The new movement to peg Al Sharpton for responsibility in the slaying of two New York Police Department officers on Saturday has roots in reality. The murderer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, posted on Instagram about the murders in advance: “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today,” he wrote. “They Take 1 Of Ours…Let’s Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner #RIPMikeBrown.”
After years of portraying American police as brutally racist and evil, culminating in Sharpton’s leadership of the falsely-premised “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe” movements surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Sharpton certainly bears some culpability for the murders of the officers. He bears even more culpability for the reactions of those celebrating the murders in their aftermath; he, more than anyone else, helped forward the perception that officers treat the black community like “Nazis or Hamas” treat Jews, as Van Jones once told me.
Sharpton has denounced the officers’ murders, of course. “We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown,” Sharpton said in a statement released by his National Action Network. He then called a press conference to play audio of threats he received after the killings of the officers. Poor baby.
Sharpton isn’t merely today’s premiere race-baiter. He has his own show on MSNBC; he’s welcome at the White House; he’s been called in by Sony as racial arbiter after racially-laced emails from Sony executives came to light.
The murder of these two officers casts Sharpton in a bad light. But Sharpton always should have been perceived in a bad light. At least Sharpton has plausible deniability with regard to these shootings – he’s mouthed slogans about how not all cops are evil lately. In fact, these shootings are the latest entry in the Sharpton hall of shame:
Tawana Brawley. In 1987, Sharpton, then fat and clad in a track suit, trotted out 15-year-old Tawana Brawley to make false accusations of rape. She claimed she had been kidnapped, raped, and then had racial slurs written on her body in excrement. Sharpton fingered prosecutor Steven Pagones in the crime. The entire rape had been fabricated; Sharpton, it turns out, may have known Brawley was lying all along. Pagones won a slander lawsuit against Sharpton. Sharpton never paid what he owed, instead leaving it to his supporters to do so. Pagones told TruthRevolt last year, “I view Al Sharpton as being nothing more than an opportunist and a race-baiter… what I hope the networks and advertisers would push for — would be for Sharpton to admit that he now knows that Steve Pagones and the other individuals he lied about had nothing to do with whatever happened to Brawley.”
Crown Heights Riots. In 1991, after a Chasidic Jew accidentally killed a young black child in a car accident, Sharpton went to Crown Heights, where he spoke at the funeral for the child. There, he said that “diamond merchants” had “blood of innocent babies” on their hands. He also said, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.” The Crown Heights riots led to the death of Yankel Rosenbaum, an Orthodox Jewish student. Rosenbaum’s brother told TruthRevolt, “He has never apologized, he has never offered any sincere remorse for the atrocious things he has done by way of terrible racist behavior and lies, for inciting racial events. Anybody who takes a look at that person and wants to spend advertising dollars on him should take a hard look at their moral stance in terms of their position in business, in commerce, and in the community.”
Freddy’s Fashion Mart. In 1995, Freddy’s Fashion Mart raised rent on a black-owned music store. That was because Freddy’s Fashion Mart had its own rent raised by a black landlord in Harlem. But that didn’t stop Sharpton from blaming Freddy’s Fashion Mart, accusing them of racism. “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business,” Sharpton said. Protesters yelled, “Burn down the Jew store.” One of the protesters then shot four employees of Freddy’s and set the store on fire. As Jeff Jacoby wrote in 2003, “If Sharpton were a white skinhead, he would be a political leper, spurned everywhere but the fringe.”
Maligning White Non-Rapists. After the accusations of one Crystal Gail Mangum, a stripper who accused three Duke lacrosse players of raping her, turned out to be false, Sharpton showed up ready for battle. “I think that when you look at the racial atmosphere, when you look at the fact that there again were the allegations of racial statements, when you look at a lot of people feeling that they have been treated differently, where this girl has basically had a character charged in the media, there is a lot of racism that’s in the air,” he told Bill O’Reilly. Not only was Mangum lying, she was later convicted for murdering her boyfriend.
Defending Black Rapists. In 2008, after ten men raped and sodomized a woman in front of her 12-year-old son, and forced the son to have sex with his own mother, four of those men were indicted. They were black. So Sharpton decided that racism was at work. “You cannot have one set of rules for acts that are wrong and horrific in Boca and another set in Dunbar Village,” Sharpton said, referring to the supposed discrepancy between justice in black areas and white areas. “You must have equal protection under the law.” All four defendants were found guilty.
Trayvon Martin. After black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by Hispanic neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, Sharpton accused Zimmerman of racism – as well as the police force of Sanford, Florida. “We are tired of going to jail for nothing and others going home for something. Zimmerman should have been arrested that night… you cannot defend yourself against a pack of Skittles and iced tea. Don’t talk to us like we’re stupid! Don’t talk to us like we’re ignorant!” Sharpton yelled. He then added, “Trayvon could have been any one of our sons,” a line later infamously parroted by President Obama.
Sharpton’s resume is long and nasty. The deaths of two police officers are merely the latest update.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.