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Wednesday, April 11th 2007

The Duke Lacrosse Rape Case Comes To A "Close"

Finally, They Can Take A Breath

Despite the title, the Duke lacrosse rape case hasn’t really come full circle. Not until all the responsibility is taken. But the three players – David Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty – who have faced the unimaginable for 395 days (by their own count) can breathe knowing that all the charges have finally and happily been dropped.

“There were many points in the case where caution would have served justice better than bravado,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a damning assessment of Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong’s handling of the sensational, racially charged case. “In the rush to condemn, a community and a state lost the ability to see clearly.”

“I think a lot of people owe a lot of apologies to a lot of people,” Cooper said.

I’ve followed this story with earnest for over a year. As more evidence (or lack thereof) came into the mainstream I grew more convinced of the player’s innocence. But that was obvious to all.

Where I’ll give myself some credit, is that I saw what everyone should’ve seen from the beginning: that the media coverage and pundits were clouding justice from the beginning of this investigation and case. Mr. Nifong, the Duke administration, a large chunk of the citizenry of Durham, a large chunk of the student body of Duke, and the local and the national media acted like fools! “Fools” is the least of titles we can give to the hundreds upon hundreds who actively pursued the downfall of these innocent young men.

I went back and re-read my lengthy first post: “Race, Class, and Making Sure Someone Pays”

Sure the critics changed their tone as the case played out. But their rush to judgment and misrepresentation of this alleged event as part of some underlying social and racial struggle in Durham and around the Duke campus was baloney and showed how racial, economic, gender, and social tensions create untrustworthy, politically correct tainted lenses through which to view justice.

I know as a whole I now trust current event analysis from a whole host of pundits (race relation theorists, gender pundits, class theorists, etc.) less than I did before this case.

I don’t think you can downplay the harm of this, sure the justice system figured it out eventually, but this was traumatic. I hope David, Reade, and Collin get on well with their lives. I wish them the best of luck. They suffered a serious injustice.

If you don’t remember the whole mess here’s a beautiful summary of the Duke Lacrosse case:

This Is The Best Video On The Case I’ve Seen

A basic outline of the entire Duke Lacrosse mess. Please correct me if any of it is wrong:

  • On March 13, 2006 a Duke lacrosse team party is held at a house off campus. Two strippers arrive.
  • Apparently over money, some of the approximately forty party goers and the two strippers get into an argument.
  • Photographs of Crystal Gail Mangum, the accuser, imply she is inebriated around this time. They show her missing a shoe and looking confused on the porch of the house, apparently passed out on the porch of the house, and lying on the ground inside the house.
  • The two strippers leave.
  • Apparently angry over the verbal altercation with the Duke Lacrosse party goers, Kim calls police from her cell phone to say that people at the house shouted racial slurs at her. She makes no mention of any assault on Crystal.
  • While driving, the two strippers get into an argument. Crystal asks the second stripper, Kim Roberts, to “put marks on” her.
  • Kim tries to get Crystal to leave her car. When Crystal won’t Kim stops at a grocery store. The police arrive to find Crystal apparently “passed out drunk” inside Kim’s car.
  • Crystal denies to the responding officer that she’s been harmed.
  • She’s transported to the hospital where she first makes the accusation of rape
  • Crystal initially claims at the hospital she was raped by more than three men, she reduces the number to three later in the night
  • A rape kit is done
  • Crystal initially claims that no condoms were used during the assault and that at least one of her rapists ejaculated
  • That evening after the altercation with the strippers, one of the players sends out a disgusting email which talks about killing them in graphic terms – apparently imitating the character Patrick Bateman from Ellis’ American Psycho.
  • Crystal returns to dancing at a strip club less than two days after she is allegedly raped
  • The strip club security guard tells the media Crystal made statements to the effect “I’m going to get paid by the white boys
  • Rallies start occurring outside the alleged rape house
  • A “Take Back The Night” rally targets this alleged event
  • Crystal originally identifies her three attackers as having used the names Brett, Adam, and Matt
  • Specific details of Crystal’s story change continually over the next few months
  • 88 Duke Faculty place an signed add in the student newspaper supporting the accuser and basically condemning the elitist Duke lacrosse team
  • Coach Mike Pressler’s property is repeatedly vandalized, and he receives death threats by mail
  • After the email describing killing the strippers becomes public, Coach Pressler resigns
  • The Duke Lacrosse season is canceled
  • In her first police interview Kim Roberts says that she was with Crystal the entire night, that Crystal was not raped, and that her story is a “crock”
  • Over several interviews Crystal cannot stick on a time in the evening when she believes the assault occured
  • The photo lineups given to Crystal contain only pictures of Duke lacrosse players, a violation of Durham PD procedures
  • During the first photo lineup she identifies with “100%” certainty a player who wasn’t even at the party as one of her attackers
  • During the second photo lineup she settles on Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty as two of her attackers, but waivers on David Evans who she believes had a mustache (which he never had) on the night of the party.
  • Nifong collects DNA from all the white lacrosse players
  • On April 18, 2006 Reade and Collin are arrested
  • The New Black Panthers stage a protest and rally in Durham in support of the accuser
  • A little less than a month later, May 15, David Evans is finally arrested
  • In an interview Duke President Brodhead says: “If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.”
  • ATM video shows Reade Seligmann getting cash at the time Crystal initially claims she was raped
  • The taxi driver who drove Reade to the ATM, Moezeldin Elmostafa, and signed an affidavit to that effect is arrested on a two year old shoplifting charge. He claims the investigator asked him if he had anything new to reveal about the lacrosse case and when he said no, only then was he arrested.
  • The Durham PD’s lead investigator on the case, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, has an apparent clear history of animosity towards Duke University students. For a 10 month stretch starting in 2005 Gottlieb was with two other officers assigned as patrolmen for District 2, which includes a large population of off campus Duke Unviersity students. He arrested twenty Duke students during that time fame, while his partners working the same beat arrested a combined 2.
  • As an anecdote: during this period Sgt. Gottlieb organizes a SWAT “assault” on a student rented home in an early morning of October in response to a noise violation the night before. All seven inhabitants are arrested after the door is battered down.
  • It comes out that the accuser made similiar accusations ten-years prior, accusing three men of raping her but then refusing to pursue the case
  • Professor James Coleman, an African-American, returns his committee’s report on the lacrosse team basically praising them and not finding any consistent racism or sexism amongst them. He recommends the team be reinstated.
  • In October during a 60 Minutes interview Professor Coleman is very critical of Nifong’s handling of the case
  • It comes back that no DNA matches any lacrosse player
  • In court Nifong admits he has not actually talked to the accuser himself, but left that to the police
  • In December 2006 it is revealed not only was no lacrosse player a match for any DNA, but that Nifong deliberatly concealed from the defense attorneys that the DNA of three other men was found on the accuser
  • A week after this revelation Nifong drops the specific rape charges
  • The North Carolina Bar accuses Nifong of multiple ethics violations, in part stemming from withholding the DNA evidence
  • Nifong asks the North Carolina Attorney General to relieve him and take over the case
  • April 11, 2007 AG Roy Cooper drops the remaining charges and declares the players “innocent,” but declines to press charges against Crystal Gail Mangum

Here’s another video, humorously summarizing “Things Which Did Not Happen In Durham

[Duke Lacrosse Category]
[The Authority On The Duke Lacrosse Hoax: LieStoppers]