The initial investigation of the assault was conducted by the UNC Department of Public Safety, but Branch said the process with DPS was met with problems and delays.
“This police force is not capable of properly investigating a sexual assault case to appropriate resolution,” she said. “There were so many missteps that took place throughout this investigation.”
In a written statement, Robinson said she watched previously recorded interviews between DPS, her assailant and his friend — who Branch said was a key witness to the events prior to the assault. Robinson said she became angry when she saw the way DPS officers treated the suspect.
“They told him, ‘Don’t sweat it, just keep on living your life and playing football,’” she said.
On Tuesday, UNC linebacker Allen Artis was suspended indefinitely because of a UNC athletics policy that players are suspended when they’re charged with misdemeanors, football spokesperson Kevin Best said.
Robinson and her lawyer said they sought self-sworn warrants Tuesday for two misdemeanor charges against Artis — misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor sexual battery.
Best said he could not confirm if those are the charges brought against Artis.
Artis did not respond to requests for comment by email, Facebook and through the athletic department.
Orange and Chatham County District Attorney Jim Woodall said DPS brought in his office early in the investigation. Branch said the DA’s office refused to prosecute the case.
In her statement, Branch said the DA’s office claimed Robinson was not unconscious and Assistant Orange County District Attorney Jeff Nieman told her, “Unconsciousness is rape, blackout drunk is not rape.”
“I think that Ms. Branch, the attorney for the alleged victim in this case, did not know the law in North Carolina when she first became involved,” Woodall said. “She did not understand the law as it pertained to mental incapacity and physical helplessness.”
Branch said an email from Nieman on Aug. 2 led her to believe the DA’s office considered the investigation closed.
Branch quoted the email at Tuesday’s press conference: “UNC DPS has made clear their determination. The evidence does not support criminal charges and our review of the investigation does not lead us to advise or otherwise take action to the contrary.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Woodall said the investigation is ongoing.
“The status of the case is — and I’ve confirmed this with the chief of police at the UNC Department of Public Safety Jeff McCracken — still an open investigation,” he said.
“And I have confirmed with one of the prosecutors from my office that on Aug. 26, the lead investigator consulted him about a recent interview that officer had done and that that officer was seeking some records on Aug. 29. So it is clearly an open investigation.”
Because of the information Branch received from the DA’s office, she said she and Robinson pursued an investigation with UNC’s Title IX Office on March 9. Branch said the Title IX office told them the decision would take 90 days but pushed the decision back until June 24, when interim Title IX compliance coordinator Katie Nolan told them the investigation was closed.
Assistant University Editor Jamie Gwaltney contributed reporting.