Sharpton Accused of Shady Financial Dealings

Published February 11, 2008

Posted Oct. 10, 2007 – The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has provided financial support for the family of Sean Bell, the 20-year-old Black man killed in a haze of New York City Police bullets in November, is being accused of fishy financial dealings.

Defense attorneys representing the three cops accused of gunning Bell down on his wedding day say they want a full disclosure of the money going to the victim’s family from Sharpton’s National Action Network.

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Sharpton says he’s more than willing to provide full disclosure regarding his group’s support for Bell and his wounded friends, Trent Benefield, 24, and Joseph Guzman, 32. But he also urged authorities to speak with other police brutality victims who received his support.

Talking to The New York Daily News Monday, Abner Louima – who was raped with a plunger by Transit Police in Brooklyn 10 years ago – backed up Sharpton, saying the dollars came with no strings attached.

"Whatever I got, I was never told that I had to do any favors back or I had to pay back the National Action Network," Louima told the Daily News. "Sharpton never tells [victims] what to do or what to say." Louima said his decision to donate to Sharpton’s presidential campaign was his own.

The families of Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, two immigrants who were slain by NYPD officers, would also back up his credibility, Sharpton said.

"We are prepared to establish that in court," Sharpton said in a letter to state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman. "The National Action Network has never received one dime. Nor has it influenced the choice of one attorney in the multiple [civil] cases and millions of dollars that derive from the cases that we have advocated on behalf of down through the years."

What should be investigated, Sharpton said, is the Detectives Endowment Association's financial support of Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Marc Cooper, who unloaded 50 shots at Bell and his buddies outside a Queens strip club.

"The union has an obligation under its constitution and bylaws to provide such assistance,” DEA President Mike Palladino said.

Do you believe there is anything improper about Sharpton’s support of police brutality victims?  Click "Discuss Now," to the right, to post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff

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