Wednesday, March 28, 2007

To DUPD Director Dean - 3/28/07

Readers Note: If you're new to the subject matter concerning this post, be sure to use the links.

I just sent the following electronic letter to Duke University's Police Director Robert Dean.

Dear Director Dean:

Thank you for your response to my questions concerning: 1) the Durham CrimeStoppers “Wanted” poster written and distributed last March; 2) your involvement as CS board chairmanship at the time of it’s production and distribution; and 3) your perceptions concerning senior Duke University administrators’ awareness of the “Wanted” poster.

Once more for ease of reference, here are links to the JinC post where I posted in full your responses to my questions as well as a link to the post containing facsimiles of both the Durham CS “Wanted” poster and the so-far anonymous “Vigilante” poster, as well as links to posts which provide background concerning the posters.

As I’m sure you know, subsequent to our useful letter exchange, Durham CS’s board met to discuss the “Wanted” poster with Durham Police Major Lee Russ in attendance.

I need to learn more about that meeting and would like to get a copy of its minutes before asking current Durham CS board chair Pat Ellis some questions.

I’ll also, as you suggested, ask Ellis where citizens can obtain copies of Durham CS’s 2006 IRS Form 990.

I’d appreciate your sending me Ellis’ contact phone number and email address.

Some people are now claiming the CS “Wanted” poster really isn’t a CS product.

I want you to know I refer to it as “the Durham CS ‘Wanted’ poster” because to date almost everyone, including Durham Police and Durham City, has been emphatic that it was written by Durham CS Coordinator Corporal David Addison under authority granted him by the CS board.

So what else to call it?

Also, the poster contains detailed CS contact information and an offer of a cash reward from CS for anyone's help in solving “this horrific crime,” which Cpl. Addison said in the text occurred at the party hosted by the Duke lacrosse players.

If the time comes when there’s general agreement that the poster is, in fact, not really a CS document, I’ll promptly change my wording.

At least two CS board members have said that with regard to the “Wanted” poster, Cpl. Addison was “overzealous.”


We both know a police officer can be overzealous but still be acting properly within the law.

We can surely agree, for instance, an officer who reads a brief witness statement 100 times to see if there’s any information in it that’s been overlooked, is overzealous. But the officer hasn't done anything wrong from a legal or moral standpoint.

The problem with what Addison did , and now, according to what two CS board members say Maj. Russ said at a recent CS board meeting a DPD commander did regarding the distribution of the CS “Wanted” poster, has nothing to do with overzealousness.

It has to do with the false claim an “horrific crime” had been committed at the Duke lacrosse March 13 party when the evidence DPD had at the time overwhelmingly indicated it hadn't. It has to do with claims innocent citizens were libeled.

Cpl. Addison, Durham CS, DPD and Durham City should all explain fully, publicly, and in written statements just what happened with regard to the “Wanted” poster, why and how it happened, and at whose behest it happened.

It's very disturbing to realize that a year after the CS "Wanted" poster's production and distribution, they've failed to do that.

Now to the “Vigilante” poster.

I want to ask you questions concerning what DUPD’s done to learn about the who, when, where and why of the poster’s production and distribution on campus and wherever else it put students and others at risk and spread libel; and what it’s done about what it’s learned.

But I don’t want to ask those questions in this post which is already long. I merely want to outline them now as a way of letting you know what I’ll be asking.

Besides asking what actions DUPD took concerning the poster’s production, I’ll ask what actions DUPD took with regard to the “Vigilante” poster’s placement on West Campus buildings the night of March 29, 2006, and in response to the defacements of the players images on the posters and the threats made against them that night. Also, I’ll ask what DUPD has done since to identify those who created a poster which you know better than anyone increased the threat level for the players and all others who might be unintended victims of violence by unstable individuals and hate groups.

I’ll put the “Vigilante” poster questions in more precise form and send them on to you Friday.

I’m traveling tomorrow, Thursday.

Please know my purpose is to help put before the Duke and Durham communities information the University and City should have provided the public many months ago.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.


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


Anonymous said...

I think it is a great letter John, factual, to the point, and hopefully open dialogue.


AMac said...


Your cc: list is interesting in and of itself. Almost certainly, most of the folks you copied (Pres. Brodhead, Sr. VP Burness, Assoc. VP Graves, Assoc. VP Jarmul, Maj. Russ, and Cpl. Addison) have important information on the authorization and distribution and revision of the CrimeStoppers poster that is unknown to the public.

Thank you for bringing these questions to their attention.