04 21 2015
  2:49 am  
40 Years of Service

Durham, N.C. District Attorney Mike Nifong should do the right thing, cut his losses and drop the remaining charges of kidnapping and sexual assault against the three Duke University lacrosse players.
That would close what has to be one of the dreariest episodes in the history of rape and racial victimization cases. But Nifong has given no hint that he has learned any lesson from the fiasco. Whether it's ego, saving face, or just plain bull headedness, he's determined to charge ahead and pile more embarrassment on himself with a prosecution. But there are compelling lessons that can be learned.
One is the danger of shouting race in a rape case. Women's groups have waged a relentless and often times frustrating fight to get police, prosecutors, the courts and the media to treat rape as a serious crime, especially when the victims are poor, Black or minority women and the alleged attackers are White males. But a suspect cry of rape in an impassioned, racially charged case does great harm to that fight.
It leaves rape victims of any color and income wide open to the charge that they will falsely shout rape to cover up their sexual misdeeds. That could make police more hesitant to make arrests and prosecutors even more gun shy about vigorously prosecuting rape cases. It also makes Black leaders, who are mostly male, more reluctant to vigorously denounce genuine sexual victimization crimes. 
The next lesson is that in racially charged and politically tainted rape cases the battle lines will quickly form.
The scream that the case was a bogus, racial hit by an overly ambitious district attorney, or that the case proved how badly Black women are victimized, grew louder at each new revelation in the tortured case. The confusing and contradictory statements that the alleged victim gave about the attack, the failure of DNA tests to match the alleged assailants to the alleged victim, the infamous public recant by the principal witness on "60 Minutes," and the disclosure that the alleged victim had sexual contact with others immediately prior to the alleged assault stoked public fury.
There was also a lesson for Black leaders. To their credit, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson didn't stampede to the barricades and demand conviction and severe punishment for the accused assailants. In the past, they have done that in other hot ticket, racially tinged cases.
In the Duke case, a reflexive shout of racism would have further discredited the legitimate fight against sexual victimization.
Then there's Nifong. He was roundly denounced for rushing to judgment on the case to curry favor with Blacks and women's groups and to boost his re-election chances.
If the evidence is there, that should be the only thing to which prosecutors pay attention. When they don't, they risk a humiliating loss. That fuels public cynicism that justice is for sale and that the system is hopelessly flawed.
The Duke case bruised lives, gave the justice system a momentary black eye, stirred racial divisions on one of America's elite campuses and riled the public. The final lesson is that when politics, race and passions collide in a questionable case, caution and good sense go out the window. 

BlackNews.com columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and social issues commentator.

Pacific NW Carpenters Union

Commenting Guidelines

  • Keep it clean: Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language
  • No personal attacks: We reserve the right to remove offensive comments
  • Be truthful: Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything
  • Be nice: No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person
  • Help us: If you see an abusive post, let us know at info@theskanner.com
  • Keep to topic: We will remove irrelevant posts and spam
  • Share with us: We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts; the history behind an article

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
    Read More
  • Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about 'high stakes' tests   
    Read More
  • Watch Rachel Maddow interview VA Secretary Robert McDonald  
    Read More
  • Some two thousand people pack halls to hear Trayvon Martin's mom speak   
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Carpentry Professionals



About Us

Breaking News

The Skanner TV

Turn the pages

Portland Opera Showboat 2
The Skanner Photo Archives