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Today’s news stories are filled with reports about domestic violence which often result in death of one party or murder-suicide. However, the publicized cases are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the number of domestic violence instances occurring in the state that are not covered by the media. The frequency and likelihood of a fatal outcome in these disputes is finally being brought forth, as well as the need to take measures to address these crimes. That is all good, however, the treatment of Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser Crystal Mangum by the State and the media is one giant leap backward.
Ever since she was identified as the accuser in the Duke Lacrosse case, Ms. Mangum has been in the justice system’s and the mainstream media’s crosshairs. Although Mangum claimed to have been sexually abused by partygoer’s at a March 13, 2006, Duke lacrosse hosted beer-guzzling, stripper ogling bacchanal, talk was bandied about whether or not she should face criminal charges after Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped charges against the three Duke Lacrosse defendants, without precedence proclaimed them to be “innocent,” and then averred that “nothing happened.” Although Mr. Cooper refused to pursue charges against Mangum because of her supposed emotional problems and mental instability, I suspect the real reason for not charging her was because if taken to trial, the truth would come out… a truth about which the State and media did not want Durhamians and Tar Heelians to know.
A Duke Lacrosse trial would have brought to the surface a lot of unseemly activity by the Blue Devil’s team which had earned it the disreputable reputation it had… one which forced Duke University President Richard Brodhead to warn the lacrosse Coach Pressler to rein in his players… one in which a third of the team had had run-ins with the law (mainly misdemeanors associated with alcohol, under-aged drinking, open alcoholic containers in the car, public drunkenness, and urinating in public), and one which showed disdain towards females. Under the light of any amount of scrutiny, no matter how cursory, the accusation of sexual abuse by this motley crew would be more than plausible.
I surmise that former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, knowing the racial (Ms. Mangum and another African American dancer were called the N-word epithet by partygoers) and political implications of this case, and how the powerful Duke University would likely sweep the incident under the carpet, took control of the investigation in order to assure that equal justice for all was the outcome of this case. That’s when the State stepped in, with the State Bar targeting Mr. Nifong in order to get him off the case. Not only that, but the State and media set out to make an example of Nifong in order to assure that in the future no attorney would dare oppose the will of the Powers-That-Be. Mr. Nifong was then disbarred on some trumped up charges, while the NAACP, and leaders in the African American community silently sat on their hands doing nothing while he was persecuted to the most extreme extent.
In what was to develop into a pattern, Mangum’s side of the story was not presented to the public.
Approximately four years later, Mangum was involved in a domestic violence incident in which an ex-boyfriend struck her repeatedly in the face because of an unflattering comment she made about him. This February 17, 2010 attack, which took place before her three children, galvanized the oldest one to phone 9-1-1 seeking assistance for their mother out of fear for her welfare or life. This was the opening that the State had long sought… a chance for payback against Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse accuser. Even Mangum was wary about the role her past might play regarding the treatment she received by the Durham Police force… so she advised them that their assistance was not required and identified herself using her sister’s name. However, once the men and women in blue had her true identity, the plotting began in earnest.
A bathtub fire of unknown origin was allowed by police to burn without attempts to extinguish it while awaiting the fifteen minute arrival of Durham’s Bravest. Several fire truck units and two dozen firefighters were roused from their beds in the middle of the knight to douse a few clothes burning in a bathtub. Although none of the building’s structure was damaged by flame, the smoke damage to the bathroom that was the consequence of police idleness was extensive. At most, the charge sought against the fire-starter should have been a misdemeanor vandalism, and not felony first degree arson as was indicted by a grand jury.
When led from the apartment, Mangum was held handcuffed in a patrol car while officers talked and mingled with Mangum’s ex-boyfriend. Although he initiated the physical altercation by punching Mangum repeatedly in the face, he was neither arrested nor charged… and instead was described as a “victim of Mangum.” That is the story that the media carried, with no investigator or media-type interviewing Ms. Mangum for her account of what had transpired.
This is a definite case of domestic violence in which the true victim, Mangum, is labeled as the aggressor in an outrageously unbelievable reversal of roles. But the State and the media did not want to delve into the specifics… and neither did the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a Durham-based organization. Back in 2010, Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong members Sidney B. Harr and Steven Matherly went to that organization to seek support and assistance for Mangum, a victim of domestic violence who was being wrongfully imprisoned in a vendetta prosecution by the State. The Coalition refused to provide any help for Crystal Mangum.
Although the State planned to have Mangum languish in jail for a couple of years before bringing her case to trial, her bond was unexpectedly satisfied after only three months of incarceration, at which time she was release… but under electronic monitoring house arrest. The trial that followed months later resulted in her conviction of three trumped up misdemeanor charges, and a mistrial on the most serious felony first degree arson charge… this despite a featherweight defense. Mangum was sentenced to time served and the prosecutors decided not to re-try her on the arson case.
This brings us to the current legal episode in which Crystal Gail Mangum is being charged with first degree murder in the April 13, 2011 death of Reginald Daye, and two counts of “larceny of chose in action.” The latter charge was filed concomitantly with the murder charge in order to elevate it to first degree status using the “felony-murder rule.” This charge is totally bogus as none of the elements required for “larceny of chose in action” are met as: (1) Mangum did not steal any cashier’s checks and Daye admitted in a police report that he gave the checks to Mangum; (2) Mangum never converted or attempted to convert the cashier’s checks in order to unlawfully obtain the property of another person or corporation; and (3) with Daye’s untimely and unfortunate death – for which Mangum had no responsibility – the prosecution lacks a prosecuting witness. Defense attorneys for Mangum for more than a year and a half have refused to challenge the baseless larceny charge; something that a reasonable person with full knowledge of the facts would conclude that Mangum’s representation was not acting in accordance with her best interests.
That this is a vendetta prosecution by the State is obvious, but what is cleverly concealed from the public by the State and media is the roles of the two participants in this domestic violence incident… as once again, Mangum, the true victim, is the designated assailant, and Reginald Daye, the true aggressor, is depicted as the victim. Although Daye was the victim of a stabbing, which Mangum admits to have inflicted in self-defense, he was the perpetrator of the domestic violence that preceded it and of which it was a consequence.
The State has played down the truths about Reginald Daye while the mainstream media has shown remarkable ambivalence about knowing the man and his demons. Reginald Daye had a violent criminal background that included assault on a female… brass knuckles even being recovered in his apartment. In a police interview with Sgt. Marianne Bond, Daye admitted to punching Lavern Reed, a female, in the face four or five times, although he says that that attack occurred 20-25 years ago. The State and media have also suppressed the fact that Daye was an alcoholic, who Mangum estimated drank a case of beer each weekday, and a gallon of whiskey on weekends. His capacity for prodigious ethanol consumption was evidenced by his apparent alert level of consciousness while he had a blood alcohol level at the time of the incident of 296 mg/dL – a level that would put the average non-alcoholic adult male in a stupor.
That Daye was an enraged and out-of-control aggressor in the domestic violence incident is evidenced by the following: (1) he physically punched Mangum about the face and head with swelling to the left lower lip and left side of her face evident; (2) he physically attacked her by gouging at her face with his fingernails – depicted on police forensic photographs; (3) he pulled out her hair – clumps noted near the bathroom door and in the master bedroom; and (4) he busted down the locked bathroom door, knocking the frame from the jamb, in order to get at a terrified Mangum who was seeking refuge from him.
Ms. Mangum states that Daye had his hands on her throat strangling her when she grabbed a nearby steak knife (which Daye had brought in from the kitchen), and stabbed him once. However, neither Officer Bond nor any other officer or investigator got this history because they never asked her. No one interviewed Mangum because she was arrested first, based solely on Daye’s questionable account of an armed robbery scenario in which she stole money and stabbed him… an account that was echoed by his nephew Carlos Wilson, who did not witness the incident. According to Bond’s own report, when she first visited Mangum in custody, she asked the defendant if she wanted to give a statement, to which Mangum replied, “Yes.” Sgt. Bond then informed Mangum that she was under arrest and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill, and the officer then read Mangum her Miranda Rights informing her that anything she said can and would be used against her in a court of law. After informing her of her rights, Bond asked Mangum if she “wanted to answer some questions,” to which Mangum responded in the negative, and the alleged interview was concluded with the officer leaving.
At no time since that April 3, 2011 morning after the incident, has anyone on the prosecutor side attempted to obtain Mangum’s statement about transpired in the wee predawn hours earlier. Durham Prosecutors Kelly Gauger and Charlene Coggins-Franks have been content to go along with the version given by the late Reginald Daye and his nephew Carlos Wilson… which apparently goes as follows:
• After coming home from a birthday party early that Sunday morning, Daye, who was heavily intoxicated, got into an argument with Mangum over money? The amount never indicated by prosecutors.
• Daye can’t remember whether or not he may have punched Crystal, however he states that she punched him in the face with her fists several times. (Crystal denies punching Daye in the face but states that when he grabbed her by her legs to pull her off the bed, she flailed her legs and may have kicked him in the face.)
• Daye told her to leave, then admits to later telling her she wasn’t going anywhere… then telling her again to leave?
• According to Daye, Mangum sometime thereafter locked herself in the bathroom to make a call to a male to give her a ride, at which time he busted down the door.
• After breaking down the door, Daye grabs her by the hair in order to escort her out of the apartment… and accidentally pulls out a couple of globs of hair.
• Crystal then goes into the kitchen, grabs a steak knife, at which time he tries to get out of her way, and then, without provocation, she stabs him in the back.
The above account is one that not even the police or prosecutors believe because Mangum was not charged with larceny of property at that time and it was not pursued. There is ample evidence, even in the police account of brutality and violence on behalf of Daye, not to mention his intoxicated state and his uncontrolled rage which led to his busting the door frame from the door jamb.
Prosecutors were even aware of a prior incident of domestic violence that occurred approximately nine days prior to the self-defense stabbing when Daye assaulted Mangum so severely that she called a friend, Larry O’Briant, to give her a ride to a medical clinic. Mr. O’Briant even gave a voluntary statement to the police about this incident that occurred on Thursday, March 24, 2011. However, prosecutors did not even have curiosity enough to even look into this incident… as it did not factor into their accusing Mangum as being the assailant in the April 3, 2011 conflict. Neither prosecutors nor Mangum’s defense attorneys, all aware of the fight that preceded the stabbing by just over a week, asked Mangum about it or had her sign a release to obtain clinic records of her visit. All because they do not want Crystal Mangum to be portrayed as what she was… a victim of domestic violence.
Using a criminally fraudulent April 14, 2011 Autopsy Examination Report by North Carolina Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Clay Nichols, Durham prosecutors have been trying to put Crystal Mangum, a two time victim of domestic violence and an alleged victim of sexual abuse, in prison for the rest of her life without the possibility of parole as payback for her role in the Duke Lacrosse case. This goal they have tried to achieve with the cooperation of the mainstream media, and by having politicians (McKissick, Michaux, Hall, Price and others) and civil rights groups (NAACP, ACLU, North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence) look the other way.
Only the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong has stood up to this conspiratorial injustice against Mangum, and because of its efforts, the State is no longer seeking a life sentence for her, but instead is now attempting to force Mangum to accept a plea deal in order to protect the medical examiner, Duke University Hospital for its culpability in Daye’s death, and to protect the City of Durham from liability for its malicious prosecution of Mangum. The Committee is fighting this, as well.
The State and the mainstream media, local and national, can talk tough against domestic violence, but when it comes to proof being in the pudding, it is definitely sending the wrong message by its vindictive and horrendous treatment of Crystal Mangum… a true victim of domestic violence who is, in addition, a victim of the State and the media.