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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Officer Lamont Edwards talks to actor Nathan Purdee during a Crisis Intervention Training class at the New York Police Department Police Academy, in New York September 2. A new training for New York City police is combining actors, the mentally ill and psychology experts to better prepare officers responding to people in the throes of a mental crisis. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman called Emily, tears streaming down her face, stood on a ledge threatening to jump. For 15 minutes, a police sergeant used the common thread that connects them — they're both mothers — to gradually talk her out of killing herself.

The scene, played out earlier this month at the New York Police Department's training facility, was an act, part of a training program meant to help patrol officers in the nation's largest department better handle the growing number of interactions they have with people in emotional or mental distress.

"Even though it's a scenario, my hands are like this," said a shaking Sgt. Cecilia Luckie after talking to Erin Shields, the actress portraying Emily. "My mouth is dry."

Patrol officers like Luckie are often first on the scene to the 911 calls and on-the-street pick-ups of people in crisis — a mother calling because her mentally ill son is acting erratically, a person threatening to jump off a building or a homeless veteran acting strangely on a street corner.

Police received more than 130,000 so-called "emotionally disturbed person" calls last year, about 23,000 more than in 2011, an increase experts say mirrors a national trend resulting from too few supportive housing options and services in the wake of a decades-old deinstitutionalization movement.

Advocates for the mentally ill have long complained that hard-charging officers, tactically trained to issue commands and take control, have unnecessarily escalated situations that can sometimes end tragically. At least nine people killed by the NYPD since 2007 had mental illnesses, according to Carla Rabinowitz, of the nonprofit Community Access. But Rabinowitz said more common are interactions that leave them with negative views of the police or send them unnecessarily to jail, a result reflected by the 40 percent of the city jail population with mental health diagnoses.

New York's program is built off a nationally recognized instructional model, called Crisis Intervention Training, that uses mental health consumers, professionals and police officials to train officers on how to recognize signs of mental illness, respond to such calls and empathize with someone in the throes of a crisis. It emerged in the late 1980s from the Memphis Police Department and is now used by nearly 3,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. Research has shown its use is associated with higher confidence among officers, better recognition of mental illness and fewer uses of force.

Earlier this summer the NYPD launched a four-day program that will be incorporated into standard training and issued a requirement that officers take annual refresher courses, officials said. The department already has a small, highly-trained unit of officers for mental health cases, but the training is meant to give more cops a better chance at deescalating crisis situations.

Officers taking part in the training are evaluated in real time by a clinical psychologist and instructors during scenes portrayed by John Jay College of Criminal Justice actors like Grant Cooper, who plays a paranoid homeless man named Reverend X screaming into a trash can.

For Cooper, it comes from a familiar place: When he was 12 his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He draws on those memories — including his many 911 calls for help — when he plays his part.

"The police had to escort her many, many times," said Cooper, 52. "And she never got hurt. We were lucky. I didn't realize how lucky we were."

Cooper simulated someone high on the synthetic marijuana drug K2, doing backstrokes on the sidewalk as officers stood by, letting him tire himself out before rolling him onto his side, putting him in handcuffs and then an ambulance.

More than 270 officers assigned to Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood have already been trained and police officials hope to train 5,500 overall. One of two city mental health drop-off centers, designed to give police an alternative place to send people in crisis besides jail or an emergency room, will open in the neighborhood later this year.

"If we get those kinds of responses where people feel they've got more tools in their toolbox, if they feel more confident and if they can respond more appropriately more of the time, that's exactly what we want," said Susan Herman, the NYPD deputy commissioner for collaborative policing.

In another exercise, former soap opera actor Nathan Purdee, playing a Vietnam war veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experiencing a flashback, didn't quite calm down until one of the officers on patrol talking to him convinced him to sit down on a bench and shared a personal detail: He himself was a military veteran and understood what he was going through.

"You didn't challenge him," said Det. James Shanahan, one of the instructors, after the exercise ended. "You cared for him."

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