Local News

Investigators in Lacrosse Case Leave Durham Police Force

Posted March 5, 2008

— Two Durham police investigators who worked on the criminal case against three Duke University lacrosse players have left the police department.

Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, who was the supervising officer in the case, retired March 1, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said. He had been with the department since January 1992.

Benjamin Himan, the lead investigator on the case, resigned Feb. 19, Michael said.

Both men are named among a list of defendants in a civil rights suit filed by the three players who were indicted in Spring 2006 after an exotic dancer claimed the players raped and sexually assaulted her in one of their bathrooms during a party.

Other players not indicted in the case have also filed suits naming Gottlieb and Himan as defendants.

Gottlieb has been criticized for writing a memo four months after interviewing the accuser when the allegations surfaced.  He also supervised a photographic identification procedure that came under fire because it violated statewide standards for conducting lineups.

During the ethics hearing that ultimately resulted in former District Attorney Mike Nifong's disbarment, Himan testified that Nifong moved forward with the case despite inconsistencies in the accuser's story and other evidence.

Himan also said during that hearing he agreed with the North Carolina attorney general's decision to dismiss the charges, saying he did not believe a sexual assault occurred at the house.


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  • neutral observer Mar 7, 2008

    This all falls on the Chief at the time of the incident. A major case such as this should have been monitored by the Chief of Police. When the realization that no probable cause was found the Chief should have publicly disagreed with the DA. The Chief at the time was monitoring the politcal winds, not the case. I feel for those detectives that we under him. The new Chief of Durham is a great guy that can get it right.

  • lizard Mar 5, 2008

    Don't blame him for leaving. They were pressured by their higher ups to try to make the case in support of that "entertainer."

    Ya'll don't think that the political correctness that is creeping into law enforcement is gonna stop because they leave. The ones that made them are still there, and have been promoted.

    Good luck on the civil suit, I say. Durham City deserves what it gets for not taking the initial reporting officers' advice.

  • tarheelalum Mar 5, 2008

    Good Riddance!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • lovinlife2010 Mar 5, 2008


    He was more or less FORCED out by the University!

  • postracker Mar 5, 2008

    I guess it is better to retire before being convicted of anything. Technically will have a good 'record' with the DPD.

  • trunkmonkee1971 Mar 5, 2008

    See ya!

  • wakemom Mar 5, 2008

    can somebody explain to me why the lacrosse team coach left like he did?

  • tryton77 Mar 5, 2008

    Investigator Retires = Ran out of Durham on rails :) Durham is a better place already!

  • jsanders Mar 5, 2008

    A Duke student here rips the Durham PD for their role in the fiasco: http://www.carolinajournal.com/jhdailyjournal/display_jhdailyjournal.html?id=4588

  • ThatGuyAgain Mar 5, 2008

    This is the guy who wrote a "retrospective" report of the events of the evening months after it happened, with descriptions of the three indicted players that curiously matched them exactly. Mangum's original descriptions from the original report were wildly at odds with Gottlieb's fiction.

    I've been wondering if any of the other conspirators (apart from Nifong) were ever going to be called out.