Originally published in ANIMAL NEW YORK
Project Veritas, the rightwing advocacy group launched by duplicitous filmmaker James O’Keefe, has used footage of Eric Garner’s daughter in a new video that attempts to discredit Reverend Al Sharpton. The footage includes interviews from activists and families of victims who have received donations from Sharpton’s National Action Network, and it is every bit as disgusting and slimy as one would assume.
The New York Post reports that a Project Veritas crony posed as a Garner supporter “with a hidden camera during a protest” at Staten Island’s St. George Ferry Terminal in January and then “secretly recorded a conversation” with Erica Garner-Snipes. Their dialogue, transcribed by the Post:
“You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?” the investigator is heard asking Garner’s oldest daughter.
“He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together.
“He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks.
“Yeah,” Snipes responds.
Later in the video, Garner-Snipes criticizes Cynthia Davis, head of the Staten Island branch of NAN. Garner-Snipes characterizes Davis as “attacking” her for not putting NAN logos on fliers for Eric Garner protests. “Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. She’s trying to make me feel like I owe them,” says Garner-Snipes.
In response to the video, Garner-Snipes told the Post, “No, I didn’t say that I think Al Sharpton is all about the money.” She did, however, stand by her criticisms of Davis.
It’s true that Sharpton, though a revered civil rights icon to those on the left, is no stranger tocontroversy. But conservatives and those with Project Veritas seem to hold a special hatred for him, and their sneaky hit-job seeks to further divide an already fractured, mourning community. “They’re splicing and dicing stuff together,” Sharpton told the Post in response to the video. “It was a distortion. Erica is a sincere victim. She was not trying to infer anything with me.”
New York-based activist Keegan Stephan believes he was present the night that Garner-Snipes was “interviewed.” He recalls that at a protest in January, Garner-Snipes was talking to a woman who then approached Stephan and his peers and began to barb them with pointed questions. The woman, who claimed not to have known about the protests, argued that the Ferguson riots were “more effective because of the fires and property damage” and asked the group several times to “agree that we should abandon our peaceful tactics,” he says. Then she started saying that Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were ambushed and killed in November, “deserved it.” Stephan’s group repeatedly disagreed, condemned the violence, and emphasized the protests were “a peaceful movement and we wanted to keep it that way.” The woman then “asked for all of our business cards and promptly left.”
“I was completely convinced that she was either a lunatic or a spy,” says Stephan. He now suspects the woman worked for Project Veritas.
“While I have issues with Al Sharpton and NAN,” Stephan says, “I’m disgusted by this video. The Veritas Institute clearly exploited grieving families, and these are exactly the type of tactics that rip communities and movements apart, causing everyone involved to question each others’s motives.”