Critics blast Jackson, Sharpton over silence on Florida school bus beating
Self-appointed civil rights leaders and celebrities remained mum on the vicious beating of a white sixth-grader at the hands of three older African-Americans in Florida, despite a growing chorus of critics who called their silence hypocrisy given their recent, racially-charged condemnation of the Sunshine State.
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who both blasted Florida in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting and the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Martin's death, with Jackson calling it an "apartheid state" and "our Selma," have not spoken publicly of the brutal beating aboard a school bus caught on cellphone and surveillance video. Neither Jackson nor Sharpton responded to requests for comment from FoxNews.com.
“Three 15-yr-old black teens beat up a 13-yr-old white kid because he told school officials they tried to sell him drugs,” former congressman Allen West, an ex-Army Colonel who is African-American, wrote on his Facebook page. “Do you hear anything from Sharpton, Jackson, NAACP, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, liberal media, or Hollywood? Cat got your tongues or is it that pathetic hypocrisy revealing itself once again? Y'all just make me sick.”
Robert Zimmerman Jr., who vociferously defended his brother against charges the shooting of Martin was racially motivated, also chimed in, taking Sharpton and Jackson to task for staying silent on the beating.
“It's time 2 "unplug" their mic if U ask me...“@JimmieFleek: @rzimmermanjr @TheRevAl @RevJJackson apparently racism only works one way?” Zimmerman tweeted.
The attack took place July 9 in the St. Petersburg-area community of Gulfport. But the horrific cellphone and surveillance video came out only recently. Police say the three youths, all African-American, attacked the boy after he told officials at their dropout prevention school that one of them had tried to sell him marijuana. The unidentified boy was left with a broken arm and two black eyes.
Joshua Reddin, Julian McKnight, and Lloyd Khemradj, all 15 years old, were arrested a short time later. All three were charged with aggravated battery and have since been released. Reddin is also charged with unarmed robbery.
Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent told Fox News the attack does not appear to be racially motivated and was due to the younger boy reporting that one of the assailants had tried to sell him marijuana.
West, who represented southeastern Florida in the House, denounced Jackson and Sharpton as “race-baiters” and “faux leaders” during the Zimmerman trial for making the death of Martin into a racial issue.
“Do you really want to talk about the issues that are confronting the black community or do you want to talk about the politically manufactured crises that you have these faux leaders and these race-baiters that are out there, you know, promoting it,” West said in a July interview on Fox News Radio.
Rev. Dr. Manuel Sykes, president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP, told FoxNews.com his group is aware of the bus beating and is monitoring it closely.
“We would want to see if any and all information out there has determined if there are any disparities,” he said.
All three of the assailants were expelled from school and are due back in court for a hearing early next week.