Monday, February 12, 2007

“Wanted” & “Vigilante:” Not the same

“Wanted” and “Vigilante” posters played very important roles in fueling the Duke lacrosse witch hunt and enabling the frame-up of three innocent young men – David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

The two posters helped inflame public opinion, provoked hate groups and unstable individuals, and endangered not only the Duke students who were the posters’ targets, but anyone who might be unintended victims of a violent act(s) directed at one or more of the lacrosse players.

Some people use the terms “Wanted” and “Vigilante” interchangeably. But the terms really refer to very different posters.

“Wanted” is the term for what is in fact a series of at least four posters produced by Durham CrimeStoppers.

All “Wanted” posters are text only; they offer cash rewards for information concerning what the first “Wanted” poster described as “a crime” committed at the March 13/14 party.

“Wanted” posters are identified as having been produced by Durham CrimeStoppers, an organization that Durham police (DPD) maintain is independent of DPD , although the DPD has assigned one of its officers, Cpl. David Addison, to work with CrimeStoppers as the DPD liason.

Addison produced all of the CrimeStoppers posters.

The first “Wanted” poster, produced and distributed in late March, is the subject of a request by a Durham attorney, Alex Charns, acting on behalf of an unindicted lacrosse player.

Charns says the first “Wanted” poster libeled the players because it told the community a crime had been committed at the party. Charns has asked for a public investigation by DPD into the production and distribution of the first “Wanted” poster and a full public apology by the City of Durham to the entire lacrosse team.

To date his requests have been denied.

What follows is the full text of the first “Wanted” poster taken from a faxed poster copy with a header containing Durham Police Department in large letters superimposed against a background that included a police officer's shield, the Durham skyline, and the Durham City logo.

On Monday, March 13,2006 about 11:00pm, the Duke University Lacrosse Team solicited a local escort service for entertainment. The victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 Buchanan. 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. Durham Police needs your assistance in solving this case. We are asking anyone who has any information related to this case, please contact lnv. Himan at 560-4582 x229.

Information can also be provided anonymously through Durham CrimeStoppers at 683-1200 or by email to (Please use an anonymous email account). Durham CrimeStoppers will pay cash for any information which leads to an arrest in this case.
The three subsequent posts were modified by Addison at the direction of his DPD supervisor, Major Lee Russ. The modifications eliminated reference to the accuser as "victim" and the language concerning a "horrific crime."

“Vigilante” is the term used for a poster that contains text and face photos of 43 white Duke lacrosse players.

The poster contains only 43 of the 47 players whose photos were at the lacrosse website because Duke learned the photos were being “pulled” from the lacrosse website. It feared whoever was doing that would use the photos for targeting the players. It removed their photos before the person(s) got all 47 players’ photos or 46 if the intent, as is likely, was to just get photos of the white players.

The “Vigilante” poster is not a solicitation for information for which money would be paid; and it was published anonymously, as “Vigilante” posters traditionally are.

In an interview last May, Maj. Russ said DPD would like to find out who produced and circulated the “Vigilante” poster.

The “Vigilante” poster is headlined: PLEASE COME FORWARD.

That’s followed in smaller type by:
”We’re not saying that all 46 were involved. But we do know that some of the players inside that house on that evening knew(sic) what transpired and we need them to come forward”

Durham Police Cpl.
David Addison

3/26/2005 (sic)
Next to all that is this:

Please call Durham CrimeStoppers at 683 -1200. Callers may remain anonymous.

The bulk of the poster is taken up with the face-photos of the 43 white lacrosse players wearing team jerseys.

At the bottom of the poster there’s this in very small type:

Note: There are four more players that were not retrieved from the website before Duke took down the lacrosse team's roster on Monday morning, March 27th.

Folks, I’m sure you noticed that the persons who published and distributed the “Vigilante” poster didn’t say why there were only 43 players’ photos on the poster.

That's vigilantes for you.



Anonymous said...

Since Addison is a member of the DPD and

1. is identified as having produced all 4 of the Wanted Posters distributed by CrimeStoppers;
2. used the City of Durham logo and a replica of a police officer's shield on the Wanted Posters; and
3. used his Durham police email address ( as a point of contact through Crime Stoppers on the Wanted Posters

by what logic can the DPD claim that CrimeStoppers is independent of the DPD?

I guess next we'll have Nifong claiming that he was merely acting as a private citizen in recommending charges be brought against the LAX 3, so he should not be held accountable for having abused his office as DA.

Anonymous said...

I'd hate to be a small town resident in North Carolina in the near future, because their liability insurance is about to skyrocket.

That's precisely what happened in Washington State after the City of Wenatchee got done paying out all the civil liability they incurred in their bogus sex-crime rime scandal.

Anonymous said...

Which poster did the N&O publish and who originated it?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time for an attorney to step forward and sue Addison and the Durham Police Department over the clear libel in the posters? The suits need to begin.

Greg Toombs said...

RE: 9:51

It would be interesting to know if Durham's insurers have made any changes to the coverage provided for in the most recent, or upcoming, renewal.

Or if they even offered a renewal at all.

Of course they'd be on the hook for acts committed during the policy period in effect at the time of the act.

Anyone know the renewal date of the City's liability policy?