Readers Note: For general background on the Addison Series posts see “The Cpl. Addison Series.”
Cpl. David Addison is a veteran Durham police officer whose regular assignment is Coordinator for Durham CrimeStoppers, described by DPD as an independent nonprofit organization. He also sometimes fills in as DPD's public spokesperson.
To understand this current post, readers should be familiar with the contents of “Addison Series #1 - "This horrific crime,” and "Addison Series #2 - "CrimeStoppers will pay cash."
"Addison Series #2" – “CrimeStoppers will pay cash” reported on Addison’s distribution on March 28 to media, DPD substations and others of the text of a Durham CrimeStoppers “Wanted” poster which, among other things, told the community:
The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party at the residence. The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.For the next thirteen days, the CS “Wanted” poster circulated on Duke’s campus and in the Durham community.
During that time, the “Wanted” poster inflamed unstable individuals and hate groups who targeted the players with threats, including threats of castration. DPD warned of unconfirmed reports of plans for a drive by shooting in the neighborhood where some lacrosse players lived.
Yet during all that time no member of Duke University’s “leadership team,” including any trustee, Duke's President, Richard H. Brodhead, or a single Arts & Sciences senior faculty member publicly questioned the truthfulness or appropriateness of the “Wanted” poster.
A review of The Raleigh News & Observer and The Durham Herald Sun’s achieves for the period March 28 to April 10 revealed no instance of either newspaper’s editorialists or a single news columnist with either paper questioning the truthfulness or appropriateness of the CS “Wanted” poster telling the community:
The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.Then on April 10 someone finally spoke up and asked that the CS “Wanted” poster be changed.
It wasn’t Duke’s Dick Brodhead who requested the change, although friends tell me he now says, “I’m one of the biggest critics of how the players were treated.”
Then was it a Duke trustee? What about a senior Duke Arts & Sciences faculty member? Or any journalist at the N&O or H-S?
No to all those questions.
On April 10 it was DPD Major Lee Russ, Addison’s supervisor, who spoke up and told Addison to change the “Wanted” poster.
You can read about what Russ directed Addison to do here in this N&O story.
But note two things about the story: The N&O is wrong when it says the “Wanted” poster was first distributed on April 3. The first distribution, as documents I’ve reviewed reveal and as Russ confirmed to me in an interview, was March 28.
The N&O story is also wrong as regards the number of emails Russ sent Addison requesting corrections. Russ sent him three, not two emails.
The N&O’s story is reliable as regards this :
Tuesday at 11:16 a.m., Addison e-mailed the same release [the March 28 CS poster ], but modified the first sentence to read: "The victim alleges that she was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed."And, of course, as Addison Series readers know, he’s never returned my calls either.
The second sentence calling the incident a "horrific crime" was deleted.
Eighteen minutes later, an amended CrimeStoppers release was sent. The only change was that "the victim" was now referred to as "the complainant."
Addison did not return calls inquiring about the change.
Russ says Addison will have no comments to make on the Duke lacrosse case or the “Wanted” poster.
April 10, the date on which Russ directed Addison to change the “Wanted” poster may spark a memory with you.
Wasn’t April 1o the day the defense attorneys learned the first round of DNA testing of samples from the all 46 lacrosse players had all come back negative?
Wasn’t April 10 the day the defense attorneys scheduled a press conference and released that news to the community?
You’re right on both counts.
Now to another date: June 13, 2006. Durham attorney Alex Charns, acting on behalf of an unindicted Duke lacrosse player makes a second request to Durham’s city manager and DPD’s Chief Stephen Chalmers.
Dear City Manager Baker and Chief Chalmers:Note, readers, that Charns references having received a letter from Russ on May 26. Russ’ letter was in response to Charns’ initial request for an investigation and apology.
This is a follow-up Public Records Act (N.C.G.S Sec. 132-1 et seq.) request
as well as my second request for an Internal Affairs or city manager investigation of the libelous posters that you admitted in the letter to me signed by Major Lee Russ, dated May 26, 2006, "was copied by a member of our agency using a Durham Police Department header". […]
In response to my initial request for certified copies of all city of Durham
and Durham Police Department press releases or posters concerning the Duke lacrosse alleged rape investigation, some records were released to me.
I do not believe all records concerning these posters were given to me because I received a certified copy of the poster that I provided to the city as proof instead of copies of the poster from police department files or computers. (bold mine)
If records have been destroyed or deleted, I request records concerning the destruction of the records including but not limited to authorizations for their destruction and the date of their destruction.
Also, bear in mind that Russ explained in Addison Series #2 that DPD had no responsibility for Addison’s production of the CS “Wanted” poster (Baker’s office has confirmed to me that Russ position is also the position of the Durham City government. In effect both agencies are saying they have no responsibility for Addison’s creation and distribution of the “Wanted” poster.
And recall that I can’t locate anyone at any place who’ll answer for CrimeStoppers.
With all of that in mind read the following email Addison sent on June 2 to media, police substations, news organizations and others on the CS distribution list. Addison told recipients his email’s importance was “High.”
His subject head was: Durham CrimeStoppers Posters ????
On Tuesday, March 28, 2006, Durham CrimeStoppers sent an email asking for information regarding the events which occurred at 610 North Buchanan Street. (sic) On Monday, April 10, 2006, at the request of Durham Police Department, changes were made to the original email dated Tuesday, March 28, 2006 and sent to the media and all other recipients of Durham CrimeStoppers emails. This revised email was sent three times to the media and recipients of Durham CrimeStoppers emails. This revised email was sent three times to the media and recipients.
Durham CrimeStoppers never generated/produced any posters for this case. Customarily, posters are created for every case however Durham CrimeStoppers never created any posters for this case. Several posters have surfaced and again none were made by Durham CrimeStoppers.
I hope this informations clarifies any misunderstanding. Durham CrimeStoppers is committed to being a medium between the law enforcement communities and the citizens they serve and protect. We will continue to seek informations to assist in solving crimes in our community. Thank you for all of your support.
Together, we are making Durham a safer community.
Wade Smith, an attorney for members of the Duke lacrosse team, has announced that no DNA samples taken from 46 of the athletes matched any DNA on the alleged victim and that he hopes Durham's district attorney will consider dropping the case.
Russ first interview
Charns’ 6/13 email