Let Us Not Forget How Al Sharpton Got His Start: The Lying Tawana Brawley

From The New York Times of September 27, 1988

Evidence Points to Deceit by Brawley

A seven-month New York State grand jury inquiry has compiled overwhelming evidence that Tawana Brawley fabricated her story of abduction and sexual abuse by a gang of racist white men last year, according to investigators, witnesses and official summaries of evidence presented to the panel.

These summaries say the evidence – testimony by more than 100 witnesses and a mass of exhibits ranging from confidential medical and police reports to secretly taped telephone conversations -has led investigators to these conclusions:

* That the black teen, on the night of Nov. 24, decided not to return to her home in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., and, during much of her ensuing four-day disappearance, hid out in a nearby vacant apartment, from which her family had recently been evicted.

* That she concocted, alone or with an accomplice, the degrading condition in which she was found -by smearing herself with dog feces, writing racial slurs on her body, tearing and scorching her clothes, crawling into a garbage bag and pretending to be in a traumatized daze.

* That she tried for weeks to mislead doctors, social workers, the police, reporters and concerned community people with a charade of medical complaints and false and fragmentary accounts of horror in the hands of racists – a tale luridly embellished by her family, lawyers and advisers – and that she has since refused to cooperate in order to cover up her actions. She has since left the state. Miss Brawley’s motives are still unclear because she refused to testify before the grand jury. But evidence suggested that she may have feared the wrath of her mother’s boyfriend for her late nights out and that drugs and her relationships with shady characters may have played a role.

Investigators say the grand jury will not indict anyone, and under the law it is not permitted to criticize ordinary citizens that it does not indict. So it will not criticize Miss Brawley or members of her family, even though they refused to cooperate and the findings raise questions about the Brawleys’ conduct.

Much of what happened remains obscure; but hundreds of pieces of the puzzle – details as tiny as a dog hair, as trivial as a wad of cotton-like material cut from a boot lining, and as telling as an eyewitness glimpse of the ”missing” girl – have given the larger picture a rough clarity.

National Symbol of Racism

Thus it appears that a case that became a national symbol of racism, that mired the state’s highest officials in political quicksand, that stymied law-enforcement authorities for nearly 10 months and inflamed racial passions in New York, originated as little more than the fantasy of a troubled teen-ager, and became grist for the racial and political agendas of her advisers.

The Brawley lawyers, Alton H. Maddox Jr. and C. Vernon Mason, along with the family’s key adviser, the Rev. Al Sharpton, entered the case within days of the 16-year-old girl’s reappearance. Since then, they have advised the family not to cooperate, repeatedly accused the state of a coverup, leveled charges without proof against law-enforcement officials and attacked public officials, news organizations and others who challenged their actions and accounts.

In periodic articles this year, The New York Times reported extensively on Miss Brawley’s account and those of her lawyers and advisers, detailing gaps and contradictions in her story and examining the alibis of several law-enforcement officials implicated by Miss Brawley’s advisers in the supposed attack.

The grand jury, now in the last stages of one of the most exhaustive investigations ever carried out in New York State, is expected to issue a final report within a few weeks, saying that it has found no evidence of any abduction, racial or sexual attack or any other crime against Miss Brawley.

A Move to Virginia

With her family, she moved last week to an apartment in Virginia Beach, Va., where she is attending high school. They have refused to comment on the case recently and yesterday could not be reached for comment. They have an unlisted telephone number. Miss Brawley’s mother, Glenda, defied a subpoena in June and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but she took refuge in churches, and the sentence has not been enforced.

The special state grand jury sitting in Poughkeepsie completed its report last Friday and sent it on to State Supreme Court Justice Angelo J. Ingrassia, who will review it before authorizing its release.

The report is not expected to comment on the tactics of the Brawley advisers, but the special prosecutor, Attorney General Robert Abrams, has said he will file a separate complaint against the lawyers with the state’s Appellate Divisions when the grand jury report is released. Mr. Abrams’s spokesman, Timothy M. Gilles, said yesterday that he would have no comment on the case.

Investigators say the grand jury will specifically clear Steven A. Pagones, a Dutchess County assistant prosecutor, and by extension will also clear other law-enforcement officials whom the Brawley advisers have accused of involvement in an attack.

Summaries of the Evidence

The outline of the grand jury’s findings has been sketched in a series of summaries of the evidence compiled by Mr. Abrams’s staff. The summaries are not minutes of the proceedings but narrations of the evidence gathered by investigators and presented to the grand jury, detailing exhibits entered into the record and quoting or paraphrasing the testimony of witnesses.

Not all the material in the summaries was presented to the grand jury; nor was all the panel’s evidence put into the final report, especially because of the restrictions on criticizing private citizens like Miss Brawley.

The grand jury, the second to sit in the case, was impaneled last Feb. 29 and is scheduled to end its work Oct. 7, though its life could be extended if that were deemed necessary.

The Times obtained evidence summaries compiled in June and July. The latter summary, dated July 14, contained all material presented to the grand jury by then and was the last compiled; there were no summaries compiled in August or September.

Only two major items of evidence are believed to have been presented to the grand jury since July. One was testimony by Mr. Pagones; he has often denied the allegations publicly, and he did so again before the panel. Up to 60 people were available to vouch for his whereabouts during the four days that Miss Brawley was missing, but the testimony of all was not required.

Pagones Testimony Crucial

Since a grand jury can only issue indictments or reports clearing or criticizing public officials, or recommending legislative reforms, the Pagones testimony was crucial because it gave the panel a justification for issuing a report on the Brawley case. Otherwise, despite all its work, it might not have been able to act at all, because it found no evidence of a crime or need for legislative reform.

The second item of evidence believed to have been presented since July, investigators say, is a series of laboratory reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that tie Miss Brawley to the writing of the racial slurs found on her body. Details of these reports could not be learned. The facts of the case, briefly, are these: Miss Brawley, then 15, skipped school last Nov. 24, a Tuesday, and visited a former boyfriend, Todd Buxton, in the Orange County Jail at Goshen. Mr. Buxton’s mother, Geneva, went to the jail with her. Afterward, Miss Brawley spent the early evening with Mrs. Buxton at the Buxton home in Newburgh. Miss Brawley then took a bus to Wappingers Falls, got off about 8:40 P.M. on Route 9 near Myers Corners Road and vanished.

Crawling Into a Bag

Four days later, about 1:30 P.M. on Nov. 28, a Saturday, she was seen crawling into a large green plastic garbage bag on the lawn outside her family’s former apartment at the Pavillion Condominiums in the Town of Wappinger. An ambulance crew and the police found her smeared with feces and seemingly dazed; her jeans were torn and scorched; racial slurs, including ”Nigger” and ”KKK,” had been written on her body.

In three subsequent interviews, in which Miss Brawley said almost nothing but only nodded or shook her head or wrote notes in response to leading questions, she conveyed that when she got off the bus she had been abducted by two white men in a dark car who took her to a woods, where other white men were waiting.

She indicated that she was sexually abused by the men but could recall little about the experience or the assailants – except that one had dirty blond hair, a police-type badge and a holster. She also could recall nothing that happened to her in the next four days until she found herself in the hospital.

The conclusion that Miss Brawley fabricated her story is supported by the summaries in three general areas: evidence that she ran away and spent much of the next four days at her former apartment, evidence that she concocted the condition in which she was found, and evidence that she tried to mislead the police, doctors and others about what had happened to her.

Evidence of Running Away Tale of Trouble At Home

While the grand jury found no evidence of an abduction, it uncovered ample indications that Miss Brawley, on the night she disappeared, was reluctant to go home, and it gathered considerable evidence that she had substantial motives for running away, the summaries show.

Her reluctance to go home was evident almost as soon as she and Geneva Buxton, after the trip to the jail, arrived back at the Buxton apartment at 5:25 P.M. The grand jury was told that Miss Brawley made no effort to catch a 6 P.M. bus home to Wappingers Falls and seemed disinclined to catch the next one at 8 P.M.

She told Mrs. Buxton she was ”in trouble” with Ralph King, her mother’s live-in companion, for staying out until 5 A.M. the previous Saturday; she said Mr. King had been scolding her for days. Skipping school – as she had before – had only made matters worse.

Not only did she appear reluctant to go home that night; as Mrs. Buxton told The Times earlier this year, Miss Brawley said she wanted to leave home permanently, and spoke of getting a job as a model, and of taking an apartment with Todd Buxton when he got out of jail.

King ‘Would Kill You’

Mrs. Buxton offered her the couch for the night, but urged her to go home; she did not want to stir up trouble in the Brawley household. She knew the girl had run away before. Miss Brawley finally left, catching the 8 P.M. Short Line bus. On board, a passenger, Thomas Barnes, ”initiated a conversation with Tawana and found her to be friendly,” investigators said. But the bus driver, Todd McGue, who knew Miss Brawley because Ralph King was a fellow Short Line driver, ”warned Barnes not to talk to Tawana because she was Ralph King’s stepdaughter and King would ‘kill you.’ ”

Mr. Barnes got off in Fishkill, south of Wappingers Falls.

Mr. King, in fact, had a history of violence, the summaries noted. In 1969 he stabbed his wife 14 times and, while awaiting trial in 1970, shot and killed her. He served seven years in jail. The Poughkeepsie police said he ”regularly associated with alcoholics and addicts” and ”had been involved in numerous fights over the past few years,” the summaries said. After the case brought his criminal record to light, he was dismissed from his job as a bus driver for misrepresenting his record on an employment application.

Tales of Violent Quarrels

Investigators also were told that Mr. King sometimes carried a gun and sold drugs. Nine sources, including neighbors and police officials, told the grand jury of violent quarrels in the King-Brawley household, both at the Pavillion Condominiums and at Leewood Arms, the apartment complex where they moved in November; some of those fights necessitated calls to the police.

Glenda Brawley had beaten her daughter for running away and spending nights with boys, investigators were told. And there were numerous reports of fights specifically between Mr. King and Miss Brawley. When she was arrested on shoplifting charges the previous May, the police had to intervene to prevent Mr. King from beating her at a police station.

The grand jury also heard testimony of strains between Miss Brawley and Mr. King. One witness said Mr. King ”would watch her exercise” and talked about the girl ”in a real sexual way,” sometimes describing her as a ”fine fox.” Another witness said Miss Brawley referred to Mr. King as a ”filthy pervert.” But yet another witness said Miss Brawley described Mr. King as ”nice.”

Evidence before the grand jury indicated that Miss Brawley decided abruptly not to go home that night. As her bus headed north on Route 9, Miss Brawley, according to Mr. McGue, suddenly asked the driver to let her off at Myers Corners Road, a mile from home.

Mr. McGue, who said he had not taken a road closer to her home because he had a Poughkeepsie passenger, said he urged her to call home from a pay phone and have someone pick her up. ”Tawana told McGue that she could not call her home because the phone was not yet connected,” the summaries said. ”However, telephone service was turned on Nov. 20” – four days earlier -at the new King-Brawley apartment, and investigators said she had used it.

While the grand jury has all but ended its inquiry, investigators are continuing to explore whether Miss Brawley, in fact, got off the bus at Myers Corners Road, or continued on. One report said Miss Brawley was seen during her disappearance in a red car with black rear-window louvres; investigators later learned that Mr. McGue has such a car. Mr. McGue, in an interview, told The Times that his accounts to authorities were accurate, but that he declined to take a polygraph test because he did not have faith in them.

Evidence of Hiding Soiled Jacket And ‘KKK’ on Shoe

There appears to be little question that Miss Brawley spent part of the next four days in the vacant apartment at the Pavillion, from which her family had moved on Nov. 15 for non-payment of the rent. The one-bedroom apartment, 19A on the ground floor of a unit called the Carnaby, was carpeted but empty of furnishings and still had heat and electricity.

The Brawley family had kept a key, and Miss Brawley may have taken it to get in, but access was no problem, even if Miss Brawley had no key, because, the investigators found, ”it was impossible to lock one window.” The police found the doors of the apartment unlocked when, after finding the girl, they first went in to investigate on Nov. 28.

There were many indications that she had been in the apartment. An acid-washed denim jacket she had been wearing when she vanished was found inside in a washing machine; feces like those found on Miss Brawley were on the jacket. Residues of burned clothing, similar to the scorched jeans she was wearing when found, were also discovered in the apartment. One pink slip-on shoe she was wearing had ”KKK” carved in the toe; a razor blade that could have been used to cut these initials was found in the apartment.

The heat was on in the apartment. The temperatures all week had been frosty, dipping into the low 30’s each night. And though no evidence was found that meals had been eaten in the apartment around that time, the refrigerator was turned on and inside it there was a little milk in a carton.

Light on ‘for Days’

The grand jury learned that Gaston Abril, the resident next door at 19B Carnaby, heard a door slam at 7 A.M. on Nov. 24 or 25, and saw a light inside the former Brawley apartment for ”quite a few days” after Miss Brawley vanished. His wife, Elizabeth Abril, saw a light in the former Brawley flat on Nov. 24 or 25.

On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, sometime between 7:30 and 8:30 A.M., Frank Backer, a resident of 14A Scarborough Lane, directly behind the former Brawley apartment, looked out his rear window and saw a young black woman, apparently Miss Brawley, sneak up and enter 19A through a sliding glass rear door. She wore an acid-washed denim jacket, her hair was matted and she acted suspiciously, crouching and looking about as if she did not want to be seen.

On Friday, Nov. 27, after being away for Thanksgiving, the Abrils noticed that a pair of recently purchased white boots and a pair of jeans belonging to Mrs. Abril were missing from their apartment. It was unclear how these were stolen;

After Miss Brawley was found, these boots and jeans were found in the former Brawley apartment next door; segments of the cotton-like synthetic lining of the boots had been cut out, and segments like these – later discarded at the hospital before their significance was clear – were found wadded into Miss Brawley’s ears and nostrils, apparently to protect her from infection by the feces that had been smeared on her.

Loud Music Heard

At 9:30 A.M. on Friday, Nov. 27, Mr. Abril heard loud music coming from either 19A or 19D upstairs, the grand jury was told. Further inquiry showed it had to have came from 19A, the Brawley flat. The resident of 19D, above Mr. Abril, ”did not play any loud music during November or have any visitors on Nov. 27 or 28,” the summaries said, and the flat above 19A was vacant throughout November. The walls of the complex are extremely thin, and even slight sounds may be heard between apartments.

Investigators said they found crushed marijuana and hashish residues in a bottle cap. Residues of marijuana were also found in the stove drip pans. No evidence of drugs was found in medical examinations of Miss Brawley. The consensus among her friends was that she did not regularly use drugs, but investigators were told by several witnesses that Miss Brawley smoked marijuana and had access to drugs.

In the weeks before her disappearance, Miss Brawley’s social life had turned increasingly toward Newburgh, five miles south and across the Hudson River from Wappingers Falls, investigators and other witnesses told the grand jury.

Aside from her involvement with Todd Buxton and his family, ”Tawana had been in Newburgh on other occasions when she stayed overnight with friends,” the summaries said. And during the time she was missing, her family searched for her mostly on the drug-infested streets of Newburgh.

The Notorious ‘Mickey Carlton’

There were numerous reports that Miss Brawley was seen in Newburgh during her disappearance, specifically on a street buying drugs on Nov. 26 or 27, and at a party for about 50 people given by Randolph (D-Day) Davis, a convicted drug dealer, at his home on the night of Nov. 27-28.

But investigators and the grand jury found it impossible to verify these reports because the sources were deemed unreliable. Some of the informants wanted publicity but backed down when confronted with liabilities of perjury; others faced criminal charges and hoped to give information for lenient treatment; still others were peddling hearsay that evaporated at the touch of verification.

So unreliable were these informants that a state investigator, Russell Crawford, developed a kind of truth test to discount the worst of them. When he approached people who might have seen Miss Brawley during her disappearance, he showed them a picture of a man with no connection to the case and asked if they knew ”Mickey Carlton,” a fictitious name.

If they said yes, he knew they were lying. But the rumor mills of Newburgh’s mean streets soon gave the bogus Mickey Carlton a mystique – he was a man with a missing finger, and he had something to do with the disapperance of Miss Brawley. Eventually, Mr. Sharpton, who had made many allegations without proof, cast suspicion on ”Mickey Carlton,” and Miss Brawley’s aunt, Juanita Brawley, was hinting to reporters that they should be on the lookout for a man with a missing finger. Signs of Faked Condition?

Her Mother At the Scene

Long after investigations raised doubts about Miss Brawley’s tale of abduction and sexual abuse, the condition in which she was found – her torn and burned clothing, her body smeared with feces and scrawled with racial slurs, the appearance of a trauma -continued to haunt both the authorities and the public. It seemed to insist that something bad had happened to her, a phrase used often by Governor Cuomo, Mr. Abrams and others who puzzled over the contradictions.

But an array of persuasive evidence before the grand jury indicated that Miss Brawley herself – with materials at hand and perhaps with someone else’s help – created the condition in which she was found, and a story to go with it, to cloak her actions in a guise of martyrdom.

The evidence for this view included the cotton wads placed in her ears and nostrils, before the feces were smeared on, to protect her from infection; eyewitness reports that she put herself into the large green plastic bag in which she was found; a pair of women’s gloves that were used to smear the feces on her and that were found in the bag with her; F.B.I. laboratory reports linking Miss Brawley with the writing found on her body; indications that her clothes had been torn and scorched in the apartment where she had been hiding, and the absence of physical symptoms of abuse or trauma.

There was also the astonishing circumstance that Glenda Brawley had gone to the Pavillion apartment a half-hour before her daughter was found there and, supposedly without having seen her or detected any sign that she was there, left about 45 minutes later – just as the police were arriving. This circumstance has puzzled investigators from the start, and the summaries have shed no light on the matter.

The key events on Nov. 28, the day Miss Brawley was found, began at 1 P.M., the grand jury was told, when Elizabeth Abril, of 19B Carnaby, looked out a window and saw Glenda Brawley’s Lincoln Continental parked in front of her former apartment, 19A.

Mrs. Abril was under the impression that the car was gone by 1:30, but Philip Reyes, another Pavillion resident, saw Mrs. Brawley sitting in it, with the motor running, at 1:50, while Rose Rosenthal, another resident, thought the car may have been there as late as 1:45 P.M.

Mrs. Brawley later told authorities she went to 19A to get mail that had not been forwarded and to look for her daughter. But Mrs. Brawley apparently did not pick up any mail because Timothy Losee, the mailman, said a large quantity of it was still in the Brawley mailbox when he got there on Monday.

Mrs. Brawley told authorities she arrived about 1:15 and observed that the apartment ”was spotless,” the summaries said, adding: ”She did notice a pair of white boots which she didn’t own, and a red spot in the middle of the floor which wasn’t there when she moved out.” The authorities later ruled out that the red spot was blood.

The summaries then quoted her as saying she sat in her car ”reading the mail for 15 [ to ] 30 minutes.”

Stepping Into a Bag

At 1:30 P.M., Joyce Lloray, a resident of 18B Scarborough Lane, looked out her rear window across a 150-foot expanse of autumn-tinged lawn and saw Tawana Brawley squatting behind her family’s former apartment, the grand jury was told. Miss Brawley was alone and she seemed to be looking around.

”A few seconds later,” the summaries said, ”Tawana took a large plastic bag, stepped into it and pulled it up around her neck. She then hopped four to five feet while inside the bag and laid down in a fetal position on the wet and mushy ground. Joyce Lloray called the police at 1:44 P.M.”

The first people to approach Miss Brawley were Lorenzo and Joyce Lloray and Gary Lanza, of 10D Scarborough Lane, at 1:45. Moments later, a Dutchess County Deputy Sheriff, Eric Thurston, arrived in response to Mrs. Lloray’s call.

Just as he was pulling up, Glenda Brawley drove away and went to the Wappingers Falls police station. There she reported that her daughter had been missing since Tuesday and may have been in Newburgh. The time of her report was recorded as 2:02 P.M., a half hour after the girl had been spotted crawling into the bag.

”When asked why she waited so long to file the report, Glenda replied that she worked nights [ as an inspector at an I.B.M. plant ] and didn’t have a car,” the summaries noted. In fact, the King – Brawley household at that time possessed three automobiles: a Lincoln Continental, a Honda Prelude and a van.

Back at the Pavillion, at 2:03 P.M., the Sloper – Willen Ambulance arrived. Two emergency medical technicians, Raymond Strohm and Sharon Brantingham, saw Miss Brawley lying in a fetal position on her right side inside the plastic bag.

They cut open the bag and examined her. She was covered with feces, inside and outside her clothing, but her ears and nostrils were protected by cotton wads; her jeans were scorched and torn at the crotch and inner thighs, and her hair was matted and seemed to be unevenly cut. She seemed to be unconscious.

On investigation, it was shown that the feces came from the yard, and so detailed was the analysis of evidence that investigators were able to determine, through hair samples found in the excrement, which dog in the apartment complex was the source of the feces.

Smeared Gloves in Bag

It was not clear where or when the feces had been smeared on, but a pair of women’s black gloves that were caked with fecal matter and had apparently been used to smear the matter on her were found inside the bag with Miss Brawley, and investigators said she could have smeared them on herself after crawling into the bag.

The cotton wads apparently were cut from the lining of the boots found in the former Brawley apartment. Investigators found fragments of denim on the carpet, indicating her jeans had been torn there. And they found more fragments near a radiator, where the crotch and legs of the jeans may have been scorched.

The grand jury learned that Miss Brawley’s hair probably was not cut. When she vanished, she had been wearing a hairpiece woven into her own short hair; the impression was that she had almost shoulder-length hair. The hair-weave was gone when she was found, and her three-inch hair was matted by perspiration and fecal matter.

Evidence of Deception: ‘I Know You Can Hear Me’

From the first moments after she was found, seemingly dazed and degraded, and continuing for months, Miss Brawley assumed the mantle of victim in one of the most troubling crimes ever reported in New York State. It hardly mattered that her story was sketchy, that others spoke for her and that even traces of telltale evidence seemed to be absent.

Sympathy was lavished upon her by her family, by a stunned public, by supporters like the world heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, and the actor Bill Cosby, who put up a $25,000 reward, and by civil rights organizations whose longstanding complaints of racism in the state and unfairness in the criminal justice system were being aired at last.

But right from the start, there were signs that something was wrong.

The daze proved ephemeral, as did her medical complaints. The grand jury heard testimony by doctors and other medical personnel that she had no injury other than a slight bump on the head that had not been suffered recently, that she was not suffering from amnesia or exposure, and that she had not been deprived of food, water or other amenities while missing. And there was specifically no evidence of rape or sexual abuse.

A Story With Few Details

Her story, too, was more than sketchy: it was devoid of all detail that would enable investigators to check or confirm any of it, and it began to crumble under the intense scrutiny of investigators, medical experts and the press.

igns that the daze was feigned arose immediately. In her report, submitted to the grand jury, the ambulance attendant, Ms. Brantingham, said: ”I did a cursory head-to-toe examination and had some difficulty in opening the patient’s eyes, as well as in straightening her legs. It was as if she was resisting in some type of conscious or semi-conscious manner.”

Then, preparing to put her on a stretcher, Ms. Brantingham said, she ”reached under the patient to turn her over and she then grabbed my right hand tightly, to the degree that I could not immediately remove my hand from her grasp. En route to the ambulance I managed to forcibly free my hand from her grasp.”

At St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, Nurse Kathleen Hickman thought the girl was unconscious, but Dr. Alice Pena, the emergency room doctor who removed and discarded the cotton material from the girl’s nose and ears, put an ammonia inhalant under her nose, provoking an immediate reaction.

‘Open Your Eyes’

Dr. Pena also administered a test of arm movements. ”Based on Tawana’s eyelid resistance and arm movements,” the summaries said, ”Dr. Pena concluded that Tawana was not unconscious and was aware of what was going on around her.”

In a moment of quiet drama, Dr. Pena confronted Miss Brawley:

”I know you can hear me, so open your eyes,” she commanded.

”Tawana opened her eyes and was able to move them in all directions by following Pena’s finger,” the summaries said. Miss Brawley then was able to follow commands, moving her eyes, arms, legs and body to aid in the examination.

It was during the hospital examination that racial slurs written on Miss Brawley’s body, and on some of her clothes, were found. These epithets – ”KKK,” ”Nigger,” and ”Bitch” in block letters – had apparently been written with some kind of marker pen or pencil.

Nodding or shaking her head to questions by Dr. Pena, Miss Brawley gave contradictory answers. She indicated that she had been subjected to acts of oral sex, and after first indicating she had not been raped, she suggested she had been assaulted by three white men.

Meanwhile, detectives went to the King-Brawley apartment at Leewood Arms and told Glenda Brawley for the first time that her daughter had been found. ”Glenda displayed no reaction whatsoever,” the summaries said.

Responding Through Gestures

After a detective at the hospital took photographs of Miss Brawley and the lettering on her body, a black Poughkeepsie Police Officer, Tommy Young, asked a series of questions, to which Miss Brawley reponded by nods, shakes of the head and notes.

Asked who had assaulted her, she grabbed the silver badge on his uniform, but did not respond when he asked if the badge she saw was like his. He then gave her his notebook and she wrote ”white cop.” Asked where, she wrote ”woods.” He then asked her if she had been raped, and she wrote: ”a lot” and drew an arrow to ”white cop.”

This response was the closest Miss Brawley ever came to asserting to authorities that she had been raped. Her family and advisers, however, asserted many times that she was raped, sodomized and subjected to other abuse.

She stared into space when Officer Young asked for a description of her attackers, but nodded yes when asked if the assailant was white, wore dark clothing, had a dark vehicle and was about Mr. Young’s age, 32. She wrote ”no” when asked if she knew the driver, and when asked if she heard any names among the men, she responded by saying ”son.” He then asked if the white cop had called someone ”son,” and she nodded yes.

When she left the hospital that night, the grand jury was told, she was adjudged to be physically and mentally normal. Indications of ‘Threat’

The next day, Elizabeth Seton Grundy, a hospital staff social worker, visited Miss Brawley at her home and found her ”alert and able to answer questions.” The summaries said the grand jury was told that ”Tawana indicated to Grundy that she had been threatened to not cooperate with the police.”

Later that day, two Sheriff’s detectives visited the home, but were not permitted to talk to Miss Brawley. Glenda and Juanita Brawley told them the girl had been abducted by two men, taken to a woods where four or five other men were waiting and was raped, sodomized and tortured for four days.

The detectives, with prosecutors present, went to the home the next day. Miss Brawley again appeared dazed and seemed to lapse in and out of consciousness. Answering leading questions with nods and whispers, she indicated that she could recall little about the abduction, assault or assailants and that she had no memory of the next four days, of how she came to be at the Pavillion or in the condition in which she was found. She did say that the men in the woods had called her ”nigger” and ”black bitch,” hit her on the head and urinated in her mouth.

Testimony From Psychiatrists

That was the last cooperation she was to provide authorities, who found themselves stymied. To explain Miss Brawley’s inability to recall details, the Brawleys later said that her abductors forced her to drink a ”milky white liquid that left her unable to move, speak or remember most of her four-day disappearance,” the summaries said.

The grand jury was told by two psychiatrists that, in many respects, the facts in the Brawley case conformed to a pattern of false allegations of sexual assault. Among these are that the victim says more than one assailant was involved and that she cannot offer descriptions or recall details.

A Poughkeepsie civil rights leader, Lorraine Jackson Ordia, said Miss Brawley wrote three notes on Dec. 1, apparently referring to the Dutchess County sheriff, Frederick Scoralick. The notes said, ”I want him dead” and ”I want Scoralick.” But investigators never found the notes. The summaries said the Brawleys were angered by a televised comment by the Sheriff on Nov. 29 that the family was not cooperating.

In the next two weeks, investigators who went to Miss Brawley’s home were told that she was still too traumatized to talk to them; when they saw her, she limped sometimes but not at others. Once, detectives in the doorway glimpsed her ”scurrying up the stairs without a limp.” And later, the summaries said, she was seen ”carrying travel bags in and out of a car with no assistance.”

Conversations Reported

But in meetings with friends in December, the grand jury learned, she appeared ebullient, but resentful and fearful of her parents, who, she said, had lied. She did not say how. In a conversation with one friend that was reported to the grand jury, Miss Brawley said news reports that she had been subjected to oral sex and raped were false.

Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 14, Miss Brawley was examined a dozen times by doctors, including a psychiatrist, at the Westchester County Medical Center. During one physical examination, Miss Brawley was asked to move her arms and legs. ”Tawana stated she was unable to do so, and when told to stand she dropped to the floor,” the summaries said.

Her claim that she lacked strength in an arm was tested: the arm was held over her face and dropped, and it did not hit her face. ”This indicated there was no organic basis for the weakness,” the summaries said. The grand jury was told that doctors believed she had either created symptoms out of her subconscious mind, a condition known as ”conversion disorder,” or that she was ”malingering,” that is, faking. ‘Obligation to Her Family’

One doctor noted that Miss Brawley was ”not acting appropriately for one who has undergone such a traumatic event” and concluded that her physical complaints were ”psychogenic in origin.”

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