The Durham Police Department—nationally known for seeming to violate every standard in the book—is up for re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The assessment team: Broward County (FL) Sheriff Roy Liddicott; Independence (MO) Bureau Commander (ret.) Raymond Rast; and Knoxville (TN) Lt. Shawna Williams.
This team will be in
CALEA demands appropriate written standards for items that include the following:
Standard 41.2.4: Conduct of field interviews
In the lacrosse case, field interviews were not a DPD specialty. As far as can be determined, the police conducted two days of field interviews. Both raised serious questions about the force’s capabilities.
On March 16, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Ben Himan conducted a field interview with the accuser. Gottlieb asserted that he took no contemporaneous notes; months later, he produced a “straight-from-memory” typed report. Both Himan and Gottlieb brought from this interview the accuser’s claim that she was attacked by three people. But they recorded radically different descriptions—almost as if they hadn’t attended the same field interview.
Then, on April 12, Gottlieb and Himan again went on the road, this time to Duke dorms. Yet these field interviews violated North Carolina’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Mike Nifong had assumed personal command of the investigation as of March 24. The rules prohibited Nifong or anyone acting on his behalf from speaking to people represented by counsel without their lawyers present.
Standard 1.2.3: Procedures for compliance with constitutional requirements
The critical example from the lacrosse case: March 31, when Mike Nifong instructed the police to conduct a “do-over” lineup and violate the department’s procedures requiring use of five filler photos per every suspect. Nifong gave the order, no one appears to have objected, and the procedures went out the window.
The inevitable result with such flawed procedures: a laughably bad lineup, riddled with erroneous identifications.
Standard 1.2.9: Bias based profiling
On September 12, Capt. Ed Sarvis admitted that the department had an official policy of meting out disproportionate punishment to Duke students for alcohol-related offenses. A few days earlier, the Chronicle reported that one of the students arrested as part of this policy, Urosh Tomovich, had a toubling experience with Sgt. Mark Gottlieb:
At 3 a.m. on the morning after the concert, Gottlieb and nine other police officers raided the students’ home and arrested Tomovich and his six housemates for noise ordinance and open container violations.
“I was still half asleep, and he put me in handcuffs,” Tomovich said.
Tomovich and others said the police dragged his sleeping housemate Justin Bieber, Pratt ‘06, off of his bed, causing him to fall on the floor, before dragging him down the stairs.
Gottlieb and the other officers led the housemates outside.
“[Gottlieb] said, ‘You’re going to be in the biggest trouble of your life,’“ Tomovich said.
After they were taken to the station, Tomovich—a
citizen of Serbian heritage—said that Gottlieb threatened to deport him for breaking the law. U.S.
“He took me to a back room and said, ‘Do you need to speak to your consulate? We can deport you.’ I said, ‘Why would I need to speak to my consulate?’.... I’m a
citizen. I have a different last name, but I’m a U.S. citizen,” Tomovich recalled. U.S.
Tough to see how that behavior accords to the CALEA standard cautioning against bias-based profiling.
Standard 72.5.5: Methods for handling person under the influence or self-destructive
As we now know, this whole affair began when the police failed to properly handle the accuser—who was clearly both “under the influence” and “self-destructive” on the morning of March 14.
The officers who responded to Kim Roberts’ 911 call seemed eager to get the accuser off their hands as quickly as possible, passing her on to the
Standard 42.1.4: Accountability of criminal investigations
To date, as far as I can determine, no one has been held accountable by the Police Department—from Chief Chalmers down to Gottlieb, and including Linwood Wilson, who has improperly functioned in a law enforcement role. “Accountability,” indeed, sounds like a word the DPD has never encountered.
Standard 61.1.5: Uniform traffic enforcement policies
Before he became an apologist for the state, NAACP case monitor Irving Joyner had claimed that the DPD badly fell down on this issue.
Readers from the Triangle might want to mark off Monday, April 23 on their calendar. At 7.00 in the Durham City Council chambers, the CALEA team will be receiving public comment. Since the DPD has chosen not to hold itself accountable, perhaps the public should seek to do so.