Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King responded on the left-leaning website Daily Kos on Thursday to defend himself against recent reports casting doubt on claims he’s made about his past.
Meanwhile, a Versailles, Ky. police detective who investigated one of those claims — an alleged brutal hate crime attack King says he suffered while in high school in 1995 — is providing more details to The Daily Caller about that investigation.
“Over the past 72 hours I have been attacked with lies by the conservative media, lies that have been picked up by the traditional media and spread further,” King wrote at Daily Kos. “I have kept silent at the advice of friends and mentors, but I will do so no longer.”
King, who came to prominence during the protests last year in Ferguson, Mo., was responding to two distinct reports which have been published over the last month.
TheDC published an investigate report in July which cast significant doubt on King’s claim that he was the victim of a brutal March 1, 1995 hate crime attack by a dozen “rednecks” when he was a 15-year-old sophomore at Woodford County High School in Versailles. (RELATED: Ferguson Activist’s Hate Crime Claim Disputed By Police Report, Detective)
King has claimed in numerous interviews and in a recent self-help book that he was left near death after the attack, which he said was racially-motivated.
But a police report filed at the time — and, Keith Broughton, the detective who investigated — undermined those claims. King’s injuries were listed as “minor,” and Broughton reported the incident was a one-on-one fight with no indication of a hate crime. Further, there was no evidence that the incident was ever registered as one of Kentucky’s first hate crimes, which King has claimed.
The Blaze followed up this week with a report that included the witness statements provided to the school and police at the time of the incident.
A teacher stated then that the altercation was a one-on-one fight. The assailant in the altercation said that he punched King because the future activist had threatened his ex-girlfriend over a broken CD. The ex-girlfriend gave a similar statement.
On Wednesday, Breitbart News followed up with a report of a different nature. The website published King’s birth certificate which purported to show the name of King’s father, which records show is a white man.
King did not directly respond to the allegation about his racial background on Wednesday, but did so in the Daily Kos piece.
“For my entire life, I have held the cards of my complicated family history very close to my chest,” King wrote in the blog.
“I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past, or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man.”
He stated later in the lengthy post that he does not know who his father is.
“Until this past week, never has anyone asked me who my father was during these 35 years of mine. It occurs to me now that I’ve never asked anyone that question either,” he wrote.
In his response, King falsely attributes other outlets’ reporting to TheDC.
“The same sources who falsely reported my family history—including Breitbart, the Daily Caller, and The Blaze—have also falsely reported that my wife and I were never in a brutal car accident, that I lied about how many kids we have (we have 5 now, but have had more/less because we’ve fostered, adopted, housed many of our nieces and nephews), that I lied about my race to get a scholarship from Oprah, that I lied about how many back surgeries I’ve had, and more.”
TheDC did not assert that King has lied about his race. No mention was made either of his claim that he and his wife were in a car accident, or about how many kids he’s had, or how many back surgeries he’s had.
TheDC’s report centered solely on King’s claim about the 1995 incident at his high school.
In his response, King points to several people, including a teacher, who have written statements on Facebook supporting his claim that he was the victim of an attack by a large group of “rednecks.”
King does not, however, address some key points contained in the police report or that there is no evidence that the incident was one of the first hate crimes ever recorded in Kentucky. He also does not address witness statements, such as the one from Theresa Epperson, the teacher who intervened in the fight.
Epperson wrote the day of the incident that she she heard commotion in the school hallway and “pushed through” a group of students “just as [redacted] hit Shawn [sic] King in the nose.”
Epperson stated that King was on the floor, he got up, and then she walked him and the other student to the office.
Other witnesses who gave statements were consistent with the one-on-one fight claim. The ex-girlfriend of the assailant stated that she was scared of King after he threatened her over a CD she had accidentally broken two weeks before. The girl’s ex-boyfriend said he beat up King because he threatened to break the girl’s neck.
Broughton told TheDC on Thursday, after King posted his response, that he put the most weight on Epperson’s statement, given that she was a teacher.
“She would be the most unbiased person there,” Broughton said in a phone interview.
Broughton, who is a detective at a different agency now, dismissed King’s claims that the police tried to sweep the incident under the carpet because of any racial element. He pointed out that he charged the suspect with the maximum charge, a fourth-degree assault. The student was suspended from school for 10 days.
Broughton also addressed the nature of King’s injuries, which are described in the police report as “minor.” The detective wrote then that King had an “abrasion” on his cheek and was complaining of pain in his ribs and back.
Broughton said that when he met with King and his mother at the hospital shortly after the incident, he could tell that he had been punched in the face. He said he saw a bump, but that the injuries were not consistent with King’s more recent claims that he was “beaten to a pulp.”
But Broughton noted that King did not require any emergency transportation. He was driven to the hospital by his mother. He also said that King did not mention any racial element to the attack, saying only that he was in a fight.
King was also not bleeding or covered in blood, Broughton said. The activist wrote in his self-help book that after the attack he was left in a pool of blood.
TheDC’s attempts to contact Epperson and to the ex-girlfriend of the assailant have been unsuccessful.