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NAACP Calls For Quick Investigation Into Duke Lacrosse Allegations

Posted April 6, 2006
Updated January 7, 2007

— Members of the NAACP held a news conference Thursday asking for a quick and complete investigation into allegations that three white Duke lacrosse athletes raped and beat a black exotic dancer last month.

The call comes just one day after Durham authorities released a previously sealed search warrant that contains an e-mail that police believe is from lacrosse player Ryan McFadyen.

In the e-mail, timestamped shortly before 2 a.m. on March 14, the author writes of a plan to "have some strippers over." Plans, the author writes, "would involve no nudity" and include "killing the b------" and cutting off their skin.

Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said the e-mail served as a wake-up call regarding responsibility and respect. In regard to the rape allegations, NAACP officials are pleading with the public to let the police do their job.

"How we handle this will determine what kind of community we are," said the North Carolina NAACP chapter President Rev. William Barber. "As this process unfolds, it should be done in a transparent manner so the whole community will feel confident that justice is being served without regard to racial, economic or social status."

Chancellor James Ammons of North Carolina Central University, where the alleged victim studies, called the e-mail "very disturbing" and cautioned students not "to seek retribution or take matters into their own hands."

"I am encouraging our students to continue to show support for the alleged victim and to continue to plan events that better educate individuals about sexual violence and racism," Ammons said in a statement released Wednesday.

Barber and other state and local NAACP, who met with Duke University President Richard Brodhead on Thursday, said they hope to meet next week with Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong and defense attorneys representing some lacrosse athletes.

Brodhead officially canceled the lacrosse season and all lacrosse activities Wednesday. He also accepted the resignation of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler, and announced that he will form five campus committees that among other things will scrutinize the culture of the lacrosse team and the campus climate on sexism and racism.

He also said McFadyen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Menham, N.J., was the only athlete suspended so far, and that he had been removed from campus. He also said he has heard that other lacrosse team members have changed their places of residence for safety reasons.

McFadyen's name, however, does not match the three names the woman gave to police as those of her attackers.

Authorities have taken DNA samples from the team's 46 white players. The sole black player has been ruled out. Nifong has said that he is "pretty confident that a rape occurred," but that he does not expect to file charges until at least next week.

The team's co-captains have acknowledged hiring the stripper and serving alcohol but have denied that anyone was sexually assaulted at the party.

Tracy Egharevba, a Duke senior who spoke during Thursday's news conference said she believes racial issues have been a fact of life on the campus before the allegations surfaced

She said a way has to be found to blend races and cultures and include tolerance as a part of the campus code of conduct.

Although she said she enjoyed her four years at Duke, she thinks people at the university feel they're above everything and that their actions have no consequences.

Brodhead suggested to WRAL Wednesday that the allegations have left Duke with a reputation of arrogant inconsiderateness, but said the majority of Duke students are well-behaved and good-hearted.

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