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Durham council members' Wikipedia scandal | Roxboro "no-knock" raid | Duke researcher w/ falsified data
No. 30 — Jul. 23-29, 2023
“Durham Officials Directed City Attorney to Try to Unmask Anonymous Wikipedia Editors” - Indy Week
This week, three Durham Democrats enlisted the city attorney to to send a letter on city letterhead to Wikipedia last month asking for the "identity and real names" of three anonymous users. Mayor Elaine O’Neal and city Council Members DeDreana Freeman and Monique Holsey-Hyman each took issue with publicly available reporting and material that had been included in each of their articles.
Holsey-Hyman in particular referenced “unflattering information”, referring to the fact that the Wikipedia article on her included of public reporting regarding an scandal involving her and Freeman. Here’s what I wrote back in March:
Durham City Council member Monique Holsey-Hyman has been accused of extorting a developer. Holsey-Hyman allegedly suggested to a property developer that she would support a project in exchange for a donation to her campaign. As a newcomer to politics (Holsey-Hyman was appointed to her seat in 2022), perhaps she was not aware that the exchange of financial support for political favors is best left unstated. An outright request for such an exchange is quite gauche, as well as potential indicative of a sting operation.
After the meeting, fellow council member DeDreana Freeman was caught on camera by WRAL screeching at Mayor Pro-Tem Mark-Anthony Middleton over the allegations: “This is how you treat black women!” Middleton is black, like all but one of the council members.
Freeman is also quoted by WRAL taking a classic critical theory/intersectional approach to defending Holsey-Hyman:
"It's troubling how this has come forward, and it's been troubling me as a matter of the way in which council member Hyman has explained the mis-representations that she did explain, and how it's dismissed in a very matter of fact ways," Freeman said. "It's often dismissed whenever a woman is speaking at this dais.”
Does Freeman truly believe that a white male council member would not have been reported and investigated for the same behavior? We’ll probably never know.
Just last week, before this latest scandal broke, Freeman announced that she is running to replace her apparent ally O’Neal as Mayor of Durham (O’Neal announced he retirement shortly before this letter was sent).
O’Neal, Freeman, and Holsey-Hyman did not get the requested identities from Wikipedia, instead receiving an additional paragraph in each of their articles outlining this latest scandal:
Roxboro Police Department asked to apologize for “no-knock” raid
“Woman & NAACP say NC police seized her dog and raided her home without cause” - News & Observer
“Roxboro woman wants apology as emotional scars linger from 'SWAT-style' raid of her home” - WRAL
Shayla Tapp was at her Roxboro home on January 6th, 2023, when the Roxboro Police broke down her back door to execute a marijuana-odor-based search warrant.
According to Tapp, she was in the shower when police knocked on her door to execute the warrant, only emerging as they battered her door off the hinges with guns drawn. The damaged door can be seen in an image captured for the News & Observer: link. The raid resulted in two misdemeanor marijuana charges, which were dismissed by District Attorney Mike Waters earlier this month:
Six months later, the district attorney dismissed two misdemeanor charges against Tapp, stating that officers didn’t have the right to take Tapp’s pet or burst into her home.
“Body camera video showed officers served the search warrant in a ‘no-knock’ manner despite there being no articulable suspicion of drug trafficking or drug trade or anything other than a Class 3 misdemeanor,” stated Assistant District Attorney Michael Carpenter on the court form dismissing Tapp’s two charges.
Tapp attorney attributes the police’s behavior as “retaliation” for her behavior during a dispute over a dog earlier in the day:
Officers had been at Tapp’s house earlier that day to improperly seize her dog, Abraham Rubert-Schewel, her attorney, said. Officers returned within hours to execute a swat-style raid in retaliation for Tapp expressing her displeasure about police taking her dog, Rubert-Schewel contends.
Although the raid was described as “no-knock” by the Assistant District Attorney, Tapp does describe hearing knocking on her door before the police broke it down:
Shayla Tapp was in the shower at her Roxboro home when she heard the knocking on her door.
“I am in the shower,” she said she shouted. “I said it like three times.”
Tapp, 36, grabbed a towel and was drying off as she stepped over the tub and out of the bathroom.
Next she saw her backdoor fly off the hinges as about six police officers with guns drawn raced toward her shouting and cursing.
“Shut the f — up,” the officers yelled, Tapp said. “Get the f — down.”
Duke “superstar honesty researcher” roasted by supposed source of data for falisified study
Fabricated data in research about honesty. You can't make this stuff up. Or, can you? - NPR
Two years ago, Dan Ariely was first implicated in using fabricated data in a study on honesty. The source of the original data, a 213-year-old insurance company called The Hartford, has now released a statement (via NPR) accusing Ariely of “violating [their] contract with him” by publishing the data they provided to him without their consent, as well as detailing the differences between the data they provided to Ariely and the data that was published in the study:
“The data is not the same: There is a significant difference between the size, shape and characteristics of our data versus the published data”
“It is clear the data was manipulated inappropriately and supplemented by synthesized or fabricated data”
Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. Ariely also founded The Center for Advanced Hindsight, which he brought with him to Duke University in 2008. Ariely defended his integrity to Science back in 2021 when the allegations first surfaced:
Ariely emphatically denies making up the data, however, and says he quickly brought the matter to the attention of Duke’s Office of Scientific Integrity. (The university declined to say whether it is investigating Ariely.) The data were collected by an insurance company, Ariely says, but he no longer has records of interactions with it that could reveal where things went awry. “I wish I had a good story,” Ariely told Science. “And I just don’t.”
Full statement by The Hartford:
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