A Virginia politician hoping to be elected state governor has compared himself to George Floyd and Emmett Till and says he understands what it’s like to be falsely accused after allegations of sexual assault were made.
Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of the state, is one of five Democrats hoping to replace Ralph Northam – who cannot serve a consecutive term – in November.
The candidates were asked about police action in the state in their first governmental debate in light of the current Minneapolis trial of Derek Chauvin, charged with the murder of George Floyd.
Fairfax, 42, who is black, said he, like her, knew what it was like to be falsely accused.
Justin Fairfax, pictured during Tuesday’s debate, comparing himself to Floyd and Till
Floyd died while being arrested last May for using a fake $ 20 bill. Till was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for talking to a white woman.
Fairfax is accused by Meredith Watson of raping her in 2000, while Vanessa Tyson says he assaulted her in 2004. Fairfax vehemently denies their allegations.
George Floyd’s murder was horrific, but it recalls a history in Virginia and in our country where African Americans – and African American men in particular – are believed to be guilty, treated inhumanely, denied a fair trial, and their lives have had an impact, and in some cases taken them away in the blink of an eye, “Fairfax said.
‘In the interest of speaking truth to power here … we can’t just talk theoretically about what’s going on in general.
“ But we have a real-world example where I was falsely accused in 2019. ”
Fairfax said the other four on the podium – former Governor Terry McAuliffe; former state representatives Jennifer Carroll Foy and Lee Carter; and Senator Jennifer McClellan – all rushing to judgment.
The five candidates for the Democrat nomination to run in November’s gubernatorial election: From the Left – Lee Carter, Terry McAuliffe, Jennifer McClellan, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Fairfax
Fairfax is pictured in April 2020 gawking in the Virginia Senate in Richmond
“Everyone here on this stage called for my immediate resignation, including Terry McAuliffe three minutes after a press release came out,” Fairfax said.
‘He treated me like George Floyd, he treated me like Emmett Till, without due process, immediately took my blame.
‘I have a son and I have a daughter. I never want my daughter to be attacked. I don’t want my son to be falsely accused.
And yet this is the real world we live in.
“And so we have to speak the truth to power and be very clear about how it affects people’s lives.”
It’s not the first time Fairfax has compared him to black people killed by whites.
In 2019, when the sexual assault allegations were first leveled, Fairfax likened himself to Jim Crow-era lynching victims in a surprise speech to the Senate, opposing widespread calls to resign.
Vanessa Tyson (pictured) accused Fairfax of forcing her to have oral sex in his hotel room at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston
“ I’ve heard a lot about anti-lynching on the floor of this Senate, where people didn’t get trial at all, and we regret that, ” Fairfax said, referring to legislation passed by the General Assembly expressing “ deep regret ” about lynching. . in Virginia between 1877 and 1950.
“And we’re talking about hundreds, at least 100 terror lynching parties that have taken place in the Commonwealth of Virginia under those same auspices,” he said.
“And yet here we are in a hurry for judgment with nothing but accusations and no facts and we decide we are willing to do the same.”
When he finished his impromptu five-minute speech, bewildered senators sat in uncomfortable silence.