Virginia Lt Gov accuses Democrat rivals of treating him ‘like George Floyd or Emmett Till’ and assuming his guilt when he faced sexual assault allegations in 2019
- Justin Fairfax, the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, is accused by two women
- One accused him of raping her in 2000; another of assaulting her in 2004
- Fairfax vehemently denies their allegations and says they are a political attack
- On Tuesday night Fairfax and four others held first Democrat governor debate
- Ahead of the November election the five candidates were asked about policing
- Fairfax compared himself to George Floyd and Emmett Till in his answer
- The 42-year-old, who is black, said he knew what it was to be wrongly accused
A Virginia politician hoping to be elected as the state’s governor has likened himself to George Floyd and Emmett Till, saying that he understands what it is like to be falsely accused, after allegations were made of sexual assault.
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, in their first gubernatorial debate, were asked about policing in the state, in light of the current trial in Minneapolis of Derek Chauvin, accused of the murder of George Floyd.
Fairfax, 42, who is black, said he, like them, knew what it was to be falsely accused.
Justin Fairfax, pictured during Tuesday’s debate, in which he likened himself to Floyd and Till
Floyd used a fake $20 bill in May: Till was tortured and murdered aged 14 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.
‘The murder of George Floyd was horrific, but it recalls a history in Virginia and in our nation where African-Americans — and particularly African-American men — are presumed to be guilty, are treated inhumanely, are given no due process, and had their lives impacted, and in some cases taken away, in an instant,’ Fairfax said.
‘In the interest of speaking truth to power here… we can’t just talk theoretically about what generally happens.
‘But we have a real-world example, where I was falsely accused in 2019.’
Fairfax said that the other four on the stage – former governor Terry McAuliffe; former state delegates Jennifer Carroll Foy and Lee Carter; and state senator Jennifer McClellan – all rushed to judgement.
The five candidates for the Democrat nomination to contest November’s gubernatorial election: from left – Lee Carter, Terry McAuliffe, Jennifer McClellan, Jennifer Carroll Foy, and Fairfax
Fairfax is pictured in April 2020, gaveling 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,’ said Fairfax.
‘He treated me like George Floyd, he treated me like Emmett Till, no due process, immediately assumed my guilt.
‘I have a son and I have a daughter. I never want my daughter to be assaulted. I don’t want my son to be falsely accused.
‘And yet this is the real world that we live in.
‘And so we need to speak truth to power and be very clear about how it impacts people’s lives.’