05 24 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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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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It has been both interesting and unsettling to watch the attacks from the political Right on the Black Lives Matter movement, and the larger movement for Black lives.

Specifically, the suggestion that Black Lives Matter activists are somehow terroristic and promote the killing of police is so outlandish that it’s not only difficult to believe that anyone would even take such allegations seriously, but it’s also hard to imagine someone mouthing such words in the first place.

Let’s start by debunking a myth that is being promoted by the political Right. The political Right and several police unions have suggested that there is a war against the police. The facts stand in contrast. The number of police killed has actually decreased.

Given this, why are we being led to believe otherwise?  Simply put, promoting fear and suggesting that there is somehow a war against the police is a smokescreen to shift attention away from the actual war that has been underway, and that is a war against Black civilians by right-wing haters and out of control police.

This point cannot be emphasized too strongly. Not only do the facts demonstrate that there is no war against the police, but they also continue to demonstrate that young Black men are anywhere between seven and twenty-one times more likely to be shot and killed by the police than White young men. It is these statistics that the political Right wishes us to ignore.

As a result of the attention that folks in the Black Lives Matter movement and the movement for Black lives have brought to the phenomenon of police lynchings, they have found themselves the target of those who wish to suppress any actual discussion of the discrepancy in police violence. Using the suggestion of terrorism is a time-honored technique to smash any open discourse.

In the fall of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the then attorney general of South Carolina wrote an op-ed suggesting that protesting dockworkers in Charleston who had been set up by the police were domestic terrorists. The allegation was completely outrageous and was quickly disavowed by sensible South Carolinians.

Nevertheless, the clear hope had been that such an allegation would lead to the defeat of a nation-wide campaign to free the five Charleston dockworkers. That scare tactic did not work.

Today, such scare tactics are being reissued and for the same general purpose. Rather than focus the attention of the country on the discrepancy in police violence and the larger negative differential in treatment experienced by African Americans compared to Whites, the hope is that fear of chaos and fear of vigilante justice against police will lead the population to close its collective eyes and simply tolerate whatever actions the police believe to be appropriate.

It will not happen.

 

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English.  Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.

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