The disbarment of Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong should be just the first step in remedying the gross and cynical fraud of last year’s “rape” case against Duke University lacrosse players.
Not only is Mr. Nifong still liable to civil lawsuits from the three young men whose lives he tried to ruin, and criminal prosecution for obstruction of justice and making false statements to a judge, many other people disgraced themselves in hyping a lynch mob atmosphere when this case first broke last year.
The New York Times, which splashed these Duke students’ pictures on Page One, along with inflammatory charges against them, and went ballistic on its editorial page, carried the story of Mr. Nifong’s disbarment for prosecuting them on Page 16.
The 88 Duke University faculty members who took out a hysterical ad, supporting those local loudmouths who were denouncing and threatening the Duke students, have apparently had nothing at all to say now.
Not only did many Duke University professors join the lynch mob atmosphere, so did the Duke administration, which got rid of the lacrosse coach and cancelled the team’s season, without a speck of evidence that anybody was guilty of anything.
This is one of the few times when Jesse Jackson is speechless, though he was loudly supporting the bogus “rape” charges last year.
A local civil rights activist even had the gall to accost the mother of one of the accused students at Mr. Nifong’s disbarment hearings to say she still believes they were guilty.
The sad and tragic fact is that the civil rights movement, despite its honorable and courageous past, has over the years degenerated into a demagogic hustle, promoting the mindless racism they once fought against.
Although the committee that disbarred Michael Nifong said many things that needed to be said, they muddied the waters by saying he may have deceived himself before he deceived others.
Nothing District Attorney Nifong did suggests he ever thought these players were guilty.
The photo lineup presented to the stripper was so completely different from standard procedure that it was virtually an invitation for a judge to throw out any identification resulting from it — without which, there was no case.
This was not about winning a case. It was about winning an election.
Mr. Nifong could not allow use of a standard lineup to have the accuser identify her alleged attackers, or else her unreliability would have been exposed early on, depriving him of a case to use to get the black vote in his election.
There is not the slightest reason to believe Mr. Nifong was deceived or mistaken. He was not some kid fresh out of law school. He had decades of experience as a prosecutor. He knew exactly what he was doing.
Nor was the New York Times a naive ingenue. It had backed Al Sharpton’s fraudulent accusations of rape in the Tawana Brawley case, which had the same politically correct elements of a black woman accusing white men of rape.
Nor were the 88 Duke faculty members who promoted a lynch mob atmosphere naive. Most were from departments promoting the “race, class and gender” vision of victimhood. This case served their purposes. That trumped any question about whether the charges were true or not.
Don’t expect any of these people to recant or apologize. But be aware of how wide and how deep the moral dry rot goes.
That such people are teaching students at an elite university is a chilling thought. That they promote a campus atmosphere where political correctness trumps the search for truth is painful.
That such attitudes and such atmospheres are not peculiar to Duke University, but are common on elite college campuses coast to coast is a time bomb with the potential to destroy individuals and ultimately undermine the whole society.
Thomas Sowell is a nationally syndicated columnist.
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