The Rev. Al Sharpton – an FBI agent informing on the mob? Are they serious?
That’s the report according to The Smoking Gun blog. They claim the 59-year old Sharpton has been working with the FBI and NYPD since the mid-1980s, targeting the leaders of the Genovese crime family, the largest, most-feared Mafia organization in the country. The Rev. Al even goes by the code name of “CI-7.”
It’s not hard to imagine Al as a crook; he’s done some time. But why would the Mafia want anything to do with Al?
Still, TSG claims his “secret life” “is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records, and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance.”
“Genovese squad investigators–representing both the FBI and NYPD–recalled how Sharpton, now 59, deftly extracted information from wiseguys. In fact, one Gambino crime family figure became so comfortable with the protest leader that he spoke openly–during ten wired face-to-face meetings–about a wide range of mob business, from shylocking and extortions to death threats and the sanity of Vincent “Chin” Gigante, the Genovese boss who long feigned mental illness in a bid to deflect law enforcement scrutiny. As the mafioso expounded on these topics, Sharpton’s briefcase–a specially customized Hartmann model–recorded his every word.
Task force members, who were interviewed separately, spoke on the condition of anonymity when describing Sharpton’s work as an informant and the Genovese squad’s activities. Some of these investigators provided internal FBI documents to a reporter.
“Records obtained by TSG show that information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders, and more than a dozen phone lines. These listening devices and wiretaps were approved during the course of a major racketeering investigation targeting the Genovese family’s hierarchy.”
Sharpton shouldn’t be the source of an investigation; he should be the subject. Having already served time, one can only think that he volunteered to get himself off the hook. He’s a loose cannon whom someone needs to dish the dirt on him. The list of controversies he’s stirred up as an activist is long: Bernhard Goetz, whom he claimed was a racist (a jury found that the shooting was the result of a robbery attempt, not racism). Howard Beach, where a mob of white men assaulted three black men whom they suspected of robbery. Sharpton led 1,200 demonstrators on a protest march through the streets of Howard Beach.
Bensonhurst was a more serious, and obvious case of racism, with four black teens beaten up by a mob of approximately 20 Italian-American Brooklynites. One of the two leaders of the mob was acquitted of the most serious charges. When Sharpton led yet another protest march, an Italian-American resident tried to stab him. This is the Sharpton we’re supposed believe the Mafia took into their confidence?
Then there was the Crown Heights riot. A car driven by Jewish man as part of a procession led by the cops went through an intersection, was struck by another vehicle, causing it to veer onto the sidewalk, accidentally striking and killing a 7 year-old black boy and severely injuring his cousin. A private ambulance was ordered for the Jewish driver because the cops feared for his safety while the boy was still pinned under the car. The black neighborhood rioted for four days. They beat Jewish residents and looted Jewish stores. Mayor David Dinkins attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Sharpton’s protest march.
In 1995, a black Pentecostal Church, the United House of Prayer, which owned retail property on 125th street, asked the Jewish tenant who owned Freddie’s Fashion Mar to evict a long-time subtenant, a black-owned record store. Sharpton led a protest march against the eviction. One of the protesters set fire to Farari’s store.
Amadou Diallo, mistaken by police for a suspect, was shot to death. Sharpton led protests against police brutality and racial profiling. The family was later awarded $3 million in a wrongful death suit against New York City.
Tyisha Miller, a 19 year-old black woman in Riverside, Calif., decided to commit auto-cide at a local gas station. She was unconscious when police found her, and had a gun in her lap. As the cops broke the window, she reached for her weapon, and the cops opened fire, hitting her 23 times. Sharpton led protests against her killing, stopping traffic on a busy highway. He was later arrested for his participation and leadership in the protests.
In 2001, Sharpton was arrested – by the F.B.I. – on trespassing charges while protesting against U.S. military target practice in Puerto Rico near a U.S. Navy bombing site. The base was later closed.
West African immigrant Ousmane Zongo, unarmed, was shot by undercover cops during a riad on a warehouse in Manhattan. Sharpton was on hand to protest his killing.
In 2006, Sean Bell was shot in Jamaica, Queens, by plainclothes detectives. The detectives were acquitted of charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Nevertheless, Sharpton led protests at major river crossings throughout New York, closing bridges and tunnels. He and 200 others were arrested.
In the Dunbar Village Housing Projects in West Palm Beach, Fla., four black men were arrested for allegedly raping and beating a black woman at gunpoint. Sharpton held a press conference to highlight what he said was unequal treatment of the four suspected rapists.
At his press conference Sharpton said that any violent act toward a woman is inexcusable but he felt that the accused youths were being treated unfairly because they were black. Sharpton contrasted the treatment of the suspects, who remain in jail, with white suspects involved in a gang rape—which he claimed was equivalent to the Dunbar Village attack—who were released after posting bond.
Finally, there was the infamous Tawana Brawley case in 1987. On Nov. 28, 1987, the then-15-year-old Brawley was found – alive – lying in a garbage bag, her clothing torn and burned and with various slurs and epithets written on her body in charcoal. Brawley claimed she had been assaulted and raped by six white men, some of them police officers, in the town of Wappinger Falls, N.Y.
Attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason joined Sharpton in support of Brawley. After seven months of examining police and medical records, the jury found “overwhelming evidence” that Brawley had fabricated her story. Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason accused the Dutchess County prosecutor, Steven Pagones, of racism and of being one of the perpetrators of the alleged abduction and rape. The three were successfully sued for defamation, and were ordered to pay $345,000 in damages, with the jury finding Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox for two, and Mason for one. Sharpton refused to pay his share of the damages; it was later paid by a number of black business leaders including attorney Johnnie Cochran
With a record like that, how could anyone, least of all the F.B.I., trust this nut-job as an informant? Sharpton himself denies the charges of being a mob information and it’s the one instance in his entire career where he’s probably telling the truth.