Here is the complete Alex Charns letter on the Baker/Chalmers report, an edited version of which appeared in today's N&O. The opening line is both clever and appropriate.
What does a law enforcement disaster look like? Read the Durham Police/City Manager report on the Duke lacrosse investigation to find out.
The twelve page sham wrapped in a whitewash, basted in denial, doesn’t even mention that a
police corporal offered money for anonymous tips to prove that a “horrific” “gang-rape” had occurred. He didn’t make the pretense of saying “alleged crime.” Durham
This verdict first, proof later,
Bull Cityjustice has thrived in for the past year. Based on the recent report, things are going to stay this way. To quote Jefferson Airplane riffing on that girl in Wonderland, “Go ask Durham , I think she’ll know.” Alice
Last May, on behalf of one of the unindicted Duke lacrosse players, I wrote to Durham City Manager Patrick Baker asking for an investigation into this police e-mail and poster on Durham Police letterhead that was distributed to thousands of people by list-servers and to the media. It claimed: “The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party” where the “victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.”
This poster was handed out by at least one police officer in the neighborhood where lacrosse players lived. It fanned the flames of racial division and perpetuated a lie. No wonder some in
don’t believe the Attorney General’s clear statement that the players are innocent. Durham
City officials told me no investigation was necessary. The matter had been taken care of. I asked that the city make public any inquiry it had made into this matter. Mr. Baker said he’d get back to me about that.
In the not so distant past,
police officers wiretapped their own African-American employees who they falsely accused of running a “call-girl ring” out of police headquarters. Durham officers forged the signature of an assistant district attorney using a copy machine on subpoenas for private telephone records. The city spent about half a million dollars denying wrongdoing in court, only to ultimately settle the cases after a federal appeals court ruled against them. Durham
In another case, Internal Affairs engaged in a cover-up to hide the fact that two African-American sisters where brutalized by officers. Almost $300,000 was paid to these women and the former city manager apologized. The day the check was delivered to the victims, the city manager trumpeted to the press that the officers had done nothing wrong. “So it goes,” Vonnegut would say.
I’m still waiting for a real apology, a real investigation and real leadership.