Sunday, June 10, 2007

INNOCENT: The Addison Opportunity

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

In this post I want to encourage you to write letters to the Durham Herald Sun in response to a letter that appeared in the H-S today from Durham Police Cpl. David Addison.

Here’s Addison’s letter (If you’re already familiar with it, scroll to below the star line):

To the editor:

The Durham Police Department has been subjected to yet another round of criticism from the city's leaders. This is like the first round of a fight with Mike Tyson. The decision has already been made.

We continue to stand in silence because our teaching shows us that retaliation does not profit anyone. As we stand bloodied from the slander and vicious attacks, we are just blocking punches. The air of voice is beaten out and the eyes of clarity have been closed. The only things we have left are the legs which are supported by over 500 sworn officers and nearly 200 civilians. We are still able to think but even the referee penalizes us for blows we have not thrown. How much more can we take? A lot, I suspect. However, we cannot and will not subscribe to the philosophy of abuse or continue to be victimized.

It is amazing, or is it just an election year? You decide.

David Addison
June 10, 2007

The writer is president of the Triangle Chapter Police Benevolence Association

Addison’s letter is an opportunity for people to write the Herald Sun and highlight what certain DPD officers have done during the attempted frame-up of three innocent young men. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions of Addison and others in DPD and Durham City government.

Those are two strong reasons for writing a letter to the H-S. And I want to mention another one. Addison tries to make it appear that by objecting to questioning of DPD’s actions during the attempted frame-up, he’s defending all DPD officers and support personnel.

But that’s not the case. He’s only speaking for those like himself who, with good reason, fear public exposure and scrutiny of what they did.

Most DPD officers do a good job and regret what’s gone on. They know that without the public’s respect and cooperation, their already difficult and dangerous work will become more so.

Good DPD officers don’t fear a thorough and fair investigation. They privately believe that such an investigation is a necessary first step in rebuilding DPD’s public trust and respect, which have been very damaged during the Duke Hoax. But the officers are reluctant to say that publicly because DPD’s leadership and City Manager Patrick Baker don’t want a thorough and fair investigation.

Now if you’re thinking you might write a letter, I want to provide some information.

First, letters can be sent via email to:

Letters are limited to 250 words.

The H-S publishes letters from out-of-towners. Police and prosecutors all over America are watching Durham. They’ll be influenced by what happens here. For that reason if no other, every American has a stake in how things work out here.

So please write fact-based and questioning letters that will inform the public, hold our police department to account, and encourage those here who are fighting for justice.

Below is some background information concerning Addison and a few links to documents and other information you may find useful. Scroll down; pick and choose.

If you know a good deal about Addison, skip past the background to the star line.

I end the post with a Duke prof's letter that recently appeared in the H-S. It’s a model of the kind of letter that can influence public opinion.


In March, 2006, Durham Police Cpl. David Addison’s regular assignment was Coordinator for Durham CrimeStoppers. He remains in that position today.

Beginning on March 24, 2006, the day DPD officers working on the Duke lacrosse case were ordered to report directly to DA Mike Nifong and for some days thereafter, Addison also served as DPD spokesperson. In that position and over the course of days Addison repeatedly made false statements to the media and the public about a “victim brutally raped” when we know there never was any evidence of a brutal rape.

On March 28, in his capacity as Durham CS Coordinator he released the text of a Wanted poster that included, among other false statements, this:

The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed.
Addison has never explained why he made the false statements or published the text of the false Wanted poster. Neither have Addison’s immediate supervisor, Major Lee Russ or Deputy Chief Ron Hodge, who during most of the Duke lacrosse frame-up period was directing DPD while Chief Steve Chalmers was on leave.


Here’s a link to KC Johnson’s post responding to Addison’s letter. The post contains a number of examples of false statements Addison made. KC includes links to the sources from which he got the statements.

This is a JinC post which includes a letter from Alex Charns, an attorney representing one of the 43 lax players who weren’t indicted. Charns has asked for a public investigation into the production and distribution of the Wanted poster as well as a formal, public apology by Durham City and DPD for the distribution of the poster.

Here's a link to a document at Liestoppers which Durham City Councelman Eugene Brown recently released It contains questions concerning DPD's actions in the Hoax case.

This is another JinC post that contains, among other things, answers by Duke Police Director Robert Dean to questions I asked him concerning the CS Wanted poster. Dean was Chair of the Durham CS Board of Directors when the poster was produced.

This links to a Liestoppers post which has photo copies of the Wanted poster as well as the anonymously produced “Vigilante” poster.

Now that “model” letter to the editor which appeared under the heading:“Where’s the respect?”

To the editor:

Once again, Duke, along with a number of other institutions, did not fully observe Memorial Day. Permanent staff were let off, but classes were still held.

Why is it that the university can rearrange its schedule to give everyone Martin Luther King's birthday off, and even have a lecture in honor of his memory, but the university cannot find the time to truly commemorate probably the closest thing we have to a sacred holiday in America -- honoring those who gave their lives for their country? By properly commemorating this day we also pay respect to the friends and loved ones most affected by these deaths.

I think it is shameful that Duke and other institutions -- including many universities -- will not make the effort to observe this day above all, but also other national holidays.

There are priorities in life. Make this one of them.

Thomas Crowley
June 9, 2007
The writer is a professor at Duke University


Your letters will help. I hope to read many of them in the H-S.




Anonymous said...

Was he in a bathroom when he was beaten?

Sorry, had to ask!

This purple prose reminds me of something Johnson said of Milton's Paradise Lost: No one could have wished it was longer.


Mad Hatter said...

John in Carolina,

Thank you so much for providing info that will help out-of-towners address these issues with the appropriate parties. Keep up the good work.

When durham in wonderland is no more, we will rely on you and Liestoppers more than ever for continuing developments.

wayne fontes said...

John,his rather combative letter is surprising considering Addison quit on his stool rather than step into the ring with you earlier this year.

Two can play at the bad boxing metaphor game.

bill anderson said...


Addison is a criminal, and there is no other word to describe him. He broke the law and now continues to lie about it.

I sent him an email and told him that he better have a good lawyer, because he will need that lawyer.

Mike Lee said...

My letter to the DHS:

I read with amazement the letter you printed from DPD Corporal David Addison. Put in the kindest light, during the Duke lacrosse case Addison made written and verbal statements that have now proven to be false. If I had acted as Addison did, I would want to write and speak to anyone who my words and writings harmed, to apologize. Instead Addison has claimed victimhood and asks for readers' sympathy. I don't think many others see things the way Addison does. His letter clouds the situation and he compares it to a fight with Mike Tyson.

I would think by now the people of Durham would be tired of their public officials mincing words. Roy Cooper didn't. When the Attorney General made his statement declaring the players innocent he restored some much needed confidence in the North Carolina justice system. Cooper was direct, clear, and easy to understand. I respected his statement and I think others did too. Unfortunately Addison doesn't seem to have learned from Cooper's example.

If Addison wants to continue what Cooper began there are only two words the public is interested in hearing him say, wrong and sorry.