Amid the chaos of the two, 2014 headline-grabbing stories about the deaths of black men at the hands of a police officer, one man was ever-present.
It seemed that wherever the controversy was, so was Al Sharpton.
The people Sharpton and his National Action Network (NAN) claim to be helping have some pretty specific opinions about the ordained minister, a secretly-filmed video suggests.
James O'Keefe and his staff at Project Veritas posed as activists and approached family members of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin, community religious leaders, and people involved with the Martin foundation, just to see what they really thought about Sharpton, the New York Post reports.
When a reporter spoke with Erica Snipes, the oldest daughter of Eric Garner, she didn't have many good things to say:
“He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together.
“He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks.
“Yeah,” Snipes responds.
When Snipes was passing out information in the street about her father's case, a NAN director “attacked” her for not putting the network's logo on the fliers, she said.
“She started attacking me. ‘Oh, I see that you got this flier out, how come you didn’t add the logo?’ ’’ Snipes said. ...
“Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. She’s trying to make me feel like I owe them,” she adds.
Religious leaders in Ferguson agree with Snipes' opinion, saying the Reverend “exploited” the case for his own profit:
“I think that as he came into the community, rather than trying to establish a common conversation, it was more of a baiting situation, to where he was divisive of people. Instead of bringing us together, I think he was drawing us apart.”
When the New York Post questioned Snipes about her comments, she denied ever making them.
Sharpton later told the paper that he was not “exploiting” her and her family - in fact, quite the opposite. He said Project Veritas was “exploiting” Snipes:
“They’re splicing and dicing stuff together. It was a distortion. Erica is a sincere victim. She was not trying to infer anything with me,” Sharpton said of the secret recording.
Other people featured in the video now claim to have been “entrapped” by the Project Veritas journalists.
But is it possible that what's really happening is that they just don't want to cross the Reverend Sharpton?