The New York Times has a big article about the Jameis Winston rape investigation this morning.
In December 2013, state prosecutors announced they would not charge the Winston, a star Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, with sexual assault citing a lack of evidence.
The New York Times report paints an ugly picture of the Tallahassee Police Department, which was described by a 2013 grand jury as “careless, uncaring, cavalier and incompetent.”
The takeaway from the NYT article is that police failed the accuser and that errors and oversights in the initial stages of the Winston investigation made it impossible to establish what happened that night.
The article is long, but worth the read. Here are the main points:
- The TPD suspended the investigation 66 days after the accuser filed her police report because, they said, she was being “uncooperative.” The accuser denies being uncooperative.
- Police were unable to identify Winston as the accused assailant, despite having what the NYT calls “three solid leads” toward obtaining his identity on the night the report was filed — 1) the name of another football player the accuser met at the bar, 2) security cameras at the bar, and 3) the student ID that was swiped in the taxi leaving the bar.
- William Miggs, the state prosecutor, told the NYT, “Anybody that looked at this case would say you get a report at 2 in the morning, by noon you could have had the defendant identified and talked to.”
- After the accuser identified Winston 30 days later when she saw him on campus, police didn’t interview him for two weeks.
- When police called Winston to interview him, he said he had baseball practice. State prosecutors say he should have been contacted in person.
- The TFD did not take a DNA sample from Winston until a year later.
- One of Winston’s friends, football player Chris Casher, admitted to taking a video of the sexual encounter, but he wasn’t interviewed by police until nearly a year later, by which time he had deleted it.
This isn’t the first time the TPD has been accused of screwing up the case, but it’s the most detailed account of its failings yet.
We’ve contacted the Tallahassee police department and are seeking comment.
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