While researching the Duke Hoax case I looked at an MSNBC report of the April 11, 2006 forum held at NC Central University during which Mike Nifong announced he would continue to prosecute the case despite DNA evidence from the state crime lab which the public had just learned was negative for all the lacrosse players tested.
Here’s the story’s ninth paragraph:
"I don't think we would be here if it wasn't (a strong case)," Maj. Ron Hodge, the assistant (sic) chief of the Durham Police Department, said after the forum. (Hodge is deputy chief. The parenthetical "a strong case" is in the MSNBC story. – JinC ).I wasn’t aware Hodge had spoken to a news organization at that time, much less that he said publicly something MSNBC reported amounted to asserting the police had “a strong case” as of April 11, 2006.
That’s just the opposite of what NC Attorney General Roy Cooper told the public exactly one year to the day later when he said there never was any credible evidence of the crimes alleged. That’s also what Mike Nifong said a few weeks ago in court as part of his apology to the players ( Text of Nifong’s statement here.)
We know that at least between the period March 24 and 27, 2006 DPD spokesperson and sworn officer Cpl. David Addison repeatedly made false statements about “crimes;” and that he distributed to police substations, news organizations and others on March 28 the text of the Durham CrimeStoppers’ Wanted poster falsely stating crimes had been committed at the lacrosse party.
But the MSNBC report is the first I’ve seen indicating Hodge, the DPD’s second highest ranking officer and at the time in day-to-day charge of the department because of the absence of Chief Chalmers, may have directly helped propagate what we now know was a deliberate falsehood.
The MSNBC report is certainly something the Whichard Committee should look at and consider questioning Hodge about.
It's surely of interest to attorneys working with players and their parents who are considering civil actions against DPD and Durham City.
The Raleigh N&O and the Durham H-S should followup on the MSNBC report, ask Hodge what he said and find out what record MSNBC has of his remarks.
I searched the archives of both papers for the period April 10 to 20, 2006 and found nothing for Hodge.