For Immediate Release: May 11, 2007Apparently, there will be no press conference to announce the findings contained within the report.
Durham City Manager to Release Police Department Report on
Duke Lacrosse Investigation This Afternoon
Durham, N.C. - Durham City Manager Patrick W. Baker will release his report on the Durham Police Department's investigation of the Duke Lacrosse rape allegations today at 4 p.m.
The report will be e-mailed to local media outlets in addition to hard copies being available at the Durham One Call desk in the lobby of City Hall, located at 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham. The report will also be available on the City's website at www.durhamnc.gov.
Not surprisingly, Durham Chief of Police Steve Chalmers appears to be out of town for the release of the report on his department's participation in the Hoax. Chalmers attended a Police Memorial Service in Wilmington this morning. The 11AM services for fallen Durham Police Officer Officer Charles J. Callemyn, who was killed in a single vehicle accident while responding to a traffic stop on February 17, 2007, were held at Grace Baptist Church.
Look for updates here as additional details on the DPD report become available.
News & Observer:
The Durham police chief's report about the department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case is expected to be released at 4 p.m. today.
At least one City Council member said the probe shouldn't end there.
"I've come to the conclusion that having a third-party review of our process is actually a good idea," councilman Mike Woodard said.
"I think it removes any doubt about our department looking at its own processes and its own procedures. If we relied solely on the department's report, I think people would consider any findings of that report to be suspect, and there would be concerns about cover up and whitewash."
To: Mayor and City Council
From: Patrick W. Baker, City Manager
Date: May 11, 2007
Re: Duke Lacrosse Report
Attached for your review is a copy of a report prepared at my request by Durham Police Chief Steven W. Chalmers in the Duke Lacrosse matter (State v. David Evans, Reade Seligman and Collin Finnerty). I have had the opportunity to review the report and discuss the same with various members of the Police Department.
At the outset, let me acknowledge the City’s concurrence with Attorney General Roy Cooper’s decision to dismiss all of the charges against Evans, Seligman and Finnerty as well as his declaration that these young men are innocent of the charges for which they were indicted. While the criminal proceedings against them have ended, a true and measured analysis and critique of their tortured path to justice is just beginning.
The ultimate question that will be the legacy of this matter is why it took the criminal justice system nearly thirteen months to reach the conclusion that the allegations of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping were unfounded. To answer this question, it is critical to review the specific roles and actions of the individuals involved in this matter, including but not necessarily limited to the complaining witness, individuals at the party, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, the Durham Police Department and other investigators and individuals involved in the case. As it relates to the Durham Police Department, I requested Chief Chalmers to focus his review in three very specific areas: 1) define the roles and responsibilities of the Durham Police Department vis-à-vis the Durham District Attorney in this investigation; 2) address concerns related to the April 4, 2006 photo identification process and 3) describe our investigative efforts to uncover exculpatory evidence in this matter.
As it relates to the allegation that the Durham Police Department ceded the entire investigation of this matter to the Durham District Attorney, the report adequately addresses the role the Durham Police Department played in this investigation. The police are a part of the prosecution team and as such it is not unusual for the investigators to work closely and coordinate their investigation with the prosecutor who is ultimately tasked with advancing (or choosing not to advance) a prosecution. In this case, the Durham Police Department worked directly with both the Durham District Attorney and the Office of the Attorney General and coordinated their efforts with each of the relevant prosecutors. In both instances the role of the investigator was to assist the prosecutor in investigating and developing the case. This is a typical relationship between the police and the prosecutor.
I do want to take this opportunity to specifically address the considerable confusion in the media regarding my position on the April 4 photo process. Let me state as clearly as I can that the process by which the former defendants were identified as suspects by the complaining witness was neither conducted nor intended to be conducted in accordance with our recently adopted procedures on eyewitness suspect identification (General Order 4077). Furthermore, I would concur with the Attorney General that “the process by which the accusing witness ultimately identified David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty as her attackers was of questionable validity.” As stated in the report, it was the primary intent of the investigator at the time the photographs were shown to the witness to have her identify which of the individuals she recalls being at the party rather than to identify her alleged attackers. This decision to attempt to identify witnesses rather than suspects was driven primarily by the fact that the witness had failed to identify her attackers in six previous suspect identification processes which were governed by G.O. 4077. For the stated purpose of obtaining her recollection of the individuals at the party who could be of assistance in the investigation, this process was well suited to achieve that goal. The process however was not well suited for suspect identification primarily due to the fact that it was not conducted with the safeguards provided for in the policy. The identification of her alleged attackers in a process not designed or intended to produce such a result created a significant evidentiary quandary for the prosecutor. Regardless of the intent or expectations of the investigator, the resulting April 4 suspect identifications were procured through a process that would significantly reduce the likelihood that they could have survived the defense motions to suppress their admission into evidence at trial. This issue is magnified substantially given the fact that these photo identifications appear to the strongest incriminating evidence against these young men. It is not lost on the Police Department that regardless of our intentions, the April 4 photo process created the opportunity for the false allegations to be specifically linked to Evans, Seligmann and Finnerty and further played a critical role in the decision by the Durham District Attorney to seek and ultimately obtain indictments of these individuals. Given the ultimate use of the results of showing the witness those pictures on that day, we regret the inadvertent creation of the opportunity to perpetuate false charges against these individuals. Nevertheless, I do not concur with the assertion that the investigators went into the April 4 photo process with the intention, either on their own initiative or at the direction of the District Attorney, to violate G.O. 4077 by inducing the witness to identify her alleged attackers through a less reliable process.
Finally, I need to state that I am deeply troubled by the repeated allegations that the Durham Police Department investigators were not interested in discovering the truth in the matter or as the Raleigh News and Observer put it, “did not pursue basic evidentiary trails to learn what happened at the lacrosse party.” The investigative file is replete with numerous attempts by our investigators to contact witnesses and their attorneys seeking exculpatory statements and evidence. Aside from the initial meeting with the team Captains (including David Evans) there was little if any exchange of the critical exculpatory information and evidence with the Durham Police Department that could have aided in bringing this matter to its rightful conclusion in the early stages of the investigation. One of the examples cited as evidence of our alleged indifference to the truth is the fact that our investigators never subpoenaed photographs apparently in the possession of Kevin Coleman. This assertion ignores the fact that our investigators made repeated requests of numerous attorneys to obtain copies of those photographs to no avail. Furthermore, these photographs along with a video recording and all of the remaining exculpatory evidence the Attorney General found to be so compelling in favor of dismissal were ultimately provided to the special prosecutors by the defense team without the need for a subpoena. In attempting to answer what I believe to be the penultimate question as to why justice took nearly thirteen months to arrive on the scene in this case, I would submit the answer rests primarily in the contrasting relationship between the defense team and the two prosecuting agencies in this matter. The working relationship between the Durham District Attorney’s office and the defense team during the first 10 months of this case was not conducive to an efficient and thorough review of the facts of this case. While I have seen media accounts suggesting that defense counsel made numerous attempts to present the District Attorney with their exculpatory evidence, no such attempt was made by defense counsel to present this information to the Durham Police Department despite numerous requests and opportunities to do so. As such, the opportunities for a free flowing exchange of vital information and evidence that may have established earlier on in the process that the allegations were unfounded were missed. This is particularly important given the dramatic change in the working relationship between the defense team and the Office of the Attorney General once the case was transferred in January. Shortly after the transfer, critical witnesses and exculpatory evidence were voluntarily made available to the prosecution by the defense team for questioning and review which directly led to a swift follow-up investigation and determination to dismiss all remaining charges against the players.
In conclusion, while there are literally hundreds of decisions that went into the prosecution and ultimate dismissal of these charges, the level of cooperation and collaboration between the prosecution and the defense to get to the truth of the matter served as the primary driving force in both the delay and ultimate achievement of justice in this matter. I will await further instructions from Council if you have additional questions or concerns that you would like for the administration to address in this matter.