Sunday, July 01, 2007

INNOCENT: DPD’s Real Shelton Problems (Updated)

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.

Bottom lines:

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.

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." . . .
Attorney Bill Thomas is right about Nifong and some in DPD wanting to discredit Shelton.

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 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)


Anonymous said...

John - There's no need to guess whether Shelton identified Roberts as the first 911 caller. His supplemental notes indicate that she identified herself as the caller. As far as the erased tapes go, I believe the explanation given is that they were erased and re-used after 60 days as a matter of departmental policy.

JWM said...

Anon @ 5:26,

Thanks for your comment.

Can you tell me where I can find Shelton's supplemental notes and any other notes of his, including his initial report?

Also, can you cue me to where there's the 60 day explanation?

I'm going out to a dinner in a short while but will be home around 9:30 tonight.

I hope I hear from you.

I'll make post corrections/clarifications as necessary.

Again, thank you for commenting.

BTW - Anything else you want to add by way of Shelton is welcome.


Anonymous said...

John - Why was he not shouting from the rooftops, holding a press conferenc and criticizing his superiors in public about the hoax being a frame? Whistle blowing is not what it is cracked up to be -

Anonymous said...

John - The LS post covering the hearing when the erased tapes were mentioned notes the explanation given for the erasure. The hearing transcript will also detail the exchange. September 22 maybe? Shelton's "supplemental" notes are his only report. They are included in the Nifong folder the State Bar just released. TJN also has typed them out in full and they appear attached to one of Osborn's motions. Hope that helps.

Cedarford said...

Excellent commentary, John. Very thought're the 1st to bring up what has not been yet discussed of actions Shelton did that cause huge problems for DPD and Nifong in the Hoax.

JWM said...

This is JinC commenting again ---

Anon @7:00 PM,

Shelton did his job.

Anon @ 8:16,

Thanks for the leads.

I’ve read Shelton’s notes at TJN. They say nothing about his learning from Kim Roberts she was “the first 911 caller.” I’ve read two news stories reporting on Shelton’s notes (N&O and Eyewitness 11). They say nothing about the matter.

If you can link me to anything Shelton has reported ID’ing Roberts as “first caller,” I’ll follow up on it.

I’ll follow up on the 60 day erasure matter in the morning.

Again, any help you can provide is welcome.

Cederford @ 10:26,

Thanks for your nice words and for picking up on my main point.

One of the reasons Nifong & Co. stay with the “what Shelton said was not so” is because it leaves matters at “you said, I said, she/he said.”

Nifong & Co. have always wanted to keep things there.

They don’t want to get to “but Shelton was right. There were no injuries. So why, Mike, did you say a brutal rape etc, etc.”

But the rest of us should be moving on past “you said, etc” and asking: “So why Mike, did you …..?”

Thank you to all of you.


Anonymous said...

John: See page 11 here -

Shelton writes:

"She [Kim Roberts] told me she that she had made the call at 610 Buchanan."

See also this LS post from August:

"By now, it is common knowledge that the Durham Police Department was informed by Kim Roberts/Pittman on March 14 and March 22 that she was the source of the first 911 call (see #1 below). We see this admission in Officer Shelton’s notes of March 14’s call to the Kroger, which oddly are dated April 9. We also see that a mention of the call appears in the written statement given by Ms. Pittman on March 22 and in Officer Himan’s account of his interview with Ms. Pittman from that same day. (Kim Roberts Admits 911 Call)"

Anonymous said...

John: You might want to re-read TJN's typed version of Shelton's notes.

"A few minutes after clearing the call on N. Buchanan, a call came out at the Kroger on Hillsborough Road of a women refusing to get out of the complainant's car. Again, I was close to that location and was first on scene. I was met by the security guard at a black or dark-colored Honda. A female walked across the parking lot to my location and said that it was her car. She told me that she had made the call at 610 N. Buchanan."

Anonymous said...

John: Here's a link to a post with some details on the 60 day tape erasure:

The 9/22 transcript is likely to offer a better description with more accurate details.

JWM said...

Anon @ 9:49,

Thank you very much. I’m on the right page now.

Has there been any explanation given for why Shelton’s handwritten April 9 notes have “Supplemental” written in block print at the top of each of the notes' 3 pages with a “ * “ (star) preceding and following each of the three “Supplemental?”

Anon @ 9:54,

I sure did need to reread TJN’s typed version. The information is just as you say.

I missed it and I don’t know how. But I’m sorry for my miss and very appreciative of your pointing it out.

Anon@ 10:01,

Thank you. It does seem a better description with more accurate details.

Do you know whether there’s been any explanation offered for why there was a three week delay between the 4/28 request that the tapes be preserved and Judge Stephens’ 5/18 order that they be so preserved?

To Anons 9:49, 9:54 and 10:01,

Are you one and the same person?

Whatever the case, I’m so appreciative of the help whether it be from one or more Anons.

I plan in a few hours to update the post and include the information I’ve learned thanks to informed and helpful Anon comments.


Anonymous said...

John: I don't know whether the *'s have significance. A better question may be why Shelton's report bears the notation "Not Supervisor Approved".

There was an explanation offered for the delay between the motion and the order, iirc. Dunno what it was but it satisfied the media, fwiw. It may have been that the May date coincides with the scheduled hearing while the motion was filed three weeks prior making the delay appear innocent.

Yes, to the query on the triple Anon.

JWM said...

Anon @ 1:25,

On my question about Shelton's notes it wasn't the stars ( * ) that I was interested in but the heading on each page: "Supplemental."

Why is "Supplemental" on each page. Shelton's report is "Supplemental" to what? That's what I want to know.

I hope you can help with the "Supplemental" question.

I'll guess a star was put each side of each "Supplemental"
to "highlight" the word.

Thanks for letting me know there's just one of you.

Again, thanks for all your help.

I'm meaning to write a post refuting the MSMers who run around telling people bloggers don't have editors.

I have hundreds of them, and many of them are like you: outstanding.



Anonymous said...

Anything that follows the original report is a supplemental report regardless of the author. My guess is that Officer Sutton filed the initial report the night of. Everything that follows would be a supplemental report whether written by Sutton, Shelton, Himan, Gottlieb, etc.