Longform

Case Closed

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Recently he agreed to meet at Denny's again, but this time he didn't eat. He was too busy denying he'd had a sexual relationship with Chester, much less that he'd threatened her. "You've got to understand internal affairs," he said. "They've been after me forever. They'd do anything to get me. I'm lucky to be alive. Of course that's what they're going to say -- that I threatened or coerced this girl. Whatever dirt they can pile on Walter Clark they will. They get inmates to make complaints against corrections officers all the time.... Fortunately I'm still alive. They've murdered black folks in this town for exposing injustice for years."

Over the course of three interviews with New Times, Clark went from saying he didn't have contact with Chester outside of jail to saying he didn't have much contact with her to conceding that he rented an apartment for her and took her on a cruise. By the end he seemed to acknowledge that, word for word, her story was going to appear more credible than his. With that in mind, he wanted one thing on the record: He never forced anyone to do anything.

"Look here," he said, "with that cruise, we was all friends, we were all going to have a little fun. Is that against the law? All I want you to see is that there was no coercion.

"Whatever you write, I just want it perfectly clear there was no coercion on my part."

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Tristram Korten
Contact: Tristram Korten