Sharpton Gets More Security After Death Threats

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. Apr 14, 2007 2:25 pm US/Eastern
    Sharpton Gets More Security After Death

    (CBS) NEW YORK learned early Saturday that the National Action Network has increased the Rev. Al Sharpton's security due to a number of death threats in the wake of the firing of radio host Don Imus by MSNBC and CBS Radio.

    There will also be added security at the National Action Network's headquarters in Harlem.

    “We have no way of knowing the seriousness of these threats, but they have intensified greatly in the last
    two days as Rev. Sharpton was figured prominently in the firing of Don Imus," Attorney Charlie King said in a statement early Saturday morning.

    "Since Rev. Sharpton survived a personal assassination attempt where he was stabbed, we take any and
    all threats, especially at this volume, very serious. Therefore, all may be comfortable that we will not take
    the safety of our staff or that of our President lightly.”

    Sharpton was stabbed in the chest by Michael Riccardi on Jan. 12, 1991, as the Reverend was leading a protest in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. Sharpton later filed suit against the city accusing the NYPD of failing to protect him. The two sides eventually settled.

    Sharpton took up the cause of the members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team after
    Imus referred to them as "nappy-headed hos" on his radio show last week.

    Sharpton told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer on Friday that just hours after he met with CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves on Thursday he got a call that Imus was getting fired.

    "I remember saying to Mr. Moonves, 'if you said it, you'd be fired. Does he have more rights than you?" Sharpton said.

    Part of Sharpton's power and visibility comes from his National Action Network -- with its half a million supporters across the country, and his ability to mobilize both opinions and protesters.

    Despite toning down his flamboyant and combative style over the years, many still think Sharpton hasn't
    done enough to erase his controversial past. In the interview with CBS 2, he admitted to making mistakes
    in the past.

    "I think sometimes (I was) being flippant, shooting from the hip, sometimes letting your vanity outrun
    your sanity," Sharpton said.
    His most talked about misstep came two decades ago when he threw much-publicized support behind
    then-15-year-old Tawana Brawley. The black woman received national attention after claiming she was
    raped by half a dozen white men, including police officers, near Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

    The alleged incident soon became a media sensation, with Sharpton pulling all the strings. However, a grand jury investigated and in October 1988 said there was a lack of evidence that she had been abducted, assaulted, raped or sodomized.

    "He could be much more of a formidable force in this country, much more of a leader and respected across the board if he just said I apologize for my past. I did wrong. I'm sorry," radio host and columnist Armstrong Williams told CBS 2 on Friday.

    In 1999, Sharpton came to the aid of the family of Amadou Diallo, an African immigrant who was shot to death by NYPD officers. Sharpton claimed that Diallo's death was the result of police brutality and racial profiling. Diallo's family was later awarded $3 million in a wrongful death suit filed against the city.

    More recently, Sharpton took up the cause of Sean Bell, an unarmed groom, who was shot dead in a hail of 50 police bullets on Nov. 25, 2006. Sharpton has been a fixture next to Bell's friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, who were wounded in the shooting.

    While Sharpton is a hero in the black community, he said he realizes he has some work to do in the overall court of public opinion. "I think I've grown. I think I've learned to talk to a broader audience in a way that I don't think
    everybody is the enemy so I'm trying to offend them," he said.