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Rob Parker on RGIII’s blackness
Dec-13-2012 1445 0

Robert Griffin III has been asked about his race repeatedly this season. He has not, to my knowledge, ever brought the subject up himself. Every time he’s been asked about it, he has managed to appear thoughtful and considerate without possibly offending anyone.

I’m not sure he’s ever handled the race question better than on last week’s Comcast SportsNet special, when Chick Hernandez talked about being a black quarterback in D.C.

“Whenever you can relate to the population of the team that you play for, I think it makes it that much more special,” Griffin said. “I don’t play too much into the color game, because I don’t want to be the best African American quarterback, I want to be the best quarterback.

“But to the fans, and to the fans who think that way and look at me as an African American, it’s important that I succeed, not only for this team, but for them,” he continued. “Because it gives them that motivation, that hey, you know, an African American went out and played quarterback for my Washington Redskins. So I appreciate that; I don’t ever downplay anything like that. Whoever I can go out every week and motivate to do better and to try to go after their dreams, I’m up for that.”

Again, I don’t know how he could possibly have handled that issue — which he did not raise himself — any better.

But people keep asking. The rookie was asked about race yet again on Wednesday, this time by an ESPN reporter. He delivered a similar answer. It was an answer that showed he’s actually thought about the issue, but it was steadfastly non-controversial.

“I am [aware] of how race is relevant to [some fans]. I don’t ignore it,” Griffin said Wednesday. “I try not to be defined by it, but I understand different perspectives and how people view different things. So I understand they’re excited their quarterback is an African American. I play with a lot of pride, a lot of character, a lot of heart. So I understand that, and I appreciate them for being fans.”

Well. This led to a Thursday discussion on First Take, ESPN’s abysmal debate program. Panelist Rob Parker was asked, ‘What does this say about RGIII?”

“This is an interesting topic,” Parker said. “For me, personally, just me, this throws up a red flag, what I keep hearing. And I don’t know who’s asking the questions, but we’ve heard a couple of times now of a black guy kind of distancing himself away from black people.

“I understand the whole story of I just want to be the best,” Parker continued. “Nobody’s out on the field saying to themselves, I want to be the best black quarterback. You’re just playing football, right? You want to be the best, you want to throw the most touchdowns and have the most yards and win the most games. Nobody is [thinking] that.

“But time and time we keep hearing this, so it just makes me wonder deeper about him,” Parker went on. “And I’ve talked to some people down in Washington D.C., friends of mine, who are around and at some of the press conferences, people I’ve known for a long time. But my question, which is just a straight honest question. Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

What does that mean, Parker was asked.

“Well, [that] he’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us,” Parker explained. “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with, because he’s off to do something else.”

Why is that your question, Parker was asked.

“Well, because I want to find out about him,” Parker said. “I don’t know, because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods was like I’ve got black skin but don’t call me black. So people got to wondering about Tiger Woods early on.”

Then Skip Bayless asked Parker about RGIII’s braids.

“Now that’s different,” Parker said. “To me, that’s very urban and makes you feel like…wearing braids, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids on.”

Then Stephen A. Smith was asked for his take. He exhaled deeply.

“Well first of all let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said. “RGIII, the ethnicity, the color of his fiancée is none of our business. It’s irrelevant. He can live his life any way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kind of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.

“What I would say to you is that the comments he made are fairly predictable,” Smith went on. “I think it’s something that he may feel, but it’s also a concerted effort to appease the masses to some degree, which I’m finding relatively irritating, because I don’t believe that the black athlete has any responsibility whatsoever to have to do such things.

“Let me say this clearly. I don’t know of anybody who goes into something trying to be the best black anything. We understand that. That’s a given,” Smith said. “But I do think it’s important to acknowledge a level of pride and a feeling of a level of accomplishment for being somebody who happens to be of African American descent, who competes and achieves and accomplishes things on the highest level while also bringing attention – to some degree anyhow – to the pride that they feel being black. Because they’re allowing themselves to be a reminder to those who preceded them, who worked so hard, accomplished and achieved so much, but were denied the accolades that that individual is receiving.”

Later, Parker was given an opportunity to clarify whether he was judging Griffin’s blackness.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “We could sit here and be honest, or we can be dishonest. And you can’t tell me that people in the barbershops or people that talk, they look at who your spouse is. They do. And they look at how you present yourself. People will say all the time, you’re not gonna get a job in corporate America wearing those braids. It happens all the time. Let’s not act like it doesn’t, because it does.”

The only conclusion I’m willing to make about all of this is that the show would have been much more thoughtful had Griffin been on the panel. Or had he replaced the panel.

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WPDE Apr-29-2016 132 0
WPRay Anthony Lewis, III, 20, of Apopka, Fla., was charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct on Friday after police say he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman, according to warrants.

Lewis is the son of former NFL player Ray Lewis, who retired from the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 23 at an apartment on Technology Boulevard. The warrant says Lewis engaged in sexual battery with the woman while she was mentally incapacitated and/or physically helpless from the use of drugs and/or alcohol.

On Jan. 23, police responded to Grand Strand Hospital for a report of a sexual assault. A rape kit was performed, according to the police report.

After compiling medical reports from the hospital, victim statements, witness statements and lab results, the case was presented to the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office for review.

After review, police were directed to get an arrest warrant for Lewis, according to the police report.

Lewis turned himself into police on Friday, April 29.

Tommy Brittain and Ed Garland, the attorneys for Lewis released the following statement on his arrest:

Ray Lewis III is innocent of all charges and we expect him to be fully vindicated by the end of this matter.

Lewis announced plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina University in January of 2015 and played cornerback on the CCU football team.

Martha Hunn, a spokeswoman for CCU, says Lewis has been suspended from the football team and the university is currently conducting an administrative investigation.

The full statement from CCU says:

Once CCU became aware of an incident, the University immediately began facilitating the administrative investigation, which includes requests to Conway Police Department for the police report and other information pertaining to this case. The University obtained the arrest warrant today. Immediately upon arrest, Ray Lewis III was suspended indefinitely from the football team. The University continues its administrative investigation process.
Lt. Selena Small with the Conway Police Department said this is all the information available at this time because the case is still under investigation.

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Emily Lane, Apr-28-2016 108 0
Cardell Hayes, the accused shooter of former Saints star Will Smith, was indicted by a New Orleans grand jury Thursday (April 28) on a second-degree murder charge, and also for attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of Smith's wife Racquel, among other charges.

Hayes pleaded not guilty at his arraignment shortly after. A judge set his bond at $1.75 million -- $750,000 higher than Hayes' previous bond.

The indictment highlighted a dramatic day in court, with prosecutors racing toward a grand jury vote and getting the formal charges just as Hayes attorneys had started questioning witnesses in a separate hearing aiming to free Hayes.

The indictment, which halted that questioning, was followed by a scuffle outside the courtroom that left two women in handcuffs, and by the unusual relocation of the hearing -- and the corresponding media entourage -- to a different judge's courtroom.

Cardell Hayes pleaded not guilty Thursday (April 28) to murdering former Saints player Will Smith and shooting Smith's wife Racquel.

The indictment also started the clock on what is likely to be months, and possibly years, of legal wrangling over what evidence and witnesses would be admitted in an eventual trial.

Hayes, who attended the hearing Thursday and blew kisses to his relatives in the courtroom, has been in jail since first arrested after police said he fatally shot Will Smith and wounded Racquel Smith following a traffic collision late April 9 in the Lower Garden District.

Indictment handed down for Cardell Hayes in Will Smith case, defense attorney speaks

Cardell Hayes' attorney John Fuller talks about his client's indictment from the Grand Jury at criminal court over the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith.

There was no indication Thursday that Hayes plans to post bond, but his attorneys immediately requested a bond-reduction hearing.

Peter Thomson, an attorney representing the Smith family, said they were "please, though not surprised" by the grand jury indictment.

"Although nothing can ease the pain this family is feeling, today was a step towards ensuring this cold-blooded murderer is held responsible for the actions that took the life of their husband, father and friend," Thomson said of Racquel Smith.

Defense: witness saw gun being removed; ex-cop denies it

A big development in the case was expected one way or another Thursday. Hayes' attorneys John Fuller and Jay Daniels, who have criticized the investigation, had subpoenaed 24 witnesses for a hearing to determine whether there was probably cause to continue to hold Hayes in jail.

But the dramatic sequence in which the charges were delivered was notable.

A prosecutor rushed into the courtroom to bring the indictment in the middle of the probable cause hearing, which was convened at Hayes' request. The charges were delivered as David Olasky, a private investigator for Hayes' attorneys, was testifying about a witness who claimed to have seen a retired NOPD captain remove a gun from Smith's SUV the night of the shooting. Hayes' attorneys have previously suggested someone may have tampered with the crime scene after the shooting.

But Tanya Picou Faia, an attorney for former officer Billy Ceravolo, flat out denied the allegation that her client removed a gun from Smith's vehicle.

"It's Mr. Fuller's script," said Faia, referring to Fuller's previous allusions to crime scene tampering. "I expected that allegation would be made."

Ceravolo had been subpoenaed to testify Thursday, but he was among the witnesses who never were put on the stand once the indictment came in.

By opting to charge Hayes in an indictment, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office was able to stop the hearing and prevent almost all of those witnesses from testifying -- keeping most evidence in their case under wraps. Many of the witnesses Hayes' attorneys planned to call were also subpoenaed for the grand jury proceedings.

The indictment answers why New Orleans police had not yet charged Hayes in the shooting of Racquel Smith. Days after the shooting, NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said charges were pending against Hayes in connection to Racquel Smith's shooting. She was shot once in each leg and attended her husband's funeral in a wheelchair. But nearly three weeks after the high profile incident, prosecutors had yet to charge Hayes in her shooting, choosing instead to allow the grand jury to determine whether to charge him.

Will Smith was fatally shot shortly before 11:30 p.m. April 9 following a traffic crash in the Lower Garden District, police say. According to the department, Hayes' Hummer H2 rear-ended Smith's Mercedes SUV. An argument followed, then gunfire. The former defensive lineman was shot seven times in the back and once in the chest, according to Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse.

Questions remains about whether Smith was in possession of a gun when Hayes opened fire. An attorney for the Smith family, Peter Thomson, has said a gun police said was found in Smith's SUV remained in a compartment of the vehicle the night of the shooting. Fuller has suggested, however, that he can produce a witness who will dispute that. Police have not said where in the vehicle Smith's gun was located.

Fuller and Daniels have not disputed that Hayes pulled the trigger. They have continued to assert, however, they can prove Hayes is "legally not guilty" of murder, suggesting -- but not expressly saying -- the shots might have been fired in self-defense.

Thomson told reporters Hayes killed Will Smith, a father of three, in "cold blood," yelling has he stood over Smith's body after shooting him.

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Jeff Truesdell Apr-28-2016 642 0
The godmother of a 16-year-old Louisiana girl found dead in a ditch with her hair in pink rollers Sunday spoke with PEOPLE about her grief.

"Our lives will be forever changed with this," says Katrice Reid, 36, the godmother of Jorion White, of Kenner, Louisiana. "I am truly heartbroken. We don't know how to comprehend how to go on without her."

Authorities in St. Charles Parish suspect foul play and tell PEOPLE they still are investigating what happened to White. She was last seen by her family at home on Thursday night as she prepared for bed; her family reported her missing on Friday evening. Sunday evening, a body later identified as White's was found in a drainage ditch.

Results from an autopsy have not been released, and police have not revealed a manner of death.

Those left behind recall White as an ambitious, grounded, smiling high school junior at Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School whose life ended too soon.

White Wanted to Be a Nurse, 'Loved to Help and Take Care of People'

"She just lit up the room when she came in," says Reid. "We were very blessed to have her for the 16 years we had."

"She had a goal of being a nurse. She loved to help people and take care of people," adds Reid. "She just impacted more people that I think she even thought she did. It was just her personality – just such a sweet person."

That was made clear by an impromptu memorial gathering on Monday night.

"We had at least 200 people out there," says Reid. "They had buses – they were busing kids in. It was so beautiful, so beautiful. And it wasn't anything that was organized. Somebody put it out there, and everybody just showed up."

"It just tells me that she was a wonderful soul. So many people loved her."

? Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

'No Matter How Good We Are, There's Just so Much Evil'

White was the youngest in a family of six kids – three boys, three girls. In her bedroom, there were self-help and inspirational books such as Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on her shelf.

"Her mother was big with her in setting goals and how to improve yourself," says Reid, who was a classmate and friend of White's mother, Michelle Price, since the age of 13. "Her mom always encouraged her to look ahead and how to prepare herself for life as a grownup."

Although White's parents were divorced, White stayed close to both her mother and father, and looked ahead to spending time this summer with her dad and stepmom at their home in Dallas.

"She had a lot of people around her that she could look to as far as guidance for her," says Reid. "That's why it's hard. There was so much positive. This just kind of blind-sided us."

"It just touches you to your soul, because it shows that no matter how good we are, there's just so much evil at any given time, and we don't know when the evil will take the good out."

Reid did not speculate on what may have happened to her goddaughter, only that White would not have left home on her own with her hair in curlers. "She was a person who made sure she was pretty when she walked out the door," she says.

"We don't know – that's the hardest part, we really don't know. We're just confused."

As authorities continue to search for answers, Reid has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money toward White's burial, "because you're just never prepared to bury a 16-year-old," she says.

"I believe that she's looking down on us right now," says Reid, who created the hashtag #JusticeforJorion. "She just has to be smiling even more than I know she can, just to know she was loved so much."
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AP Apr-27-2016 160 0
Former LAPD Chief Willie Williams has died. He was 72.

Williams was appointed as the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department in the wake of Chief Daryl Gates' resignation following the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

He became the first African-American to lead the LAPD.

During his tenure in L.A., Williams worked to bolster the image of the LAPD, and heal the rift that opened between police and Los Angeles communities following the violent arrest in 1991 of motorist Rodney King.

He served as police chief in L.A. until 1997.

Williams also served as the police commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department from 1988 to 1992.

He was appointed federal security director for Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta in 2002. Williams was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time of his death.
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RYAN NAKASHIMA Apr-26-2016 115 0
Prince's sister says the superstar musician had no known will and filed paperwork Tuesday asking a Minneapolis court appoint a special administrator to oversee his estate.

Tyka Nelson, Prince's only surviving full sibling, said in the court filing that immediate action was necessary to manage Prince's business interests following his death last week. The size of Prince's fortune is unclear, though he made hundreds of millions of dollars for record companies, concert venues and others during his career and his estate included about $27 million in property.

Nelson asked that Bremer Trust, a corporate trust company, be named administrator of the estate. The court documents say Breber Bank provided financial services to Price for many years.

The filing comes less than a week after the pop star died Thursday at his home in suburban Minneapolis. The outpouring of grief and nostalgia prompted fans to buy 2.3 million of his songs in three days.

Prince owned a dozen properties in and around his famous Paisley Park complex in suburban Minneapolis: mostly rural pieces of land and some houses for family members. Public records show those properties were worth about $27 million in 2016.

Estimates of how much licensing his personal brand will bring in after death reach to the purple clouds.

"He was as big as they get," said Mark Roesler, chief executive of CMG Worldwide, which handles licensing for the estates of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other late stars.

Roesler estimates Prince's post-mortem earnings will match top-earning dead celebrities like Elvis Presley, whose estate made $55 million in 2015, according to Forbes magazine.

"Will there be a business built up around Prince 60 years from now like James Dean? The answer is unequivocally yes," said Roesler.

If Prince filed a will or created a trust, heirs to his future fortune would be known. But no such documents have yet turned up.

Under Minnesota law, a person can file a will with probate court in secret. If Prince did so, the fact one exists would become public once a death certificate is filed, but the medical examiner has not yet issued one for Prince. An autopsy was conducted Friday and his remains were cremated Saturday.

L. Londell McMillan, a longtime lawyer and former manager of the superstar, declined to comment Monday to The Associated Press about whether the entertainer had a will or any other particulars regarding his estate, but added: "I want to make sure his legacy is respected and protected no matter what role I play." McMillan was Michael Jackson's lawyer and played a role in his estate, as well as those of rapper Notorious B.I.G. and Sammy Davis Jr.

Several other attorneys who have done work for Prince in the past - including Alan Eidsness, who handled his 2006 divorce from Manuela Testolini Nelson - said they were not handling his estate.

Wealthy people usually create trusts to avoid the public spectacle of probate court, and it's probable Prince did so, according to Irwin Feinberg, a Los Angeles trust and probate lawyer.

Prince wasn't married and had no known living children. Nelson is his only full-sibling, though he has five half-siblings (two other half-siblings have died) who could share in his estate if he has no will.

The AP did not find liens or mortgages on any of his properties, which range from a sprawling 160-acre piece of grassland between Lake Lucy and Lake Ann, to a three-bedroom bungalow in Minneapolis that is home to his half brother, Omarr Baker.

Prince sold over 100 million albums on his lifetime, according to Warner Music Group. And Pollstar, a concert industry magazine, said that in the years that his tours topped the charts - 10 years over four decades performing - the tours raked in $225 million in ticket sales.

His best-earning touring year, when he took in $87.4 million, was 2004, the year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and two decades after the soundtrack to "Purple Rain" went multi-platinum.

But what remained in Prince's hands is, by any estimate, less than the sum of ticket and album sales. In every record deal, a cut goes to the label, background performers and music publishers, though Prince published and wrote his own songs. Concert ticket revenue is split among the venue, the promoter, staff and the cost of travelling around. And prince was known to throw expensive parties.

In April 2013, Prince lost a suit filed in New York State's Supreme Court brought by perfume maker Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics Inc. for failing to promote the "3121" perfume line named after his album from 2006 and which he touted, but only once, in a massive concert that started July 7, 2007 near Macy's in downtown Minneapolis and ended at 5 a.m. at the First Avenue club, a famous venue from "Purple Rain."

He was ordered to pay $4.4 million; he never did. Instead, plaintiff lawyers went searching for assets, found about $3 million in various Minnesota bank accounts, and used court orders to freeze them, according to Brian Slipakoff, a New York lawyer who represented the perfume maker. Prince settled for a lower amount shortly after.

"It doesn't suggest there was oodles of cash lying around," Slipakoff said.

Prince encountered tax difficulties several times over the years, including owing back taxes to France in 2012, which he paid up, and overdue property taxes around $450,000 in 2010. In 2013, the IRS filed a federal tax lien against him in Carver County, Minnesota, Court for $1.6 million. What happened with that case is unclear.

Records on file with Carver County, where Paisley Park is located, show that he was up to date on his property taxes when he died.
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Inside Edition Apr-26-2016 151 0
As he put 25 years of prison time served for a crime he didn't commit, Monday marked the first day in the rest of Darryl Pinkins' life.

The 63-year-old Indiana father walked out of Lake County jail after spending just a month shy of a quarter-century behind bars after he was convicted in 1991 for what prosecutors said was his participation in a horrific 1989 gang rape.

After years of unflinchingly maintaining his innocence, Pinkins was set free thanks to one of the newest innovations in DNA analysis.

The technology is so new, in fact, that Pinkins is the first inmate ever set free with its help.

"It feels like this day was - was meant to be. And I know it was," Pinkins told reporters outside the jail after friends and family greeted him in a tearful reunion. "This is a new beginning."

One of the emotional family members waiting for Pinkins was his son, who hadn't even been born.

Pinkins maintained during his 1991 trial that he'd been in bed with his wife when prosecutors said five men raped a woman for hours after the victim identified him as one of her attackers.

"I stood back as an innocent man watching it fold out before me, and it wasn't right," Pinkins said.

For decades, Pinkins continued to campaign to have his name cleared.

"Until recently, there was no technology that could really do what I call, dissects DNA mixture," Fran Watson, Pinkins' attorney with the Indiana Innocence Project told reporters.

The new technology is a DNA analysis program called TrueAllele. The process can be used to tease out the DNA of individuals from DNA mixtures.

"Once they explained to us what DNA was, we told them to bring the test on because we know where we were," Pinkins said.

After the test, Pinkins found himself cleared of the rape conviction and Lake County prosecutors have declined to put him back on trial.

"We were 100 percent certain that we did in fact have the right person," Bernard Carter, Lake County prosecutor said. However, "when you look at the evidence that stands now, it would be an injustice for us to even attempt to try Mr. Pinkins. We would not convict him."
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MARYCLAIRE DALE Apr-26-2016 101 0
A Pennsylvania appeals court has rejected Bill Cosby's attempt to throw out his criminal case because of what he called a decade-old deal not to prosecute him.

The mid-level state Superior Court ruled Monday that the criminal sex-assault case against Cosby can proceed, prompting the district attorney to press for a preliminary hearing date.

Cosby, 78, is facing trial over a 2004 encounter at his home with a then-Temple University employee who says she was drugged and molested by the comedian. Cosby says they engaged in consensual sex acts.

Former prosecutor Bruce Castor has said he promised he would never prosecute Cosby and urged him to testify in the woman's 2005 civil lawsuit. The release of that testimony last year led a new prosecutor to arrest him.

In the lengthy deposition, the long-married Cosby acknowledged a series of affairs and said he had gotten quaaludes to give to women he hoped to seduce.

Cosby has not yet entered a plea in the criminal case, and remains free on $1 million bail posted after his Dec. 30 arrest.

"We ... look forward to the court setting a date so we can present our case," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement.

Cosby's lawyers were considering whether to respond to Monday's ruling, a spokesman said. He could potentially appeal again to the state Supreme Court, but it's unclear if that would delay the case.

"He may do that, but the critical question will be whether the Supreme Court will give him a stay during the review," said David Rudovsky, a University of Pennsylvania law professor.

Cosby is meanwhile locked in a number of legal battles around the country with women who accuse him of sexual assault or defamation.

He has countersued some of them, including the Pennsylvania accuser. His lawsuit accuses her of breach of contract for talking to police who reopened the case last year, given the confidential settlement of the lawsuit she filed against him after Castor turned down the case.

Castor re-emerged in the case last fall as a key defense witness who said he had made a deal that Cosby would never be charged. Castor last year was running to return to the district attorney's office. He was defeated by Steele.

Cosby acknowledged in the deposition that he gave the Temple ex-employee, Andrea Constand, the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl before engaging in sex acts with her at his home near Philadelphia. He calls the encounter consensual.

Constand, who had sought career advice from Cosby, left her job with the Temple women's basketball team that spring. She returned home to Toronto and began training to become a massage therapist.

A year later, she contacted police to report the alleged sexual assault.

Thirteen other women came forward by the time she settled her lawsuit in 2006 to say that Cosby had also molested them. Cosby in the deposition described a long history of womanizing, including extramarital affairs with several of the accusers. However, he said he never assaulted anyone or gave them drugs unknowingly.

Dozens of women have since added their names to the list of accusers. But the statute of limitations had run on virtually all of them, and Constand's is the only case to result in criminal charges.

As the case proceeds, the key issues are likely to include whether other accusers can testify; whether Cosby is unfairly biased by the 12-year delay; and whether his testimony in the civil case can be used against him.
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GRAHAM RAYMAN Apr-25-2016 164 0
The city of Cleveland has agreed to pay $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy gunned down by police in November 2014, the Daily News has learned.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city does not admit wrongdoing in the shooting.

Tamir was shot and killed by cops who responded to an inaccurate 911 report of a man waving a gun near a park playground.

Tamir Rice was carrying a fake firearm on Nov. 22, 2014 when he was gunned down in a park by Officer Timothy Loehmann.

The huge settlement is likely the largest that Cleveland has had to pay to settle a civil rights claim — and one the largest settlements in recent years.

The boy’s mother, Samira, sued the city alleging that Cleveland police violated her son's civil rights.

Tamir was carrying a fake firearm on Nov. 22, 2014 when he was gunned down in a park by Officer Timothy Loehmann, who opened fire less than a second after hopping out of his patrol car.

The shooting of Tamir was set in motion when a 911 caller reported seeing a youth in a park with a gun that was "probably fake." The dispatcher failed to tell the two responding officers those two key pieces of information.

A grainy surveillance video captured the officers arriving at the scene and Loehmann opening fire from mere feet away, striking Rice once in the chest.

“Although it’s historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life,” said two of Tamir’s lawyers, Earl Ward and Jonathan Abady of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP in a statement. “Tamir was 12 years old when he was shot and killed by police — a young boy with his entire life ahead of him, full of potential and promise.”
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JASON SILVERSTEIN Apr-24-2016 358 0
This school has another N-word for one teacher’s unconventional curriculum: No.

A middle school teacher in Texas was put on administrative leave last week for leading a lesson about the uses of the N-word — a bit of cultural education the district said it never approved.

Rebekah Cook, a social studies teacher at Utley Middle School in Rockwall, had been teaching her students about the Civil Rights movement, according to KTVT.

As part of her lesson on Wednesday, she led a discussion about the social uses of the N-word, and passed out a Chicago Reader article from 1997 called “The N-Word and How To Use It." The article, by Bennie M. Currie, begins with the N-word spelled out letter by letter.

The school district began investigating Cook right after her lesson, and announced the next day she was placed on administrative leave.

The district said in a statement it had no idea Cook, who is white, had planned the lesson, and it gave her no approval for the article she used.

“While the teacher has expressed that the intent of the lesson was to provoke discussion, the teacher did not seek prior approval from the campus or district,” the statement said.

“This lesson activity and article are not part of Rockwall ISD’s curriculum and racially derogatory terms have no place in our classrooms or district.”

The district did not say how long Cook is on leave or if she will continue getting paid. Cook earns $50,066 a year, district records show.

Cook did not return calls for comment from the Daily News.

She teaches seventh and eighth grade at Utley and also helps run the yearbook, according to her school district profile.

The profile shows her daily class schedule from last week, showing “N word article” planned for her seventh grade class. According to the schedule, the plan for her eighth grade class that day was “Holocaust Butterfly project introduction.”
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