On Thursday, March 19, 2009, the Durham City Council agreed to complain to Duke University President Richard Brodhead about the bad behavior of partying Duke students in Durham communities. By addressing their complaint to the university president, Council member Howard Clement, III, said, “We need to go directly to where the buck stops.” Council member Eugene A. Brown referred to the rowdy Duke students with the following colorful analogy, “(They) see themselves as cool cats but they’re using that neighborhood (Trinity Heights) as their sandbox.”
I, for one, do not understand the rhetoric of the Council members. First, the buck does not stop with the Duke University president, because the residents in the affected neighborhoods are not all enrolled in the university, and the activities involving drunken behavior and other bad acts are not part of the curriculum. It is evident from the Duke Lacrosse case, that President Brodhead was unsuccessful in reining in the out-of-control behavior of the Duke lacrosse team at the numerous and infamous parties they hosted. As far as rowdy students disrupting Durham neighborhoods, the buck stops with Durham Police Department, the Durham district attorney, and finally, the state attorney general.
Not long ago, Durham was fortunate enough to have a district attorney who was committed to dealing fairly and ethically with students from the prestigious university who engaged in activity that was disruptive and criminal in nature. This district attorney was independent and was not bound by favoritism or the playbook of Duke University or Attorney General Roy Cooper. Because, in pursuing prosecution of a case, he did not give special advantage to Duke students from wealth and privilege, as was expected by those in higher circles, he was persecuted, prosecuted, professionally destroyed, used as fodder by the media for ridicule and contempt, sentenced to serve jail time for doing his job, and disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar. That prosecutor, with 27 years of exemplary service to the state of North Carolina, is Michael B. Nifong, the only prosecutor to be disbarred by the State Bar since its inception (a fact that the media has kept well hidden from the public).
The Durham City Council, which sat on its hands, silently while Mr. Nifong was destructed by the state and media, is whining because Duke students now, more than ever, have a feeling of entitlement to act without fear of suffering any consequences for their actions. This is a proximate result of outcome of the Duke Lacrosse case, where the Duke Lacrosse defendants were portrayed as sympathetic and innocent heroes and completely exonerated by Attorney General Cooper, while their prosecutor was vilified and personally attacked. The misguided outrage and animus against Mr. Nifong by the state, media, and public, along with the unwarranted capitulation by Duke University to the outrageous demands of the avaricious carpetbagger families of Duke Lacrosse defendants in reaching an out of court settlement, are not only responsible for the perpetuation of animalistic party behavior by Duke students in Durham neighborhoods, but are the grounds for the related legal problems that now face the city.
The carpetbagger families of the former Duke lacrosse players, whose greed is exceeded only by their malice, are cats which are using the city of Durham as its sandbox. The question is: what is the City Council going to do about it now? They can continue to remain silent, or they can belatedly come to the defense of Mr. Nifong. The State Bar disbarred Mr. Nifong for allegedly withholding irrelevant, extraneous information from the defense team about the presence of unidentified male DNA found on the rape kit exam of the accuser. (DNA information withheld was of no use to the defense team and had no bearing on the case against the defendants. ) However the State Bar, the Attorney General, Superior Court Judges, and the media go out of their way to defend, shield, and protect prosecutors who have destroyed evidence (Theodore Jerry Williams case), prosecutors who withheld exculpatory murder evidence from the defense (Michael Peterson and Alan Gell cases), prosecutors who have concocted false confessions of murder (Floyd Brown case), and prosecutors who have lined up false eyewitnesses (James Arthur Johnson case).
It doesn’t take courage to remain silent and do nothing. It doesn’t take courage to go along with a majority public sentiment that has been spoon-fed by a biased media.
Courage is represented by those who take a stand that is unpopular, and who are willing to put their names and their faces to a cause. Members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong have done just that, and it is evidenced by their web site with the address: www.justice4nifong.com. I strongly recommend that the Durham City Council members visit that site, and hopefully it will stir within them a passion to see that justice is done for Mr. Nifong (which would be the State Bar’s unilateral and unconditional reinstatement of Mr. Nifong’s license to practice law within the state of North Carolina without restrictions).
Although Mr. Nifong has no intention of practicing law in the state, even if his license were to be reinstated, the mere fact that the City Council would back such a resolution, would not only serve justice well, but place Durham in a much stronger position when it comes to determining whether or not the city will continue to remain a sandbox for the cool and the well-heeled cats.