(New York, February 23, 2015) – Award-winning journalist and New York Times’ best-selling author James O’Keefe released a powerful new video today showing how the families, and attorneys of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown really feel about Al Sharpton. O’Keefe, president and founder of Project Veritas, led a team of investigative journalists to uncover how these families and the communities of Staten Island, NY; Miami, Florida; and Ferguson, MO really feel about Sharpton’s involvement in the aftermath of the deaths of Garner, Martin, and Brown.
O’Keefe’s latest video confirms and highlights what many have long suspected: Al Sharpton is motivated by avarice and pride, rather than social justice and bringing about change.
A member of O’Keefe’s team spoke with the late Eric Garner’s oldest daughter, Erica, on a brisk January evening in Staten Island. Garner did not hold back when asked about Sharpton’s involvement, stating: “he’s about the money.”
Garner, who has become a passionate champion for social change following the death of her father, accused Sharpton and his National Action Network of “attacking” her for not giving them credit; and trying to capitalize on her father’s death. “Instead of me, he wants his face in front of them,” said Garner of Sharpton.
Garner was visibly angered at Sharpton and the National Action Network. Indeed, rather than help, Garner felt as if Sharpton and NAN were trying to take advantage of her: “Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. She’s [Cynthia Davis, President of the Staten Island Chapter of NAN] trying to make me feel like I owe them,” a statement that shocked one of Garner’s friends who was speaking with Erica and a Project Veritas journalist.
In Florida, a Project Veritas investigative journalist spoke with Tracy Martin, the father of the late Trayvon Martin, at a banquet for the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Martin quickly distanced himself from Sharpton, stating: “he’s on his own personal mission.”
Troy Wright, the President and Executive Director of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, further distanced Martin’s family and the Martin Foundation from Sharpton. When asked about Sharpton and NAN, Wright responded “that’s a sore subject with us right now.” Indeed, all traces of Sharpton and NAN have recently been removed from the Foundation’s website. Wright also strongly insinuated to Project Veritas that a decision had been made not to invite Sharpton to a recent Foundation banquet.
O’Keefe’s team also spoke with prominent leaders in Ferguson, who were sharply critical of Sharpton. Bishop Calvin Scott, whose personal dealings with Sharpton in the aftermath of the Michael Brown tragedy left him critical of the MSNBC host, told Project Veritas that he “incites people for the wrong reason,” that he gets people “all fired up,” and that is “not the way you want to go.” Bishop Scott went as far as to place partial blame on Sharpton for inciting violence in Ferguson: pointedly stating “when you have a fuse that is already lit, you don’t need to add no more fire to it.”
When asked if Sharpton used the Michael Brown controversy to raise money, Bishop Scott told a Project Veritas journalist “you’re not the first person to raise that question… someone in the higher up that even mentioned… the history of an Al Sharpton, and an organization such as him, and they emphatically stated that… for them, knowing their history, it’s about money.”
Stacy Garner (no relation to Eric or Erica Garner) of Ferguson Christian Church told another member of O’Keefe’s team that he believed Sharpton was exploiting the Michael Brown tragedy for his own profit and that “instead of bringing us together, I think he was drawing us apart.”
“Sharpton’s perception of himself is a far cry from how he is perceived by the families and communities he thrust himself upon,” stated James O’Keefe. “By all accounts, Sharpton appears to be abusing the bully pulpit given to him by MSNBC to capitalize on tragedies. It was quite apparent from the number of individuals we spoke to that Sharpton views tragedies as opportunities, and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to further his personal agenda.”