Thursday, March 23, 2006

On the New York Post Article: A Message from the RBMF

As you folks already know, my involvement in the organizing around the murder and dismemberment of 19-year old Rashawn Brazell began right here on this very blog. Indeed, much has transpired since my initial entry about the case. Since Mervyn and I founded the Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund last year, there have been plenty of successes and not a few disappointments. What follows is a glimpse into the most recent evidence of the dubious tactics of the NYPD and the insensitivity of the press to this murder. Check out the news blog on for more information.

This Monday, the New York Post ran a story on a "new lead" in the investigation into Rashawn Brazell's murder under the tasteless title "GAY BEAU SOUGHT IN BODY-CHOP SLAY". Because the RBMF shoulders the responsibilty of monitoring the case, as well as the coverage of his life and murder, we thought it was important to respond to what we see as poor journalism.

It comes as no surprise to those who follow Rashawn's story, and most New Yorkers for that matter, that the New York Post chose such a sensational title for its story. By now, our frustration with the way the Post treats subjects who stand at the intersection of marginal identities has become commonplace. Are men who are suspected of murdering their girlfriends identified as straight in the headlines accompanying their stories? Of course not, but the Post keeps its circulation numbers up by concocting salacious headlines that normalize racism and homophobia.

Because we are all too aware that many similar stories never get discussed in a newsroom, we remain encouraged that Rashawn's case still garners some coverage. But we must ask, why now? It is clear to us and to
Desire Brazell, Rashawn's mother, that this information is not new. In fact, the police were told about the man in question within weeks of Rashawn's dissapearance last year. Surely, the police must have wanted to bring the man in for questioning at the time Rashawn's body was found. If not, that would highlight, at the very least, a serious lapse in judgment, if not responsibility, on the NYPD's end.

We also know that Ms. Brazell is planning a
march on Rashawn's birthday (April 15) to the 79th precinct station house to demand answers about her son's murder. The police have asked her to cancel her march. To us, it seems all too convenient that the police would suddenly have a lead that necessitated communication with the New York Post, and not the mother of the victim. While that lead may be new to the reporter and the Post, it is all too old for Ms. Brazell and indeed the NYPD.

This leaves us with many questions and not too many answers. We at the RBMF, along with all of you who have taken an active interest in Rashawn's case, are committed to ensuring his story is told in the most straightforward and accurate manner. We also hope that the police are keeping their priorities in order and that they are not engaging in stealth PR tactics, which only serve to bolster the NYPD's cracking facade. As the cases of
Immette St. Guillen and Nicole DuFresne received the appropriate amount of resources from the NYPD, we demand the same for the case of our brother, Rashawn.

Larry Lyons & Mervyn Marcano
Founders, RBMF


Blogger Bernie said...

Did you send a copy of this letter to the Post, (as well as the Times, Daily News and Newsday, who would probably enjoy making the Post look bad)?

12:10 PM  
Blogger Liza Valentino said...

First off, thank you so much for keeping us all updated. Your persistence is appreciated.

Now, onto the topic. That headline is despicable....just tasteless and blantantly offensive. I hope Rashawn's mother doesn't let the police intimidate her out of her march because I know they will try. We have to let them know that throwing a few crumbs our way under the title of an "investigation" will NOT pacify us.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Quaheem said...


Thank you for keeping this story/case alive and in the minds of all of us...

This has touched me deeply...How many of US could have ended up in the same position?

And as gruesome a crime as this is why hasn't the mainstream media latched on to it?

His gaynnes and blackness seem to me to be the reason...

But what about HUMAN life? And what about the possibility of a predator STILL being at large and young brothers being targeted...

Once again we see a CLEAR and PRESENT example of how OUR very existence as human beings is undervalued. This really saddens me.

It really does.

But thank you for doing what you are doing.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Nikki said...

Thanks for keeping us abreast of the case. And I agree with Liza, that headline was just cruel.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Leontyne's Child said...

Thanks for the update. There's no way I would know if these things while here in Arizona. I'm so pleased the RBMF is doing what needs to be done to fight this type of injustice.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

it is ashame they are not taking this seriously ... i was just thinking about this a few weeks ago too - realizing a year passed. very sad ....

10:30 AM  
Blogger pomedome said...

You're "back"...? Lookin' good.
I'm Jerry Mehalovich. Living in Cedar Falls Iowa. Good t' know ya.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Z said...

I'm so proud of you Larry and what you've done and accomplished with the Rashawn Brazell Memorial. Even though I haven't been around in a while, rest assure I'm keeping an eye on your progress. Very inspiring.

9:14 PM  

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