Councilman Eugene Brown told Lt. J.C. Shelton, the Durham police officer who first encountered Duke lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum and was skeptical of her rape claims, that "I wish the hell we'd have listened to you."
Shelton met an intoxicated Mangum in a Kroger parking lot the night she had been paid to dance at a Duke lacrosse team party. He said loudly after transporting her to Duke Hospital that he thought she was lying about being raped. The N.C. Attorney General agreed more than a year later. The Durham District Attorney lost his job and spent a night in jail for pushing the case, and now the city faces several lawsuits for their roles in accusing three lacrosse players.
At a City Council work session today, the recently promoted Shelton was speaking on an unrelated matter.
As he prepared to leave the podium, Brown said, "I think several years ago you were on duty that fateful night in front of the Kroger's. I just have one thing to say: I wish the hell we'd have listened to you. Otherwise that issue would have been cleared up in a day or two instead of a year and a half."
There was some shifting among council members, and Councilwoman Diane Catotti mumbled something about that being inappropriate while the city is facing litigation.
Minutes later, Brown asked the clerk to strike his statement from the record.
No wonder Catotti was troubled by Brown's statement.