Activist Shaun King is apparently quite sorry after lighting a figurative fire over one black woman's false and defamatory accusations that a white state trooper sexually assaulted her during a recent traffic stop in Texas.
What's the background?
King reported allegations on Sunday that a Texas state trooper sexually assaulted a black woman during a traffic stop.
According to the report, an officer pulled the woman — Sherita Dixon Cole — over early Sunday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence.
After standard sobriety tests — and passing them, according to King — the officer reportedly decided to take Cole into custody anyway, simply because he didn’t like her “attitude.” The officer reportedly placed Cole in the front seat.
King reported Cole’s graphic account, which alleged that the officer had sexually assaulted her several times on the way to the police station.
Cole was reportedly booked for DUI/DWI at the station. She reportedly visited a hospital after she was released later on Sunday.
An internal investigation rendered reports that said the dashcam footage did not support Cole’s claims.
Texas law enforcement released footage on Cole's arrest on Tuesday, and her account of Sunday night — which included lurid allegations of sexual assault — were proven entirely false as a result.
On Wednesday, the state’s Department of Public Safety called Cole’s lie a “despicable, slanderous, and false accusation."
Even Cole's lawyer, S. Lee Meritt, distanced himself from his client's egregious claims.
"The body camera footage released directly conflicts with the accounts reported to my office," Merritt wrote in an apologetic statement that said the officer should be completely cleared of any wrongdoing.
What did King say?
In an extensive blog post on Medium, King asked forgiveness for his misstep.
In a post titled, "When the 'victim' you fought for turns out to be the victimizer: Sherita Dixon-Cole and the painful consequences of a false report of sexual assault and police misconduct," King wrote, "Human beings and the decisions they sometimes make are a mystery."
King revealed that he pored over the footage provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which apparently accounted for every second of the arrest — which did not include any sexual misconduct whatsoever — and concluded that Cole was not truthful.
"From all indications the officer, Daniel Hubbard, was very professional and patient throughout the ordeal," King wrote, calling the entire process "routine" and "normal."
King went on to take note of Cole's behavior, which he called "baffling."
"What’s just so baffling is that Sherita was calm and respectful the entire time," he wrote. "Her fiancé was calm and respectful. The officer was calm and respectful."
King added that Cole still insists her account of the events is the real account of events and that the footage must have been manipulated to edit out what she alleged happened.
King didn't appear to buy her reasoning, however.
"None of the criminal allegations that Sherita Dixon-Cole communicated very clearly to her family, friends, and attorneys ever took place on this video," King wrote. "Not one. Not the threats. Not the sexual assaults. None of it. It is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard of."
"Nothing criminal has been edited out of this video," he added, noting that he took the footage to a specialist to verify that the video had not been manipulated.
He even went on cast doubt on Cole's claims, citing her disposition throughout the entire ordeal, even if something had been edited out of the video footage.
"Sherita Dixon-Cole’s behavior and demeanor throughout the video, which is calm, cool, and collected at all times, from start to finish, just does not support her claims of being repeatedly sexually assaulted and threatened," King added.
King called Cole's apparent lies a "tremendous disservice to actual victims."
"I don’t know why she did this, and I don’t know if we will ever know why, but in this case she played everybody — including it appears — her fiancé and extended family," he said.
King cautioned that while there are many valid victims in the world today who do need attention, Cole is not one of them.
"She victimized us," King wrote. "She victimized the man she falsely accused and she victimized those who stood up for her — believing that she had experienced the worst crimes."
King added that he trusted "a very reliable source" on this case, and still "poked and prodded for holes" around the story — which he believed.
"I regret that I did," a "baffled" King wrote. "Hindsight is 20/20."