Shaun King, an activist and organizer within the broader Black Lives Matter movement, is accused of lying about his racial background and an alleged hate crime that occurred while he was in high school in rural Kentucky.
This is a complex story with multiple points of view, so we will present a basic summary first.
On Shaun King's racial background:
- Breitbart News has accused King of faking his racial identity;
- King vehemently denies the reports, writing for the Daily Kos that the white man listed on his birth certificate is not his biological father;
- Detective Keith Broughton, who was the officer on the scene of the alleged hate crime, told IJReview: “I believe that he’s biracial. I could just tell when I saw him. I marked him white because he’s very light complected. He was there with his white mother. My crime report there’s only two things you can check: black or white. It doesn’t say biracial…anyone from around here who knew him knew he was mixed.”
Next, for the alleged hate crime from King's freshman year of high school:
- The Daily Caller reported that police reports were at odds with what King has said in the past about experiencing a hate crime in high school;
- Detective Broughton, who filled out the police report, said he chose a teacher's point of view from the incident. Broughton told IJReview that a lawsuit filed by King also includes accounts that support King's claims;
- An eyewitness who is an acquaintance of King tells IJReview that King's side of the story is correct;
Former high school classmate Shea Gold, who claims to have been a witness to the incident, is speaking out about what happened back in 1995.
Gold told IJReview:
“When I read Shaun's account of what happened I thought yeah, that's what happened.”
Gold claims that King was no match for those ambushing him:
“He was on the ground in less than half a second. He didn't even understand what was happening.”
The former band mate claims that it was a rough group of about a dozen young white men...
“They were big guys. They didn't wear tennis shoes to school they wore huge construction boots.”
... who targeted King because he was different:
“He was known to me as mixed ... He was targeted because he was different. I can promise you that. I would imagine that anyone who is mixed would have a pretty difficult time.”
Though never a close friend, Gold's sentiments echoed what King wrote about racial tensions in their high school. Gold told IJReview:
“Anyone from those days tells you there was peace and harmony, they're lying to you. ... There was a lot of racial tension at that time... I always said hello to him in the halls because I always thought he was getting a lot of crap because he was treated as an outsider, as a misfit. It seemed like he was treated that way by a lot of different people at school.”
After seeing the article about the conflicting police report, Gold contacted King about it:
“He was very kind...and he basically gave me permission to run my mouth about it.”
In a Facebook post, Gold claims that before Shaun could make it into the band room, he was “quite literally ambushed by a large group of large people.” Soon, Gold said, “there was blood all over the floor.”
Gold, a senior when King was a freshman, saw things differently than it was recorded in police reports. He wrote:
“This view seems to stem from one specific article making the observation that the police account and public records of this incident do not coincide with Shaun's account. For example, the police report says there was only one attacker, not a dozen. It also states that Shaun's injuries were very minor.”
Gold told IJReview that his Facebook post was, in part, to correct the record after The Daily Caller published these details from the police report:
“Though King has claimed he almost died from the attack, the report characterized King’s injuries as minor. He was driven to the hospital by his mother that day, and reportedly suffered an abrasion to his cheek and had some pain in his ribs and back.”
In detective notes obtained by The Blaze, a teacher stated that the altercation was a one-on-one fight that happened because King threatened a girl for accidentally breaking a CD, reportedly threatening to break her neck. The girl's ex-boyfriend, according to the report, proceeded to punch him.
Retired Detective Keith Broughton told IJReview that though there were many accounts of it being a one-on-one altercation, he relied most heavily on a teacher's contention, which he said he thought to be the least biased in a courtroom. However, he added that while he was sifting through King's lawsuit:
“There were several statements saying that he was attacked by a gang...a dozen people.”
He did note that there “was a large amount of people that were spectating.”
Broughton also told The Daily Caller that though King was bleeding after the incident, he wasn't covered in or left in a pool of blood, as both Gold and a self-help book written by King contend. The Daily Caller report adds:
“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.'”
After Gold's initial Facebook post, he had a conversation with Detective Broughton.
Following that conversation, Gold added an apology to his wall regarding some details in his initial post:
IJReview has reached out to the teacher involved in the alleged hate crime, and will update this story if we learn more.