Wednesday, October 03, 2007

News Today From Durham

Under Ray Gronberg’s byline, the Durham Herald Sun reports today:

A police document detailing new information about the Duke lacrosse case investigation reveals that investigators talked with the accuser more than they disclosed previously, and that Mayor Bill Bell and other high-ranking city officials convened two days before a stalled case got a jump start with a photo lineup that violated policy.

Bell urged police to expedite a resolution to the case partly because he worried that racial unrest could erupt, he acknowledged Tuesday. That fear was hidden from his public statements at the height of the Duke lacrosse case when he expressed confidence in Durham's racial unity and condemned national media portrayal of black-white tension.

A copy of the police document -- labeled "Timeline of events for council" but kept so tightly under wraps that it may never have reached elected officials -- was obtained by The Herald-Sun.

Among other data entries, the timeline said Ben Himan, Durham's lead detective in the Duke lacrosse case, spoke to the accuser on March 28, 2006. That discussion isn't mentioned in the case notes of either Himan or his supervisor, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

According to the document, Bell met with Himan March 29, 2006, two days before authorities agreed to conduct a photo lineup that violated city policy but prompted indictments of three innocent men.

Documentation shows City Manager Patrick Baker and former Police Chief Steve Chalmers were at the discussion.

It occurred in a regularly scheduled Wednesday morning meeting that allows Bell, Baker and Senior Assistant to the City Manager Reginald Johnson a chance to confer about the city's business.

The five gathered amid the early controversy over what proved to be false rape allegations against members of the Duke lacrosse team.

At the time the investigation was stalled because the players' accuser, a 28-year-old stripper, had offered conflicting accounts and failed to identify her supposed assailants in two initial photo lineups.

But with the case attracting national headlines, Bell urged police to get to the bottom of it rapidly. […]
Today's entire H-S story is here.


Gronberg’s story today briefly references a March 29, 2006 meeting between Durham City and Police officials and two Duke administrators.

While Durham City Manager Patrick Baker has downplayed the March 29 meeting as one at which he merely wanted to check in with DPD Sgt. Gottlieb and Inv. Himan to make sure they had all the cooperation and resources they needed to conduct the investigation, the meeting was obviously for some other critically important purpose(s) Baker and other attendees at the meeting are reluctant to disclose.

Let’s take another look at that March 29 meeting with the benefit of what we know from today’s H-S story and some other events.

From a JinC post, INNOCENT: Duke & DPD Contacts: Questions , posted May 30, 2007 in response to a H-S story that day, also with Ray Gronberg's byline [excerpts]:
[The H-S] story also reports on a previously undisclosed meeting involving Duke University’s Associate Vice President for Campus Safety and Security Aaron Graves, its Police Director, Robert Dean, Baker, Chalmers, Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge, “a police attorney,” and the two principal DPD lacrosse case investigators, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Benjamin Himan.

The H-S also reports on a subsequent phone call Gottlieb made to Graves the morning of April 4. […]

In this post I want to discuss the Duke aspect of today’s story. Excerpts from the H-S story:
The media crush also focused high-level administrative attention on the case. The two detectives, [Gottlieb and Himan,] met on March 29 with Baker, Chalmers, Hodge, a police attorney and two Duke University officials -- Associate Vice President for Campus Safety and Security Aaron Graves and Police Director Robert Dean.

Baker on Tuesday said the March 29 meeting allowed him to hear from Gottlieb and Himan first-hand, to make sure they and Duke police were working smoothly together and to make sure the detectives had the resources they needed to finish the investigation. He said the issue of identifications didn't come up.
There are questions raised in my mind by the fact that that particular group of people met on March 29 and by Baker’s preposterous explanation for their meeting.

If Baker just wanted to hear first-hand from Gottlieb and Himan to make sure they were working smoothly with Duke police and had the resources necessary to finish the investigation, what were all those other people doing at the meeting?

Especially, why was “a police attorney” there if the meeting was for the purposes Baker described? And, by the way, who is that police attorney?

Baker didn’t have to involve Graves and Dean if all he wanted to do was hear from Gottlieb and Himan about cooperation between Duke and DPD, did he?

On the other hand, if Baker and DPD wanted to work out something involving Duke and DPD that was very important and/or questionable, that might need a signoff from the “top cops” at Duke.

In that case, Baker would want/need Graves and Dean at the meeting, wouldn’t he? And maybe a police attorney to assure Duke’s “top cops” that ....

Folks, that [March 29, 2006] was a “heavy hitters meeting” involving top law enforcement people at Duke and DPD, with Baker/DPD bringing along an attorney.

Some very important things were surely talked about and perhaps decided there.

A little further along in the H-S article we read:
The detectives met with Nifong on March 29 and again on March 31. In the first meeting, the district attorney asked them to contact members of the lacrosse team to see if they'd talk.

In the second, according to Gottlieb, he suggested assembling the photos taken the week before and showing them to the accuser "to see if she recalled seeing the individuals at the party."

Himan's notes -- which were drafted at the time, while Gottlieb compiled his report a couple of months after the fact -- didn't mention any of the three meetings.

Gottlieb said he reported the Nifong's suggestion to Lamb and Ripberger on March 31, and had Himan and Investigator Shanda Williams start working on the PowerPoint.

Himan finished the job on April 3, the following Monday, after having Clayton and another investigator, Michele Soucie, review the presentation. The next day, Gottlieb had an office assistant, Van Clinton, look over the presentation again, and then had Clayton and two crime-scene technicians, Angela Ashby and Heather Maddry, help him show it to the accuser.

He also placed a morning call to Graves. Duke officials, like Baker, said the ID process wasn't discussed. "It's my understanding that at that stage it was just about the ways the university could assist in the investigation, and there was no discussion of the ID session," Duke spokesman John Burness said Tuesday.
Woah, Nelly!

Why is Burness speaking for Graves? Shouldn’t Graves be telling us about his phone conversation with Gottlieb?

And what is “It’s my understanding that at that stage” telling us?

It’s such a carefully qualified remark that it left me asking myself again: “Why isn’t Graves telling us about his phone conversation with Gottlieb?

And was it just a coincidence that Gottlieb called Graves on the same day DPD ran what Professor James Coleman called the “no wrong choice” photo ID procedure which was so essential a part of the frame-up?

What’s my strongest reaction to [the H-S May 30, 2006 reporting the March 29, 2006 meeting]?

It helps build the case for a thorough investigation by the federal government.

Folks, what are my reactions to today's H-S story? I'll bet many of them are the same as yours.

Today's story adds to the strength of the case for a federal investigation as well as a state investigation.

Concerning the DPD lacrosse investigation scandal, Bell and Baker (under Durham's council-city manager form of government Baker is the city's top full-time executive officer to whom all department heads, including the Police Chief, report directly) have each made discredited statements and withheld information the public had a right to know.

They've obviously been part of the problem and are part of it now.

Under Baker and Bell’s “leadership," Durham, with Duke's cooperation, has for more than eighteen months engaged in a series of investigative and legal travesties that very likely include criminal conspiracies.

Enough from Bell and Baker!

It's time the state and feds stepped in, discovered what really went on and punished the malfactors.

I plan another post tonight on today's H-S story.

The entire H-S May 30, 2007 story is here; its story today is here.

My May 30 post is here.


Anonymous said...

Why 'leak' to the Herald-Sun?

And, why now?

Anonymous said...


Each day seems to yield more information on how complete the corruption is within Durham.

The frame-up now appears to spread to the highest levels within Durham and Duke.


Jim in San Diego said...

Durham has had the great misfortune that the Duke victims were actually innocent.

However, Durham's behavior is just as wrong as if they were guilty.

All this behavior happened at a time that the accused were entitled to the presumption of innoncence. They were entitled to due process. They were entitled to honest and fair administration of justice.

The record now available and becoming availabale shows the boys received none of the rights they were entitled to.

Thus, Durham forgot First Principles. And, would almost certainly have gotten away with their misbehavior if the accused were guilty.

Guilty or innocent, those First Principles are there to protect us all. Therefore, we should not be content to move on from here without legal accountability. We are not at a position that people of good faith really want to move from.

Anonymous said...

Until today I viewed Duke's role in the hoax as venal and incompetent. I now wonder if some individuals there are as criminally cuulpable as some Durham officials and DPD members.

Anonymous said...


You're opening a lot of eyes, mine included.

Bring in the feds.

Anonymous said...

The conspiracy goes to the top of the City officials and now state officials. There is now no excuse for the Federal Govt not to step in. This is a coverup of the coverup.

Anonymous said...

Duke officials, and the city government now have been tied to this frame. Theses notes I'm guessing are ones that they forgot to shred along with all the other incrimminating evidence they had against themselves. The DPD erased police tapes against a police order. The reason the attorney was in the room with the DPD for that meeting with Duke police and Duke officials was to figure out how the DPD could get into the dorms and question the players and search their rooms. Remember the news footage of the Duke and DPD raiding the dorms, questioning players without attorneys present, sending fake emails from a players commputer. They did this with Duke's assistance. It makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Jingle Bells
Batman Smells
Robin Laid an Egg
The Batmobile Lost a Wheel
And Joker got away

I couldn't happier today as the Hoax is unraveling right before our eyes.

Nice job of reporting John. You can always be counted on with cogent commentary.


Anonymous said...

Sure would be nice to have some of those "truth-loving" conservatives make themselves heard. We've heard from Liberals Obama and McCarthy, from several Libertarians, and one quasi-conservative (Walter Jones), but not a word from our conservative President, from North Carolina's two conservative US Senators (Burr and Dole), and nothing from the conservative Justice Department. Seems some pposters claim that it's only liberals who are not in favor of truth. Maybe that's why the Feds aren't coming?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

...puts on a conservative hat to see if it fits, and says...

For one, GW Bush isn't a strong conservative.

For another, he's made a point through his entire administration of avoiding confrontations with opposing partisans and their wholly-owned MSM - to his own detriment frequently.

For another, most NC senators and reps have not gone out of their way to make well-publicized clamors in favor of Federal intervention by a weak - and not particularly conservative - Justice Department. Think their political necks might not be on the line if they did?

For another, one might notice that Senator Obama has not emitted any more platitudes about Federal intervention since Mr. Nifong's trip to the slammer, despite much evidence emerging justifying such intervention. Let's just listen for his impassioned speech based on today's H-S revelation, shall we?

And all us conservatives, particularly the truth-loving ones, would love to see the City staff, and their enabling conspirators from Duke, in the dock under sufficient discovery and cross-examination that truth and more truth would be wrenched from the whole PC cabal to enlighten us and teach future generations how politics are done in Durham.

Is it the truth that $30,000,000 is a low enough value that Duke and Durham will cheerfull fork it over to prevent the emergence of any more truth?

kbp said...

Thanks John

Anon 4:45
I think it might have been a bit early for that meeting to address getting into dorms at Duke. As I recall, that came about a couple weeks later. I do not doubt they set up a chain of communication that accomplished cooperation for that and other acts Duke PD was involved with.

On this timeline just out, it's quite a mess. Many have pointed out inaccurate dates and names lefy out while others are include frequently.

It certainly reminds me that the coverup is what gets those that are not so innocent into trouble. Hope it at least helps to convict those that are absolutely guilty of crimes.

I also see it adding to the abundance of evidence that, when viewed combined, produces a pattern showing crimes being committed by a few and overlooked by many.

Anonymous said...

To IS: What about the rest of the conservatives in Congress? What's their excuse? I understand Obama had some ulterior political motive, and since then he's been quiet, and it's obvious why the rest of the liberals won't address the Durham issue, but isn't it strange that we haven't heard much from the right? It's bothersome because we hear constantly that they're not like the liberals, but aren't they?

Anonymous said...

One thought about the liberal / conservative comments:

It is my observation that liberals will fight against any efforts on the part of conservatives to "clean up their house", no matter how obviously dirty it gets.

And the same is true of conservatives who do not appreciate liberals' attempts to clean up the conservatives house.

My question is, why can't each side clean up its OWN house?

If we can assume ( and granted, we cannot always assume this, much as we would like to ) that there are people of character and integrity on BOTh sides of the political aisles, why don't each of them take care of their own messes? I would certainly raise the respect level for each.

If your best-known conservatives waded into the Durham cesspool right now, all it would do would draw battlelines along party lines. Why don't some GOOD, HONEST, Democrat/ liberals roll up their sleeves and give the place a cleaning up? It would restore respect and get the job done without running the side issues of political party.

Truth knows no party lines, and neither party has a corner on corruption. It is a human condition.

I would love to see that happen. But as a NC conservative Republican ( Duke Alumni) I just have my doubts about whether the Durham Democrats are willing to clean their own house. If they do, I will be among the first to cheer them on and give them credit.

They may have to start by offering some DECENT people to run for public office and by stirring up the voters who can actually make intelligent choices to go to the polls.

They need to take back the ground they have abdicated by using Duke/ Durham as their feeding station but having no responsibiity for civic involvment ( something intellectuals often disdain as beneath their snobby little noses) and leaving the running of the hen house to the wolves.

Let's see how willing the GOOD LIBERAL DEMOCRATS of Durham county are to clean their own house... before somebody else cleans it for them and they all complain.

They can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

At the May 29 meeting, was the police attorney representing the Durham Police Department or the Duke University campus police?

Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't today the Cicty Counsel's meeting in Durham?

Isn't tomorrow the DEADLINE?

help.... news please!