Today’s lead editorial in the N&O dismisses the Baker/Chalmers report as “wasted words” that amount to little more than “a series of partial explanations and excuses.” The paper says that an independent investigation is needed.
For instance, “In his report, Police Chief Chalmers doesn’t answer the who-was-in-charge question directly, but speaks of ‘collaboration’ with the D.A. and says his detectives pursued leads independently of Nifong. Yet the lead detective wrote in his case notes that he had been instructed within days of the alleged attack to go through Nifong.”
The report, N&O editors note, “is similarly obtuse about a critical photo lineup that Nifong used to gain indictments against the students,” and fails “to explain why detectives shared the [April 4] tainted identifications with Nifong, who used them to keep the case alive.”
The basic issue, according to the N&O: “
The Herald-Sun, meanwhile, awakened from its editorial somnolence to agree. The paper terms the Baker/Chalmers report “deeply flawed,” and says that it failed to answer either why the DPD pressed forward despite an improper photo lineup and why the department neglected to more seriously question Crystal Mangum’s credibility.
“It appears,” the H-S has finally realized, “everyone knew at the time the process was flawed. To have that—and only that—become the basis for indictments for felony rape charges seems unbelievable now.” Meanwhile, “The report discusses the police department's supposed willingness to hear exculpatory evidence from the defense. But the main evidence against the defendants was coming from [Mangum], and the police appear to have done next to nothing to question her credibility. Again, we can’t know for sure, because the report doesn’t tell us.”
Like the N&O, the H-S concludes that “a third-party investigation will be necessary.”