FLASHBACK: Brawley Documentary Reminds Us of Sharpton's Past

FLASHBACK: Brawley Documentary Reminds Us of Sharpton's Past

It’s good to be reminded every now and then how truly awful Al Sharpton is.

As the New York Times has moved into the digital age, it is releasing a good deal of well-produced video content, and its fifteen minute documentary on the Tawana Brawley rape case and Al Sharpton is no exception. The video report is also notable for not sparing Sharpton as it lays out the facts of the story.

In November 1987, a fifteen year-old black teenager named Tawana Brawley was found in Wappinger’s Falls, NY wrapped in a plastic bag, with feces in her hair and with “KKK’ and the n-word written on her body. She claimed to have abucted and then raped and sodomized by six white men.

She quicky gained a set of advisors headed by Al Sharpton along with attorneys C. Vernon Mason and Alton Maddox, fresh off a round of racially charged publicity in the Howard Beach incident. Sharpton wanted to make New York the new capital of racism in the world and made a round of media appearences where he said things like: “We want to show the world how low down doggish and callous the state of New York is.”

The media circus lasted months. Brawley and her advisors soon raised the stakes, and said two of her assilants were an assistant district attorney and a police officer who had committed suicide a few days after Brawley was found. Sharpton and the others called him out by name and made other public charges against law enforcement that were as outlandish as you can imagine. A source in the video points out: “Maddox would actually say that the attorney general of the state of New York was masturbating over pictures of 15-year old Tawana Brawley.”

However, as the authorities continued to investigate, a number of things weren’t adding up in Brawley’s story. When the police attempted to sit down with her, she refused to cooperate. In the course of the interviews with police, Brawley only said one word; instead of speaking, she communicated by blinking. Meawhile, Sharpton kept up his high profile campaign. As an investigator on the case said, “We might send them a letter, and they’d have a press conference.”

A look into the motivations of the advisors came from Perry McKinnon, a decorated war hero who was a close associate of Sharpton. The New York Times shows an interview with McKinnon in which he says: “This whole situation is not about Tawana Brawley. It’s about Mason, Maddox and Sharpton taking over the town. Their exact words were, ‘We beat this, we will be the biggest (n-words) in New York.”

In the video, a present-day Al Sharpton gives a skillful non-denial denial to McKinnon’s accusation. It is notable because Sharpton doesn’t say McKinnion is simply lying, instead parsing his words gingerly:” Let’s take the outside chance McKinnon is telling the truth–and by the way, there’s nobody corroborating with that–if I say that if I win for President when I ran I’d be the biggest black guy in America; does that really mean that I perpetrated a lie?”

Investigation eventually proved what an increasing number of people were suspecting: Tawana Brawley had faked her own attack and allowed Sharpton, Mason and Maddox to drag two innocent men’s names through the media mud for months. 

A grand jury found that Ms. Brawley had lied. Later, Ms. Brawley’s boyfriend said that she had faked the attack in order to avoid a beating from her mother for spending days with the boyfriend. 

Brawley currently works in Virgina as a nurse under an assumed name. Maddox and Mason both lost their law licenses, eventually.

Sharpton went to lead other racially charged and factually challenged protests in cases like the beating of a white student in Jena, Louisiana and the Trayvon Martin case. Sharpton is a close ally of President Barack Obama and has his own MSNBC show.

In the video, Sharpton is still unrepentant about the Brawley incident. He refuses to even say that Brawley was lying, instead claiming: “Whatever happened, you’re dealing with a minor who was missing for four days, so it’s clear that something wrong happened.”

As a commentor in the video says about Sharpton’s involvement in the Brawley case, “He has managed to trascend it magically.”

But it’s no magic. It’s the exact same trick that allows proven liars like Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner to come back. Al Sharpton himself lays it out in the video: “Even if you think I was wrong on some cases, don’t act like I wasn’t geared towards social justice.”

That’s the ultimate defense for liberals; “I’m a liberal!” And the worst part is that it works. 


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