Monday, May 21, 2007

Durham City Council Meeting Tonight

Tonight at 7:00PM, the Durham City Council will hold its regular business in the Council Chambers of City Hall (101 City Hall Plaza.) The meetings is open to the public and can also be viewed live on cable channel 8. The agenda for tonight's meeting can be viewed here: agenda. While it does not appear on the agenda, the council may address the need for an external probe in response to the highly criticized report issued by Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers on his departments participation in the Durham Hoax.

Matt Dees reports on the expectation for tonight's meeting in an article for The Durham News:
Council to press for answers in lacrosse case
Decision on outside probe of police department's role may come on Monday

Will the city commission an independent study of the police department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case?

Will Chief Steven Chalmers, who has yet to speak publicly about the case, be called to answer questions from City Council members?

Will the council formally call for District Attorney Mike Nifong to resign?

These questions likely will get asked and perhaps answered at Monday's City Council meeting, 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Many council members have expressed disappointment in Chalmers' report, released May 11.

"There's less here than meets the eye," council member Eugene Brown said.

City leaders said the report didn't adequately explain what role Nifong played in the investigation, whether he had his hands too firmly on the controls of a case that has derailed so spectacularly in front of a national audience.


Council members say they want clarity, which is why many say they support an independent probe. How to go about it will be a key topic of conversation Monday night.

Mayor Bill Bell, immediately after the report was released, called attorney general Cooper and asked for a third-party review by the State Bureau of Investigation.

Earlier this week Cooper rebuffed the request, saying the SBI gets involved only in criminal investigations. But Cooper offered to have the SBI recommend a slate of legal experts the city could hire to review the case.

Bell said he would prefer to avoid a city-funded study, because that might leave the impression the city was merely paying for a whitewash. But he said it will help that the SBI will recommend experts.

"I think that at least removes one of the concerns I have, that it looks like the council is creating its own committee," Bell said.

Councilman Thomas Stith, though, said the city shouldn't need another report to make clear the police department erred. He doesn't support an independent review.

"At some point we have to accept responsibility," he said. "The council needs to show leadership now and say, 'Yeah we made mistakes, the department deviated from procedures and gave too much deference to a rogue prosecutor.' "

Stith said he also will call for his colleagues to join him in asking for Nifong to resign.

Several council members were asked whether it is acceptable for Chalmers to avoid answering any questions in a public forum.

"I would suggest that it is unusual for a chief not to respond in such a public and national case," Brown said, though he was unsure about the suggestion that Chalmers come before the council to answer questions.

Stith said he wouldn't oppose that, but it would be city manager Baker's call.

"I would certainly support that idea, to provide an open forum in a council setting to have Q-and-A from the council," he said.

Concerned triangle residents are encouraged to attend tonights meeting. For additional information, please visit the LS Forum.


Anonymous said...

SBI investigating? They are the ones who suggested YSTR testing. Why didn't SBI write a report on the SANE Exam and the lack of DNA and injuries?

There is only one solution a Federal Grand Jury under RICO. The Judges of Durham are just too corrupt!

Anonymous said...

After the Nifong trashing, this thing is over. DOJ, AClU and FBI could not have been less interested in this event, Why would they be interested now? Even Peter Neufelf allowed DNA evidence, itself to be attacked rather than defend these guys.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I think war needs to be declared against corruption and gross violations of basic civil rights in Durham, and I think the only way to go about it is to demand that the federal government get involved. Perhaps one of North Carolina's Congresspersons can propose an amendment to slash the DOJ's budget if they refuse to do something that is so clearly needed...

Anonymous said...

What does Chalmers know? He has been in Jamica with the broom and shoe through most of the event,