"At the time of the arrest we had more than sufficient probable cause…We would have been derelict if we hadn't made the arrest."
After being arrested and charged with three counts of kidnapping, three counts of armed robbery and one count of rape after three University employees were kidnapped and one raped in Duke Forest Sept. 13, Clarke-Pearson was exonerated.
DNA tests showed that samples taken from his body did not match those taken from the rape victim. The results of the tests didn't come as a huge surprise to most people. After all, Clarke-Pearson is the son of a University professor. His family could afford to pay the $175,000 bond for his release from prison. He's a part-time student and a well-liked University employee.
Clarke-Pearson's innocence seemed so obvious, in fact, that most people were indignant that he could be charged with so heinous a crime. A glance at the local newspapers indicated the same verdict. Plastered across the front page of the Durham Herald Sun shortly after the arrest was a touching image of Clarke-Pearson hugging his girlfriend. Reporters began asking old classmates, co-workers and Clarke-Pearson's parents about the crime.
The Chronicle was not immune to this; we included a quote from his mother just so our story on the case's evidence would be more balanced. I have yet to hear, however, anyone indignantly defending the innocence of two Durham residents charged in a similar kidnapping, assault and rape case. Markey Wilson, of 417 Lakeland street, was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and three counts of armed robbery, after two University students were kidnapped, one beaten and one raped, on Sept. 2. A second suspect, a 15 year-old black man, was arrested shortly thereafter.
For some reason, students standing in line at the C.I. don't throw their bagels to the ground and exclaim, "I can't believe that those guys are in jail!" All three men are innocent before proven guilty. Two of them are black, however, which means that as far as our society is concerned, there is rarely such a thing. The racism at work here is not overt; no one is going to say "clearly, these men are guilty because they are black, and clearly Clarke-Pearson is innocent because he's white."
"Instead, it's a question of who gets privilege. And it doesn't take a quantum physicist to figure out who that is, in this situation and others."
"The appropriate presumption of innocence that follows the players, however the legal case is determined, is neither the critical social indicator of the event, nor the final measure of its cultural facts."
“innocence and guilt have been assessed through a metric of race and gender. White innocence means black guilt. Men's innocence means women's guilt."
"This is a matter of white privilege..When I read what was going on, it made me think about Jim Crow.... If these three culprits get away with it, it will prove to me that Duke does not honor the black woman's body."
"We understand that the legal system is that you are innocent until proven guilty…But people are nervous and afraid that these people are going to get away with what they did because of a wealthy privilege, or male privilege, or a white privilege."
“I can’t help but think about the different attention given to what has happened from what it would have been if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport, like football, something that’s not so upscale”
"If it was a Duke student and it was Central's football team, the situation would have been handled totally differently.”
"We all know that if this happened at Central and the young lady was from another school or another persuasion the outcome would have been different; they would have been in jail."