In my last article on 60 Minutes and its coverage of Al Sharpton, I mentioned a little about the Dunbar Village rape story.
This is another one of those stories (like Pigford) that SHOULD be something everyone in America has heard of. But you’ve probably never heard of Dunbar Village because (like Pigford) it’s a story with both black victims and black wrongdoers, where professional race-baiters like Sharpton and the NAACP were on the wrong side. This creates a strange vacuum where nobody really wants to touch the story. It’s so outside of the mainstream media’s narrative and usual demographics that they have no idea how to approach it.
The Dunbar Village rape case isn’t a national fraud like Pigford. It’s a crime case but the details are so horrific that it’s the sort of case that often does make national news, especially when a national media magnet like Rev. Al Sharpton inserts himself into it. But it seems to have flown under the radar completely on a national level, getting mainly only local press followed then a flurry of activity by a group of largely black, female bloggers.
Warning: The details are really horrible.
The Facts Behind The Dunbar Village Rape
The story started in June, 2007. According to a report from Palm Beach, Florida TV station WPBF…
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Police are still searching for the men who they said raped, tortured and robbed a woman for hours in her own home.
Investigators said a young man tricked the victim into opening the door of her West Palm Beach home, then several other masked men forced their way inside.
Investigators said the victim’s pre-teen son was forced to participate in the assault as well.
"This was a very horrific crime, even our investigators, who’ve been here 25 years, are visibly shaken," said Ted White of the West Palm Beach Police Department.
Why were seasoned investigators so shaken?
The following is from a letter sent out by Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems, who ended up being one of the bloggers brining light to this case.
On June 18, 2007, a black woman was gang raped by 10 youths and forced at gunpoint to have sex with her own 12 year old son in a housing complex called Dunbar Village in West Palm Beach, Florida. The young men not only viciously punched, kicked and sliced this sister and her son with glass objects, but they also blinded her boy by pouring nail polish remover into his eyes.
The young men forced this sister and son to lay naked in a bathtub together, and attempted to set them on fire (they could not find matches). The youths boldly took cell phone pictures so that they could enjoy their violent, immoral and sadistic acts at a later time. The violence continued for more than three hours, and although this sister’s neighbors heard her screams, no one called the police or came to her aid.
This sister and her son had to walk a mile to the hospital, because the assailants stole her car, and threatened to kill her and her family if she told the authorities.
Only four of the young men have been apprehended, while the remaining six are on the loose, doing Lord knows what in our communities. There is no manhunt for the remaining suspects.
Here’s some of the local news coverage from when the case went to trial.
Al Sharpton & The NAACP Defend The Rapists
So, horrific really hardly covers it. The victims were both black, as were the four perpetrators. Here’s where the twist comes in that SHOULD have taken this story national. I’m going to continue to quote from Rev. Weems’s letter…
As devastating as this story is, what the NAACP and Al Sharpton have done about it will simply take your breath away: not only did the NAACP ignore hundreds of requests to assist this woman because it was ‘outside the scope of their mission’, but they joined forces with Al Sharpton, and sent their lawyers to speak out IN SUPPORT OF THE RAPISTS.
You heard me right.
Even though there is conclusive DNA evidence and signed confessions, the NAACP and Al Sharpton are saying that it is ‘unfair’ to not offer bail to these four alleged rapists. They even had a press release about it.
And simple research confirms this – the local NAACP chapter and Al Sharpton came out in support of the rapists. Let’s be really clear on what ‘support’ means. Sharpton actually flew down to Florida to stand with the families of the confessed rapists.
The Reverend Al Sharpton Tuesday said four black teens charged in the gang rape and beating of a West Palm Beach woman and her son were treated unfairly. Sharpton said the teens charged in the June 2007 attack in the Dunbar Village housing project should have been treated the same as five white teens recently accused of raping two young girls in Boca Raton after a party.
Sharpton was flanked Tuesday by relatives of the Dunbar Village defendants. He says he’s protesting an "imbalance," but doesn’t condone the teens’ actions.
Well, there’s that. He didn’t explicitly condone raping people, trying to set them on fire and taking their picture with your cell phone. Let’s give Rev. Sharpton credit for that. THAT might make news. He didn’t condone it.
But he DID take time out of his busy schedule to travel hundreds of miles away to a different state because he thought there was an ‘imbalance’ – but rather than standing with the relatives of the victims of the OTHER crime and calling for harsher bail, he stood with the families of the black men who’d raped and tortured a black woman and her son…and called for them to get bail.
Are the two rape cases similar? Not according to Frank Cerabino wrote an Op-Ed for the Palm Beach Post, saying…
To call these cases identical, as Sharpton did, is to ignore far too much. And to make martyrs of the Dunbar teenagers only trivializes real cases of racial injustice and further denigrates two black victims of unspeakable crimes.
As awful as Sharpton was on this, let’s not let the NAACP off the hook, either.
As this video shows, when the NAACP was contacted about helping the victims in the Dunbar Village rape, they said “Black-on-black crime is not part of our mission.” But later, they supported the defendants.
And, boy – did they support them. They even printed fliers – calling the rapist ‘victims’
Maude Ford Lee, the president of the West Palm Beach NAACP chapter, spoke alongside Sharpton while the assembled media were handed a flier showing the photos of three of the accused Dunbar Village rapists with the words, "Voiceless, Vulnerable, Victims!!" next to them.
So a group of black women bloggers went all out to speak out against Sharpton and the NAACP. And of course Sharpton and the NAACP responded by attacking the bloggers and backpedaling.
When the Chicago Tribune caught up with him, he denied he’d supported the defendants.
For his part, Sharpton strongly denied in an interview with the Tribune last week that he was ignoring the plight of the Dunbar Village victims or insisting that their accused attackers should be freed on bond. He said his comments at the March 11 news conference had been misunderstood, and that he had visited Dunbar Village several times this year to show support for the residents and denounce the "hideous, deplorable" crime.
"My position is there ought to be one standard," Sharpton said. "The white kids in Boca Raton ought to be held just like the black kids in Dunbar Village. Why are they not doing the same with the white kids?”
But the woman bloggers weren’t buying it. As one wrote…
Al Sharpton appears to be the only person who was at that Dunbar Village press conference who did not know why he was there. The Rape suspects families who Sharpton met with prior to the press conference and flanked him at the podium thought he was there to help get their boys get bail. The NAACP notified the press the day before that Rev. Sharpton was coming to town to say the rape suspects were being treated unfairly. Every news outlet that covered the press conference and eyewitnesses said he was there to speak about the suspects being treated unfairly.
Contrary to what Mr. Sharpton attempted to imply on his radio show, he did not stand before the courthouse to demand the Boca Raton rapists are denied bail. He was not complaining about preferential treatment on their behalf. If that were the case, he would have been flanked by the family members of the two girls who were raped in Boca Raton. Instead, he stood before the cameras flanked by the family members of the DV rapists and described the treatment the DV rapists have received as "unfair". He stood with them because he was advocating for them.
These relentless, well-reasoned and factual attacks on Sharpton by the women bloggers eventually became too much for him to withstand. He eventually relented.
On March 27,2008, activist Al Sharpton went on the air to clarify his position on the treatment of the Dunbar Village Suspects. He invited writerTonyaa Weathersbee> and blogger Arlene Fenton> to his show, to discuss the matter. Rev. Sharpton claimed that he never said that the Dunbar Village suspects were being treated unfairly, and that he did not want bail for the suspects in question.
Ms Weathersbee and Ms Fenton said that their research indicated otherwise, as indicated by video footage>, eyewitness accounts, and the reporting from the Florida Sun Sentinel> and the Palm Beach Post.>
At the end of the radio show, Al Sharpton strongly condemned any activity that would promote bail consideration for the suspects in question. Rev. Sharpton admitted that “if the suspects were white, he would have been there sooner.” He stated that this is a problem with many black civil rights organizations. He apologized and vowed to uphold his prior promise to advocate for the residents of Dunbar Village.
Rev. Al didn’t apologize for saying, “if the suspects were white, he would have been there sooner.” That’s acceptable, apparently.
In the end, 3 of the 4 defendants were given life in prison.
And this is exactly the sort of tragedy that Rev.Al Sharpton makes his name from. Now he’s been embraced by both President Obama and CBS News, who made absolutely no mention of the Dunbar Village case in their piece on piece on what a changed man Sharpton was.