Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Letter to DU Police Director

Readers Note: The posts, Addison Series #5 - "Major Duke Involvement" and "KC advances Addison, Duke, CS story" provide background for the following letter I'm sending to DU Police Director Robert Dean.


March 15, 2007

Robert H. Dean, Director
Duke University Police Department
Durham, North Carolina

Dear Director Dean:

I’m a Duke alum who blogs as John in Carolina.

I’ve posted frequently concerning the CrimeStoppers Duke lacrosse “Wanted” poster and the so-far anonymous “Vigilante” poster.

As you know, in late March and April 2006, both posters were widely circulated on campus and elsewhere in the community. False and inflammatory, they defamed and endangered the players most directly, but also put at greater risk others who might be the unintentional victims of unstable individuals and hate groups targeting the lacrosse players.

Since last May I’ve researched and published extensively concerning the production and distribution of both posters. (I link below to five posts concerning the posters. I’ll provide others if you wish.)

As Duke University Police Director you’ve had involvement with both posters. In this letter I want to ask you only about the CS “Wanted” poster and matters related to it.

I recently learned that, in addition to your duties as DU Police Director, you also serve as Chairman of the Board of Durham CrimeStoppers; and you held that position last March and April.

I’d like to ask you five questions, your answers to which I’ll share in full with my readers, who include many Duke alums, family and friends of the Duke students defamed and endangered by the posters, and Durham residents.

1) Were you aware on or before March 28 of the contents of the CS “Wanted” poster Durham Police Cpl. David Addison distributed on March 28? (A description of the poster, including the full text is the third document in this post.)

2) When you became aware of the “Wanted” poster, did you suggest to Cpl. Addison that he amend the poster? I’m thinking in particular of that part of the CS poster which told the Duke and Durham communities:

The victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 Buchanan. The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party at the residence. The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.
3) Did any senior Duke administrator seek you out last March or April and object to the content of the “Wanted” poster? If so, can you provide the name(s) of the person(s)?

4) DPD Major Lee Russ informs me that the position of DPD and Durham City regarding the CS "Wanted” poster is that they bear no responsibility for its production and distribution because Addison was acting under a blanket authority Durham CrimeStoppers’ board gave him to issue posters at his discretion. Is that also the position of Durham CS? If not, what is Durham CS’s position concerning the matter?

5) Have you posted a copy of IRS Form 990 for 2006 on the net or made other arrangements to make it easily available to the public as required?

Thank you in advance for your attention to this letter.

And thank you for your service to Durham CrimeStoppers. The Duke lacrosse “Wanted” poster aside, everything I know about Durham CS suggests it’s an effective organization that does much to protect the public.


John in Carolina

Cc: Robert Steel, chair, board of trustees, D U
Richard Brodhead, president, DU
John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, DU
Aaron Graves, associate vice president for campus safety and security, DU
David Jarmul, associate vice president of news and communications
Lee Russ, major, Office of the Chief, DPD
David Addison, corporal, Durham CrimeStoppers coordinator, DPD


Texts of Duke lacrosse poster documents

"Wanted" and "Vigilante;" Not the same

Addison Series #1 - "This horrific crime"

Addison Series #2 - "CrimeStoppers will pay cash"

Addison Series #5 - "Major Duke Involvement"


Cedarford said...

John, great letter.

If you haven't sent it out yet, I would ask you to reconsider whether or not to add one thing...

And that being if there is or was a police or Administration investigation into who on Duke campus produced and distributed the "Vigilante" poster, since it was rumored to have come from employees of Duke back in April..

Your letter would have been the best opportunity to ask.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for informing the trustees by sending a copy to Steele. I often wonder what understanding they have of the events on campus this past year.

Anonymous said...

I have spoken with a member of the Durham Crimestoppers board.

It was his position that he had seen copies of Cpl. Addison's elistserve postings, and the subsequent revisions (which, in his words, were so subtle as to be practically insignificant) but that he had never seen a "poster" or "flyer".

He also said that he did not believe that Cpl. Addison had been responsible for the distribution of any "posters". And that if some third party had copied Addison's initial words, and printed and distributed these words in a poster or flyer, then it was inappropriate to hold Cpl. Addison responsible.

It was the position of this board member that Addison had "made a mistake", but then had quickly corrected the mistake, so "no harm - no foul".

It was also the position of this Durham Crimestoppers board member that they did not give unqualified authority to anyone, including Cpl. Addison, to speak in their name. When I pointed out the statement attributed to Major Russ of the Durham PD, and asked whether Durham CrimeStoppers might believe it was appropriate to put out a clarifying statement, the board member said that he saw no reason for CrimeStoppers to explain itself or to clarify anything.

John, it will be interesting to see whether you receive any response at all to your excellent letter.

AMac said...

CrimeStoppers is a great organization.

Great organizations welcome sunshine. Even when bringing things to light is uncomfortable, the outcome can be a better-defined sense of mission, and a clearer idea of the procedures that will bring the goals closer.

The challenge for the CS Board members is to keep in mind that they run a great organization, and what that implies about what they should now do.

bill anderson said...


Good work. These are people who are going to hide anything they do unless you shine the light on them. I really do not care about excuses here. What they did was wrong, dishonest, and terribly harmful, and they need to be accountable for it.

Instead, we see cockroaches scattering whenever someone shines a light. Keep shining that light!

As far as I am concerned, these people did not have good motives. They need to prove to the rest of us that they were not part of a vigilante lynch mob not interested in the truth.

kbp said...

Great letter John!

I see in the comments here (Anon 7:24 AM) that at least one board member is allegedly taking the position that it is not Addison's fault if a third party made them available to others.

I'm lost trying to figure out what that board member is thinking Addison's words were distributed for in the first place.

Addison's notification to others of a crime were not distributed to be kept a secret among some Crimestopper's elite. That board member's explanation smells of CYA.

Gary Packwood said...

How many changes have been made in the Duke University Police Department over this last year?

Was Robert Dean the Director at the time of the big party last year?