers to Oregon’s largest public university, Portland State University, may be handed down this month from the school’s Board of Trustees.

Last week, students, activists, and community members protested at the school’s downtown campus before a public forum on the nearly $1.5 million proposal to increase campus security’s power and training -- and eventually arm them with guns.

Right now the school is spending $2.6 million on public safety annually; the $1.5 million proposal would be in addition to that.

The proposed plan comes from state legislation passed in 2011 giving the State Board of Higher Education authority to allow campuses in the Oregon University System to create their own police force.

Students have been speaking out against Portland State’s proposal all year.

T.J. Love, a student at the university, penned an op-ed in the school’s newspaper in October. In the article Love, who is Black, detailed an experience where his status as a student was allegedly questioned by campus police.

He writes, “…but ultimately I decide not to escalate the situation partly out of fear, but also because I’ve become resigned to this experience as a black man in Amerikkka. I thought that CPSO were cops and I didn’t want to get shot dead, which is something white police officers are wont to do anytime there’s any melanin involved.”

Portland State’s 16-member team of Campus Public Safety Officers already works closely with local, state, and federal police agencies to provide law enforcement to the university.

However, some say that level of protection is not enough for the school, which is less than a mile from Portland Police’s central precinct.

Currently, campus security officers already have the authority to perform “stop and frisk” and can arrest people if they have probable cause; however they aren’t allowed to carry guns, and aren’t considered full peace officers under Oregon law.

Two PSU security officers who spoke at the forum said that in particularly volatile situations they feel underprepared. They also pointed to their inability to provide welfare checks on students.

The officers testified that if a gunman were on campus – unarmed officers would be powerless to stop him.

Under the proposal, some of the security team would undergo an 18-month training headed by Portland Police to become sworn officers.

At the Nov. 24 protest, protestors called for alternative safety measures.

“PSU don’t militarize, that’s not safety in our eyes!” and “invest in things that make us safe!” filled the air from the crowd of nearly 80. Speakers called for additional funding into more lighting on campus, phones, campus escorts, and mandatory conflict resolution classes for students, among other suggestions.

Tom Hastings, a PSU professor of conflict resolution, spoke at the rally; he says he is never in support of guns.

“The last thing we need is these guys and gals with guns,” he says.

Because PSU’s incoming freshman class is set to be the most diverse the school’s ever had, Hastings believes continual policing on campus could also lead to profiling of students.

“We’re getting more people of color and we’re getting more international. People know when they’re marginalized, profiled, and targeted, they are more likely to be a victim of the police than to be helped by the police. That is increasingly going to be the case at the PSU campus.”

The university said response time for the city’s police bureau in a non-emergency situation can be up to 20 minutes. If there were an active shooter, the armed police officers assigned to the university could respond within 60 seconds, the university claims. It should be noted that the PSU campus is less than a mile from the police’s downtown precinct in downtown.

Referencing the recent high school shootings at Marysville-Pilhuck near Seattle; Reynolds just outside of Portland; and November’s Florida State University gunman, PSU spokesperson Scott Gallagher says there is a benefit to having armed officers on campus.

Members of the Board pointed to data suggesting that the police presence would be light, compared to other universities its size.

The final decision on whether to add police will be handed down earliest by the PSU Board of Trustees Dec. 11. Gallagher says, when if passed it would be at least 6 months after the date before armed officers would be on campus.  

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