Local News

NAACP Reinforces Call for Law to Resolve Duke Lacrosse Case

Posted December 23, 2006

— The state NAACP’s insistence that the Duke lacrosse case be processed in the court of law rather than the court of public opinion is unaffected by a decision to drop rape charges against the players, the group’s president said Saturday.

We’ve always been the one, and from Day 1 it’s in writing, that we never wanted to rush to judgment, or a delay of justice ... but a thorough and meticulous investigation,” the Rev. William J. Barber II said.

“In some sense, we’re seeing the process work when things get sifted through,” Barber said.

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong on Friday filed papers dropping first-degree rape charges against the three players indicted in the case. He let sexual assault and kidnapping charges stand.

Reade Seligmann, 20, Collin Finnerty, 20, and David Evans, 23, were indicted last spring after a North Carolina Central University student told police she was beaten and raped by three lacrosse players while performing as a stripper at a March 13 team party.

The woman whose complaint began the case told investigators she could not confidently testify to circumstances that would be necessary to prove a rape charge.

Barber, who leads the North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People State Conference, would not comment on Nifong's handling of the case.

In April, he had called on people to use the legal system to take care of matters.

“Don’t let it be decided by hearsay. Don’t let it be decided by community speculation. Take it to the courts,” Barber said.

Whatever happens in the courts, Barber said Saturday that the community still has to confront “classism,” racism and sexual violence.

“Those are issues, we’re going to have to address, regardless of where this particular case goes,” Barber said Saturday. “We gotta face that truth, whatever it is.”

"At the end of the day, it's the truth that will set us free in this community," he added.
16 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • Theseus Dec 26, 8:11 a.m.

    This case was NEVER about rape but rather race. Durham, Nifong, the NCNAACP and Duke are so open-minded their brains fell out long ago and with it their judgement. This started out as an attempt to use the case for political and race baiting motives and now it has blown up in their faces. Those boys should eventually own the city of Durham for what was done to them.

  • mcaden Dec 25, 9:58 a.m.

    As I was saying, campus rapes are an epidemic and most are swept under the rug. Many involve athletes who are more valuable to the schools than the vicims. I wonder how many there have been at Duke that we never heard about. And how many at NCCU? I wonder how many innocent victims will be silent after this horrible mess out of fear of being believed?

  • Low Voltage Dec 24, 4:24 p.m.

    MAYBE Mr Barber is right. Let this thing go to trial (at the waste of taxpayer's money) and we'll all see just how stupid this fiasco really is. Let's hope no other innocent people out there aren't Nifonged. (Knife-Fonged, that is)

  • A1 Go Canes Dec 24, 10:44 a.m.

    The NC-NAACP and the NAACP are the racists of our generation. When the accuser first made up this story I saw the Rev. Barber standing out front of those boys rental house condemning their actions. Now he says he never accused them??? What a bunch of crap. Every opportunity the NAACP has the divide this country along race lines they exploit. Listen to this: ITS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT WHO IS WHAT COLOR - most people don't care!!!

  • jonthepain Dec 24, 10:24 a.m.

    Mr. Brodhead should send an invoice to Mr. Nifong for the very real and heavy expenses Duke University has incurred in attempting to restablish it's reputation.

    Mr. Nifong's rash attempt to try this case in the media during the first weeks successfully reelected him at the expense of the lives and careers of not just three young men, but a coach and countless others indirectly harmed by their connection to Duke University.

  • jthiespowell Dec 24, 9:57 a.m.

    jlg.....the color thing, is unfortunately not over yet. Do you not read the newspaper? Crosses burning?

  • mcaden Dec 24, 8:30 a.m.

    There are so many true rape victims whose cases never were prosecuted because of insufficient evidence against the accused. DA's don't want to waste the system's time & money and they don't want to try cases they can't win. It hurts their track record. If this had been some "dancer" at some "regular joe's" bachelor party, and all were of the same race, no one would have ever heard about it. I wonder how many cases never made it to court in the past where Nifong had to make that decision.
    These poor boys had no business having a party like that and I hope everyone watching learned along with them the consequences bad behavior can have.
    But these 3 suffered far more than warrented. And they'll never get back what they've lost. But Duke University should pay for every dime of every expense they have until they graduate to get them back on track with their lives. And Duke and the DA's office should pay for all their legal fees.
    Rape is epidemic in colleges across the country.

  • cuffslover Dec 24, 6:58 a.m.

    said from day one i felt she was lieing hmmm imagine she was she has a long history of it but you know was a election year he needed the votes can a prosecuteing attorney be impeached?? be good to check it out...let these young men be end of story

  • falls425 Dec 24, 3:01 a.m.

    Protecting the innocent and providing sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed two main jobs of a prosecutor and the two jobs Mr Nifong has failed to accomplish. why shouldn't they throw the book at him?

  • Longshanks Dec 23, 11:55 p.m.

    Stop giving this case so much attention, and maybe it will go away. And I agree, the victim needs to pay if she's lying. Some prison time would probably help her.....

More...