Two important pieces regarding dubious conduct by the Durham Police Department appeared today.
First, in the N&O, Joe Neff has pored through the State Bar’s depositions, and uncovered the latest dubious act by ex-Nifong investigator Linwood Wilson. “One of the most intriguing questions” from the depositions, Neff noted, “is whether the police department was punishing or ostracizing the one officer [Sgt. John Shelton] who, from the beginning, concluded that Crystal Gail Mangum was lying when she accused the three players of gang rape.”
Police Chief Steve Chalmers won’t say. Neither will City Manager Patrick Baker. Neither will anyone else from the DPD. (The real “wall of silence” appears again.) Yet in his deposition, Linwood Wilson claimed that he was asked, by Capt. Jeff Lamb, to interview other Durham police officers as part of an investigation into Shelton’s conduct. As Neff observed, “It would be highly irregular for a police captain to turn to someone outside the department to assist in an internal affairs investigation.
Bill Thomas called Wilson’s actions “a transparent attempt to discredit this officer first on the scene and in the best position to evaluate her credibility.” And Alex Charns told Neff that “in the past, internal affairs has been used to punish officers who displease those up the chain of command.”
(The article also has a classic photo of a portly Sgt. Mark Gottlieb observing the Dave Evans press conference from last May.)
Meanwhile, Liestoppers has analyzed what the depositions have to say about the decision to arrest taxi driver Moezeldin Elmostafa after Elmostafa came forward as an alibi witness for Reade Seligmann. Nifong&Co., it turns out, can’t get their story straight: the DA, Wilson, and three Durham officers give separate, and often contradictory, explanations for the decision to arrest Elmostafa.
The five versions:
- Nifong: He directed Wilson to do a background check; when Wilson found the misdemeanor warrant, he presented it to Nifong, Ben Himan, and Mark Gottlieb, with Nifong telling the duo to arrest Elmostafa.
- Gottlieb: He had no involvement, wasn’t even at the meeting that discussed arresting Elmostafa, and Himan might have mentioned it to him on a very busy day in the office.
- Himan: Wilson found the warrant and gave it to Himan and Officer Clayton at a meeting that Nifong had left; Wilson pressed the officers repeatedly to arrest Elmostafa.
- Clayton: His notes don’t mention attending a meeting with either Nifong or Wilson to discuss Elmostafa.
- Wilson: As Liestoppers summarizes the ex-investigator’s less-than-credible tale, “Anonymous or unknown tipster from within DA’s office or maybe the Clerk’s office leads Wilson to warrant by suggesting that Elmostafa may have written a bad check(!). He presents warrant in meeting with Gottlieb, Himan, Nifong, and Candy Clark. Alternately, he or Nifong hands warrant to Himan or Gottlieb. Wilson didn’t expect Himan and Gottlieb to serve the warrant themselves.”
Liestoppers has the full documentation here.