Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Will “A Look Inside DUPD” Include Mar. 29, 2006?

Today’s Chronicle carries the first story in a three-part series: “A Look Inside DUPD.”

The story, “DUPD plagued by attrition,” begins:

Imagine the uproar if Duke lost nearly one-third of its faculty in two years.

That level of attrition is plaguing the Duke University Police Department, and some officers say campus safety is suffering the consequences.

This semester, although issues of crime and safety have never been more prominent, some DUPD officers say no one seems to care about the turmoil in the department.

"Something bad is going to happen," predicted one officer. "We are surrounded by it, and if something doesn't change we are talking about people getting hurt or killed."

Some of DUPD's most experienced officers have left because of alleged dissatisfaction with current departmental policy and with the leadership of top brass including Aaron Graves, associate vice president for campus safety and security, and Maj. Gloria Graham, DUPD's operations commander.

Graves arrived in 2006 and since then at least 19 officers have left DUPD, more than double the previous rate of attrition. According to its Web site, DUPD has 67 commissioned officers.

"We just don't have enough officers and our reserves are depleted," said one veteran DUPD officer who wished to remain anonymous.

All officers interviewed for this article asked to remain anonymous out of fear of professional consequences. …
The story under Rob Copeland’s byline with Chelsea Allison listed as a contributor provides extensive, well-organized information drawn from a number of sources. In addition to DUPD officers, Graves and Graham, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask was interviewed. Graves reports directly to Trask.

The story concludes:
Graves denied that officer morale has declined during his tenure and said retention involves difficult and complex questions.

"I'm prepared to address these issues but [The Chronicle] is not the forum for that," he said in a brief telephone conversation.
I encourage all of you to read today’s story here.

I have my fingers crossed The Chronicle’s series will include a detailed look at a very important meeting Graves attended on March 29, 2006 and some events surrounding it.

What transpired at that meeting and events surrounding have very likely contributed to DUPD’s low morale and its difficulty filling positions reported by Copeland and Allison.

As reported in a May 30, 2007 Durham Herald Sun story under Ray Gronberg byline:
… The media crush also focused high-level administrative attention on the case. The two detectives, [Gottlieb and Himan,] met on March 29;, 2006] 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.

[Durham City Manager Patrick] 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.
I posted on Gronberg’s story the same day it appeared, saying in part:
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 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.
Further along in that same post I noted Gronberg’s story included this:
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.
My reaction to Burness' explanation was:
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 [,Apr. 4,] 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 today’s H-S story? It helps build the case for a thorough investigation by the federal government.
In July 2007 I posted again concerning the Mar. 29 meeting and events surrounding it. Here's part of that post:
Something else: why would Graves and Dean participate in a meeting at which DPD had an attorney; at which the person who called the meeting, Baker, is an attorney; and at which Duke is not represented by an attorney?

Did Graves and Dean have a green light from their Duke supervisors to attend a meeting with Baker and a “police attorney” without Duke being represented by an attorney?

I don’t know what the actual purpose(s) of the March 29 meeting was/were.

But it was surely something very, very important involving law, rights and proper legal conduct. That’s why all those “heavy hitters” were there cum “police attorney.” ...

Now I just want to provide two parts of an outstanding Liestoppers post ...

First, part of a Liestoppers’ timeline based on depositions and Bar trial testimony [that was part of the trial which resulted in then DA Mike Nifong's disbarment]:


March 27, 2006: [Nifong assistant] Sheila Eason requests [via email] information from Duke Police

Hi, Lt. Best.

As we discussed on the phone, Mr. Nifong, our DA wants any and all details documented in writing concerning the incident involving the alleged gang rape by the Duke Lacrosse Team members of Crystal Mangum….All details, even though they may seem insignificant, may add together to help us with this case. Thank you for your assistance with this matter.

March 27, 2006:
Nifong, Himan, Gottlieb possibly discuss obtaining emails and additional "stuff" from Duke. . . .

March 31, 2006: Duke PD delivers key card data to Sgt. Gottlieb. Gottlieb notes that key card information was "requested by us."

Inv. Smith and [Sgt.] Stotsenberg from Duke Police drove up to the District 2 substation as I was leaving. They had three reports they delivered reports to me requested by us. Two were for staff at Duke who are being harassed due to this case (Duke reports #2006-1548 and 2006-1515), and one is a key card report for the team members on 3/13/06 to 3/14/06.

Now this from the same Liestoppers post:

It appears that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) protected key card records of Duke University students which District Attorney Mike Nifong sought by subpoena 0n May 31, 2006 were actually provided to the Durham Police Department, and in turn to the ex-DA, on March 31, 2006. . . .

A review of the case notes and State Bar deposition of Sgt. Mark Gottlieb reveals that the private key card records were obtained from Duke University without a court order and in violation of FERPA.(emphasis added)

Gottlieb's deposition also reveals that the information provided illegally by Duke University contributed to the indictment of Collin Finnerty while leading directly to the indictment of Reade Seligmann.

The key card date, illegally obtained and purposefully misconstrued by Sgt. Gottlieb,offered the only "corroboration" presented to the Grand Jury of Seligmann's presence at the scene of the imagined crimes. ...
Folks, given the fact presented here, it's not hard to understand why DUPD officers - at least those who care about fairness and take pride in enforcing laws justly - might leave DUPD or have low morale, if they've stayed and seen nothing done by the Brodhead administration and the BOT except "duck and cover."

It's also not hard to understand why officers would speak only anonymously. Or why they might be most reluctant to speak about matters discussed here, even as they complain about hiring and other policy practices.

The matters discussed here are of the most serious kind.

That said, I hope The Chronicle's "A Look Inside DUPD" includes a detailed look at Mar. 29, 2006.


Anonymous said...

There is so much corruption at Duke and Durham it is virtually impossible to root it out without federal intervention. I say this as someone who has great mistrust of the federal government, but since North Carolina refuses to do what is necessary to correct these wrongs, the feds must come in. Even assuming the two civil actions are adjudicated in favor of the plaintiffs (and it will take years), the guilty parties will pay out sums of money from deep pockets while the actual criminals will remain free to pursue their miserable lives. North Carolinians can't even prevail on our elected representatives to change the laws that permitted two corrupt police officers to perjure themselves before the grand jury in order to obtain indictments for a crime that never even happened! Our two RINO U.S. Senators couldn't care less, and it seems our own state legislature is purposely looking the other way. None of the people running for the office of governor will say "boo" on the subject, so where does that leave us?
And finally, the last bastion of America's freedom--the "press" is dodging and weaving instead of doing investigate reporting. In The Old North State it seems the Bill of Rights has been postponed.
Tarheel Hawkeye

kbp said...

Thanks John

Were I an officer there, I'd also wonder why the department would be short on anything that is at all related to budget limitations after Duke paid so much in the RCD settlement.


Anonymous said...


"But it was surely something very, very important involving law, rights and proper legal conduct. That’s why all those “heavy hitters” were there cum “police attorney.” ..."

Lawyers are usually brought to meetings to provide an explanation of the legal consequences of any proposed actions.

The fact that Durham had an attorney present and Duke did not was interesting. I don't believe the Durham attorney was present to advise Duke. He/she would have been their to advise Durham.

The question is why?

The obvious answer is actions were contemplated or performed that might have legal consequences. I think the key card data was likely discussed. If illegally obtained, the evidence would have no value. Perhaps the attorney could have discussed ways to keep the evidence in play. Another issue may have been what information to be given to the press, to the players and to potential defense attorneys. Stories from different individuals would also need to be correlated.

One thing appears clear. The whole operation appears to have been orchestrated from start to finish.

That all the these administrators and public officials put their complete trust and careers in the hands of Nifong and Magnum is mind boggling.


Jim in San Diego said...


Wonderful reporting on your part. This could not be done by MSM.

The result will eventually be improved justice, I believe.

Jim Peterson

JWM said...

To TH,

I'm in agreement with you.

The closest we may get to a Fed investigation may be the suit trials (good possibility the suits will at some point be combined by the court for one trial).

There's a but here.

What's uncovered during discovery and presented at trial may well be so offensive to decent people that the Feds will finally come in and start doing what they should have no later than last June following Nifong's trial.


There's so much for DUPD officers to wonder about.

I continue to appreciate your comments and will use one of them - the one in which you state you don't think Nifong was involved in anything before Mar. 26 - to build a post on.

I think Nifong was involved well before Mar. 26, but I could be wrong.

The post is not intended to refute you as much as it's meant to help us look at what we're saying if we agree with you.

Huge implications to that.

To Ken,

Thank you for a very thoughtful response.

I plan to build a post on it tonight or tomorrow AM at the latest.

To Jim,

Your words mean a lot because you have always been such an informed commenter with your eyes on justice.

You were one of the very first people I remember pointing out when the first suit complaint was filed that, if the suit was successful, the poor and minorities would be major beneficiaries.

If I'm recalling correctly, you referenced the effect successful suits had had on improving the threatment poor and minority citizens received from LAPD.

Thank you all four.