Good O' Boy Roundup Report - March, 1996

IV. OIG Findings Regarding Allegations of Racial and
Criminal Misconduct at the Roundup

This section addresses each allegation of racist or criminal misconduct we received, the evidence developed, and our findings based on the evidence. For the allegations found to be substantiated, where possible, we will also identify the responsible persons. Before reporting our findings, however, it is important to note that virtually all of the allegations and the evidence regarding these allegations are based on eyewitness recollections. Asking eyewitnesses to recall events occurring years ago is a difficult proposition under the best of circumstances. When one factors in that many of these people had consumed great quantities of alcohol at the time, the risks that such recollections are distorted or inaccurate are magnified. Consequently, many of the eyewitness accounts OIG received differ in material respects; some of the accounts are contradictory. We have attempted to set forth the different versions of events where relevant, to resolve the discrepancies where possible, and to explain the basis for our findings. In this regard, we note that many individuals could not recall the exact year in which they saw something that could be construed as racist or criminal. In many cases witnesses gave us a range of possible years in which the conduct may have occurred. We made every effort to resolve these uncertainties by considering other known facts, largely the testimony of other witnesses.

Relying on eyewitness recollections also requires making credibility determinations for each of the witnesses. It was apparent from the outset that witnesses, including attendees, had possible motives to cast the Roundup in a certain light, either good or bad. We therefore scrutinized each witness's testimony carefully, considering whether the person had an obvious or strong motive to exaggerate, fabricate, or significantly understate the facts; whether they revealed information that was unfavorable to their particular interest; whether their testimony was corroborated or contradicted by other witnesses; whether their testimony was plausible or implausible; whether there was any physical evidence supporting or contradicting their testimony; and whether their recollections were hazy or detailed. The majority of our interviews, including all of the high priority interviews, were conducted in person so we could also assess the witness's demeanor. We did not hesitate to cross-examine witnesses, especially where we had received conflicting information. In some cases we found credible some of what a particular witness said, but incredible some of the other testimony from the same witness. No single group of witnesses was wholly credible or incredible, so we carefully parsed the various testimony before making our conclusions regarding the facts.

It also should be noted that while we spoke to significant numbers of attendees over a broad range of years, we did not and could not speak with everyone who attended. Because we must rely on after-the-fact reconstruction of events, we cannot know everything that happened at the Roundup or know everything to a certainty. We sought, however, to speak to as broad a range of witnesses as possible and to sufficient numbers of witnesses so that we could have maximum confidence in the conclusions that we reached.