November 22, 2007 — Vol. 43, No. 15
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Report: Tawana Brawley’s family wants to revisit infamous N.Y. rape case

NEW YORK — Twenty years after her allegations of a racially charged rape became a national flashpoint, Tawana Brawley’s mother and stepfather want to reopen the case, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Glenda Brawley and Ralph King want to press Gov. Eliot Spitzer and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to re-examine the November 1987 incident, which a state grand jury ultimately concluded was a hoax, the Daily News reported.

“New York State owes my daughter. They owe her the truth,” said Glenda Brawley. She reiterated her stance that her daughter was indeed raped by a group of white men who smeared her with feces and scrawled racial epithets on her body.

Brawley was 15 when she went missing for four days from her home in Wappingers Falls, about 75 miles north of New York City. After being found, she made the shocking allegation that she had been abducted and raped by six white law enforcement officials.

The case quickly made headlines and drew the attention of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who became an outspoken advocate for the teen.

But a special state grand jury found evidence Brawley had fabricated her story. A former Dutchess County prosecutor who had been implicated in the case later sued Brawley, Sharpton and other Brawley advisers for defamation, winning a $345,000 judgment against the advisers and a $185,000 judgment against Brawley.

Brawley has changed her name and become a nurse, the Daily News reported.

Louisiana Rep. Jefferson faces new bribery accusations

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Prosecutors are accusing Rep. William J. Jefferson of Louisiana of soliciting bribes in two suspected schemes separate from the bribery charges he already faces, according to a published report.

Prosecutors said no new charges will be filed because of the allegations revealed in the document, filed last Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria and obtained by The Washington Post. But they do plan to use the latest allegations as evidence of a pattern of wrongdoing during Jefferson’s trial.

The government alleges that in 2002 Jefferson, a Democrat, asked a lobbyist for a U.S. oil services company for payments of $10,000 a month for a family member. In exchange, Jefferson said he would help the company promote business in Africa. The lobbyist turned down the request, according to the document.

Jefferson later made a deal to urge NASA to do business with a U.S. rocket launch services and technology company, according to the filing. The company is accused of agreeing to pay Jefferson’s family business and a relative in exchange for his help.

A federal grand jury indicted Jefferson, 60, in June on charges that he received more than $500,000 in bribes and demanded millions more between 2000 and 2005.

The indictment spells out 11 separate bribery schemes in which Jefferson used his influence as co-chairman of the congressional Africa Investment and Trade Caucus to broker deals in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and other African nations.

Civil rights group sues NYPD for police stop-and-frisk data

NEW YORK — The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last week to force the police department to disclose its data about stops and searches of hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom were black or Hispanic.

In papers filed in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court, the NYCLU says its formal request for the data under the state’s Freedom of Information Law in July was rejected in August and denied again in October after an appeal.

The NYCLU says it asked for the data to allow for an independent analysis of the database that contains information about the New York Police Department’s 850,000 stops of civilians since Jan. 1, 2006.

Police stop-and-frisk activity “has been the subject of enormous interest since February 1999, when four white members of the NYPD’s Street Crime Unit fired 41 shots at, and killed, Amadou Diallo, an unarmed 23-year-old black resident of the Bronx,” court papers say.

“The NYPD cannot conceal its stop-and-frisk practices from the public,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “New Yorkers have a right to know if the police are stopping people on racially biased grounds.”

Christopher Dunn, NYCLU associate legal director, said if the police department will not voluntarily release the information needed to independently examine its stop-and-frisk practices, “we are confident that the courts will require it to do so.”

The city law department was awaiting the formal legal papers and would be evaluating them thoroughly, spokeswoman Kate Ahlers said.

Wisconsin middle school teacher suspended for racist remarks

KAUKAUNA, Wis. — A River View Middle School teacher accused of using a racist rhyme in class has been suspended.

The teacher allegedly used the rhyme — “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” — Monday while trying to pick a student to do a task.

Kaukauna Area School District officials learned of the incident last Tuesday and put the teacher on leave with pay the next day, Superintendent Lloyd McCabe said. They are still investigating.

A student’s parent reported the incident to school officials, McCabe said. He said he hopes to work out an agreement so the results of the investigation and disciplinary action can be made public.

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