A recent accusation of racism from the Rev. Al Sharpton comes as ugly memories of his role in a deadly race riot begin to surface, threatening to sink his entire narrative.
In the wake of a battle between Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and President Donald Trump, Sharpton, a longtime acquaintance of Trump, turned against him.
Sharpton claimed the president had a “particular venom” for black people. “He is playing a race-divisive card,” the civil rights activist said of Trump.
The war of words soon made its way to Twitter, where the president and Sharpton traded blows with each other.
I have known Al for 25 years. Went to fights with him & Don King, always got along well. He “loved Trump!” He would ask me for favors often. Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. Just doing his thing. Must have intimidated Comcast/NBC. Hates Whites & Cops! https://t.co/ZwPZa0FWfN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2019
Trump says I’m a troublemaker & con man. I do make trouble for bigots. If he really thought I was a con man he would want me in his cabinet.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) July 29, 2019
But for all that talk of Trump being one of the “bigots” of the world, the truth is that Al Sharpton has some skeletons of his own that need to be addressed before he can begin accusing others of racism.
One glaring issue in Sharpton’s history for which he remains unapologetic is his role in the Crown Heights riots.
Racial tensions in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, New York, were already at a worrying level in 1991 when an incident set everything in motion. A car in the motorcade of a local Jewish religious leader careened off the road during a traffic accident, causing the death of a black child, 7-year-old Gavin Cato.
The cracks in the community were evident even to the first responders to the crash. An ambulance crew responding to the accident reported that a group of men were mercilessly beating the Jewish driver.
A crowd quickly began to form, loudly voicing their anger at Jews. In the chaos, nasty rumors circulated. One particularly vile piece of fake news began to spread: that a Jewish ambulance service refused to care for Gavin.
It didn’t take long for mobs to begin a rampage that left two dead and over 100 injured.
According to one man interviewed by The Jewish Star, Sharpton showed up in the midst of the violence and only agitated the already worked-up mob.
At Gavin’s funeral, Sharpton wasted no time playing a racially charged version of the blame game.
Addressing a crown that held banners with slogans such as “Hitler did not do the job,” Sharpton should have known he was playing with matches. Instead of talking the crowd down, he capitalized on their anger and hatred.
Sharpton heavily fed the anti-Semitism, demonizing local Jews as “diamond merchants” that did business with apartheid-era South Africa. He echoed this in an attack against the Jewish ambulance service that responded, calling it an “apartheid ambulance service.”
Sharpton’s role is still a fresh wound for many who experienced the riots.
One of my staffers was a child when his father and brother were nearly murdered by an angry mob egged on by “Reverend Al” during the Crown Heights Riots of 1991, and remembers him leading the chant of “No Justice, No Peace”!
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) July 29, 2019
The riots remain an extremely ugly example of modern-day anti-Semitism in America. Rather than de-escalating a tense situation, leaders like Sharpton used the death of a young boy to whip crowds into a violent furor.
Sharpton’s continual exploitation of racial tension should be shamed and shut down by every American.
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