In the Tawana Brawley case, a 15-year-old black girl was found smeared with feces, lying in a garbage bag, her clothing torn and burned and with various slurs and epithets written on her body in charcoal. Brawley claimed that she had been assaulted and raped by six white men, some of them police officers, on November 28, 1987, in the town of Wappingers Falls, New York.
The FBI was called in, and Brawley was questioned about what had happened. She claimed she had been raped by unidentified white men. When a rape exam came back inconclusive, she changed her story, saying that she had not been raped, but had been sexually abused. Further examinations revealed that Brawley had received no real injuries, nor did she show signs of exposure. Testimony from her schoolmates also indicated that she had been at a local party during the time of her supposed abduction.
The incident made headlines nationwide, and her cause was taken up by Sharpton, along with Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason. The three turned the incident into a media sensation; among other acts, they identified New York prosecutor Steven Pagones as one of the men involved, despite the lack of any evidence, and they likewise attempted to implicate higher officials in the State government.
Accusations continued to be levied; an ex-boyfriend of Brawley's told Newsday that Brawley had admitted to him that she had made up the story of the attack. She may have feared punishment from her stepfather and her mother, who had beaten her after previous runaway episodes. A grand jury was convened, and after seven months of examining police and medical records, the jury determined that Brawley's assault was a hoax.
Disbarment proceedings were begun against Maddox and Mason, and Brawley and her family moved hastily to Virginia, taking with them a "defense fund" of $300,000, which had been contributed by well-wishers.
In 1998, Pagones, whose career and marriage had been shattered, was awarded $345,000 (he sought $150 million) in a suit for defamation of character that he brought against Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason. Sharpton still refused to apologize to Pagones, and one of his friends paid the judgment money.
WELL AFTER A BIT OF REFLECTION I REALIZED NOT ONLY IF I HAD A SON HE WOULD LOOK LIKE TRAYVON BUT I COULD HAVE BEEN TRAYVON ... BOY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS LUCKY!