Friday, February 01, 2013
25 years ago, America's race pimps used a 15-year-old black teenager as a willing tool in an exercise in political theater that could easily have come out of Hollywood.
Tawana Brawley of Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County, New York was found in a trash bag covered in feces with the words “n- - - -r” and “bitch” scrawled on her body and “KKK” carved on her shoes.With the prompting of Al Sharpton, then largely unknown outside New York, she claimed she had been gang raped by a group of white men.
A week later, a local police officer, Harry Crist Jr., committed suicide and Sharpton used his death as an excuse to libel the dead man as one of the participants. And when former Dutchess County prosecutor Steven Pagones, a friend of Crist came to his defense, he was likewise accused of being part of the gang that 'raped' Tawana Brawly by Al Sharpton and his crew, and they used the media to amplify their bogus accusation.
When the case went to court, Brawley's lies were totally disproved, and she, Rev Al and her lawyers Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason were all slapped with hefty defamation verdicts. Sharpton, Mason and Maddox, of course, never had even the common decency to apologize to Pagones or to Crist's family, and in Sharpton's case his $66,000 judgment was finally paid to Pagones by a group that included OJ Simpson's lawyer Johnny Cochran.And Sharpton now had nation-wide fame. But the group didn't deem Tawana Brawley important enough any more to pay off the $190,000 judgment Pagones won against her for essentially trying to ruin Pagones' life and career.
So she simply ducked out, changed her name, kept on moving and forgot about it.
Pagones has finally found her, 25 years later. She was living under the name Tawana Vacenia Thompson Gutierrez in Hopewell, Va., and working as a licensed nurse at a nursing home in nearby Richmond.
That $190,000, with court ordered interest now totals $431,492, and wage-garnishment papers have been filed in Virginia’s Surry County ordering Brawley, a single mother, to pay for what she did a quarter century ago.That garnishment could amount to 25% of her wages according to Virginia State law.
Pagones, for his part, has signaled that he might be willing to forgo the money in exchange for something that he's never received in all that time - the truth.
“There is a feeling of unfinished business to it,” he said of the case that ended his career and cost him his marriage. “I look at this as another opportunity for her to tell the truth.
“People criticize me for going after a hardworking single mother trying to support herself and child. My argument has been she has not been held accountable.
“If she is not going to tell the truth, then it is about the money. That is the only way to hold her accountable,” said Pagones, who is now principal owner of a private investigations firm.
But Pagones said he wonders if Sharpton will again try to rush to her aid and bail her out.
“I’ve got to believe since he is primarily responsible for all the damage done, I would think he would come to her aid. That’s what I expect,” Pagones said.
Actually, Rev Al - or more likely, those close to him - might very well do that. Faced with the prospect of finally having her own life affected by the scam she willingly participated in 25 years ago, Brawly might actually choose to go public and give us details on exactly how Sharpton manufactured this sordid scenario. We'll see.
Another thing I'm quite interested in is whether one of Sharpton's good friends and intimates, President Barack Obama is going to weigh in on this. President Obama has been noted in the past for commenting on matters where he felt racial injustice was involved, even when it concerned an obscure disturbing the peace bust in a college town.
This is a pretty clear case of racial injustice perpetrated on Steven Pagones by someone the president knows quite well. Is the president going to say anything? Or are we to conclude that his concern for justice is segregated and has a racial color line?