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Friday, September 22, 2006

Duke Case: Slur Analysis


Why is the Duke lacrosse scandal such a big deal? The one word answer is "race." A highly charged combustible mix of alleged racial slurs were poured onto a fraudulent gang-rape allegation to ignite the scandal.

So exactly how many racial slurs were said on the night of the Duke lacrosse party? Who said them? When and in what context were they said? How many times was the N-word used?

A statement analysis of Kim Roberts/Pittman handwritten statement that she made to police on March 22nd shows that she only has two sentences mentioning racial slurs:

...By this point, it seemed that the fellas may have been ready for the evening to be over. I told them that if they could get her to my car, I would get her out of their hair. Within minutes, she was being helped out of the back yard and into my car. At this point, she did not have the bag that I saw her come with and I asked her if she had the most important thing, her money. She told me yes but she did not seem coherent.

She then told me that we should go back to the house because there was more money to be made there. I asked her again where her things were and she said "Here," "It's here." But I did not see her things so in my opinion, she was talking crazy. I made an attempt to get her things. I took my belongings, locked her in my car and went back up to the house to try and retrieve her bag. I looked around with Dan and we didn't see anything so I said I've done all I could and went back to my car. I finally began leaving and the boys began yelling "Nigger" to us. I called the police to report racial slurs.

While in the car, I repeatedly asked Precious if she had her money. At this point, she was basically out of it. I tried to ask her where she lived but she would not tell me. I tried calling Melissa to get a hold of the driver that dropped her off but received no assistance from her. I decided go to the 24 hr. grocery store and seek the help of an off duty police officer. Only a security guard was there so we proceeded to call 911...
Prior to writing these two sentence Ms. Roberts gives no indication that there are any racial tensions. She refers to the lacrosse players as "the boys" and "the fellas." They helped Ms. Roberts get Ms. Mangum out of the backyard and into the car. Dan helped Ms. Roberts look for Ms. Mangum's bag. Ms. Roberts does not provide any details or include any emotional context about the incident with the alleged racial slurs.

Statement analysis expert, Dr. Susan H. Adams, in one study found three features of statements--the length of the criminal incident section, the presence of unique sensory details, and the inclusion of emotions--that accurately discriminated truthful statements from deceptive ones.

Ms. Roberts fails to have these three features of truthfulness when she describes the racial slurs. Remember for Ms. Roberts the racial slurs were the only "injury" that she suffered the night of the Duke lacrosse party. Yet, it is an injury that she barely mentions, she provides no unique sensory details, and she includes no emotional context. Her sentences about the slurs almost seem an afterthought. She does remember that she made a 911 call about racial slurs eight days prior so she logically concludes that she should at least mention them in this statement. She does that by using the sparest possible language. They are not a big deal in her statement.

Kim Roberts' 911 call to police is clearly a fraud. She is very calm and calculating as she reports that she and her "black girlfriend" were called the N-word. The fake sobbing and crying that Ms. Roberts tries to employ to add credibility to her call would be almost laughable, if they weren't so destructive - Kim Roberts 911 call:
CALLER: "Hi, I don't know if this is an emergency or not, necessarily, but I'm in Durham, and I was driving down near Duke's campus, and it's me and my black girlfriend, and the guy -- there's like a white guy by the Duke wall -- and he just hollered out 'n-----' to me. And I'm just so angry I didn't know who to call. [Crying]

Seconds into the call, Ms. Roberts said she wasn't driving anymore she was walking.

CALLER: "It's right outside of 610 Buchanan [Blvd]. And I saw them all come out of, like, a big frat house, and me and my black girlfriend are walking by, and they called us 'n------.' [Sobbing]

..."And they didn't harm me in any way, but I just feel so completely offended, I can't even believe it. I thought, you know what I'm saying, times have changed, and I don't even know what's going on."
Roberts tells the operator twice that she was not harmed, but is "completely offended." However, the offense was such that she was "not going to press the issue." She makes a point to mention the address of the house three times. Ms. Roberts told Newsweek that she yelled out at the boys, "I called the cops, you dumbasses." Ms. Roberts was mad at the players about something and is getting back at them the only way she know how, by calling the police over to hassle them.

Kim Roberts had her first on-the-record interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, April 2oth. At the very end of this interview she said the following:
"Don't forget that they called me a damn nigger," she said. "She (the accuser) was passed out in the car. She doesn't know what she was called. I was called that. I can never forget that."
Ms. Roberts did not totally forget the incident, but again she almost forgot to include the N-word in her story. Roberts had an interview with NPR's Juan Williams in June.
WILLIAMS: Roberts says this is what happened next: The players continued to make racial insults. Roberts threw angry words back at them mocking their manhood. Eventually Roberts called 911 from the car, in tears, to report that the young men were calling them niggers.
So now we hear that Roberts is throwing "angry words back at them mocking their manhood." This information was not mentioned in her initial March statement.

Conclusion: Ms. Roberts is lying about the true nature of any racial slurs.

Moezeldin ElmostafaThe taxi driver, Moezeldin Ahmad Elmostafa, was in a very good position to hear any possible racial slurs when he returned to the off-campus party to pick up a second fare after dropping off Reade Seligmann.
While waiting for the four passengers whom he would later drive to a nearby gas station, Mostafa said, he saw a woman walking through a crowd of men toward a car.

He said he saw about 20 people on the lawn of the home, "yelling, talking back" to each other, including one African-American woman (Kim Roberts?) who he said didn't appear to be injured.

Mostafa said the woman appeared to exchange words with some people in the crowd before getting into the driver's side of a car.

"She looked, like, mad," he said. "In her face, the way she walked, the way she talked, she looked like mad."

Four men got into the taxi, Mostafa said, and they appeared to be drunk. One of them said, "She's just a stripper, She's going to call the police." Mostafa quoted.
Later, when asked by a reporter with CBS News if he had a feeling that something had gone wrong or someone had been hurt at the party that night, Mostafa said, "Yeah, I got the feeling something had gone wrong." But, he did not indicate that he heard any racial slurs, or the N-word.

Conclusion: the cab driver, Mr. Mostafa, did not hear any racial slurs.

The neighbor, Jason Bissey, said this in his written statement regarding racial slurs:
10. At this point, I believe that I was in my bedroom checking email and reading the news. At some point, I heard a renewed commotion outside. I estimate that another 15-20 minutes had elapsed, making the time approximately 1:00 a.m. As I opened the screen door to my residence and stepped onto my porch, the car that I had seen parked in front of 610 was driving north on Buchanan towards Markham, and young men were beginning to disperse from the house. Most of the men were walking towards Duke's East Campus, but some to the west towards Watts St. Before the car that was parked in front of 610 sped off, I distinctly heard one young man's voice who was walking towards East Campus. He yelled at the car that was driving off. "Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt."

11. Within five minutes, the situation was total silence. It appeared that the party had dispersed completely, and no cars were left in the vicinity.
Bissey did not hear the N-word being used according to his statement. If it was used, the N-word would surely have been a word that would have loudly punctuated any commotion.

Conclusion: Jason Bissey heard one insult, that everyone has concluded is a racial slur.

The alleged victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, in her only interview on March 24th with the News & Observer said the players "started barking racial slurs" soon after they started to perform:

Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."

This statement, about the men "barking racial slurs" in the house just after the performance started does not agree with Ms. Roberts' written statement. No examples were provided of what racial slurs were barked. This interview with the News & Observer is yet another version of Ms. Mangum's story that is inconsistent with all the others that she has told. The defense should subpoena the News & Observer to get their records of this interview. The reporter should also be required to testify or make a statement regarding the interview. It would be more evidence showing a consistent pattern of lying by Crystal Gail Mangum.

Ms. Mangum, in the portions of her April 6th written statement that have been released includes one sentence where a racial threat was apparently made:
"We went into the bathroom and shut the door."1

"Dan knocked on the door and asked if we wanted a drink. We said yes. He gave us a drink and we continued to talk."1

"Nikki and I started crying."2

"We ran out to the car screaming and crying."2

"Nikki told me that they were sorry and that they were going to give us $1200 if we stay. Nikki and I got out of the car and went back into the house. As soon as we got back into the house, they were more excited and angry."2

"Nikki and I started to leave again, and three guys grabbed Nikki and Adam, Matt and Brett grabbed me. They separated us at the master bedroom door while we tried to hold on to each other."1,2

"The boys hit and kicked me. Matt grabbed me and looked and me and said sweetheart you can‘t leave. He grabbed the back of my neck and said I‘m going to kill you (BLANK) (BLANK) if you don‘t shut up. They started kicking me in my behind and my back. Matt hit me in the face while Dan and Brett kicked me."1

"I heard Nikki on the other side of the door, and when Adam opened the door she rushed in and helped Adam to get me dressed. They dragged me out to the car because my legs couldn't move. Nikki said, "What happened girl, did they hurt you," I said yes, and she said that she would get help for me."2
One MSNBC graphic was shown that indicated the (BLANK) (BLANK) was N----- B----, which would probably mean the words were "Nigger Bitch."

In the portions of her statement released so far Ms. Mangum does not say if she was scared or otherwise indicate if she had any emotional or sensory reaction to the threat that was made during the sexual assault. Other racial remarks have not been released. If there were more inflammatory racial remarks included in her statement why would the main stream media have not released them? Especially, if they were "barked racial slurs."

Conclusion: Ms. Mangum lied about being gang-raped and is certainly lying about any racial threats or remarks made during the incident.

None of the players so far has admitted to saying any racial slurs. That does not mean that racial slurs were not said. It just means that there is really only one reasonably well established racial slur that was said, the one Bissey overheard. The use of the N-word as part of any racial slurs has not yet been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Ms. Roberts and Ms. Mangum are both liars.

For a case that is all about race there are precious few real racial remarks to analyze. However, it only took the mere allegation of racial slurs involving the N-word by Ms. Roberts to send Duke and Durham into bedlam.

Duke President, Richard Brodhead was very quick to respond on March 29th to the alleged racial slurs:
In a written statement released late Wednesday afternoon, Duke University's president called language allegedly used by members of the university's lacrosse team, now at the center of a rape investigation that has gained national attention, "disgusting."

At a news conference Tuesday evening, reporters asked Richard Brodhead about a 911 call released in which the caller tells an operator that players shouted racial slurs at her and her friend.

"I have now had the opportunity to listen to the tape," Brodhead said in the statement. "It is disgusting. Racism and its hateful language have no place in this community. I am sorry the woman and her friend were subjected to such abuse.
Brodhead is apologizing to two anonymous women who have not yet been identified about racial slur allegations that were "disgusting," but not verified. Whatever happened to that old standard about not responding to hypothetical questions?

President Brodhead apparently wanted to get out in front on this issue, and would wait for facts to catch up. Who has ever had to apologize for an apology? But his apology gave more credence to the case that the players were somehow the bad guys.

The police were still lying on March 30th when they said they didn't know who made the 911 call. This despite the fact Roberts had told them twice that she had made the call. She told Sgt. J.C. Shelton on the night of the incident that she made the 911 call. Investigator Benjamin Himan also knew she made the call after taking her statement on March 22nd. On Friday, March 31sth, the News & Observer reported:
Police said they don't know who made the 911 call to report the racial slurs, and the complainant was gone when police arrived at the house. But Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said Thursday that they are convinced the call was not made by the same woman who later said she was raped and sodomized by three men at the party.

Police released new details Thursday on what they found when responding to that first call...
The police timed the release of the 911 call recording at just around the time Mike Nifong was taking active control of the case. It was one more weapon he could use to inflame Durham against a criminal conspiracy of Duke lacrosse players.

Therefore after doing an analysis of the alleged racial slur(s) involved in this case it can only be concluded that they were just another tool used to perpetrate a great hoax.

Kim Roberts/Pittman Police Statement [TJN]
Are you telling me the truth? Indicators of veracity in written statements [Findarticles.com, Oct. 2004]
Kim Roberts 911 call, mp3, 12:53 a.m., March 14, 2006 [newsobserver.com]
2nd Duke Stripper Didn't See Alleged Rape [abcnews, April 21, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Spin Dancer etc. [TJN, June 15, 2006]

Defense attorneys: Timeline clears Duke rape suspects [cnn.com, April 21, 2006]
Taxi driver says suspect was acting normal [MSNBC, April 20, 2006]
Warrant Details Search Of Lacrosse Player's Dorm Room [wral.com, April 20, 2006]
Reade Seligmann's Alibi in Detail [TJN]
Duke president discusses rape case with students (911 Transcript) [ESPN, Mar. 31, 2006]
Duke President Calls Alleged Slurs 'Disgusting' Before Student March [wral.com, March 29, 2006]
Statement by President Richard H. Brodhead on 911 Tape [duke.edu, March 29, 2006]
Police arrived at quiet house [newsobserver.com, March 31, 2006]

1 'The Abrams Report' for June 19 [MNSBC]
2 Lacrosse files show gaps in DA's case [newsobserver.com, Aug. 6, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

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