Sunday, June 10, 2007

"There was laughter, as well there should be"

On June 5 Durham Deputy Police Chief Ronald Hodge participated as one of the three candidates in a public forum for potential replacements for retiring Durham Police Chief Chalmers. In a Q & A segment with the candidates, Hodge commented about Durham Police actions during the Duke Lacrosse case:

"I don't recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the last five years." He said that though some errors may have been made, they were not "fatal to the outcome of the case." N & O

He was immediately the target of snickering in the audience. How could the Deputy Police Chief, who was the highest ranking police official during the investigation when Chief Chambers was absent, make such a statement?

As Councilman Eugene Brown has pointed out in his letter to the City Council Independent Investigator regarding the Hoax:

One basic question is why did three Durham residents have to go to Raleigh and to the Attorney General's office to get justice? What was in the collective DNA of some within the Durham Police Department (DPD) that denied the accused justice in our City? Who was really in charge of investigating this case, the Durham Police or the DA? Who was driving the train and who was stoking the coal in the fire engine to keep this hoax of an investigation going? What was the role of the Durham Police Department in creating what the Attorney General deemed a "rush to conviction" but apparently not to justice? Letter

In response to the critics Deputy Chief Hodge has replied in the News and Observer:

On Friday, Hodge said he stands by his comments. "A major problem to me is uncovering corruption in the department," he said. "I don't see, at the end of the day, whatever is uncovered about what the Durham Police Department did not do as it relates to the Duke lacrosse case will be major." N & O

Councilman Eugene Brown had this comment:

Durham City Council member Eugene Brown was flabbergasted by Hodge's comments at the forum. "There was laughter, as well there should be," he said. And lawyers for the players say the department made major mistakes and the city should be wary of hiring a chief who might do the same. N & O

One can't help but wonder if Deputy Chief Hodge has learned a bit of Nifongese.... perhaps he'll see, at the end of the day, whatever is uncovered about what the Durham Police Department did do as it relates to the Duke lacrosse case will be major. Certainly his and Chalmer's problems uncovering corruption in the department played a part in Mayor Bell's call for an external investigation. In view of the fact that this obvious apologist for the status quo in Durham is a finalist for the position, we believe the Durham City Council should review the search for a new Police Chief and start anew by taking over the search from City Manager Baker.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly Hodge would be the perfect replacement for Chalmers, Both are incompetent!

Anonymous said...

It is offensive that Mr. Status Quo Hodge is even being considered. If chosen, we will see once again how insular and biased Durham really is.

Anonymous said...

It is odd that Hodge is among the three police chief finalists personally chosen by Patrick Baker, yet Hodge was unwilling or deemed incapable of speaking on behalf of the DPD in Chalmers' absence. That job was filled, badly, by Baker. Why was that? And why should Durhamites believe Hodge will represent a change for the better, instead of simply the next useful fool?

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I think the search for a new police chief should be postponed until after all the civil actions, firings, and criminal charges are done. I doubt Hodge would be left unscathed.

Ralph Phelan said...

"why should Durhamites believe Hodge will represent a change for the better"

Is there any evidence that Durhamites really *want" a "change for the better"?