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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Brett Bigham, Katherine Quaid and Cameron Whitten testified at City Hall about the importance of culturally inclusive education.

When Katherine Quaid spoke to Portland City Commissioners, she wanted them to know what it was like to be a person of color seeing history through a White lens.

A citizen of the confederated tribes of Umatilla, Quaid described a shallow representation of indigenous peoples in history lessons. She said maybe students knew about the Trail of Tears or Wounded Knee, but they did not get a deep understanding of indigenous culture.

“What we do not learn is about the contemporary American Indian cultures, issues, policies … and how our history has been skewed by the pen of the colonizers, favoring those of European descent while shutting out everyone else,” Quaid said.

Quaid testified on behalf of the Our Stories Matter campaign from the non-profit Know Your City. The new initiative seeks to diversify Oregon Studies curriculum for students in grades 3 through 5 in the Portland region.

The state of Black education in Oregon is changing through multiple efforts to create culturally relevant curriculum and the passage of a new legislative bill to address the achievement gap for Black students. Advocates are pushing beyond token policies and unfunded mandates and directly asking legislators to fund underserved students.

At City Hall, Know Your City Executive Director Cameron Whitten asked for $35,000 to fund “Our Stories Matter.” Mike Rosen of the Portland Public School Board also testified. Rosen said he would be asking PPS to financially contribute as well.

Whitten told the council the state requires Oregon Studies but doesn’t mandate it be culturally inclusive. In 2013 Senate Bill 739 urged the Department of Education to look at race specifically, but the law did not change Oregon Studies standards. 

Karanja Crews, the founder behind the Teaching With Purpose pedagogy has been advocating for culturally inclusive curriculum for over 15 years. Crews told The Skanner News that current education equity policy needs to be put into practice.

“There are tons of equity policies we have in place at the state and at districts, but a lot of times the community doesn't know about it,” Crews said. He said there are good equity laws in place about multicultural education and disproportionate discipline, but these laws have little effect if they aren’t enforced.

In January, Crews held a Teaching With Purpose town hall to connect these policies with community members. In June, Crews will host a culturally relevant curriculum boot camp to help educators craft their own diverse and responsive courses of study.

The town hall was an opportunity to discuss House Bill 2016, passed by the Oregon State Legislature last year. The law directs the Oregon Department of Education to create a plan focused on closing the achievement gap for Black students.

Charles McGee presented the legislation at the Town Hall and has plans to travel throughout Oregon to reach out to the Black community. McGee is cautiously optimistic about the plan and the other community efforts to improve education for Black students.

“I think systems and structures are recognizing that something has to be done and something has to be done differently,” McGee said. “I question how we are doing it and if the speed to which we are doing it is enough.”

The work of expanding culturally relevant education continues into the 2016 legislative session with a new bill focused on teachers. House Bill 4033, proposed by Rep. Lew Frederick, would fund culturally competent continuing education for teachers.

When people from the Our Voices Matter campaign testified at city hall, they brought up a variety of reasons culturally relevant education is beneficial to students.

Brett Bigham, the openly-gay two-time teacher of the year award winner, told the council diverse curriculum would reduce bullying of underrepresented communities. Whitten told the council that culturally relevant history that reflects diverse lives would empower students.

Quaid urged the council to fund the curriculum, because she believes every student should have the opportunity to thrive.

“We all have to work together to create something of value because education is a human right and every single person and student deserves to be successful,” she said.

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