• U.S.

New York: Tearing Apart Tawana’s Tale

2 minute read
TIME

The world may never learn what really happened to Tawana Brawley, the Wappingers Falls, N.Y., teenager who was found cowering in a plastic bag last Thanksgiving, her body covered with excrement and racial epithets. But last week the New York Times revealed what the grand jury investigating the case has found: Brawley’s claim that she was raped and abused by as many as six white men is a “fabrication.” In a lengthy article based on summaries of evidence, the newspaper suggested that, after running away from home for four days, Brawley concocted the tale to escape the wrath of her family.

The Brawleys immediately denounced the story, repeating their claims that a racist system of justice is stacked against them. “I am not a liar, and I am not crazy,” said Tawana at a packed press conference held in New Jersey because her mother is on the run from New York State authorities for refusing to testify before the grand jury. After the full report is officially released in a few weeks, New York attorney general Robert Abrams will probably drop the case, leaving the Brawley imbroglio to be sorted out where it has played best: in the court of public opinion.

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