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Al Sharpton on Crime

Reverend; Civil Rights Activist; Democratic Candidate for President


Giuliani’s tone allowed Louima police brutality

On Aug. 9 1997, a melee occurred outside Club Rendezvous in Brooklyn, a watering hole frequented by Haitian immigrants. While breaking it up, police officer Justin Volpe was kicked in the head. Angered, he grabbed Abner Louima, a 30-year-old bystander, & arrested him for assault and disorderly conduct. [The sexual brutalization of Louima] in the precinct’s bathroom would come to be regarded as one of the most notorious episodes of police brutality ever recorded.

Al Sharpton opined, “There was a tone. And the fact that something so vicious could be done by somebody like Justin Volpe in a police station with other officers there has to give you an idea of the mentality that the police must have had at that time, that they could get away with it. You’re not just talking about a psychotic guy that brought him down under the railroad tracks after dark; he did this in the precinct and no one turned him in, no one stopped him, no one made a move. And that’s frightening.

Source: Flawed or Flawless, by Deborah & Gerald Strober, p.178-182 Jan 16, 2007

NYPD “cowboy” unit disbanded after Diallo shooting

Amadou Diallo, from Guinea, on Feb. 4, 1999, caught the attention of four plainclothes members of NYPD’s Street Crime Unit. The officers later claimed that one had flashed a badge and called out, “Sir, we need a word with you.” Diallo did not respond. At that point, Diallo put a hand into his pocket. As Diallo withdrew an object, a policeman yelled, “Gun!” Then they opened fire. The object was his wallet. Sharpton says:
The Diallo movement got rid of the Street Crimes Unit. Clearly it had almost a cowboy mentality. It had no concern for civil liberties. To live every day in a community where you have to be afraid of the cops and the robbers is something I would not wish on anybody.

We hear Diallo’s parents came from Africa and were talking to Mayor Giuliani. Our fear was that Giuliani was going to try and get to the family and undercut the movement for justice.

The four officers were acquitted after a criminal trial. Attempts to bring a civil lawsuit failed.
Source: Flawed or Flawless, by Deborah & Gerald Strober, p.199-206 Jan 16, 2007

States rights are dangerous when applied to death penalty

SHARPTON: Senator Edwards, are you saying, since you agree that there’s a lot of problems in the death penalty -- and no one has mentioned the racial disparity about those on death row -- that therefore, you would suspend your support of capital punishment until we dealt with those problems?

EDWARDS: No, I would not.

SHARPTON: So you would proceed even with the flaws?

EDWARDS: I think those changes need to be made in the system. We need to make those changes. I’ve been fighting for those changes in the United States Senate.

SHARPTON: But you would let them continue?

EDWARDS: States can evaluate whether their own system is working. I think they vary from state-to-state. Illinois did that and came to a conclusion that their system was not working. I think we should support that if they make that determination.

SHARPTON: That sounds like states’ rights again. I don’t agree with that.

EDWARDS: No, it is not.

Source: [Xref Edwards] Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC Feb 26, 2004

Opposed to death penalty under any circumstances

Q: Do you support the death penalty?

A: Unilaterally opposed and unequivocally under any circumstances.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Death Penalty” Jan 25, 2004

End the death penalty-discriminatory, non-deterrent, wrong

Q: Do you disagree with the death penalty in the capital murder of a police officer?

SHARPTON: I disagree with the use of the death penalty because it has been proven too many times to have been discriminatory in the way it has been applied. It has not been proven to be a deterrent against crime. And I do not think because it has been proven wrong that we have the right to take lives if we can’t give lives, and we can’t give them.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Prison programs for job skills & drug rehab

Source: 2004 Presidential National Political Awareness Test Jan 8, 2004

Tawana Brawley case was about standing up for a victim

Q: How would you stand up to criticism from the GOP regarding the Tawana Brawley affair?

A: Very easily. I stood up for a 15 year-old girl who said to me and others that she had been violated. I joined a wide array of people from Bill Cosby to elected officials who came to her defense. A jury didn’t believe her, many of us did and do. I stood up about the same time-about a year or two later-for several young men who were accused of raping a woman in Central Park in New York. A jury found them guilty and sent them to jail-some of them for 8 years. 13 years later a completely different person came forward and admitted to the crime and their convictions were overturned. Sometimes you have to stand up for what is right and you will be vindicated.

I would say to the GOP that it is very strange if they were to attack me for standing up to a young woman who said she is violated. I suppose if I were accused of fondling her the GOP might have considered me for governor of California.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 5, 2003

Only candidate opposed to death penalty

I’m the only candidate in this race that’s opposed to the death penalty.
Source: Interview on WNCV-TV in NYC Feb 2, 2003

Focus on prevention instead of Three Strikes

I am opposed to the three-strikes-and-you’re-out law. Instead of setting up a multi-tiered way to permanently incarcerate people, we ought to be setting up programs that will prevent people from becoming repeat offenders. What the Crime Bill of the Clinton Administration did was spend more money to penalize and incarcerate people than no having things like afterschool and tutorial programs that would prevent young people from becoming repeat offenders. They don’t give any alternative to crime.
Source: Al On America, by Rev. Al Sharpton, p. 131-32 Jan 1, 2002

It’s no coincidence that the wealthy don’t get executed

In 2000, Shaka Sankofa asked for me [and 3 others] to attend his execution in Texas. Lying down on a gurney, handcuffed, he repeated, “I did not kill [the man I was convicted for murdering]. Keep marching, Black people. They are murdering me tonight.” While he’s talking, they inject him with the lethal potion and his head jerks back, and minutes later, he’s dead. I walked out after that in a daze. After the execution, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, stood before the cameras and said, “This was a great day for justice.“ Justice? How do we celebrate killing people? All I kept hearing in my head was, ”Reverend Sharpton, keep marching.“

It’s no coincidence that the wealthy don’t get executed in this country. There have been wealthy individuals who have committed more horrendous crimes than Sankofa and we don’t take their lives. I’m running for president for people like Shaka Sankofa and others who have no rights or resources to save their lives and who have no one to speak for them.

Source: Al On America, by Rev. Al Sharpton, p. 11-15 Jan 1, 2002

Other candidates on Crime: Al Sharpton on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010