Rick Turner: A Secret Pact Bars Blacks from Downtown

Remember Rick Turner? The former UVA Dean of African-American Affairs retired in 2006 after lying to federal investigators in a drug case. (The details of that sordid affair never became public.) That humiliation appeared to be the end of his public life, one that had become increasingly noisy in the prior couple of years. In 2005 alone he defended the stunningly incompetent school superintendent Scottie Griffin as a victim of race hatred, declared that teachers and the school bard are racist, that firing Griffin would be a “lynching”, that black people have a “slave-like mentality”, and that UVA students were guilty of “racial terrorism”. Again, that’s just in 2005.

Well, Turner’s emerged in public to again light a fire and throw some gasoline it, this time informing City Council that downtown has way too many white people, Graham Moomaw wrote in the Progress last week, and accusing downtown business owners of having a secret pact to refuse to hire African-Americans. Turner, the head of the Albemarle-Charlottesville branch of the NAACP, provided no evidence to support his claims. Councilors Holly Edwards, David Brown, and Dave Norris thanked Turner for his comments. (Turner once called for then-mayor Brown to resign for meeting with school principals.) His remarks can be watched, starting at the 43:14 mark. Downtown business owners aren’t thrilled with the accusations. Chamber president Tim Hulbert complained that “[i]It’s just not helpful…when anyone calls out a whole group of people and paints them with a brush that’s inaccurate.” Downtown Business Association co-chair Bob Stroh was reduced to stating the obvious, that “the part about the secret code and that kind of stuff is…not true.”

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