The lawyer for the woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault accused the Tallahassee Police Department of gross misconduct and called on Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to open an independent investigation into the case.
Patricia Carroll said Friday that discrepancies in evidence and other examples of law enforcement mishandling the case from the outset "warrants further investigation."
As Emily Bazelon points out at Slate, the list of things that the police failed to do while investigating the woman's allegations is long (and alarming):
They didn’t ask for [Winston's] DNA. They didn’t try to get Winston’s phone records or his social media postings. They didn’t interview anyone at the bar where she said she had been drinking, or ask for surveillance footage—which existed, but was taped over automatically after a month. They didn’t look for the cab driver, who, according to the accuser, took her, Winston, and another man to his room. They didn’t look for Winston’s friends, who the woman said saw what happened in his room, even though one of them was identified as an FSU player named Chris and was obviously Chris Casher.
After Winston’s lawyer talked to him first, Casher gave a statement backing up Winston last November; the same is true of a second teammate, Ronald Darby. Carroll says there are inconsistencies in what Casher told the police—including the fact that he said at one point, but not in the statement the police released, that he videotaped part of the sexual encounter, but then erased his phone (another piece of evidence that sounds like it was lost). An assistant state attorney said of Casher and Darby, “I have concerns about their credibility.”
The case is closed, and because of the deeply flawed nature of the investigation, the question of whether or not justice was served remains. And while we may never know what happened that night, an independent investigation could answer lingering questions about police conduct in the case and, most important of all, ensure that these mistakes aren't repeated.