Sunday, February 25, 2007

Addison Series #3 – “Not my poster”

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 as an independent nonprofit organization.

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 production and distribution on March 28 to media, DPD substations and others the text of a Durham CrimeStoppers “Wanted” poster which told the community, among other things:

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, until April 10, the CS “Wanted” poster circulated on Duke’s campus and in the Durham community.

During that time no member of Duke University’s “leadership team,” including a single one of its trustees, its President, Richard H. Brodhead, or any senior Arts & Sciences faculty member questioned the truthfulness or appropriateness of the CS “Wanted” poster, even as it inflamed unstable individuals and hate groups targeting the players.

Reviews of the achives of The Raleigh News & Observer and The Durham Herald Sun for the period March 28 to April 10 reveal 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 said the CS “Wanted” poster should be changed.

But it wasn’t Duke’s Dick Brodhead who requested the change, although friends say he now assures people: “I’m one of the biggest critics of how the players were treated.”

Was it a Duke trustee? A senior Duke A & S faculty member? An MSM journalist at the N&O or H-S?

No!

On April 10 DPD Major Lee Russ, Addison’s supervisor, told him to change the “Wanted” poster.

You can read about what Russ directed Addison to do here in this N&O story.

But please note: The N&O story is wrong when it says the “Wanted” poster was first distributed on April 3. The first distribution occurred on March 28, as documents I’ve reviewed reveal, and as Russ confirmed in an interview. The N&O story is also wrong as regards the number of emails Russ sent Addison requesting corrections. Russ sent him three, not two.

The N&O’s story is reliable as regards this :
Tuesday [April 11] at 11:16 a.m., Addison e-mailed the same release, but modified the first sentence to read: "The victim alleges that she was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed."

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.
And, of course, as readers of the Addison Series know, Addison’s never returned my calls either.

Maj. Russ recently told me 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 10 the day the defense attorneys learned the first round of DNA sample testing done at the “state lab” in Raleigh 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 two other dates: May 18 and June 13, 2006.

On each of those dates Durham attorney Alex Charns, acting on behalf of an unindicted Duke lacrosse player, made email requests of Durham’s city manager and DPD’s Chief Stephen Chalmers. [Excerpt from Charns’ June 13 email]:
Dear City Manager Baker and Chief Chalmers:

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)

[I also have a copy of the poster Charns describes. The full text is in this post, as is a description of the poster's DPD header. Despite a lot of help from tech savvy friends, I’m unable to reproduce the header because the document came in pdf form. ]

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.
Russ’ May 26 letter was in response to Charns’ initial request for an an offical DPD investigation into the production and distribution of the "Wanted" poster and a fulll public apology by DPD and Durham City to the lacrosse player for the poster which Charns says libeled them.

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. Both agencies say they have no responsibility for Addison’s “Wanted” poster.

And recall that I can’t locate anyone at any place who’ll answer for Durham CrimeStoppers.

With all 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. [I obtained a hard copy of the email and have it at hand.]

Addison alerted recipients his email’s importance was “High.”

His subject head: 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 information 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 information to assist in solving crimes in our community. Thank you for all of your support.

Together, we are making Durham a safer community.
It’s an interesting email, isn’t it?

To sum up:

Addison, acting as Coordinator for Durham CS, produced and distributed on March 28, 2006, the text of a CS “Wanted” poster. That text then appeared in poster form under a DPD header.

The “Wanted” poster circulated for 13 days before Russ directed that it be substantially changed the day the public would learn the DNA testing at the state lab had come back negative.

I can locate no one with Durham CrimeStoppers nor can Maj. Russ help me locate anyone with the organization.

DPD and Durham City both say they have no responsibility for the “Wanted” poster.

And DPD Cpl. David Addison wants the community to know:
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.
Tomorrow’s Addison Series post is titled: “Sue who?”

That will be followed by the final series post: “It’s called ‘squeezing'”
__________________________________________

Note to helpful reader who suggested I check to see if as a non-profit engaged in fund-raising, Durham CS had filed anything with the state.

I did. I checked with the office on the NC Secretary of State, Elaine F. Marshall. Two very helpful public information officers checked records and legislation.

Several factors determine whether a non-profit must file a report with the state. Most CS organizations in the state don’t file and it’s not certain they have to. No records of filing by Durham CS could be found.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It will take civil lawsuits to get to the bottom of the poster scandal. Cooper and Coman continue to drag out the ridiculous case against the three players, but the other lacrosse players could file a class-action libel suit on the two distinct posters, including the so-called vigilante poster. Why wait to file this lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

Follow the money back to its source. You know how.

Joe T. said...

All my admiration to you, John, for your dogged research. (I agree, anon. 8:20. It will take the lawsuits to get to the bottom of the poster scandal).

Anonymous said...

Please explain the follow the money comment.

Anonymous said...

Let's get the President Pro Tem of the NC Senate informed of this travesty and request him to exert influence to get to the bottom of the garbage pail that is Durham. Write (not email) to Senator Marc Basnight, President Pro Tempore, State Legislative Bldg., Raleigh, NC 27601. He is an honorable man and if enough NC voters write to him, he'll realize this isn't going away.

Anonymous said...

I guess we can infer from Addison's remark that no poster was distributed by CS regarding the Nifong Scandal case, while he admitted at the same time that is is customary for CS to distribute a poster in all cases that DPD and CS didn't think the Nifong Scandal case amounted to much.

So which is it, Durham, DPD, and CS?

A horrific crime [that] sent shock waves throughout our community as claimed by the poster that Addison / CS, we are now told, didn't distribute OR

A nothing crime that Durham, DPD, and CS should be held responsible for igniting a firestorm in the community considering its insignificant nature? Any my, with all the crime that goes on in Durham, the potbangers must really get a work-out if they were so exercised in a nothing case.

Which is it going to be, Addison? Either way you did a poor job and should be fired for incompetence.

Anonymous said...

John,

To grab the header from the .pdf, try either 'print screen' (from the keyboard) or use the Acrobat snapshot tool to copy a section of the document. Then paste into a graphics program. Crop to suit, but leave some of the rest of the document to establish context.

Print Screen is damn useful. It copies all of the active window to the clipboard as a graphic.

Enjoy!