There are two epic boxing matches upcoming. The undefeated Floyd Mayweather versus MMA fighter Conor McGregor followed by Canelo Alvarez versus GGG in September. Both are likely tame in comparison to the best fight in Arizona today between; that between civil rights activist Jarrett Maupin and the Arizona Republic. This is a blog outpost of opinion. But sometimes no opinion is necessary. Just read the exchange yourself. First, the Republic’s harpooning of Maupin and the Reverend’s most spirited response.
Arizona Republic: As Jarrett Maupin sought justice for a Phoenix family, he also asked them for cash
By Richard Ruelas and Megan Cassidy
The Rev. Jarrett Maupin placed his arms around a weeping Lorenza Valdez and started speaking to the bank of television cameras set up tightly along a wall of her trailer. It had been 11 days since Phoenix police shot and killed Valdez’s son Francisco, his body falling inches from where she now stood.
Maupin thanked reporters for coming to the news conference he had called. He said he was there because the Valdez family had reached out to him. “They want justice in this situation,” the civil-rights activist told reporters.
Days earlier, Maupin had wanted money.
The next day, Maupin pressed her, saying he had already fronted the money by dipping into his own pocket. “Let me know when you might be able to get the funds,” he wrote.
To get the money, Valdez borrowed from friends and neighbors. For Valdez, who cleans houses during 10- to 12-hour workdays, the money represented approximately one month’s earnings.
Maupin said the money he received from Valdez was not for himself. He said that Valdez had demanded he hire a private investigator and a photographer and that the money was going to them.
“The things the Valdez woman paid for were things she wanted that were outside of the normal scope of advocacy,” Maupin said in an interview with The Arizona Republic.
Valdez said Maupin had been a regular visitor to her trailer until he got the money. Then, she said, he stopped coming around.
Maupin told her he was planning a protest outside Phoenix City Hall. But, in a series of texts, he canceled that protest three separate times, rescheduling it for varying reasons.
The third and final cancellation came about half an hour before the scheduled rally. Valdez said she received that notice while she stood with neighbors at her trailer park in west Phoenix. They were waiting for the buses Maupin had promised would take them downtown.
The Reverend Jarrett Maupin’s response to being the subject of an incredibly error-filled and indisputably biased article that appeared in or on media platforms controlled by The Arizona Republic today…
For Immediate Release…
July, 11th, 2017
The Reverend Jarrett Maupin’s response to being the subject of an incredibly error-filled and indisputably biased article that appeared in or on media platforms controlled by The Arizona Republic today:
“I have never been more disappointed or sickened by a media report in The Arizona Republic, than I was today. To be the subject of vicious lies, fabricated scandal, and then to be publicly defamed by a series of professional, personal, and social insult quotes is a form of abuse that the leaders of our paper of record should be concerned about,
“I would like to address several outright lies in the article:
First of all, I am the leader of a years old quasi-religious non-profit social welfare organization that, in-part, functions as a church. This was publicly available information that the so-called journalists that authored this story failed to research or simply ignored. I have also served with distinction as an interim minister and associate minister at several churches.
Second, I do not and never have charged hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees to anyone that came to me with a civil rights concern. I engage in civil rights activism that is totally free and self-sustaining. Completely separate and apart from this community work, I do operate a consulting firm that is exclusively focused on political, business, and community development issues and clientele. These two areas of work function independently of each other and are absolutely unrelated.
Third, I do not and have not ever attempted to solicit money from, manage money for, or demand any sort of donation or contribution from ANY person I have ever advocated for. In fact, The Arizona Republic article states that of ALL of the people they interviewed only two people made this baseless and low accusation. Both of these people have either a personal or political motivation to make these disparaging claims.
Fourth, in the case of Ms. Lorenza Valdez, I suspect my long and unapologetic relationship with former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has more to do with this than any sort of alleged mistreatment she experienced. Her new puppet-masters, the Center for Neighborhood Leadership and Puente, have long had a vendetta against the former sheriff and have, apparently, carried-over that vengeful agenda to anyone who dares to continue to call him a friend. What I do know is that until I raised awareness around the Valdez matter, neither Puente nor the Center for Neighborhood Leadership had said anything or taken any action to advocate around the matter. As for Ms. Valdez paying me any money for anything I did, I completely reject and denounce that narrative as a lie. What in fact happened is this, Ms. Valdez sought the professional services of a private investigative firm. I am not a private investigator. What I am is a shot messenger. When Ms. Valdez failed to meet her obligations to the private investigators she hired, I received calls about it. I vouched for her and even offered to have my non-profit pay expenses. I told Ms. Valdez this as well, unfortunately my offer was declined by both parties. Ms. Valdez paid the fees assessed to her by the private investigative team she hired. Upon Ms. Valdez affiliating with Puente and Center for Neighborhood Leadership, I received ONE call – out of the blue – about the monies she paid out to the private investigator and related consultants. Immediately upon hearing a request for a return of the monies, I contacted anyone on my staff who had any connection to the consultants. Almost instantaneously, the funds Ms. Valdez spent were returned to me, save for the cost of the professional photographer that was hired to document fatal injuries to her son’s body and his post-mortem state – which she requested and insisted be publicly released. I insisted on returning the monies immediately to Ms. Valdez, even though her new handlers kept suggesting that I do so when I returned from a 2 week civil rights conference in Atlanta. I absolutely REFUSED to do that and demanded that we meet a day later, on Mother’s Day, and personally handed Ms. Valdez all of her funds. We continued to meet for between 2 and 3 hours, where I was exhaustively questioned by her new handlers about strategies and political insights related to the Valdez case. I freely and willingly indulged all of their questions and left the meeting feeling confident they had asked me everything they needed to ask with respect to how to move forward with protests and political pressure tactics. This all occurred in the matter of 2 weeks or less. That is the extent of my involvement and several witnesses and consultants who were hired by Ms. Valdez and collected money from Ms. Valdez offered to and did speak to the journalist who wrote this tabloid worthy garbage. Sadly, their statements were not included in this story in any meaningful way. I never chose an attorney for Ms. Valdez and I never gave any advice about the legal issues present in her case.
Fifth, in the case of Ms. Shanesha Taylor, I have absolutely nothing to say beyond this: I have never charged or demanded a donation or contribution from Shanesha Taylor. I have never authorized anyone else to do so either. Shanesha Taylor was among all of my many thousands of contacts that were turned over to campaign staff during my 2014 run for Congress. She was, according to her, contacted and asked for a contribution. As I understand her claim, she willingly and freely gave a $500.00 contribution to the campaign. I have never had a conversation with Shanesha about this campaign contribution. I have however appeared on the Dr. Phil Show with Shanesha and she never once mentioned the alleged campaign contribution. I also set-up a media sting with CBS5 KPHO because Shanesha was making unfounded extortion claims against me while at the same time continuing to interact with me in a cordial way. More than a year ago, upon learning of these allegations, I agreed to a lunch with Shanesha during which a reporter from the aforementioned station appeared and questioned her about why she would dine or meet with someone she had such negative feelings about. Shanesha denied having made any accusations at all and stopped making the allegations. I have never – NOT ONCE – made any requests or demands of Shanesha Taylor. I continue to have deep disappointment over her apparent inability to abide or live up to the very fair and justice-oriented agreement that was reached by her attorney at the time and the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. I continue to feel terrible about the murkiness and questions that remain about what she did or did not do or allow to happen to the thousands of dollars the public donated to her cause. What I do know is this, Shanesha Taylor never paid or gave me any money. Period. The only time money ever changed hands was when I first met Shanesha and gave she and her companion at the time $300.00 dollars out of my pocket to buy groceries and fuel because they claimed to have nothing. I do not regret giving to them because I gave out of the abundance of my heart as a Christian.
Sixth, as for apologizing for participating in the shoot or don’t shoot scenario with the Sheriff’s office, I will never do such a thing. Over 30 million Americans have watched and learned from that important video. Even FBI leaders have cited it as a way to encourage and bring law enforcement and the community together. The fact that I participated in a use of force scenario does no change my beliefs about police brutality and misconduct. I continue to fight for reforms more passionately and directly than any other activist I know. I did, however, gain a new appreciation for the use of compliance as a survival mechanism for people confronted with police brutality or excessive force situations. Compliance can help to keep people alive. Compliance does not, however, stop a law enforcement officer bent on violating or injuring or killing a person from doing so. I totally reject and rebuke any remarks or so-called activists who claim my open lines of communication with law enforcement damage the civil rights movement in any way. That opinion is flat on its face and reveals to me the unfortunate level of ignorance some people harbor, in spite of being in close proximity to the political and social realities that impact the movement for police and policy reform.
Seventh, how dare the author of this hit piece interview nearly a hundred people and discount the overwhelmingly positive and praise worthy things they had to say. Shame on this reporter for using the conflicted and bitter barking of two non-victims to draft such a racist and unbalanced news article. I now believe that the label racist and unbalanced probably applies to the author as well. This article was a political hit job and the unprofessional and grimy line and nature of questioning that this reporter engaged in upset and disturbed many of my closest friends and colleagues. Unfortunately for the author, they did not satisfy his sick storyline and were – without a second thought – not included in the finished story.
Eight, I want to know who at The Arizona Republic that looks like me and comes from where I come from, was in a position to try and stop or criticize this completely meritless article? What Black person is in leadership at The Arizona Republic? And was this run-by that person to prevent what happened from occurring? The answer is, there is no such person. And so, racism and petty politics around local personalities permitted our esteemed paper of record to become a rag unworthy to even wash windows with,”
“In summation, let me reiterate the fact that – with the exception of two highly conflicted persons – every single person interviewed DENIED ever having been charged money or asked for money by me or my organizers. That the newspaper INCORRECTLY stated that I have no formal church or civil rights organization, that I charge money for people facing issues of discrimination or other abuses, and that I have ever, in any way shape or form, misused my authority as an activist minister. I am unapologetically Black and adhere to the liberationist interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I represent Black, I live Black, I love Black, and I will die Black. This type of yellow, racist, “fake news” is exactly what is destroying our country. I encourage all literate people to re-read the article and use their brains. It is FULL of inconsistencies, falsehoods, truth-stretching, manipulation, racism, and spite. I had hoped never to have to give credence to President Trump’s assertion that the media is the enemy and I am still hesitant to do so, but it is clear now that certain members of the media are – in fact – the enemy and the author of this article is chief amongst them, locally.
“I pray for my followers, for my community, and supporters. I pray for my enemies and those who despitefully use and persecute me. I pray for my political opponents and their minions. I pray for the free press and their integrity. I pray for the strength to continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight.
“I condemn this news story and its author and answer all of its allusions or allegations with one word: lies.
“How many more nasty articles will the paper allow this man to write about me? How many more times does he get to try and assassinate or lynch a black leader? Why does the paper permit the printing of such irresponsible and truthless journalism?
“One thing is for certain, The Republic still treats leading n*****s that they don’t or can’t control – like n*****s. I, like Malcolm X, Adam Powell, Stockely Carmichael, H.Rap Brown or other colored freedom fighters before me will never apologize for my Negritude. I wear The Republic’s n***** badge with honor, as did my predecessors and other in between who dare or dared to thumb our noses at the racism of our day. I’m just glad I helped sell a few new subscriptions to the old rag and thankful for the nice portrait they ran. My undue misery just secured another paycheck for a reporter who frowned when he found out that one pair of my shoes could finance his whole wardrobe.
“F*** being polite or politically correct. Today’s article was both the doom song of decency and the birth cries of unapologetic demagoguery. The public is tired of these kind of bull**** stories,
“This is the age of the internet and of cell phones. Nobody looks to the newspaper for unbiased and fact based news. That day is over and done with. Print what you want. Say what you want. Do what you want. I plan on doing the same without regrets or apologies. White men do and so shall I. Keep the faith, baby!”