By Mary Alice Miller
A contingent of 100 New Yorkers trekked to Virginia this week to support attorneys who are challenging the garnishment of Tawana Brawley’s wages by her accused rapist former Dutchess County assistant district attorney Steven Pagones. One quarter century since Tawana Brawley was found physically brutalized, Pagones has apparently decided to use the courts to abuse Tawana further. In an odd turn of events, the rape victim is being compelled to pay her accused rapist. Since Feb. 8, 2013, more than $300 has been taken from Tawana’s wages every two weeks to be transferred to Pagones.
Led by Alton Maddox, attorneys Fred Dean and Michael Kennedy Lloyd filed a response in a Surry County, Virginia courthouse to contest the garnishment as having no legal basis.
“What we have done is alert this court that Tawana will not be litigating any issue in a courthouse that is still under the power and domination of the Confederate States of America. This is one of those courthouses,” said Maddox. “We are being compelled all over this nation to go into courthouses with Confederate statues in front of them. That is the reason Tawana would not make an appearance.” Maddox added, “We are asking Blacks all over the country to join in that. You can’t get justice for Trayvon Martin as long as the mindset is still there.”
Calling the judgment “bogus”, Maddox explained that there were no court records supporting Pagones’ baseless judgment. “None of the court records were brought down here. The only people who have filed court records are us. Now the court can see what really happened in New York,” said Maddox. “The so-called judgment creditor, Steven Pagones, would not be here but for the U.S. Constitution and the full faith and credit clause of that. But you can’t give credit if you don’t have the records. Those are not just empty words: full faith and credit to the records and proceedings of another state. It can only have effect if you have those records. The first time that this court has had those records was this morning even though they started taking money from Tawana on Feb. 8 (2013). Now we have made that record by being here.”
While the legal team was in court, dozens of New York supporters peacefully lined the sidewalk displaying posters expressing support for Tawana. Some supporters inspected a statue of a Confederate soldier prominently displayed directly in front of the courthouse. Below the soldier is a Confederate flag carved on the base of the statue with the etchings: “Our Heroes 1861-1865” and “To Confederate Soldiers of Surry County. Erected by the Confederate Memorial Association of Surry County A.D. 1909.”
“Today was a great step in the right direction. All the steps were completed in establishing and debunking the false foundation that Pagones utilized with respect to his claim of a default judgment against Tawana Brawley. We demonstrated it lacked foundation. The proper paperwork was submitted today which will eventually set the stage for all of that money he has collected so far to be returned to Tawana Brawley,” said Michael Greys, member of United African Movement. “We are confident that will happen.”
Greys further explained: “At the same time we made a statement for all of Black America to remind North America that it is unlawful to have a ‘badge of slavery’ in plain sight on public property. We raised the question that should have been resolved in 1865 when every vestige of the Confederacy should have been destroyed. We are reminding America that it has a responsibility to remove all badges of slavery. It is constitutional and morally right to do that. Certainly the evidence is in plain sight.” Greys asked, “Can you have a Confederate soldier in a place of justice?”
After submitting their response in the Surry Courthouse, the legal team led a caravan to Norfolk, Virginia to serve Pagones’ local attorneys, Glasser and Glasser. “We had the opportunity to go to the local attorneys for Mr. Pagones to present him with a copy of the documents we have filed in the courthouse,”
said attorney Michael Kennedy Lloyd. “One of the attorneys for Glasser and Glasser came out and informed us that he was not interested in accepting any of our papers so we left them on his receptionist’s desk. As we departed, he informed us that it was his intention to deposit our papers in the trash if we left them on his receptionist’s desk. We thank him for his courtesy and exited. The issue is did we deliver the papers to the attorney’s office and clearly we did.”
Tawana’s mother Glenda Brawley and her stepfather Ralph King accompanied the caravan during its entire time in Virginia.
“Tawana, my family and I really thank the supporters and Alton Maddox and his family from the bottom of my heart,” said Glenda. “I am so honored and proud of my people who came down to support her after 25 years. I think it really shocked a lot of the opposition because they didn’t feel this would continue. The case was so outstanding and so long and so horrible that people didn’t feel she got justice. She didn’t get justice.”
Glenda Brawley said her daughter was labeled as telling a hoax, but the opposition perpetrated the hoax. “She has never said anything that would be a hoax. She was attacked, abused on her way home by police officers and assistant district attorneys. She was not allowed to see pictures of the people she described. Her rape kit disappeared; the police department was probably involved. She was taken farther away from the first hospital they were supposed to come to when there is a crime committed and they have an injured person,” said Glenda.
Tawana’s mother has not wavered from her position. “All of this was set up by crooked ones in the police department. They were covering up for her rapists. We found out later her rapists/murderers (referring to the death of police officer Harry Crist hours after Tawana was found)/liars are all the same,” said Glenda. “Once you cover up for a rapist and a liar, you are just as guilty as they are. You have to continue covering up for them even though you may not want to cover up to protect your own self. Something is definitely wrong. It is a cover-up going on.”
Glenda said Tawana is doing fine. Tawana did continue her education and now is a nurse. “I am very proud of her and the way she held up through this because the average person wouldn’t have. We encourage her to stay strong and be all that she can be. That is what she has done,” said Glenda. “We are so proud of her even through all the negativity and people who didn’t believe her story.”
Glenda believes the defamation suit that is going on against Tawana “is a way to make her come out and apologize so Pagones can keep his position and keep fooling people.” According to Glenda, Pagones is only fooling himself because the people who were surrounding him were probably tired of it by now because they constantly have to lie for him. “They are putting their lives and their jobs on the line for this person who is a rapist and murderer and abductor,” said Glenda.
Tawana, 15 years old at the time she was abducted, raped and tortured, was never served to appear in any defamation case involving Pagones. A law guardian was never appointed to be served on Tawana’s behalf. Tawana never testified in any defamation lawsuit. Incidentally, Pagones sued Alton Maddox, Al Sharpton, and C. Vernon Mason for defamation. Maddox won, Sharpton and Mason lost. An upstate jury found there was the likelihood Pagones participated in the physical abuse of Tawana over a four day period in November 1987.