READERS’ ALERT: The post below has been updated because of what I learned thanks to an Anon commenter who alerted me to information I wasn’t aware of when I posted.
If you go to the post thread, you’ll see that the first commenter, Anon @ 5:26, alerts me to the information.
Reading down the thread you’ll see where Anon @ 5:26 and I back-and-forth. That back-and-forth includes one instance in which I miss something important and Anon helps me find it.
The post as updated now says parenthetically that Sgt. Shelton did indeed do what I speculated he did: ID on 3/14 Kim Roberts as “the first 911 caller.”
Also parenthetically, I provide what I’ve learned is the “public” explanation for the erasures of the police radio communications of the night of Mar. 13/14 when Shelton would have been reporting to his supervisor what he had learned from Roberts.
Please read the thread, note the parenthetical updates and know I’m also deeply appreciative of Anon’s informed and generous help which added to my knowledge and helped make the post more informative.
"... 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 today’s Raleigh News & Observer reporter Joseph (Joe) Neff has a story which begins:
When the Durham City Council's commission meets to review how police handled the Duke lacrosse case, the commission will have a lot to chew on -- particularly if members read the N.C. State Bar's files.Further into Neff’s story he raises the question of whether testimony contained in the Bar’s files indicates DPD “was punishing or ostracizing” Sgt. John Shelton.
Let’s look at what Neff says about that matter and then I’ll offer some commentary. Neff reports :
But one of the most intriguing questions is whether the police department was punishing or ostracizing the one officer who, from the beginning, concluded that Crystal Gail Mangum was lying when she accused the three players of gang rape.Attorney Bill Thomas is right about Nifong and some in DPD wanting to discredit Shelton.
Alex Charns, a Durham lawyer who has successfully sued the Durham police several times, said the police have a history of using internal affairs investigations to silence internal critics or naysayers.
"In the past, internal affairs has been used to punish officers who displease those up the chain of command," Charns said.
Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers declined to be interviewed, as did every other police official contacted.
On March 14, 2006, Sgt. John Shelton was the first officer to come into contact with Mangum, an escort service dancer and student.
Shelton was skeptical of Mangum's behavior when he first encountered her passed out in the passenger seat of a car at the Kroger supermarket on Hillsborough Road, records show.
Shelton got no response when he talked loudly to her; when he put ammonia smelling salts under her nose, she began breathing through her mouth, which Shelton deemed a sign that she was conscious. As Shelton put pressure on her wrist to goad her out of the car, Mangum grabbed the parking brake, struggling to stay inside. Once out, she collapsed on the parking lot.
Later, at the Duke Hospital emergency room, Mangum gave differing accounts of whether she was raped. After talking with her in the Duke Hospital emergency room, Shelton loudly announced, "I think she is lying."
Shelton apparently has held on to that opinion, which made him unpopular with his fellow officers and Nifong.
In testimony to the State Bar, Investigator Benjamin Himan testified that he spoke with Shelton about the case several times: "Basically, he just characterized it as that she was lying. In my opinion, I didn't think that he had handled it professionally."
In his deposition to the bar, Nifong derided Shelton's handling of the case, though the prosecutor said he had never read Shelton's report of the incident: "Officer Shelton did not seem to appreciate that this was a very serious situation at the time that he responded to the Kroger parking lot."
According to Linwood Wilson, Nifong's investigator, the police department thought Shelton's comments were inappropriate. Wilson said Capt. Jeff Lamb asked him to investigate the remarks.
"The police asked that I do that and keep Himan out of it because he had to work with those guys," Wilson said. "Obviously, it led to an internal investigation at the police department, and Himan would probably be, you know, a witness in that. So ... [Lamb] felt like it would be better for me to interview those people, so I did."
It would be highly irregular for a police captain to turn to someone outside the department to assist in an internal affairs investigation.
Lamb did not return calls. City Manager Patrick Baker said he did not know whether an internal investigation took place.
Wilson declined to be interviewed. His lawyer, Fred Battaglia, said he does not know the status of the internal investigation.
Bill Thomas, a Durham lawyer who represented a lacrosse captain not charged in the case, said he didn't believe Lamb would ask an outsider to investigate his officers, and certainly not for concluding that a witness was lying.
"Throughout history, police officers have called witnesses liars when they don't believe them," Thomas said. "Rather, it appears to be a transparent attempt to discredit this officer first on the scene and in the best position to evaluate her credibility." . . .
But that tactic is going to backfire on Nifong just as it will on all those involved in the frame-up and on-going attempts to cover it up.
The real problem Shelton presents to them is not his stated disbelief of Mangum, but his actions the night of March 13/14 which provide critically important and irrefutable evidence that a brutal beating and gang-rape NEVER TOOK PLACE.
Shelton and his backup, Officer Willie Barfield, who arrived in the Kroger parking lot shortly after Shelton both know about the kinds of horrific physical injuries a woman suffers when she’s brutally beaten and raped by even one strong young man, to say nothing of being brutally beaten and raped by three strong young men for thirty minutes.
But Mangum had suffered no such injuries. She hadn’t even suffered slight injuries. A subsequent physical exam by Dr. Julie Manly at Duke Hospital confirmed that.
Had Shelton seen any signs of injuries when he first came upon Mangum “passed out drunk,” he would have arranged for her to be taken immediately to Duke Hospital, which is less than a mile from the Kroger parking lot.
Because there were no physical injuries, Shelton arranged for Officer Barfield to take Mangum to Durham Access, which provides short-term domicile and “support services” for substance abusers. Barfield only later took Mangum from Durham Access to Duke Hospital after she said at Access she’d been raped.
From the moment Nifong and those helping him learned what Shelton and Barfield had done, they knew what any police officer, any veteran prosecutor, any emergency room physician and any sensible citizen would know: absent serious physical injuries, Mangum was not the victim of a brutal thirty minute beating and gang-rape by three strong, young men.
I feel certain Shelton did other things the night of March 13/14 that are real problems for Nifong and his DPD helpers as they seek to avoid responsibility for what they did.
Shelton certainly ID’ed Kim Roberts ( Per readers' alart above, Shelton's notes, posted at The Johnsville News reveal Shelton did indeed ID Roberts as the caller - - JinC ). With the lap top in his cruiser, he would have checked her background and would very likely have learned there was an outstanding warrant out on her for probation violation.
He would have asked her where she and her friend had been and how her friend got so she "passed out drunk."
Roberts almost certainly told Shelton she and her friend were strippers at a party at 610 N Buchanan Blvd. She’d have no reason to lie about that. What she did is not illegal. And a woman in her position doesn’t want to lie to a veteran police officer if she doesn’t have to.
Shelton knew something about the party. He was one of two officers who responded to the “first 911 call” in which a woman complained that as she and a friend were passing the Buchanan Blvd house they were subjected to racial slurs as people were leaving the house and others were sitting across the street on the wall of Duke’s East Campus.
When shortly before 1 AM Shelton and another officer arrived at the house in response to the 911 call, they found it deserted.
It was about 30 minutes later that Shelton entered the Kroger parking lot and began interviewing Roberts.
You all see where I’m going. I think it’s very likely Shelton learned on March 14 Roberts was “the first 911 caller.”
Shelton would have reported everything he learned about Roberts over his police radio to his supervisor. That’s standard procedure. The transmissions between Shelton and his supervisor were recorded. That’s standard procedure.
Later all DPD radio transmissions for the time period during which Shelton reported what he had learned were erased. The public was told the erasure was “an accident” that DPD couldn’t explain but was looking into. ( Per readers' alart above, there is another explanation for the erasure which you can read about here. -- JinC )
When I heard about the erasures, I thought of the expression: accidentally on purpose.
In any case, when Shelton gets to testify about what he and Kim discussed in the Kroger parking lot, I predict what he says will be a real problem for Nifong and his helpers.
Neff’s entire story is here.
KC Johnson has posted on Neff's article.
I want to express appreciation and admiration to Liestoppers.com and The Johnsville News for the tremdous work they've done posting Hoax documents, putting together timelines, etc. That work is an invaluable resource to anyone seeking to understand and write about the Hoax. And they do that work in addition to their many outstanding posts and first-rate commentary.
Previous JinC posts concerning Sgt. John Shelton:
Duke lacrosse: The N&O finally tells about Gottlieb. So why now? (Sept. 10, 2006)
Easy DPD questions; some tough ones,too (Feb. 2, 2007)
Addison Series # 1 - "This horrific crime" (Feb. 16, 2007)
INNOCENT: Councilman Questions DPD Actions (Jun. 1, 2007)
DPD's Sgt. Shelton & Cpl. Addison (Jun. 3, 2007)
INNOCENT: Nifong's "f" & Sgt. Shelton (Jun. 26, 2007)