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Friday, June 07, 2013

The Tawana Brawley Hoax: New York Times Report Covers 25 Years of Territory, and is Better Than One Might Expect

 

Race hoaxer Al Sharpton, l, with his protégé, Tawana Brawley (who has since availed herself of various aliases, including but not limited to Maryam Muhammad and Tawana Thompson), circa 1988. Sharpton has the blood of many victims on his hands, but his bloodlust will never be sated.


The Three Stooges: Alton Maddox, l, Al Sharpton, c, and C. Vernon Mason, r, circa 1988


Al Sharpton, undated, during the 1980s

 

Tawana Brawley, as she looks today

 

 

Posted by Nicholas Stix

Thanks to reader-researcher "W."

 

[Previously, on this criminal:

 

"The Tawana Brawley Hoax"; and

 

"Notorious Race/Rape Hoaxer/Fugitive Tawana Brawley, Alias Maryam Muhammad, Alias Tawana Thompson, Alias…Gets Hit with $431,000 Bill for Her Defamation of Steven Pagones: A WEJB/NSU Black History Month Moment."]





 

 

The Tawana Brawley Story

June 3, 2013

By Retro Report

 

Retro Report: In 1988, the nation learned the truth about the alleged crimes against Tawana Brawley, but the shocking story was far from over.

 

 

Revisiting a Rape Scandal That Would Have been Monstrous if True

By MICHAEL WINERIP

June 3, 2013

New York Times

437 comments

 

The news reports at the time, in the late 1980s, were horrific. Tawana Brawley, a 15-year-old African-American girl from the New York City area, was said to have been abducted and repeatedly raped by six white men. She was found with "KKK" written across her chest, a racial epithet on her stomach and her hair smeared with feces. She was so traumatized, according to reports, that at the hospital she answered yes-or-no questions by blinking her eyes. Making the crime even more vile, if that were possible, she and her lawyers later claimed that two of the rapists were law enforcement officials.

 

Ms. Brawley's spokesman was the Rev. Al Sharpton — a dapper television personality and political commentator these days, but a fiery street activist back then. At a news conference, he named suspects.

"We have the facts and the evidence that an assistant district attorney and a state trooper did this," Mr. Sharpton said. He called Gov. Mario M. Cuomo a racist and warned that powerful state officials were complicit. When asked whether Ms. Brawley would speak with the state attorney general, Robert Abrams, Mr. Sharpton said that would be like asking someone in a concentration camp to talk to Hitler.

But, as the meticulously researched Retro Report points out this week, it was all a hoax. After seven months, 6,000 pages of testimony and 180 witnesses, a grand jury found Ms. Brawley's story to be a lie. Neither the police officer nor the district attorney accused by Ms. Brawley and Mr. Sharpton had been involved in any way, the report concluded.

A Sharpton associate told the news media at the time that Ms. Brawley's lawyers, C. Vernon Mason and Alton H. Maddox Jr., and Mr. Sharpton were "frauds from the beginning."

And about six months after the hoax, Ms. Brawley's former boyfriend told Newsday that she had invented the allegations, apparently to avoid a beating by her mother's boyfriend after running away from home for four days.

Last week, Retro Report interviewed Mr. Sharpton and asked whether, 25 years later, he felt that any crime had occurred at all.

"Whatever happened," he answered, "you're dealing with a minor who was missing four days. So it's clear that something wrong happened."

Not exactly contrite.

As for Ms. Brawley, the video notes that she is now working as a nurse in Virginia under another name and has refused to explain her actions publicly. However, there is archival footage of an interview with her from many years back, in which she said: "What did I lie about? Lie about what? The grand jury to me didn't really exist — that was all a farce."

The report is the fifth in a weekly series that re-examines leading stories of decades past. The videos are typically 10 to 12 minutes long and are part of a collaboration between The New York Times and Retro Report, a documentary news organization formed last year.

The online project was started with a grant from Christopher Buck. Retro Report, which has a staff of 12 journalists and six contributors, is a nonprofit video news organization that aims to provide a thoughtful counterweight to today's 24/7 news cycle.

Previous Retro Report videos can be found here.

Visit the Retro Report Web site here.

Booming: Living Through the Middle Ages offers news and commentary about baby boomers, anchored by Michael Winerip. You can follow Booming via RSS here or visit nytimes.com/booming. You can reach us by e-mail at booming@nytimes.com.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Tawana Brawley Hoax would have been "Monstrous if True." We've seen quite a few criminal cases (that the NY Times and the rest of the MSM ignored) that were both monstrous AND true.

David In TN