It wasn’t enough that Roy Cooper, the States Attorney General, decided to drop all charges against Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, now they have the audacity to sue the city of Durham, North Carolina for a whopping $30 million. No, it wasn’t enough to have Mike Nifong disbarred and thrown in jail for 24 hours. It wasn’t enough to settle things with Duke University for their role in jumping too soon to dismiss them from school. Now, they want to force the 210,000 residents of Durham to pay an estimated $142 each for the police department’s role in the mess.
If I had my say in all of this, and I don’t, I wouldn’t give them a penny. Those boys and their parents have done a great job of convincing people of their innocence. They have become the national poster boys for the pain caused from prosecutorial misconduct. They want you to think they deserve some compensation for being the targets of the national media and the symbols of white arrogance. I’m not buying it.
As much as I’m willing to admit an injustice in this case, I will not fork up a dime to pay them for Mike Nifong’s mistake. I will concede no one in that house raped or kidnapped that woman, but a number of crimes were committed. Those boys aren’t innocent. They are innocent of the charges they faced, but these boys are not the victims of a ploy to destroy them. What happened to them is a consequence of their placing themselves within an environment where bad things happened.
Something happened in that house. Black women were called bad names. Someone made a comment about a broom stick. Someone thanked one of the girl’s grandparents for picking the cotton that made their shirt. Boys under the age of 21 were drinking, and they had called and employed the services of two exotic dancers.
Have we forgotten this wasn’t the first encounter members of the Duke Lacrosse team had with the Durham police department? The former coach of the team has written a book critical of officials at Duke for kicking him out based on an assumption of guilt. Please, please help me understand his position. From what I remember he was dismissed not because of what may have happened that night, but rather because of a series of altercations that had gone unchecked.
Have we forgotten that Duke University purchased homes in the Trinity Park community shortly before the fetus hit the revolving apparatus; due to complaints coming from the residents in the Trinity Park community? Duke decided to take matters into their own hands by acquiring property to give them greater control over what happened.
I have an issue with the language of innocence applied in this case. Even more critical is the application of recompense when the victims possess the resources needed to fight the system. How much did Daryl Hunt get paid after spending time in prison for a crime he didn’t commit? Why is it that the District Attorney in that case has maintained his license to practice law and now holds a position as an assistant in the Attorney General’s office? I’m steaming due to the way in which we, the citizens of Durham, are forced to pay for the mistakes made by public officials when those accused are rich, powerful and pissed off because someone had the nerve to come against them.
As much as I hurt over what they went through, I have no patience when it comes to their intent to sue us for the wrong they’ve endured. I would be more compassionate if they were utterly innocent. They’re not. They violated the rules of Duke University and the city of Durham, and now want us to pay.
I don’t think so!