Monday, May 26, 2008

Put a hold on Tim Tyson’s Hunt charges

Many of you know Duke professor Tim Tyson as one of the first to eagerly, loudly and publicly embrace Crystal Mangum’s and Mike Nifong’s lies. Few Duke faculty did more to stir racial animosity and make an already bad situation much worse and more dangerous than it had to be. To read about Tyson’s disgraceful conduct in March and April, 2006 see N&O ignores Duke's Tyson's framing role, More concerning the N&O's Tim Tyson profile and KC Johnson’s post: Tyson Reinvents History.

To this day Tyson refuses to apologize for what he did. Instead he attacks his critics. You’ll find very recent examples of that in this May 23 post and on it’s comment thread at 5/25/08 @ 00:27.

I want to call your attention to some of what Tyson’s now saying because it’s so revealing of the man who seems to never tire of promoting his books and publicly proclaiming his compassion, piety, careful scholarship and passion for justice.

Extract from professor Tyson’s 5/25 thread comment attacking his critics:

Fortunately for me, award committees actually read [my] books before pronouncing judgment. The work (such as it is) of my attackers here will be out of print in a few minutes. . . .

Meanwhile, the year before the lacrosse incident, a black man in Winston-Salem, Darryl Hunt, got out of prison, exonerated after spending 19 years in prison for a rape and murder to which he had no connection whatsoever. The prosecutors knew that the killer was a light-skinned African American, but Hunt is quite dark-skinned. Nor was there any evidence against him.

Demogoguery (sic) (and eleven whites) on the jury convicted Hunt. Nineteen years later, community activism forced a reexamination of his case, and DNA evidence (and some simple questioning of the record) led to the real killer.

Darryl Hunt went into prison as a teenager. He came (sic) a middle-aged man, robbed of much of his life. The city of Winston-Salem paid him many times less than the accused lacrosse players have received so far, and roughly 28 and a half million dollars less than the players are currently suing Durham for.

Did KC Johnson or any of the people indignant about the lacrosse case say one word on behalf of Darryl Hunt?

You guessed it. Their concern for racial justice is confined to "the vanilla suburbs," and always will be.
A number of commenters quickly informed Tyson that blog comments and other Internet material – unless deleted – will last indefinitely.

Commenter J Swift informed him that KC has commented often on the Hunt case, something Tyson could have learned if he’d done what J Swift did: a Google search that would’ve taken less than a minute.

Then KC came on the thread and said among other things:
Since I have discussed the Hunt case--both at the blog, and in public talks that I have given on the lacrosse case--I assume that when Prof. Tyson wrote, "You guessed it," he meant to say, "Yes, Prof. Johnson has discussed the Hunt case."
KC could’ve added that in their widely praised book Until Proven Innocent, he and co-author Stuart Taylor devote an entire chapter to presenting cases in which people of various races and ethnic groups were victims of police and prosecutors' malfeasance.

Tyson’s ill informed question regarding KC and the Hunt case leads to the obvious question: Did Tyson actually read Until Proven Innocent?

Meaning no disrespect to KC who we all know has done critically important work helping unravel the hoax and expose the frame-up attempt, what Tyson said about him and the transience of blog comments were, at worst, petty, foolish, ignorant, perhaps even arrogant.

But some comments of RRH on 5/25/08 @23:30, if substantiated, would reveal Tyson to be grossly misinformed concerning the Hunt case and possibly dissembling and libeling.

Here are RRH’s comments relevant to Tyson’s statements about the Hunt case:
…[As] a member of the bar, I note with special dismay that Prof. Tyson is no longer content with merely attacking innocent college students -- now he libels the American justice system.

Prof. Tyson says the prosecutors in the Hunt case knew that Hunt was innocent and that the jury convicted Hunt on "no evidence". These are both lies.

There has never been a substantiated charge of prosecutorial malfeasance in the Hunt case, and most certainly not one -- until Prof. Tyson's latest outrageous libel -- that prosecutors "knew" Hunt was innocent.

Moreover, the last I heard, eyewitness testimony is some evidence; there were at least five, mostly black, witnesses who fingered Hunt for the crime.

Mr. Zane, I would urge you to learn more about the killing of the former newspaperwoman, Deborah Sykes, by reading the Winston-Salem Journal's award-winning series on the crime, which can be found at

I hope everyone who wants to comment about the case will read every word of that series.(italics in original)
At 3:45 PM ET on 5/26 I checked the thread. So far Tyson has not responded. But he clearly has a duty to explain the evidence for the extremely serious charges he’s leveled.

When I finish this post, I’ll leave a comment on the thread urging the blog host, N&O writer J. Peder Zane, and Tyson to respond. I hope many of you do the same.

I haven’t read all of the W-S Journal’s series, but I’ve read enough to tell you I believe there’s substance for what RRH says about the case.

I plan to send KC a link to this post and urge him to consider posting concerning Tyson’s Hunt case charges.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your interest in my post and in the Hunt case.

I could've mentioned that the only "crime" committed in the trials of Hunt was by Hunt himself: by deliberately putting on perjured testimony which tried to establish an alibi. He had no alibi. Interestingly, it seems to have been the newspaper reporters, not the prosecutors, who figured out that the alibi "witnesses" had to be lying.

Finally, there are many other lies told about America's racial history. Not just by people like Tyson about the Hunt case, but many others about, for example, the Emmitt Till case, the Scottsboro Boys case, and the "Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiment" case.


Anonymous said...

KC Johnson answered the call with a follow-up on Tyson.