"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
On May 28, 2006, the New York Times’ David Brooks published a column titled “The Duke Witch Hunt” in which he said:
But now that we know more about the Duke lacrosse team, simple decency requires that we return to that scandal, if only to correct the slurs that were uttered by millions of people, including me. …A few days later the Raleigh N&O reprinted Brooks’ column and a few days after that, on June 3, the N&O published a letter by NC NAACP Legal Redress Chair Al McSurely.
While the NC NAACP was claiming it was only “monitoring” the case, intelligent people knew it was really doing all it could to help rogue DA Mike Nifong prosecute it.
As you’d expect, McSurely’s letter was an attack on Brooks in which McSurely played the race card and engaged in various forms of slimes and smears without addressing the facts of the case or of Brooks' column.
I posted twice (here and here) on McSurely’s letter, which I said was so bad in terms of substantive argument that it “has to give encouragement to those who believe the indicted lacrosse players are very likely innocent.”
So, ironically, bad was good.
In a somewhat different and much more important way, the Baker/Chalmers report is so bad it’s good for those seeking justice.
Consider: City Manager Patrick Baker, Police Chief Steve Chalmers and everyone else who helped them with the report knew an accounting of what DPD did during the Hoax would at some point be asked for. They had months to review relevant police actions and prepare their account, including their explanations for what DPD did.
Does anyone doubt Baker and Chalmers wanted to put the best possible face they could on DPD’s actions without placing themselves into or deeper down obstruction of justice and perjury “holes?”
Yet look at the best they could come up with: an instant DOA that led Durham Mayor Bill Bell to call for an independent investigation of DPD the very day Baker submitted the “report.”
Every step toward an independent investigation and, ultimately, a federal investigation is a step toward the goal of wringing from the Nifong/DPD scandal as much justice as possible.
But those who have been wronged by Nifong/DPD – David Evans, Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and their families most of all, the rest of the lacrosse team and their parents certainly, and the citizens of Durham who had a right to expect not frame-up and now cover-up from elected officials and sworn police officers - won’t get that justice unless they have a lot of information that’s currently being withheld by DA Nifong, his staff, DPD, and City Manager Baker.
The Baker/Chalmers “report,” by its obvious inadequacy including withholding so much needed information, has spurred demands for an independent investigation.
That’s a good coming out of a very bad report.
Something else: By its failure to report on so many critically relevant Nifong/DPD actions, the report suggests how extensive Nifong/DPD actions were which Baker and Chalmers felt couldn’t be explained and needed covering up.
The public’s recognition of that should lead it to support Mayor Bell’s call for an independent investigation; indeed, to demand it.
That’s another good thing resulting from the very bad Baker/Chalmers “report.”
We still don’t know most of what really went on during the frame-up and the subsequent efforts to cover it up. Until we do, we can't hold the guilty responsible, acknowledge those who acted honorably and fix the very broken DA and police functions in Durham.