Community Meeting on Race Attacks

Sunday night, a 25 people met at Mt. Zion Baptist Church to deal with the racial issues prompted by the recent attacks on UVa students. At the beginning of the meeting, the group voted to expel two members of white supremacy EURO, delcaring them to be a “highly racist organization that has no business in this meeting.” They also voted to refer to the victims as “survivors,” and decided to instruct city spokesman Maurice Jones to write an open letter to the “survivors” to express concern. Jake Mooney has the story in today’s Progress.

41 Responses to “Community Meeting on Race Attacks”


  • Jake Mooney has the story in today’s Progress . . . HERE.

  • Why refer to them as survivors and not victims? What was the rationale?

  • I can only guess that this was meant to define those whom these city teens attacked in way that would distinguish them from the teens themselves — whom, I predict, will be described by these committees (and perhaps their attorneys) as the “victims” of systemic racial/class injustice.

    As for me, I’ll leave it to those whom were attacked to describe themselves. But I think we’re already seeing in news reports how they might do so: first as witnesses in criminal prosecutions, and then as plantiffs in civil actions.

  • Just a question – Why is Maurice Jones getting involved in a presumptuously private group?

    Has the city not stated that they condemn the actions of the aggressors (whomever they may be)?

    On another note, if this ad hoc group have taken to calling the victims (the ones who were beaten up) “survivors” does that not connote that there were “assailants”? OK, OK, they were allegedly beaten.

    jd

  • It seems the City would benefit greatly by spending a few bucks and bringing in a spin doctor. They seem to be doing a marvelous job of screwing the pooch with this one.

    I, too, find it interesting, and more than a little troubling, that a group of concerned citizens has the authority to instruct the city’s official spokesman to do anything, much less craft and presumably release what amounts to a public policy statement.

  • Big Al :

    Are you really saying you would hope that the city would spend money on a spin doctor (“media adviser”)?!

    And how would you hope this would be better “spun”?

  • Why is Maurice Jones getting involved in a presumptuously private group?

    Also, why doesn’t anyone from the local media ask such simple and obvious questions?

    Do we even know yet what charges the nine kids are facing?

    Inadequate reporting of obvious aspects of these cases and the wishy-washy position of the elected politico class (and police brass) invites in all of the ugly and uproductive elements — both these committees who seemed determined to shift the focus, as well as the Richmond-based racists. Moreover, it ultimately has to be counter to the interests of the elected folks; just take a look at Waldo’s (unscientific) poll. Why won’t a local news organization do scientific poll on this? One can just go on and on . . .

  • Well, what can we do? Seriously, how can we mobilize those of us who are asking these questions into a public voice, not necessarily a unified voice per se, but a vocal one?

    I am willing to put my money, well, not money, but my voice and my face where my mouth is.

    Anybody else?

    jd

  • The benefit would be that it would show that somebody at City Hall is at least aware that they’ve dug themselves a hole. As it is now, I honestly don’t think anybody there realizes how poorly they’re handling this mess.

  • Not me, and I think that you are wasting your time. I don’t need the hassle that comes with challenging politically correct racists who want to blame anybody but the real assailants. Instead, I’m just going to accept the fact that these types of attacks, which are nothing new to Charlottesville, are going to continue and so I’m getting a concealed weapons permit and arming myself. I have been threatened and assaulted for the last time by young punks who think they have some kind of right to threaten and assault people just because they’re white.

  • Instead, I’m just going to accept the fact that these types of attacks, which are nothing new to Charlottesville

    Anyone remember the name of the surgeon who was killed a few years ago by a group of kids — one of whom had picked up a big piece of concrete which he hurled from a moving car? That attack was on West Main, near the Blue Ridge Brewery building, if I remember correctly. Was that a group of CHS students, too?

    On George Loper’s site there is mention of similar gang attacks on UVa students in 1992.

    Any others?

  • Any others?

    Waldo was attacked.

  • About ten years ago a professor from the University was near the Amtrak station as he was riding his bicycle home. Some delinquents started throwing large rocks from the railroad tracks at him. One of the rocks hit his face and broke his cheekbone and blackened his eye. When he was asked if he had called the police he said that he hadn’t because he considered the kids victims of society who were carrying a tremendous burden of rage and weren’t really to blame for their own actions.

    I know of other assaults. I have been assaulted and threatened more than once myself on West Main and the Mall.

  • Well, what can we do? Seriously, how can we mobilize those of us who are asking these questions into a public voice, not necessarily a unified voice per se, but a vocal one?

    I hate to say it, but I don’t think there is anything you (and “we”) can do — that is without being painted as a racist agitator. The irony, of course, is that the current situation, with all of its politcal maneuverings and the media incompetence, just heaps fuel on racial suspicions and distrust.

    So very sad for the community (the “greater” one: city, UVa, county . . . country)!

  • The unvarnished stupidity of that professor is apalling.

    It is truly frightening that he is/was a professor at a University of UVa’s supposed stature. His lack of action, if true, diminish the the University as a whole.

    –jd

  • I think you’re thinking of Gerald Auerbach (??) who was an prominent endocrinologist from NIH who was murdered by a large rock thrown by a kid (or kids). The professor was visiting UVa (his alma mater) for a home game and was down on Main Street to go to a restaurant. I don’t think it could have been him who said that the students were victims of society as I recall the rock struck and killed him instantly. Of course, this may be another professor at UVa and not a visitor.

    To be fair, West Main at one time was pretty awful. The man who ran the card shop (now where 9 Dragons is located) left b/c of petty thiefs. It’s really improved in the past 5-6 years. It’s not to say that it’s perfect but I am not afraid to walk it in daytime as I was 5-6 years ago.

  • I think you’re right that there isn’t much that we can do about it, except, as someone else suggested, arm ourselves. Continued defense of the indefensible by Alvin Edwards and others is just going to make the situation worse. We can’t count on the police to protect us, so that idiot Bernie Goetz becomes our model. Like the license plate says on the jeep I see on Tenth Street, “I’m armed”.

  • I remember the professor who was killed. He was hit and killed instantly near what is know the Red Roof Inn by a rock thrown from a moving car. The other prof was hit near the train station and never reported the attack to the police, though it was in The Observer along with his picture.

  • I may be an idealist or naive, or a combination of the two, but why can we not bring reason to this situation?

    It is as simple situation … a gang attacked innocent people, and they should be prosecuted with no regard for the color of their skin. See? It’s simple!

    Protecting the accused is a good thing. They are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. However, if our police are to be believed (debatable), then at least some of them admitted guilt!

    –jd

  • Dr. Gerald Aurbach

    Dr. Gerald Aurbach took a B.A. from the College in 1950, and his M.D. from the School of Medicine in 1954. After an internship and a residency in Boston, he joined the United States Public Health Service and very quickly established a reputation as a first rate researcher. He was an endocrinologist and was honored in this country he was the first alumnus of the Medical School to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences and abroad, particularly for his contributions to the study of metabolic bone disease.

    Throughout his career he maintained close ties to the University, serving, for example, as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Medical Alumni Association. The weekend before his death, in fact, he had attended a football game at Scott Stadium.

    Dr. Aurbach was killed in a senseless and stupid incident in November, 1991, when he was hit by a rock thrown by a passenger in a passing car on West Main Street.

  • WINA Story originally filed on: 04/17/92

    A 22-YEAR OLD CITY MAN IS FOUND GUILTY OF SECOND DEGREE MURD

    A 22-YEAR OLD CHARLOTTESVILLE MAN HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF SECOND DEGREE MURDER AND SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN THE STATE PENITENTIARY FOR HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE DEATH OF RENOWNED RESEARCH SCIENTIST, GERALD AURBACH. AURBACH WAS KILLED WHEN A ROCK WAS THROWN FROM A PASSING CAR ON WEST MAIN STREET LAST NOVEMBER SECOND. STEVEN DEATON, THE CITY COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY, ARGUED DADE THREW THE ROCK THAT STRUCK AURBACH IN THE TEMPLE, FRACTURED HIS SKULL AND EVENTUALLY CAUSED HIS DEATH DUE TO EXTENSIVE BRAIN INJURIES. ALTHOUGH DADE WAS IN THE CAR WITH THREE OF HIS FRIENDS THAT NIGHT, DEATON EXPLAINS WHY DADE WAS THE ONLY DEFENDANT TO STAND TRIAL (YESTERDAY)

    DEATON SAYS DADE, VICTOR ALLEN, CURTIS ALLEN AND A JUVENILLE MAY STAND TRIAL FOR VARIOUS MISDEMEANORS THAT OCCURRED EARLIER THAT NIGHT ON U-V-A PROPERTY. DADE WILL BE BACK IN CITY CIRCUIT COURT ON FRIDAY, MAY FIRST TO FACE A WITNESS THREATENING CHARGE.

  • NAACP Executive Committee Chairman Julian Bond’s comments in The Declaration:

    “It also seems to me that much of the media is much more overtly partisan than it ever was. It was never not partisan, but it’s more overtly partisan than it was, and I find that upsetting. The crimes that have been going on here in Charlottesville–the headline [in the Washington Post] is “Blacks attack whites.” Well, it’s arguable that that may not be exactly what happened, so you have to understand they have an agenda, and as you read, try to subtract the agenda from what you’re reading and then you have some story.”

  • Well, what can we do? Seriously, how can we mobilize those of us who are asking these questions into a public voice, not necessarily a unified voice per se, but a vocal one?

    Perhaps the first step is to get vocal and contact the media and ask them to pursue the story, to get answers to simpe questions (this discussion site is full of good ones) . . . tell them to report, not run away! To my mind, the lack of good reporting is PART of the story.

    Tell them whatever you want.

    Here’s a quick list of e-mail addresses:

    WINA

    jan@wina.com, chris@wina.com, jane@wina.com, kc@wina.com, bruce@wina.com [news department]

    Daily Progress

    dpnews@cfw.com [Adriene Schwisow, Jake Mooney have been reporting]

    Cavalier Daily

    cavdaily@cavalierdaily.com [Stephen Blau, Paul Quinlan, Ben Sellers have been reporting]

    Washington Post

    morelloc@washpost.com [Carol Morello wrote the Post’s Feb 27th article]

    Washington Times

    (Matthew Cella wrote the Washington Times’s Feb 14th article, but I can’t locate a contact address)

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

    news@timesdispatch.com [general address]

    csantos@timesdispatch.com [Carlos Santos (Charlotttesville Bureau reporter)]

    The Hook

    editor@readthehook.com

    C-Ville Weekly

    borgmeyer@c-ville.com, editor@c-ville.com

  • The truth is, plenty of reporters read this site already. They’ve certainly read everything that’s been posted about these attacks. I’ve heard that most of the ‘hits’ on this site come from reporters. In fact, it’s likely that reporters read this site more closely than the people on this site read the reporters’ stories.

    Believe it or not, plenty of media people already are pursuing this story very dilligently. Much of what the public knows about this — including the race angle and the fact that the attacks happened in the first place — has come from various newspaper reports. No one is running away, though new ideas are always welcome, one supposes.

    Incidentally, it’s been Adrienne Schwisow and Reed Williams doing most of the work for the Progress. The few others who have written things only were only helping out because those two were busy.

  • Continued defense of the indefensible by Alvin Edwards . . .

    Come on — these are good kids, and many went to his church. He knows them and can help them redeem themselves through continuing membership in the church.

  • Thanks your informative post “Anonymous”. I hope you’re right about the media’s interest in these cases.

    If media people are indeed checking in here, I suggest we all chip in and help them by giving them leads to pursue, questions to which we want answers, etc. I’ll start:

    What is the age and gender of each of those nine persons now charged, and what charge(s) is each facing? Certainly this must be in the public record, no?!

  • >What is the age and gender of each of those nine persons now charged, and what charge(s) is each facing? Certainly this must be in the public record, no?!

    It might be, it might not be. Many juvenile records can be tough to get ahold of, particularly if they’re charged in juvenile court, which most of them are. There are confidentiality issues. Just because the information exists doesn’t mean people are allowed to see it. Journalists have no more or less right to the information that anyone else.

  • “think it’s hard to get a liberal point of view in the United States. One reason is because our definitions of what’s conservative, moderate, and liberal have shifted sharply to the right. So now, the New York Times is thought of by many people as a liberal newspaper. I don’t find it liberal at all” this is rest of that quote.

    If Julian Bonds has a problem with the New York Times and the Washington Post as not liberal enough. WOW!

  • Many juvenile records can be tough to get a hold of, particularly if they’re charged in juvenile court, which most of them are. There are confidentiality issues. Just because the information exists doesn’t mean people are allowed to see it. Journalists have no more or less right to the information that anyone else.

    Thanks for your response. I’ll suggest to any reporter reading this thread a short paragraph which they might use to describe the “news content” you describe above:

    “Reporters have been unable to gain basic information about the defendants from the Charlottesville Police Department, the University of Virginia Police Department, and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Therefore, the age and sex of all nine persons currently charged as well as what charges each currently faces is yet unknown.”

    (Of course, I’ve never worked in print journalism, so my copy no doubt could be improved for such purposes.)

    (And I’m also not an attorney, but I think that the records of at least three of the (now) nine accused should be public as they are reportedly being charged with felonies, and Virginia code therefore makes the record open.)

    But the point would remain the same nonetheless: if there is uncertainty, say so and why so. This puts pressure on authorities to release more information. The last thing the police and their elected overseers want is to be viewed by the majority of the citizenry in a tarnished way, as uncooperative, secrecy-obsessed, and corrupt. Certainly releasing a list of the genders, ages and the specific charges leveled wouldn’t divulge any of the juveniles’ personal identities. So why won’t the police, the Commonwealth’s Attorney, or the city spokesman release this information? What possible (nominally legitimate) reason could there be? And if the Commonwealth’s Attorney decides to prosecute some juveniles as adults, I suppose their personal identities would indeed then become public, right? How far in advance of the first trials reportedly scheduled for “mid-April” does the Commonwealth’s Attorney have to file charges?

    Part of “the story” as I see it is indeed the bad flow of information: first, from the police to the Venable community during the months the attacks were ongoing (this was the subject of a Progess editorial) and thereafter through the release of absolutely incorrect (and misleading?) information about these attacks to the media after initial arrests had been made. I wonder if the recent “correction” by law enforcement of the number of those charged (from 10 to 9) was a result of media inquiry? Did the authorities really not know that two of the ten persons they themselves said they had charged were in fact the same person? Whatever the answer to that question is, it is absolutely shocking and newsworthy! This would seem like another part of “the story” as well – that is, police and prosecutor incompetence. Such inquiry would also remind readers of the important role the press and the public play in directing the authorities to designate appropriate charges and render justice; this role has already been mentioned in the Progress, but perhaps we all need a remedial civics lesson and it would be a good opportunity for media to toot their own horn.

    Moving on from questions which might be refused due to juveniles’ (limited) rights to privacy, I’ll suggest a SECOND QUESTION which I’d like to see answered.

    Let the media look at the one person charged who is not protected with juvenile court confidentiality: Gordon Lathan Fields.

    With what has he been charged? We’ve seen inconsistency here — might be malicious wounding, might be felony assault, might be felony assault by mob. Perhaps these reflect changes in Commonwealth’s Attorney’s strategies, developments in the ongoing investigation, or even the fact that Fields may be charged with a combination of offenses relating to his involvement in more than one of the attacks. Once this basic fact is confirmed, the reporter could do a further service to educate and inform the community about what this charge means in terms of the nature of the crime as well as the possible punishment if convicted.

  • . . . but the above post is indeed mine.

    Who else has got a question, lead, tip, whatever for the media folks who might be reading this site? I don’t want to hog “the mike”.

    Belle

  • . . . but the above post is indeed mine.

    Who else has got a question, lead, tip, whatever for the media folks who might be reading this site? I don’t want to hog “the mike”.

    Belle

  • Sorry about that folks. I don’t know what I did (if anything) to double post, and why the site software won’t link to the rest of my comment is a mystery to me.

    But I’ll continue it here. As I was saying . . .

    Moving on from questions which might be refused due to juveniles’ (limited) rights to privacy, I’ll suggest a SECOND QUESTION which I’d like to see answered.

    Let the media look at the one person charged who is not protected with juvenile court confidentiality: Gordon Lathan Fields.

    With what has he been charged? We’ve seen inconsistency here — might be malicious wounding, might be felony assault, might be felony assault by mob. Perhaps these reflect changes in Commonwealth’s Attorney’s strategies, developments in the ongoing investigation, or even the fact that Fields may be charged with a combination of offenses relating to his involvement in more than one of the attacks. Once this basic fact is confirmed, the reporter could do a further service to educate and inform the community about what this charge means in terms of the nature of the crime as well as the possible punishment if convicted.

  • I’ve got questions which might best be directed at the UVA police department.

    First, here is the incident report regarding the Culbreth robbery (attack #2) from the UVa Police department’s website:

    ATTEMPTED ROBBERY – Culbreth Lot

    200101156

    Reported an attempted robbery in area.

    RPT: 0114 09-15-01

    CASE STATUS: Suspended

    I’d like a reporter to contact the department (tel. 434-924-7166; police@virginia.edu) and ask:

    1) who is conducting the investigation? (you will notice the case investigation has been “suspended”);

    2) is this case related to the other five assaults and robberies in the City of Charlottesville?;

    3) how do you know it is related? (this one they probably won’t answer);

    4) what is the jurisdiction of the department?;

    5) if you (eventually) arrest some persons for this robbery, would they be prosecuted in Albemarle Circuit Court?

  • Why don’t you contact the police department yourself and post your findings on this page? Or better yet, get a job as an editior and assign someone the job.

  • Or better yet, get a job as an editior and assign someone the job.

    Damn…they’re on to me…

    ;)

  • Or better yet, get a job as an editior and assign someone the job.

    OK. Headhunters for journalistic outfits can send their expressions of interest to me via the “Send a Message” function above. But I’ll warn you: flattery will get you eveywhere.

  • Grudge may be to blame for assaults

    By BRYAN McKENZIE

    Daily Progress staff writer

    It seems as if some of us city folk have held a grudge against the University of Virginia for a long time.

    While we enjoy its many professional and cultural opportunities, we seem to resent its wealth and the perceived wealth of its students. It could be just that kind of resentment that led to January’s attacks on UVa students for which police have arrested nine local youths.

    Consider this scenario: A UVa senior is beaten trying to stop a group of youths from assaulting a friend in the Culbreth Theatre parking lot. But it didn’t happen in January 2002. It happened in 1995, the same year that a graduate student was hospitalized after being beaten by several youths on the Lawn in the early morning hours.

    Police logs and newspaper files are full of apparently unprovoked assaults on students, the exact causes of which are up for speculation.

    “There are probably many factors in the most recent assaults, and resentment toward the university community likely plays a part. The sense of anger a lot of people feel toward UVa is real,” said Lori Bates, a fourth-year student at UVa.

    A matter of class

    Ms. Bates is a volunteer with Young Life, a campus Christian ministry in the high schools that’s big on student social activities. She has served in Charlottesville High School for three years and has become well acquainted with the high school’s student population.

    Ms. Bates said she has heard resentment toward UVa and its students. She noted that UVa’s medical center is built in the middle of a working class, predominately black neighborhood.

    She noted that UVa hires many city residents but that most of the residents work at low-wage jobs.

    “There is a sense of the privileged at the university taking advantage of the less fortunate in the community. I’ve heard it described by some as a ‘slave mentality’ that the university has toward the community,” she said.

    “People want a good answer as to why the assaults happened, but I don’t think even the people who did it really know why. It’s naive to think this is not an expression of a much deeper problem between the two communities.”

    A new approach

    It’s a problem we’ve had for some time. In 1989, a third-year student got six stitches to close his scalp after being struck in the head by one of three men while walking behind the Lambeth Field dormitories shortly after midnight. In 1992, police investigated a series of assaults wherein a white male hanging around Homer’s statue on the Lawn asked students for the time and hit them in the head as they checked their watches.

    Ms. Bates believes the way to stop the assaults is for the community and UVa to get together.

    “As administrators, professors and students, we have to be aware that there’s a large community outside of UVa and what we do impacts others besides the university community. We have to be willing to go to the community if things are going to change, because the community isn’t going to come to us,” she said.

    “This is our chance to turn this into something positive, to take this opportunity and change the course of the relationship between the community and university.”

  • By JAKE MOONEY

    Daily Progress staff writer

    A Charlottesville community group formed to discuss the racial issues

    surrounding a series of recent attacks on college students is working on

    a letter of support for the victims without the help of city spokesman

    Maurice Jones, who members had hoped would compose the statement.

    The members, worried about the perception that they have shown more

    concern for the nine black city youths accused in the attacks than for

    the victims, decided in a meeting Sunday to have Jones distribute an

    open letter explaining their organization and condemning violence.

    Jones told them this week, though, that he won’t write or send out the

    letter, as the group isn’t affiliated with city government.

    “This is a grass-roots community organization,” he said in an interview

    Thursday. “As much as I would like to play a part in extending sympathy

    for the victims — and have, actually, through the city’s efforts — I

    think it’s simply more appropriate for the community group to compose

    this letter.”

    Jones’ hesitancy to work for the group illustrates the delicate issue

    that the various community panels formed since the assaults face: How to

    involve enough local residents and leaders to be relevant while at the

    same time maintaining an identity distinct from city government.

    Jones and other city officials, meanwhile, have a challenge of their own

    to wrestle with: How to express personal concern over a divisive issue

    when every utterance can be interpreted as a statement on behalf of the

    city.

    Jones, Charlottesville’s director of communications, said that if he had

    helped with the letter, he would have done so on his own time, using his

    own computer. Still, he concluded that his role as the public face of

    city government — and, at times, of the city police department — would

    have given any work he did the appearance of government involvement.

    “I think I’m just too closely tied to [city government] because of my

    position, and the most important part of this expression of sympathy is

    its ties to the community group and the community at large,” Jones said.

    Despite the involvement of a host of city officials, organizers of the

    race panel’s meetings have been careful to characterize their group as

    non-governmental.

    For example, when City Council members Meredith Richards, Maurice Cox,

    Kevin Lynch and Mayor Blake Caravati all showed up for Sunday’s meeting,

    Lynch and Caravati decided to leave to prevent the gathering from

    evolving into what could have been considered an unannounced — and

    illegal — council meeting.

    There are advantages to keeping a clear distinction between public and

    private meetings. While state laws require that most meetings of public

    bodies remain open to the public, private community groups can vote to

    exclude anyone they want — as the race panel did when it removed two

    representatives of a white-rights group from Sunday’s meeting in the

    basement of Mount Zion Baptist Church.

    In a separate vote prompted by the Rev. Alvin Edwards, Mount Zion’s

    pastor and the meeting’s moderator, attendees took a vote on whether to

    allow media. Members allowed it.

    Jones said he has not attended the group’s meetings. He added that the

    council members and assistant city manager Rochelle Small-Toney, who was

    present Sunday, were there mostly to listen and to answer questions

    about the investigation into the assaults and city government’s handling

    of the matter.

    Richards, Cox and Small-Toney participated in other ways during the

    two-hour meeting; Richards was among those who proposed releasing a

    statement of concern for the victims.

    Richards, who said Friday that she would like to see Jones work on a

    similar letter of support that the City Council could send, called

    councilors’ participation in the community meetings a tricky matter.

    While council members like to think of themselves as simply concerned

    city residents, “we have a tendency to dominate, and maybe our words

    might carry more weight or be interpreted as representing city policy,”

    she said. “These all lend to the ambiguity of our status, and for that

    reason I’m not sure whether our presence is contributing to the process

    or not.”

    In hopes of getting around the uncertainty, Richards said she has given

    her fellow council members a packet detailing official actions other

    city governments have taken to promote racial equality. If the

    councilors begin addressing the issues themselves, she argued, they

    might feel less compelled to go to private community meetings.

    Richards said she is unsure whether she’ll attend future race committee

    meetings. Like Jones, she said she’s just too closely associated with

    city government to participate as a concerned individual.

    “I don’t think you can ever step outside your skin as a city councilor

    with community groups as much as we sometimes want to,” she said.

    “That’s the way people see us, and it inevitably intrudes as we try to

    participate.”

  • What the Hell are the assistant CIty Manager and City Councilors doing going to a meeting like this to answer questions about the investigation? Isn’t a criminal investigation supposed to be free from political interference?

    This whole thing is flunking every imaginable smell or giggle test.

  • How is answering questions about the investigation “political interference”? City officials OFTEN attend community meetings in order to field questions (usually providing non-answers, of course), listen, get feedback from participants–it’s called CIVIC INTERACTION.

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