Sharpton And The Brawley Case


I am glad to see that the Rev. Al Sharpton is recognizing his role in the Crown Heights pogrom of 1991, is apologizing, and is moving toward teshuvah (“Sharpton Admits To Using ‘Cheap’ Rhetoric About Jews,” May 24).

However, I live in the Town of Wappinger (Duchess County, New York), which encompasses the Village of Wappingers Falls. In 1987 our community was torn apart by the Tawana Brawley case, in which then-teenager Brawley accused six white men of gangraping her. Among the accused were a policeman and a prosecutor.

Rev. Sharpton raced to Wappingers to aggrandize himself by bringing the Tawana Brawley case to national attention. Eventually the case was proven to be a hoax, but the damage it caused to the reputations of the men accused as well as to the harmony of our community is incalculable. Even though it was proved that Brawley invented the story to avoid a beating from her stepfather for being away from home for four days (according to her then-boyfriend), Rev. Sharpton has never apologized, to my knowledge, for the damage he caused. Perhaps his newfound humility and honesty will extend to us in Wappingers.

Wappingers Falls, N.Y.