06-25-2017  3:22 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Cooling Centers to open in Multnomah County Saturday, Sunday

Temperatures expected to climb into the upper 90s this weekend ...

Multnomah County Leaders Release Statement on Safety at Summer Events

Officials advise public to check in, have a plan and be aware at public events ...

Portland Musician, Educator Thara Memory Dies

Grammy-winning Trumpeter, composer, teacher died Saturday at the age of 68 ...

St. Johns Center for Opportunity to Host Meet the Employer Event June 27

Employers represented will include Mary’s Harvest and Del Monte ...

New Self-Defense Organization Offers Training to Youth in Multnomah County

EMERJ-SafeNow offers July classes for children ages 8-10 and youth ages 15-19 ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Our Children Deserve High Quality Teachers

It’s critical that parents engage with educational leaders and demand equal access to high quality teachers ...

Civil Rights Groups Ask for Broad Access to Affordable Lending

Charlene Crowell writes that today’s public policy housing debate is also an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and...

Criminal Justice Disparities Present Barriers to Re-entry

Congressional Black Caucus Member Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) writes about the fight to reduce disparities in our criminal justice...

Bill Maher Betrayed Black Intellectuals

Armstrong Williams talks about the use of the n-word and the recent Bill Maher controversy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Members of a Los Angeles street gang are facing charges in the 2008 beating of a man who claimed he had a sex tape of Shaquille O'Neal and that the former NBA star was behind the attack.

Sheriff's department records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times showed investigators probed allegations that O'Neal was connected to the attack, but O'Neal denied any involvement and has not been charged, the paper reported Wednesday. Also, O'Neal is not named in the criminal complaint.

Robert Ross reported being beaten in 2008 but details of the case only came to light publically this week in a preliminary hearing in which Ross testified against seven members of the Main Street Crips facing kidnapping, robbery and assault charges.

According to sheriff's report, Ross told investigators he was kidnapped at gunpoint by Main Street Crips gang members in West Hollywood in February 2008 and taken to the home of the gang's alleged leader Ladell Rowles. He said the gang members beat him, stole $15,000 in cash and some jewelry.

Ross said Rowles demanded the purported videotape of O'Neal having sex with a woman other than his wife and $100,000, according to the sheriff's investigative report.

Ross told investigators in 2008 that he believed O'Neal was behind the attack because of a business deal gone bad and because O'Neal believed he had the tape, the Times reported. Ross later told police he was "bluffing" about the tape.

Detectives found phone records showing a "flurry of calls" between Rowles and O'Neal's business partner Mark Stevens around the time of the February 2008 incident, the sheriff's report said.

O'Neal and Stevens both denied any involvement in the attack when interviewed by sheriff's investigators in 2008, the Times said.

Prosecutors said they have no evidence that a sex tape exists.

In a July 2009 letter asking for leniency in Ross' sentencing for unrelated federal drug and firearm charges, a sheriff's captain wrote that Ross was cooperating with law enforcement as a victim and witness in an incident that may implicate a "celebrity," the Times reported.

Attorney Nicholas Tonsich, who represented O'Neal and Stevens, did not immediately respond to an Associated Press call for comment.

O'Neal retired this month after 19 seasons, several of them with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ross is expected to resume his testimony when the preliminary hearing continues in July.

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