It was just two months ago that the Raleigh News & Observer triggered a frenzy that’s engulfed and savaged members of the Duke Men’s lacrosse team present and past along with those defending them and asserting their right to presumption of innocence.
Now comes what may be a turning point in the battle to constrain the frenzied and assure some minimal fairness for the lacrosse players.
A leading constitutional lawyer in central North Carolina wants to take a look at some of what was going on two months ago. He's asking questions some people don't seem eager to answer.
We read in the Durham Herald Sun:
Constitutional lawyer Alex Charns says a police poster unfairly sullied the names of 46 Duke University lacrosse players, implying all were guilty of raping an exotic dancer before the district attorney announced he had sufficient evidence to indict only three.The entire H-S story is here.
Charns, representing one of the unindicted players, has requested a police internal investigation in connection with the poster that declared the alleged victim "was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community."
Charns said he believed the poster, which offered cash rewards for assistance in sol
ving the case, was displayed around the Duke campus and adjoining neighborhoods.
According to Charns, the poster "impugned the entire lacrosse team." …
Charns is talking about a poster published by Durham Crimestoppers. We need to know who authorized the publication of the Crimestoppers poster.
That authorization may or may not have come from the Durham Police Department.
Crimestoppers, as you can read at its website, is organizationally seperate from the DPD.
But the two organizations have a close working relationship. You get an idea of that just by looking at the two organizations' URLs.
A Durham officer is assigned full-time to work with Crimestoppers.
So who authorized the Crimestoppers poster? If it was Crimestoppers, did it do it at the urging of DPD?
If Crimestoppers published the poster on its own, why did it do that?
And is the Crimestoppers poster that same as the “vigilante poster” The N&O published?
News reports and eyewitness accounts suggest the Crimestoppers poster Charns is referring to is not the same as the “vigilante poster” The N&O published. But the matter is now in doubt.
I plan to call The N&O tomorrow and ask whether the poster it published was in fact the Crimestoppers poster or, as I believe, a poster first publilshed by a group that has not so far come forward and identified itself.
I hope I get a direct answer from The N&O. That can often be difficult. While The N&O talks a lot about openness and accountability you often find that …. (You all can finish the sentence, can’t you. – JinC).
I also plan to contact Charns tomorrow.
Look for more here on this matter and other Duke lacrosse case matters.
URL for Herald Sun story: http://www.herald-sun.com/durham/4-738696.html