It’s worth remembering, however, that the disgraced
Take the case of Diane Catotti, one of two People’s Alliance members who currently serves on the City Council; and the only Council member to have been endorsed by the Triangle branch of the Green Party. The P.A. and the Greens both fashion themselves as good-government organizations interested in reform; the P.A.’s website even sports an “activist calendar.”
Yet regarding possible police misconduct, no group has more aggressively defended the status quo than the P.A. Catotti seemed to have no problem with allowing the Baker/Chalmers report to stand as the final word on how the police supported indictments of three demonstrably innocent people without probable cause.
At the City Council meeting a week ago Monday, Catotti raised a host of objections to an outside review. Mayor Bell’s proposal, she complained, was too nebulous. It might cost too much. She would need more information before forming an opinion on the plan.
She also vigorously opposed calls for Mike Nifong’s resignation: “The district attorney is obviously an elected office and whatever our personal or professional opinions are, I don’t believe it’s our role to call for his resignation.”
Between last Monday and last Thursday, it became clear that the investigation would be a serious one, overseen by a group of police chiefs from around the state. That, apparently, was all Catotti needed to know: she was the only member of the Council to vote against authorizing an investigation.
Her rationale was extraordinary. The Council’s proposal would allow chiefs of what she termed “competing” and “rival” cities to examine how
City Manager Patrick Baker and Police Chief Steve Chalmers, she implied, should be allowed to pick who they wanted to investigate them. Somehow, I doubt that an investigation of the DPD conducted by people who would fit Catotti’s specifications—basically Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and the Group of 88—would have much credibility.
Imagine if the situation were the reverse: a race-baiting DA, aided and abetted by a police force that routinely violated its own procedures, orchestrated the indictments, without probable cause, of three poor, black women. Does anyone believe that Catotti, as the representative of a so-called “progressive” organization, would denounce an outside inquiry on the grounds that it would allow “rival” cities to look into how the DPD performed?
Mayor Bell, appropriately, dismissed Catotti’s reasoning. “It’s almost like we’re trying to save the manager or the police chief,” he noted. “I’m not trying to do that. I want the truth.”
The P.A.’s de facto media arm, The Independent Weekly, last week published a criticism of “
Daniels spent more than five years in jail after being arrested based on a flawed ID, conflicting police reports, and an investigation that didn’t look into exculpatory evidence.
A reader of Indy editor Richard Hart’s column might have believed that Indy had been at the forefront of demanding due process and procedural regularity for all in
Not exactly. The paper endorsed the election campaign of the figure who personified “
In June, Indy ran a column by Hal Crowther ridiculing the (relatively few people, at that time) who had criticized Nifong’s behavior. “To imply that rich white athletes are unsafe in the
Crowther noted that while he had been in a fraternity, “I surely don’t remember raping anyone, or seeing it done, or hearing of it.” (So much for not rushing to judgment.) He did fear the prospect of “the best lawyers money can buy win[ning] them a reprieve they may or may not deserve.” And for those who were inclined to believe the players’ claims of innocence (claims which, by that point, were fortified by Reade Seligmann’s highly publicized alibi and the fact that no DNA matched any of the accused players), Crowther had some advice: “Catch a glimpse of your inner racist in the mirror.”
Two weeks after Roy Cooper dismissed all charges and declared the players innocent, Hart praised Crowther’s column for its revealing the “fundamental problems” of “student arrogance and exaltation of sports.” Hart also celebrated the work of the Group of 88 and hailed Crystal Mangum: “Though there’s no evidence of rape, she’s still a victim.” Such thinking would make most in the Group of 88 proud.
So, it seems, Indy doesn’t exactly have a track record of opposing prosecutorial misconduct; or of questioning the DPD’s actions when the police force breaks the rules to try and railroad innocent people.