"Civil Rights Leader" Al Sharpton

Are they serious?

Reporter Robert McFadden covers the much-publicized shooting of three men by undercover cops after a bachelor party at a strip club in Queens for Sunday's edition.

"Hours before he was to be married, a man leaving his bachelor party at a strip club in Queens that was under police surveillance was shot and killed early yesterday in a hail of police bullets, witnesses and the police said. Two of his friends were wounded, one critically, they said.

"Many details of the shooting were not immediately clear, but relatives of the dead man, Sean Bell, 23, and community leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, demanded an investigation into what some called an overreaction by officers that killed a man on his wedding day. "

After calling him a "community leader," McFadden elevates the racially inflammatory Sharpton to a "civil rights leader."

"The shootings reverberated with echoes of the 1999 police shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed street vendor and Guinean immigrant who was killed in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment by four police officers who were later acquitted of criminal charges in his death. That killing raised questions of racial profiling and excessive force by the police.

"One police official denied any racial motivation in yesterday's shooting and said that two of the officers involved were white, one Hispanic and two black. The victims were either black or Hispanic. None of the officers had been involved in previous shootings, Mr. Kelly said. He said several officers were injured, but none seriously.

"Mr. Sharpton, a civil rights leader who has often protested police actions in high-profile and racially charged cases, challenged the police to explain what had happened."

The Times has a long pattern of flattering Sharpton with labels while ignoring Sharpton's racistpast, including his spread of the Tawana Brawley hoax and calling Jews "diamond merchants" during the racial disturbance in Crown Heights. In Harlem in 1995, Sharpton cursed the white Jewish owner of Freddy's Fashion Mart as a "white interloper" in a protest that escalated when a protester entered the store, shot four employees and set the building on fire, killing seven employees.

That's the Times' ideas of a "civil rights leader."