As a result of the events the night of February 17, 2010, Crystal Mangum had been charged with attempted first degree murder, without credible evidence to back it up. Of course, the prosecution under Assistant District Attorney Angela Garcia-Lamarca never planned on bringing that charge to trial. Ms. Mangum was given that serious charge at the time of her arrest for the purpose of allowing the media to “bad-mouth” the so-called Duke Lacrosse accuser, but more importantly to justify a high bail.
Also as a result of the February 17th incident, Crystal Mangum had been charged with felony first degree arson, again without any credible evidence. The prosecution-media’s story has been that Crystal set clothes on fire in the bathtub in the presence of the police, and was arrested at that time. Also, it is maintained by the police that as soon as the fire was discovered, a call was placed to the fire department. However, the time of arrest preceded the call from the police to the Durham Fire Department by fourteen minutes. Another report has a police officer seeing Crystal Mangum carrying clothes into the bathroom. The prosecution-media story never really specified the number of clothes burned… one report stated a “bathtub full” and another stated a “pile of clothes.” Furthermore, the definition of arson requires that a structure or building be burned, yet in reports and media articles there is no mention of any flame damage to Crystal Mangum’s apartment. Even information about the smoke detector is muddled.
The February 17th incident resulted in Crystal being accused of vandalizing her ex-boyfriend’s car, but there is no credible evidence to support this accusation. When, for example did the damage take place? And what could be the motive for Ms. Mangum to shatter the windshield and deflate the tires? Was there a witness to the destruction of the car, which had been used earlier in the day to transport Crystal home from the hospital’s emergency room where she was treated for a headache?
The felony identity theft charge was based on what? Ms. Mangum, aware of the notoriety garnered by her involvement in the Duke Lacrosse case, admitted she did not want her true identity to be known due to prejudicial and adverse treatment that might follow… which prophetically is exactly what transpired. The identity theft charge is a serious one and is not applicable when a person merely gives authorities the wrong first name.
As Ms. Mangum stated in her press conference of Wednesday, June 30, 2010, she did nothing wrong. She committed no crime. She was the victim of domestic violence when her ex-boyfriend started punching her in the face. Her attack against him was in self defense only. Yet Ms. Mangum is the one who was arrested and placed under a one million dollar bail; her ex-boyfriend was not charged, and released.
The information given above is a matter of record, and it substantiates the premise that the actions taken against Ms. Mangum by the authorities and prosecution are nothing more than payback because of her role in the Duke Lacrosse case.
Members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong have long been supportive of Ms. Mangum during her plight with this issue. They have written to her, written to others on her behalf, sent her money while she was in jail, and held a prayer vigil for her release from the Durham Detention Center. That prayer was answered by the generosity and benevolence of Mr. and Mrs. Lonnie Hammond, who satisfied her bond pro bono. Aside from the Hammonds and members of the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, no one has made a move towards acting on Ms. Mangum’s behalf against the gross injustice she has suffered. Elected officials, such as the state representatives and senator of Durham County, have turned down requests from Committee members to write letters to the judge and prosecution asking for the electronic house arrest to be dropped. Likewise, the NAACP, on both a state and federal level have remained idle and silent during this legal nightmare. Editorial columnists and op-ed writers have avoided, like the plague, penning on the topic of Crystal’s selective and unjust treatment by the police, prosecutors, and judges. And the investigative reporters want no parts of delving into the mysteries of why the police did not turn on the shower to douse clothes on fire in a bathtub… or info about the specifics about the alleged vandalism to the ex-boyfriend’s car… or why the charge of attempted first degree murder was lodged against Ms. Mangum.
For politicians, community leaders, civil rights organizations, columnists and op-ed writers, and the mass media to allow an injustice of the magnitude that Ms. Mangum has been hammered with to persist without taking action or speaking out is an injustice itself. Their silence and inactions make them all complicit in the unjust treatment to which Ms. Mangum has been subjected. Until they man up and join the fray for justice for Crystal, Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong members will carry the fight on her behalf alone.