The Al Sharpton School of Law

Whatever happened to innocent until proved guilty? Are we deciding murder cases now by taking polls?

As Trayvon Martin’s parents call for calm, debate heats up in the media itself, not about the Florida teenager’s shooting death, but about Al Sharpton’s multiple roles in the case as cable news host, racial agitator, judge and jury.

A quarter of a century ago, the Reverend Al began his public career as champion of Tawana Brawley, a black teenage girl in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. who, after staying out overnight, invented a story of gang rape by white law officers, which ended with a Grand Jury finding Sharpton guilty of defamation and ordered to pay damages to the accused.

Since then, Sharpton has morphed into super-celebrity as a presidential candidate in Democratic debates as well as the beneficiary of free face time in every incident with racial overtones since then, including the firing of Don Imus, culminating in his hiring as an MSNBC news host last year.

In the Trayvon Martin case, Sharpton’s antics have been abetted by the failure of local Florida authorities for weeks to provide details about the accused, allowing one-sided news to escalate into a national uproar, involving even the President.

Now, in slow leaks, facts begin to emerge.

MORE.

Author: ROBERT STEIN

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12 Comments

  1. RAL, I think your opinions and views are generally respected around here, so I am glad you are the one who brought up TB. I have been wanting to do so since our debate on innuendo and hearsay has begun regarding the TM tragedy, but have not.

    Unless, he has completely changed, has paid the fine that was imposed on him, he is still a racebater and grandstander.

    Shame on MSNBC.

    I feel most sorry for the TM family, as they are being put through hell.

    After a hopefully thorough and fair inquiry, there is enough time to assign any blame.

  2. We do not live in an ideal world where dispassionate pursuit of justice is achieved routinely by the instruments of government. The best we have come up with is a system of advocates that we hope are on a level playing field following mutually agreed on rules. That is how it works inside our courts. What happens outside the courtroom is important also and influences the inside. This is not the way things would work in a world of angels, but it is what we have to accept as the best we can get.
    Sharpton advocates for his people. His people have been subjected to plenty of injustice. Frankly, the TB case was a travesty, but it occured in a country where a system of oppression, injustice, and humiliation was a formal part of everyday life for black people. My mother once was chastized for drinking from the wrong water fountain in Chattanooga.
    Two people were in some kind of a confrontation, a shot was fired, one of them is dead. To me every homicide deserves careful investigation. The authorities were prepared to let this case go except for the agitation.

  3. Good points, Mars. But, just like the bad white racist agitators, aren’t there some over the line people like Sharpton and those posting a bounty.

  4. DD
    Let’s see how many lynchings and white jury nullification resulted in keeping segregation and racism the law in the South(even the North.) The white man isn’t threatened even though Pat Buchanan and Charles Murray claim it’s so…

  5. Your point?

  6. Well, I brough TB up in a former column to caution that first accounts are not always (actually almost never) what they seem.

    Rev. Al is a smart guy. I’m not sure if he jumps on every incident because there are so many that happen without justice prevailing, or if he does it because this might just be the one to make things change. I suspect both. I really don’t think he is just venal.

    There was an interesting exchange on CNN’s Erin Burnett show between a black pastor who works at trying to change black on black violence in Chicago and the black pundit Roland Martin.

    The pastor was stating that Revs. Al and Jackson were always at the media frenzy events but as far as down in the hood, not so much. The amusing part was when Martin started listing all the things he is doing for black people – a talk show, blog, punditry – not realizing the irony of his position.

    Of course, there is a great deal black leaders can do on the national level to bring attention to injustice; it just seems to me they sometimes neglect some real problems on the local level; but bless their heart, they’re doing SOMETHING.

  7. OK, Ohio, you got it right and first.

  8. BTW: does any one know if AS ever paid the court ordered judgement?

  9. Wrong is wrong. It is wrong to race-bait. Meanwhile, Mars, saying that Sharpton advocates for “his people” is the problem. Isn’t it supposed to be us? As in “our people”? I mean, I’m an American. He is an American. Americans are supposed to accept one anothers’ differences, right? That does not make it “us vs. them” does it?

    The entire reason that wars are begun and fought is that people think in an “us versus them” attitude. Trayvon Martin is my son, your son, and every American’s son. He was a young man with his whole life ahead of him. Another one of “us” killed him. Now that man is being hunted by “some of us” who happen to think in an “us versus them” attitude.

  10. Ohio, thank you and thanks to AS for finally paying his debt.

  11. Here’s a deal, lefties keep AS and we keep RL.

    The worst of both worlds.

    BTW: I hope Spike Lee , he may have “done” the second worst thing after Roseanne Barr in this whole tragedy, paid through the nose for his idiocy.
    Sue Barr.

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