Column/’The rape of justice’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 21, 2007

In my opinion, black writer Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute and a national syndicated columnist, is one of the nation’s most astute political observers, a great writer who covers a variety of current events. The above title is “borrowed” from one of Mr. Sowell’s recent columns.

As most of you who watch TV or read the newspapers probably know, the Duke University lacrosse team was involved in a scandal that took place way back on March 13, 2006. This event entailed an off-campus party – in Durham and in a rented house – just off of Duke’s East Campus.

The players started drinking beer that day about noon, and around eleven o’clock that evening, two invited black strippers showed up to perform their dance routine. Shortly after the strippers arrived and started dancing, all hell broke loose. In the end, one of the strippers accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape, and Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong charged the three players with rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.

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Actually, there was no hard evidence that the three players charged, along with their teammates who attended the party, were guilty of anything – except underage drinking for those under 21 – and gross stupidity for inviting the pay-to-strip girls to the party.

Nifong, an interim appointee DA didn’t care that his hasty actions were endangering the reputations of the boys, the lacrosse team, Duke University, Durham and Durham County – as well as the agony endured by the accused players’ families.

Mr. Nifong was already running for the permanent DA job, and he recognized the perfect opportunity to play the “race card” and divide the Durham community along racial and class lines (rich, elitist white boys). Nifong won the election, thanks to a heavy black vote turn-out. The blacks figured it was payback time vs. the Whites.

The race-card strategy worked perfectly with a firestorm of national media coverage descending on Durham, the Duke and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) campuses – the strippers being NCCU students. Both universities held town meetings, and the “new” Black Panthers and the NAACP held demonstrations.

Additionally, the three charged players were suspended from school, the lacrosse team’s schedule was cancelled and their coach was fired.

Now, 10 months later, Thomas Sowell has written several columns about the gross

“mishandling of the Duke case.”

Sowell – in one particular column – quoted John Kenneth Galbraith in Galbraith’s book, “The Great Crash 1929,” “The worst continued to worsen.” Indeed it has!

Although the accuser’s credibility has been totally destroyed, while giving about ten different versions of her story, Nifong has insisted on trying the case. The second stripper has denied seeing any attacks happen, and the DNA samples taken from the accuser exonerated ALL of the players. However, the samples taken from the accuser showed that she had been with several OTHER men at about the same time.

To make matters worse for Nifong, the head of the DNA testing laboratory testified in court, under oath, that both he and the DA knew the DNA results – but kept it a secret. How bad is that! Nifong should be removed from office, disbarred, sued and jailed!! For sure, he has “raped” the justice system – for personal and political gain.

Some of you may have seen “60 Minutes”(two episodes) a while back – and more recently when the boys’ parents were interviewed. One of the mothers vowed to make Nifong pay for his misdeeds for the rest of his life. The word is out that the attorneys for the families have Nifong in their sights for legal action, along with possibly Duke, Durham, Durham County and the state of North Carolina.

As of now, the rape charge has been dropped – but unbelievably – the assault and kidnapping charges still stand. The North Carolina bar has filed ethics charges against Nifong, accusing him of making misleading and inflammatory comments to the media about the players under suspicion.

Thankfully, the ethics charges have caused Nifong to withdraw from the case, requesting that the state attorney general appoint a special prosecutor. State Attorney General Cooper has complied by appointing two special prosecutors. Cooper has reassured everyone by stating, “Agreeing to prosecute these cases doesn’t guarantee a trial nor does it guarantee a dismissal” – spoken like a true politician.

Stay tuned – and as Yogi used to say, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over!!

Byrd Looper is a regular columnist for The Times-Journal.