"How could we make this up and take down the state of New York? We're just regular people ... We should be millionaires."

— Glenda King, mother of Tawana Brawley, to her husband, during a recent interview with the New York Daily News

It was about eighteen years ago that Tawana, Glenda, her husband and younger son moved to Virginia. Their move was funded in part by approximately $300,000 donated to Ms. Brawley's defense fund. The funds were raised by politician and black activist Rev. Al Sharpton, and other supporters of Ms. Brawley. Attorney C. Vernon Mason officially represented Ms. Brawley and her family. Another of Ms. Brawley's attorneys, Alton Maddox, now disbarred because of an unrelated matter, has taken up Ms. Brawley's cause yet again, arranging for appearances, brief speeches, and also funding travel opportunities for Ms. Brawley which are unrelated to speaking about her cause.

It looks like the money's run out and it's time to have another go-around with the State of New York, at least so far as Glenda King is concerned.

Cover-up or Hoax?

Tawana Brawley was fifteen years old when she went missing the night of November 24, 1987. The following Saturday, she was found in the early afternoon in what was reported to be a "dazed" condition. Ms. Brawley was discovered to have feces smeared on her body and racial epithets written on her person and on her clothing. Ms. Brawley is black.

Ms. Brawley, but for a piece of paper containing the words "white cop," has not made a single statement under oath about what happened to her while she was gone. She has not given a concise, chronological list of events, her location(s) and, if any, companions during the time she was missing, nor acts on the part of perpetrators, (as traumatic as that may have been for her at the time or would be at a future time).

It goes without saying that Ms. Brawley's testimony would have been of inestimable value to our investigation. As a result, we extended two written invitations to her and ultimately voted to subpoena her. However, we have heard testimony that Ms. Brawley did not return to school in Monticello, New York at the start of the school year in September, 1988, and has enrolled in high school in another state. We concluded that the two previously extended invitations have sufficiently notified Ms. Brawley of our desire to hear from her and that this report need not be further delayed. Accordingly, we withdrew our subpoena.

— Report of the Grand Jury, Supreme Court of the State of New York for Dutchess County

Absent Ms. Brawley's testimony, I'd hazard a guess that the preponderance of circumstantial evidence discovered by the Grand Jury in this case is demonstrative that a) no one but Tawana Brawley caused her absence and b) no one but Tawana Brawley caused the presence of marks and feces on her body. No doubt frustrated by Ms. Brawley's failure to cooperate, the Grand Jury relied on evidence including, but not limited to, the following key points when crafting their decision (the complete text of the Grand Jury report is cited below):

  • She was seen at a party during the time of her supposed "disappearance." This accusation was recanted when the witness was asked to say so under oath.
  • She was seen by a public bus driver as well as a taxicab driver during the time of her absence.
  • A woman doing housecleaning in an apartment near the one next to which Brawley was found saw Ms. Brawley get into the black plastic bag in which she was found and "hop" inside the bag to a different location. This woman was also the one who notified police of Ms. Brawley's location at the apartment complex.
  • It just so happens that the apartment complex where Ms. Brawley was found happened to be the previous residence of Ms. Brawley, her infant brother, mother and father. Their former apartment was found unlocked by police investigators and contained samples of feces similar to the ones found on Ms. Brawley, fibers which were consistent with burnt fibers used to inscribe the racial epithets on Ms. Brawley and various and sundry other articles of clothing, hair, and fibers leading investigators to believe that Ms. Brawley was inside the apartment shortly before she was spotted outdoors by the neighbor. An electric heater had been turned over, onto the carpet, and was set on "high," causing a stench variously described as "burning rubber" and "burning electrical wires" throughout the apartment.
  • A thorough investigation of Ms. Brawley's presence ruled out rape or even physical mistreatment of her. Although she'd claimed that the rape had taken place in a wooded area, no leaves, twigs, bits of brush, etc. consistent with her having been pushed on the ground in a wooded area existed.
  • During the entire period of her absence no one placed a missing persons call to the police.

It is important to note that in light of the key facts listed above and Ms. Brawley's failure to even attempt to disprove them, it can be assumed that it would cast more than a shadow of doubt on Ms. Brawley's original accusation in the mind of any reasonable individual, Grand Juror or not.

The difficulty with this is that the concept of "reasonable doubt" does not come into play when a Grand Jury is deciding whether or not to indict an individual or individuals. What a Grand Jury needs to indict is factual evidence that a crime indeed has been committed, and that that evidence links the victim with the perpetrator. Of course, that did not happen here.

Once the Grand Jury dismissed the case, all that Ms. Brawley's representatives could do was cry "foul!" and come up with the even more ridiculous claim, later found libelous, that there was some sort of very complex, racially-driven cover-up perpetrated by various members of the New York State justice department.

Frankly, the entire claim and subsequent accusal of a cover-up was so exquisitely ridiculous that only the likes of Rev. Sharpton, Mr. Maddox and Mr. Mason could utter the conjured details with a straight face. They did so, and legions of ignorant people (black and white) bought into it merely because it boiled down to the "power elite" versus a fifteen-year-old girl. Beside, the time happened to be right given the climate of racial tension of the moment.

Was this the end?

In 1998, a well-dressed, happy, upbeat Tawana gave a heart-rending speech in a Baptist church. She discussed moving on with her life and chalking her experience up to racism and crooked government. Her speech came a day prior to the announcement of a civil judgment against herself, Maddox, Attorney Vernon Mason, and Rev. Sharpton. The suit was brought by Assistant State's Attorney Steven Pagones, who was accused of taking part in the "attack" on Ms. Brawley.

A judgment for the Plaintiff, Mr. Pagones, was entered against Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason. A judgment against Ms. Brawley was previously entered because she'd completely ignored the Complaint in the case, failed to respond to it, and therefore suffered a default judgment. She has yet to pay a dime of that money to Mr. Pagones.

Sadly, one individual, a Westchester County police officer with a history of emotional distress, was not there to witness the vindication of Mr. Pagones. The officer killed himself shortly after being named by one of Ms. Brawley's attorneys as another participant in her alleged rape and beating.

Above the Law?

New demands have been made of the Court and the Attorney General of the State of New York by the Brawley family by way of exhuming this matter so that, to paraphrase Ms. Brawley's mother, Glenda, "justice may be served." Glenda King claims that there are "sealed documents" which, if unsealed by a judge, would shed a whole new light on her daughter's case. Ms. King hopes to re-visit the State of New York to pursue re-opening the case.

There's one problem. Ms. King is considered a fugitive from justice in the State of New York because of her refusal to answer subpoenas of the Court and therefore is subject to arrest the moment she sets foot on New York soil. She and attorney Mason, in November of 2007, asked for "amnesty" from prosecution so that she may pursue her case.

Tawana Brawley's mother is a fugitive from justice; that's a crime. She's a criminal. Were she white, a hue and cry would come up that she considered herself "above the law" and to hell with her case. That is, until she's answered to the Court for the matter of her failure to appear. It's interesting that when the New York Daily News published the story of Ms. King's request for "amnesty" from her fugitive status, not a heck of a lot more was heard about it.

When the late "Queen of Mean," Leona Helmsley, made repeated efforts to delay or hinder prosecution of her tax evasion charges, the media reported a public outcry that she could avoid paying for her heinous crimes because justice could be bought. It turns out, in the case of Ms. Helmsley, it could not, and she was duly convicted and sentenced after exhausting every possible legal machination to try to keep her delicate self out of jail.

"I'm Baaaack!"

Could it be that Ms. King is so out of touch with reality that she truly believes that the evidence she claims was "sealed" will exonerate her daughter? This mysterious evidence is all she'll have to work with, because her daughter, as of this writing, has confirmed that she will not participate in a re-hashing of the turbulent trial of her youth. Tawana Brawley wants to get on with her life as a healthcare worker in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Howard University, Ms. Brawley has certainly turned her life around, and says that she enjoys the life she's leading now and has turned her back on the past.

Could it be that Ms. King has decided that should she whip up racial tensions in New York once again, she'll reap the rewards of a "defense fund" of one sort or another with the support of her old cronies Sharpton et. al.? Would that were the truth, should we expect a visit from Mrs. King every fifteen or twenty years or so to "go back to the well" to enrich herself yet again for being a poster-child for civil rights?

Is it merely the public's attention that Ms. King longs for? Conservative writer Michelle Malkin coined the word "brawleyism" and recently discussed several significant hoaxes which were perpetrated on college campuses merely by students (and in one case a professor of psychology) who're needy for attention. Ms. Malkin writes:

This vicious strain of Tawana Brawleyism is alive and well on college campuses. In these educational temples of the perpetually aggrieved, rationality and truth have been recklessly sacrificed at the altar of diversity.

Ms. Malkin examines the peculiar need for attention that causes otherwise bright, rational human beings to engage in ridiculous and costly hijinks in her essay "Hate Crimes 101: Tawana Brawley Goes to College" at www.vdare.com/malkin/brawleyism.htm.

The cogs of American Jurisprudence turn slowly but they do, indeed turn. To allow Glenda King a "pass" on a fugitive from justice charge so she can rabble-rouse once again in New York would be tantamount to putting a large wrench in those cogs.


  • "Tawana Brawley's Mom Seeks Amnesty" by Dorian Block, The New York Daily News, November 19, 2007 http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007/11/19/2007-11-19_tawana_brawleys_mom_seeks_amnesty.html (Accessed 12/11/07)
  • "Report: Family Wants Tawana Brawley Case Reopened," The Associated Press, Feed November 18, 2007 (Various sources, accessed 12/11/07) http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hFARnhr0V3Ppyb2avOmOCIzXVtawD8T0CHG00
  • "20 Years Later, Tawana Brawley has Turned Back on the Past," by Dorian Block, The New York Daily News, November 18, 2007 http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007/11/18/2007-11-18_20_years_later_tawana_brawley_has_turned.html (Accessed 12/11/07)
  • "Report of the Grand Jury Concerning the Tawana Brawley Investigation" Dutchess County, NY Grand Jury impaneled on February 29, 1988 http://www.courttv.com/archive/legaldocs/newsmakers/tawana/part1.html#events (Accessed 12/11/07)
  • "The Tawana Brawley Lie Continues" by Doug Mataconis, "Below The Beltway" http://belowthebeltway.com/2007/11/18/the-tawana-brawley-lie-continues/ (Accessed 12/11/07)
  • "Hate Crimes 101: Tawana Brawley Goes to College" by Michelle Malkin, "VDare" http://www.vdare.com/malkin/brawleyism.htm (Accessed 12/11/07)