Tawana Brawley: Case vs. Cause

How a rape investigation has fired up a political movement

When Tawana Brawley was discovered climbing into a garbage bag last Nov. 28 in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., her hair was partly chopped away, her head smeared with excrement and her torso marked with the words NIGGER and KKK. The tale sketched by the girl and her mother told of a horrific crime -- the kidnaping, rape and abuse of a black 15-year-old by six white men, one wearing a badge. Last week, after six months of fitful investigations, a judge finally ordered someone to jail -- not a suspect, but the girl's mother Glenda Brawley.

At that, the case lurched from...

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