Thursday, October 04, 2007

DPD March 29, 2006 Press Release

Yesterday’s Durham Herald Sun story, Police document details lacrosse events , by reporter Ray Gronberg has drawn a lot of attention. I posted concerning it: News From Durham Today.

In this post I want to call your attention to a part of Gronberg's story and provide you with the text of a Durham Police document his story references.

From Gronberg’s story:

[Durham Mayor Bill] Bell said he also relayed a complaint from Duke University administrators about the Durham Police Department's public claims that members of the lacrosse team hadn't cooperated with detectives.
It came from Duke spokesman John Burness, who pointed out that some players had talked to police, Bell said.

In response, "I told [City Manager] Patrick [Baker] I wanted to understand for sure, when did they first speak to the students and, if in fact what [I was] being told by Duke is correct, we [needed] to tell the public," Bell said.

Later that day the Police Department issued a news release acknowledging that three lacrosse captains had answered questions and submitted DNA samples earlier in the month when police searched their home at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.
I have a copy of that police release. It’s on Police Department letterhead and dated March 29, 2006.

If you’re familiar with the case, you’ll note the release contains a number of either unsubstantiated or false statements. For instance, it’s never been substantiated the “female” was “robbed” and she didn’t flee “from the house.” With those cautions in mind, here’s the DPD press release's text:
Durham Police Department
Media Release
March 29, 2006

Durham Police Asking for Information on Sexual Assault

Durham police investigators are asking for information about a sexual assault that occurred last March 13 or early March 14 at 610 North Buchanan Boulevard.

A female told officers that she was a dancer who had been hired to perform with a co-worker for a party at the house during the evening of March 13. While at the party, the victim told officers she was held against her will in a bathroom, where she was raped and sodomized. She was robbed of her cell phone and cash before she fled from the house.

Investigators interviewed the woman and developed probable cause for a search warrant, which was executed at the house on March 16. At that time, the three residents of the house, who were all Duke University lacrosse captains, volunteered to come to Durham Police Substation 2 for interviews. When the interviews were completed, the three men agreed to go to Duke University Medical Center, where they voluntarily agreed to provide suspect test kits.

Durham police investigators later spoke with the Duke lacrosse coach and asked him to set up a meeting with the players and investigators on Wednesday, March 22, at which time the players were going to voluntarily answer questions and possibly submit to identification procedures.

A few hours before the meeting was scheduled to take place, investigators received a call from an attorney who told them that the players would not be attending the meeting and that the players were represented by legal counsel. The District Attorney’s Office then obtained a non-testimonial order from a judge that required 46 members of the lacrosse team to provide DNA samples. The players provided the samples on Thursday, March 23 at the Police Department’s Forensic Services Unit on Broadway Street.

At this time investigators are waiting for the DNA results to come back from the State Bureau of Investigation. The case remains an open, active case. No charges have been filed.
The Police press release has a final paragraph asking anyone with information to contact Inv. Himan, Sgt. Gottlieb, or CrimeStoppers. Phone numbers are provided and the reader is told “CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.”

I’ll post further concerning the press release in a day or two.