What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 27, 2008

Councilman Rev. Burgess Writes Letters

Here's a great one:
October 27, 2008

Dear Senator McCain and Governor Palin:

On Thursday, October 23, 2008, there was a report of a robbery, an assault and a mutilation filed by a volunteer for your campaign. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“She said a man armed with a knife demanded her money. She gave it to him, then began walking to her car, which had McCain stickers on it. She told police that although the robber had moved away from her, he became agitated when he saw her car, punched her in the back of the head, pushed her to the ground and carved a B into her face.”
John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told Talking Points Memo’s Election Central that your Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson." Mr. Verrilli also told TPM that the McCain spokesperson had claimed that the "B" stood for Barack.

The Post-Gazette went on further to say:
“Ms. Todd told police during at least five hours of questioning last night that her attacker said to her, "You are going to be a Barack supporter." She told police the man then sat on her chest, pinning both her hands down with his knees and used what she believed was a dull knife with a roughly 5-inch blade to carve the B.”
Your volunteer told the police that she was robbed, attacked, sexually assaulted, fondled and mutilated by an African-American man. However, we all now know that this tragic story was totally fraudulent. I am deeply troubled by the facts of this story. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“Mr. Garcia took the widely published picture of Ms. Todd with her injuries. He said he took several photographs with a digital camera to document what had happened. He said he only gave copies of the photos to police and Ms. Todd's employer, the College Republicans. One photo appeared on The Drudge Report on Thursday, setting off a storm of media attention.”
This much was true: A McCain-Palin official was pushing a version of the story that was far more explosive than the available or confirmed facts permitted at the time.

All too often in the halls of justice around the world, people are accused of crimes they did not commit. That one of your campaign spokespersons would spread such an incendiary story before any confirmation of the facts is both irresponsible and runs counter to our nation’s Constitutional guarantee that no one be denied life, liberty or property without due process. Moreover, that a representative of the McCain-Palin campaign would be so careless and in the process of doing so, cast aspersions on African-Americans, is unfair.

On behalf of the City of Pittsburgh and its’ African-American community, I respectfully request an apology from your campaign to the city for the conduct of your staff and volunteers. Both of you wasted little time in sending your wishes and prayers to Ms. Todd when the news reports were initially circulated, and so I trust that neither of you will waste anymore time leaving this issue unresolved. I would also ask that you send my personal prayers and well wishes to Ms. Todd and her family. I am certain these are trying times for them.


Reverend Ricky V. Burgess
President Pro-Tempore
Pittsburgh City Council


Infinonymous said...

A delicate issue handled deftly.

Nicely done, Councilman Burgess.

Sherry said...

i hope they have enough class to answer him.

Ol' Froth said...

Stevens guilty on all counts!! Do they have intertubes in prison???

Sherry said...


beasofbourbon said...

Good job , Councilman...........They must be held responsible for the hate and fear they spread .

jaywillie said...

Garcia is probably a member of College Republicans. He's the law student from this Trib article, who told police a completely different story than related by Ethan Eilon, executive director of the CRNC, to the Post-Gazette.

And for some reason, according to that Trib story, Garcia deliberately lied to provide Todd with a cover story when he said that he took her to UPMC

Maybe he was just covering for a friend, but then why did he give the photos to the College Republicans?

Now, Eilon just happened to be in Pittsburgh. It's possible he arrived after one of his paid field reps(Todd) called the CRNC with her bogus story and he simply came to check in on her.

But I doubt.

In that P-G story, he describes the event as a "random crime" that escalated into something worse. So he either bought Todd's b.s. or he was laying the groundwork for the smear, which was also being shopped around by McCain's PA Communications Director, P. Feldman (confirmed by KDKA and WPXI).

If there's a connection to the McCain camp it probably goes through the College Republican National Committee(which is closely associated with the RNC).

A question that needs to be asked is how Drudge got a photo and a story before the Pittsburgh media and from who.

When we know that, we'll know exactly who was involved with this.

Otherwise, just from what we know, it's pretty clear how this thing unfolded.

Garcia/Todd committ the fraud, take the pictures, give the to College Republicans; College Republicans give the pictures and story to the McCain campaign; the McCain campaign starts shopping them around but no one will bite but Drudge; Drudge runs with it making it a national story; rightwing radio picks it up from Drudge; more traditional media picks up the story and suddenly it's "legitimate."

Now, we can probably never prove whether or not someone convinced Todd to do this, but considering that College Republicans pulled almost an identical stunt 2 years ago in Michigan is a bit much to be regarded simply as a coincidence.

Infinonymous said...

An appalled Republican tells me that Mr. Garcia attends local Republican events, that he is a Pitt law student, and that it might not be a waste of time to look more closely at several aspects of this story.

If Mr. Garcia (or a friend of Mr. Garcia) is reading this, here is some free advice: Keep the sensibilities of bar admission committees in mind when deciding how to address this situation. I had a classmate whose bar admission was delayed a year because of a drunken driving incident; another lost a half-year because of issues deriving from a minor incident in a bar. Neither law student recognized the gravity of the situation until that letter from the bar admission committee arrived, denying a seat at the bar exam.

Misleading or false statements to authorities could damage one's credentials for admission to the bar. The obvious and easy solution in Mr. Garcia's case: Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This was a dangerous incident, even beyond the politically inspired race-baiting; someone could have been hurt, arrested, or incarcerated because of it. Mr. Garcia should treat it as serious, without delay, and explain what happened. Truth, whole truth, etc. . . .

Maria said...


Not sure where you are getting that Eilon was in Pittsburgh. Can you help me out and source that?

I certainly found him commenting to the press, just not specifically from in town.

John K. said...

John K: So when do taxpayers get their money back from the Rooney family? Did I have to pay to build a stadium for Dan and Art so they could then take their windfall and endorse a political candidate? Will wait for apology from both Burgess and the Rooneys.