Friday, July 06, 2007

Major Mistake Free DPD: Spokesperson Misleads Public Repeatedly

Laughter erupted when [DPD deputy chief Ronald H.] Hodge said he didn't "recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the past five years." - Brianne Dopart, The Herald-Sun (June 6, 2007)

"No charges yet in alleged gang-rape" - Brianne Dopart & Mike Potter, The Herald-Sun (March 24, 2006)

[Durham Police Department Spokesman Cpl. David] Addison said police can't force samples from anyone they believe to be implicated in a crime. But he said that, in this situation, there was "really, really strong physical evidence" that police will be able to compare with DNA results...Addison said police approached the lacrosse team with the five-page search warrant on March 16, but that all of the members refused to cooperate with the investigation.

"Dancer gives details of ordeal" - Samiha Khanna & Anne Blythe, The News & Observer (March 25, 2006)
Durham police Cpl. David Addison said, "We will be relentless in finding out who committed this crime." ... He emphasized the seriousness of the accusations -- first-degree rape, kidnapping, assault by strangulation and robbery. ...
"DNA Samples Taken" - WRAL (March 24, 2006)

"You are looking at one victim brutally raped." - DPD Spokesperson David Addison
"Duke Lacrosse Rape Claim Spurs Outrage" - ABC News (March 26, 2006)
"We're not saying that all 46 were involved," Durham Police Cpl. David Addison said recently. "But we do know that some of the players inside that house on that evening knew what transpired and we need them to come forward."...

"That brutal assault, that brutal rape that occurred within that house, cannot be explained by anyone," Addison said.
"Duke President Suspends Future Lacrosse Matches Pending Investigation" - WRAL (March 28, 2006)
"Although we have received many calls expressing concerns and anger about this incident, we have not received any calls which will allow us to assist in resolving this case," said Durham CrimeStoppers Coordinator Cpl. David Addison in a news release issued Tuesday. "We are extending our plea for information and help to our Duke family, who are also part of our community."
"This horrific crime" - DPD Cpl. David Addison (March 28, 2006)
“On Monday, March 13,2006 about 11:00pm, the Duke University Lacrosse Team solicited a local escort service for entertainment. The victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 Buchanan. The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party at the residence. The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.”
"Dear Patrick:" - Alex Charns (May 18, 2006)
This is a Public Records Act (N.C.G.S Sec. 132-1 et seq.) request as well as a call for an Internal Affairs or city manager investigation.

I have been made aware of a Durham Police Department poster offering cash for “assistance in solving this [Duke lacrosse team] case” that impugned the entire lacrosse team with its assertion that “The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.” It is my understanding that these were posted around the Duke campus and adjoining neighborhoods.

I request certified copies of all city of Durham and Durham Police Department press releases or posters concerning the Duke lacrosse alleged rape investigation. This requests includes all e-mail, drafts, memos and chain-of-command authorizations, if any, for these posters. The search locations should include computers and files at the police department, Risk Management Department, and the Office of the City Manager.

I ask you, as an attorney and as a city leader, how is that our police force offered to pay money to anonymous witnesses in order to solve a crime that it claimed to know for a fact had occurred? What happened to investigating a crime before a blanket accusation of guilt is made? Wasn’t it “Alice in Wonderland” in which the verdict came before the trial, and the accuser acted as judge and jury?

I further request that an investigation be conducted into whether the Duke lacrosse rape allegation posters were in keeping with the General Orders, Rules and Regulations of the Durham Police Department, and whether they were authorized by the city and the department.

I appreciate your prompt response to these requests. I make these requests directly to you (copy to the Chief) as it appeared from press reports that the Police Chief was not in a position to respond in a timely manner due to other business, and you had been investigating the police response in this case.


M. Alexander Charns
"Dear Attorney Charns:" - Major Lee Russ, Durham Police Department (May 26, 2006)
I am in receipt of your email sent Thursday, May 18, 2006 to City Manager Patrick Baker and copied to Chief Steven Chalmers.

Pursuant to your request, enclosed are copies of all press releases produced by the City of Durham and the Durham Police Department concerning the crime alleged to have occurred at 610 N. Buchanan Boulevard on or about March 13, 2006.

It is our understanding that posters containing allegations by the accuser and photos of members of the Duke lacrosse team were distributed on Duke's campus by a source unknown to us.

In addition, a solicitation for information was produced by the Durham Crimestoppers Coordinator.

Crimestoppers is an independent nonprofit organization that offers cash awards for information leading to arrests in criminal activities alleged to have occurred.

When the solicitation for information was brought to the attention of the Police Department, given the degree of media coverage, questions, debates and community tensions already surrounding this matter, we felt that a less strongly worded request would he preferable.

Therefore, I contacted the Crimestoppers Coordinator and the solicitation for information was immediately amended as evidenced by copies of the enclosed emails.

We recently became aware that the originally drafted Crimestoppers' request for information was copied by a member of our agency using a Durham Police Department header.

However, just as this issue was promptly addressed when it first came to our attention almost two months ago, appropriate actions will he taken by the Durham Police Department to ensure that information distributed by or associated with the Department is effective, accurate and sensitive to the community we serve.

Major Lee Russ
Office of the Chief
cc: Patrick Baker, City Manager
Steven Chalmers, Chief of Police
Ronald Hodge, Deputy Chief of Police
"Interview with Alex Charns" - John in Carolina (July 1, 2006)
[Durham attorney Alex] Charns went on to say, “The police made an egregious mistake. They told the public the players were criminals when they had not even completed their investigation. What they did libeled a large group of people. They just can’t walk away from that.”
"More CrimeStoppers" - KC Johnson, Durham in Wonderland (March 23, 2007)
...a district commander of the Durham Police heard that an anti-lacrosse protest was going to occur outside 610 N. Buchanan. For reasons that are unclear, he decided to create a flyer to distribute at the rally. That poster is scanned here; it was produced on the stationery not of CrimeStoppers but of the Durham Police Department. Addison did not create the document; though it used the wording of his e-mail and contained a notice asking people to contact CrimeStoppers, it was, technically, a Police flyer....

Addison’s improper wording created a bell that couldn’t be unrung. His e-mail circulated for two weeks, at a time of extraordinary press attention on the case. Russ acted appropriately in ordering Addison to send out the modified language. But without a clear accompanying statement that Addison’s original language was improper, the modified e-mail left the recipient to infer that Addison had been overzealous, rather than simply admitting the error in the language.

In June, John in Carolina reported that Russ had told him that the Durham Police played no role in the creation of the “wanted” poster. While it is true that the poster’s language came from an Addison CrimeStoppers e-mail, the production and distribution of the poster, Russ has now conceded, was undertaken by a Durham Police officer unconnected with CrimeStoppers.

"More Apologies Needed" - Alex Charns (April 13, 2007)
Dear members of the media:

Last spring you or your news organization received an e-mail with the attached Duke Lacrosse Wanted Poster or an e-mail with the same text about "This horrific crime."

Has Cpl. Addison, CrimeStoppers, the Durham Police Department or city of Durham officials apologized to the 46 exonerated Duke Lacrosse players? If so, I haven't heard them. One city council member suggested that Mike Nifong should resign, but who at city hall has asked for a review of faulty Durham police procedures that allowed 46 innocent young men to be vilified as gang rapists or witnesses to a gang rape in a Durham police poster?

I've not seen any reports that anyone at city hall has asked why Durham Police officers e-mailed and posted an incendiary and outrageously false poster last spring (that included an official Durham police header) which read in part: "The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community." (I've attached it and included it in the text below.)

I'm still waiting for Cit Manager Patrick Baker's response to my request last year to make public the Durham police review, if any, of the DPD's Duke Lacrosse Wanted Poster. I've copied Mr. Baker and the members of city council with this e-mail hoping to finally get a reply.

I work in Durham. I live in Durham. I'd like to see my city officials publicly apologize for what city employees did to these 46 students.
"Council Upset Over Corporal's Letter" - Ray Gronberg, The Herald-Sun (June 11, 2007)
City Council members aren't happy with what they regard as a Durham Police Department corporal's insinuation that election-year politics are behind the investigation they've ordered into the department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case.

Responses to the jibe Cpl. David Addison voiced in a letter to The Herald-Sun came Monday from Mayor Bill Bell and Councilman Eugene Brown, who went out of their way to address the matter during a morning budget review.

Brown called Addison's letter "really troublesome" and added that council members ordered the investigation to find out how police and prosecutors wound up indicting three innocent men on false charges of rape.

"As public officials, our job is not to circle the wagons around any one particular department," Brown told his fellow council members. "If we are going to circle the wagons, it is around the truth."

Bell agreed. "We're not attacking anybody," he said. "The investigation isn't set out to attack anyone. It's to try to find the truth, as best as we can find the truth."

Addison's letter, published Sunday, said the Police Department "has been subjected to another round of criticism from the city of [Durham's] leaders," but didn't identify its focus. He added that the department is "bloodied from slander and vicious attacks" and compared it to a worn-down fighter who's "just blocking punches."

The corporal signed the letter as president of the Triangle chapter of the N.C. Police Benevolent Association. But the group's statewide executive director, John Midgette, said Monday that the letter "did not go through the [association's] central office as it normally would" for pre-publication review. ...

Addison's missive "didn't make a whole lot of sense," said Alex Charns, a Durham lawyer who last year sought an internal-affairs investigation of the Police Department's handling of a crucial public bulletin on the lacrosse case. "Maybe it was a preemptive strike since he's feeling the heat for the way he's conducted his business over the last year. All one can do is read what he wrote and wonder."

The bulletin Charns wanted investigated went out over Addison's signature on March 28, 2006, and said without qualification that the lacrosse accuser "was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed" during a "horrific crime [that] sent shock waves throughout our community."

Charns -- who represents an unindicted lacrosse player -- contends the bulletin libeled members of the Duke lacrosse team and fueled public hysteria. Senior Police Department officials toned it down a couple weeks later, but they rejected Charns' request for an internal-affairs probe.

Addison's handling of the March 28, 2006, bulletin is one of the things Councilman Brown wants the upcoming investigation to address. Brown asked who authorized Addison to issue it and how he reached its "fallacious conclusion."

"I wish he'd spent the time to answer those [questions], which I feel are very salient, instead of writing something like this," Brown said.
"Addison Letter Continues to Mislead Community" - Philip Wood, The Herald-Sun (June 13, 2007)
The extreme hypocrisy offered by Durham Police Department Cpl. David Addison in his June 10 letter does a terrible disservice to the organizations he represents.

Addison, who serves as liaison to CrimeStoppers, president of the Triangle Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association and as occasional spokesperson for the Durham Police Department, decries "slander and vicious attacks" from city leaders, yet it was his own slander and vicious attacks that contributed to the hoax that city leaders now investigate.

As spokesperson for the DPD, Addison falsely informed the community:
"You are looking at one victim brutally raped," and "police approached the lacrosse team with the five-page search warrant on March 16, but that all of the members refused to cooperate with the investigation," and that there was "really, really strong physical evidence" of the crime that we all know now never occurred.
As spokesperson for CrimeStoppers, Addison misled the media and the community with a statement that read in part:
"The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community."
Addison attempts to dissuade inspection of his own actions, and those of a few other officers who have also sullied the department. The community would be better served by his cooperating with the investigation.

Rather than denouncing the effort to restore the integrity and public confidence he helped destroy, Addison should consider being the first to break the real "wall of silence" behind the hoax.


Anonymous said...

With the statements available from the DPD, Observer, Ruthie and Nifong the attempt to lay this case at the feet of a 37K a year staff nurse at DUMC is unforgiveable and stupid.

Anonymous said...

Why, hello again, Tara's Troll. Wow, I wasn't even thinking about Tara until you mentioned her. But of course now that you've mentioned her, I'm reminded once again of how she responded to the finding of DNA evidence from four males but not from any lacrosse players by trying to overrule Mangum on the issue of whether condoms were used, and by going off into irrelevancies about how rape isn't about ejaculation and therefore we should ignore the fact that Mangum's graphic description of a player ejaculating into her mouth and her spitting it out onto the bathroom floor was just about impossible. Nice job, Tara's Troll! You've dragged Tara's failures into the spotlight once again!

Anonymous said...

No failure from this nurse -

Anonymous said...

This event was about votes, not rape. Anyone who does not understand that fact, does not understand the case. Nifong only interest was to pander to the black community and get their vote.

Anonymous said...

Wow, ladies!!!

This is some work you've done here with this site! There is SO MUCH research that has gone into this. It's great that you care so much about exposing the wrongs that almost led to these three boys going to...gasp...COURT!

Do you put the same blood, sweat, and tears into researching the cases of poor, black men who spend 20 years in PRISON for crimes they did not commit?

Or are your sanctimonious racist sewage reserved for privileged, white boys who had the misfortune of their bad behavior leading to some unfortunate wrongful charges?

I wouldn't such a coward and post anonymously, but I don't need my kids to see crosses burning on my lawn tonight.

Anonymous said...

To the anon poster @ 8:06....
I think I can safely say that the work that has been done on the L.S. board will expose the corruption that you claim has falsley imprisoned many black suspects.

My experiences with L.S. have shown that it's goal is to expose injustice that was initiated by self serving and corrupt public servants. It is my sincere hope that the work of this board will serve to protect the entire community in the future, and not just one race or gender.

The African American community has probably been the primary victim of the corruption that exists not only in Durham but other parts of the country as well. Consequently, this community stands to benifit from the work of L.S. far more than any other group.

To the administrators at L.S.:
Thanks for all of the footwork you have done...I will proudly make a contribution a.s.a.p., sorry I haven't done so sooner.

Durham Dweller