At about 9 p.m. on March 16, 2006, Dave Evans was napping in his room at his rental house on 610 North Buchanan in Durham, North Carolina, when “I woke up to thundering knocks on my door like it was going to be broken down.” The Duke University senior, one of four co-captains of the school’s highly ranked lacrosse team, had just finished a grueling practice. Dave and co-captain Matt Zash, who also lived in the house, yelled to each other about who would get the door. Suddenly Dave heard, “Police! Freeze! Don’t move! Put your hands up!”
He ran into the living room. “There were all these cops with their flashlights in our eyes,” he recalled. “It was like in a movie or something. The next thing you know, they were patting us down, going through our pockets, yelling, ‘Why didn’t you answer the door?’ I said I was sleeping. They shouted, ‘Who was in the backyard?’ ”
The cops said that they had a search warrant. Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Officer Benjamin Himan had obtained it after interviewing a 27-year-old black woman named Crystal Mangum earlier in the day. An exotic dancer—a stripper—she claimed she was gang-raped at this house three nights earlier. As the officers read from the warrant, Evans and Zash interjected. These were lies, they said, and asked for a chance to tell what really happened.