There's not a whole lot to say about the election of Mike Nifong. Or
rather there is, but we just don't want to get much into it right now. The great
disappointment is in Steve Monks, who siphoned off enough votes to give the
election to Nifong. He surely knew that splitting the vote would doom the
referendum on Nifong; he surely knew he could not win; yet he refused to
withdraw. It's the height of self-centered behavior and it earns him a
unique place in the history of Durham, and not one that most people would care
to have. Then again, most people, if their goal was to defeat someone and
knew they could not possibly do it, would have withdrawn.
Meanwhile, Bob Harris had a heated confrontation with Nifong. When we
first heard about it, it was described as Harris sort of running away from
Nifong. Later, we read the transcript. It wasn't until we saw the video
that we understood exactly what happened (You can see it here):
Nifong came up to Harris's car and Bob told him in no uncertain terms to get
away from him and that he was not an honest man. He also asked that the
exchange not be broadcast, a reasonable request since the the camera was behind
him and he probably didn't know he was being filmed until he got out of the car
and faced the camera.
WTVD of course ignored his request and ran with it, for better or worse.
We'll just say this about Harris. Aside from being a fine radio man and
being indelibly associated with Duke, it would be hard to find anyone who has
ever had a cross word with the man. In our experience, he has always been
an incredibly decent person, full of good will towards everyone.
That he unwittingly became the public expression of disgust with
Nifong's behavior is unfortunate, but he is also the only person at Duke we can
think of who has in any way spoken out against Nifong. We realize that
Duke, like most large institutions, likely has a policy about comments about the
case and the prosecutor, and that like most entities, they control comments as
much as possible. So it's not like everyone is going to rush out and say
something. But it was refreshing to see someone speak his mind and express
the truth as he saw it. It's as fitting an epitaph as this election could
KC Johnson has his usual brace of comment and analysis, and we couldn't
possibly add much to his remarkable daily output and historical perspective on
the perversion of justice in a town which we love and grieve for.