Local News

Ex-Justice Likely to Review Outside Probe of Duke Lacrosse Case

Posted May 31, 2007
Updated June 1, 2007

— A former North Carolina Supreme Court justice will likely head an independent review of how the Durham police department handled it investigation of rape and sexual assault case against three former Duke lacrosse players.

In a letter to the Durham City Council, Mayor Bill Bell said Willis Whichard should lead the committee of nine to 12 law enforcement officials, criminal defense attorneys and community members. The panel would review documents, conduct interviews and perform other tasks associated with the review.

Bell said the committee should be as equally balanced by race and gender as possible and that none of the members should have any connection with anyone involved in the case, including former or current members of the Duke lacrosse team;  Crystal Mangum, the accuser in the case; Duke University, or North Carolina Central University, where Mangum was enrolled at the time she claimed she was assaulted.

The investigation should take 30 to 60 days, Bell said. If improprieties are found, the committee would be charged with helping the police department avoid similar mistakes in the future, the mayor added.

The City Council, which voted 6-1 last Thursday in favor of a review, must sign off on Whichard and on Bell's proposal. Members will work out the details in a meeting scheduled for Friday.

Bell called for the probe following a May 11 police department report that found no wrongdoing by investigators in the case. He said the report lacked focus and left questions unanswered about the yearlong criminal investigation of rape and sexual assault charges filed against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

Whichard, who was justice from 1986 to 1998, is a familiar name in political and legal circles in the Triangle. From Durham, he is also a former state lawmaker, having served in both chambers of the General Assembly in the 1970s.

Police Chief Steve Chalmers, who said last week he had always wanted a third-party review, said he supports the review, but also defends his department's handling of the case.


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  • superman Jun 1, 2007

    It will never end because the Durham leaders are only one step above the thugs and the drug dealers.

  • choppa Jun 1, 2007

    Well, if you could stop wishing for other people's money and actually take Duke out of the city of Durham PLEASE take this story with you.
    One thing for the sadly mis-informed. Yes Durham is a greatly diverse city. Not just black and white. Durham has a large Latino population and other ethic groups also. Also the true citizens of Durham get along wonderfully. We are one group of people. All through school I've had friends of all backgrounds. Most of my neighborhoods are made up of many different people. I work with people of Durham of all walks of life. If you wanted to see the true Durham and not the Durham of divisive outsiders you should come to one of the many Durham events like "Taste of Durham" or one of the free outdoor concerts at Brightleaf Square. At such outings one can see Durhamites of all variations together as the one group of people that we are. Those of you who can only see white against black and vise versa can't see Durham. A good fact will defeat a bad lie any day

  • FE Jun 1, 2007

    2xwinner: Heck, I'd support a TOLL road to get to/from the Duke campus to reach its facilities.

    Plan B might be to talk with Donald Trump (he did attend a ball game there recently) and just get him to buy the entire place and move the university far, far away from Durham. Then the remaining Durham locals could just fight over what little would be left.


  • plzluvme2 Jun 1, 2007

    This committee is a waste of time. Durham is roughly 50% white and 50% black which means in a true integrated society for every 100 people you saw, 50 of them would be white and 50 of them would be black. But Durham does not have an area where you can even come close to that mix. Typically when you go any where in Durham - you'll see close to 100% of either race. This means as long as a story has class and race in it, it will always get corrupted by people of one of the races that have their own agendas

  • JAFOinWF Jun 1, 2007

    I've got a suggestion on how to make sure this never occurs again. That suggestion would be for the commie liberals at Duke and Durham government organizations drop the reverse racism and class warfare. If it wasn't for racism against these white kids, none of this would have happened.

  • 2late Jun 1, 2007

    Is this a sequal to the movie "Groundhog Day"?.....it's like deja vu...again

  • Lukey Jun 1, 2007

    Will there never be an end to this lacrosse thing. I have heard it and heard it until I wish one day to not hear a word of this "un-news-worthy" state of Duke lacrosse.

  • Living La Vida Jun 1, 2007

    WW, yeeeeeeeeeaaaaa yeeeeaaa

  • 2xwinner Jun 1, 2007

    If there weren't a great university there named Duke, with some excellent sports programs to watch, I would never go there. How about you pave a new road around the city that will get us there without having to see or experence Durham in any way???

  • choppa Jun 1, 2007

    And if you got such a problem with Durham and everyone who lives in Durham here are some suggestions, don't come to Durham, don't talk about Durham, don't even think about Durham. Forget that the city even exist. That should greatly improve your life. Believe me, it sure will improve ours.