(Editor’s note: This article appeared originally at the Political Cesspool Website. See here.)
On April 22, 2011, the Virginia Law Weekly published a letter to the editor written by Johnathan Perkins, a law student at the University of Virginia (UVa). In his letter, Perkins, who is black, describes an encounter he had, in which he claims he was sorely harassed by two White university police officers. Perkins’s description reads like the script of a made-for-TV movie:
I noticed a police car approaching me. As it neared, the squad car slowed down, blue lights flashing. One of the officers inside pointed the car’s spotlight on me. The UVA officers (both white) stopped their car, got out and confronted me. They demanded that I provide identification and I complied. When I asked the officers if there was a problem, one responded, “You fit the description of someone we’re looking for.” I asked what the description was and what had happened. One of the officers responded, “You don’t need to worry about that. . .” It was clear at that point that the officers were toying with me for their own entertainment. [I]informed them that I was a law student, they looked at one another and sarcastically said, “Oh, he’s a law student. . .” [H]aving just taken Criminal Procedure, I knew to ask the officer whether I was free to leave. When he responded, “We just need to make sure you’re not carrying any weapons . . . it’ll only take a second.” I was doubly surprised: the officers had all but expressed that I was not the person they were looking for (if such a person even existed), yet the two were about to subject me to a search. I knew that all the cases, regulations, and remedies that I learned in class would be of no avail. These two officers alone controlled my fate.
At that point, one of the officers spun me around, pushed me toward their car, and placed my hands on the rear of the vehicle. . .One of the officers searched me, removing all of my belongings from my pockets. The other officer then proceeded to rifle through my wallet . . .Whenever I attempted to turn to answer their questions, they forcibly turned me back around to face the car. When their questioning ended, I asked the officers for their names and badge numbers. One of them responded, “You don’t need to worry about that either. . .” I knew that there would be no remedy for the indignity that I suffered at the hands of two of the University of Virginia’s “finest.”
This was not the first time that I have been harassed by police officers and it will not be the last. As I stood there, humiliated, with my hands on the police car, my only thought was: “There is nothing I can do to right this wrong. I have absolutely no recourse.”
It’s great drama, tense, scary, timely, and offensive, with a vivid and potent contrast: A lone young “African American” man, innocently walking back to his apartment, pondering the lofty concepts he had just learned in a late-night law class, accosted and humiliated by a pair dirty cops who were too craven and cowardly to identify themselves, protected by the notorious “blue code of silence.” With a little work, this story could be right up there with In the Heat of the Night (the movie, not the series). And the university community responded. Not long thereafter, the Virginia Law Weeklyran a story in which faculty and students gave their thoughts on Perkins’s ordeal. One student said,
Personally I was touched by [Perkins’s] letter. He wrote it well, without vindictiveness, but seeking for understanding. It worked. I was so shocked that this had happened and I knew that something like this would never happen to me as a white student here.
White guilt! It’s always a winning ingredient! Anyhow, the article quotes a couple of profs who said that Perkins’s experience is the norm, and the article’s author agrees, saying,
[W]e engage in a contract with our police officers. . .The problem is that the cost of that agreement is not spread evenly across the different strands of our society. Most often, the cost falls most heavily on young black males. . .
And that’s precisely the point Perkins wanted to make:
I am writing this column because it is important for my classmates to hear a real-life anecdote illustrating the myth of equal protection under the law. Incidents like this one are not surprising to me. Sadly, I have even grown to expect them.
What can you say to that? A brother just can’t catch a break from The Man.
When Perkins sent his letter to the Weekly’s editor, he also Cc’d Chief of University Police Michael Gibson. Gibson contacted Perkins, asking if he could use the letter as an official complaint. Perkins gave his permission, and an investigation was begun. The university police even called in outside agencies to assist in the investigation. They reviewed records to account for and reconstruct the whereabouts of all officers on duty on the day and at the time of the incident; they reviewed surveillance video of the area; they interviewed Perkins and others who might have witnessed the event. (Perkins had written that he “saw dozens of people staring at me” while the rogue officers searched him.)
It wasn’t long before Perkins had to admit that his story was a hoax, a lie, but he justified his lie, saying, “I wrote the article to bring attention to the topic of police misconduct.”
UVa’s response? Blame the White police officers, and invite others to join in! Chief Gibson said,
I recognize that police misconduct does occur. Pressing charges [against Perkins] in this case might inhibit another individual who experiences real police misconduct from coming forward with a complaint. I want to send the message just how seriously we take such charges and that we will always investigate them with care and diligence.
Why the University of Virginia is so desperate to downplay Perkins’s rotten behavior is a mystery, but I strongly suspect that it has a lot to do with fear of being called racists. Look at what Johnathan Perkins did:
1) He filed a false police report;
2) He cast suspicion and resentment upon every White university police officer;
3) He subjected every White university police officer to possible violence;
4) He wasted probably hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Those are serious issues, and Perkins’s lie could easily have gotten out of control. And yet, neither the District Attorney nor the University police sees any reason to file charges against Perkins; the University sees no need to expel him; the University Honor Council sees no reason for disciplinary action against him. Every entity that can and should do something is doing nothing and saying nothing. And with that, the University of Virginia management wipes the cold sweat off its institutional brow, breathes a massive sigh of relief, and falls back into a leather office chair, so happy to have avoided its own Crystal Mangum-like nightmare. So, in a couple of weeks, the University of Virginia will graduate Johnathan Perkins, liar and hoaxer, bestowing upon him the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence. But maybe that’s the point – “Get him off this campus as quietly as possible. After that, he’s someone else’s problem.”
There hasn’t been a lot of talk or ink about why Perkins carried out his hoax. Some have wondered if he has mental issues, and some believe his own stated goal of wanting “to bring attention to the topic of police misconduct.” Perhaps both reasons are true; maybe he is so deluded that he actually thinks there’s some merit in falsely accusing the UVa police department of race-based harassment two weeks before he graduates, like the way a terrorist hides a bomb and then walks away, leaving others to deal with mess he caused. But the more probable reason, which is being scrupulously avoided with a caution that borders on paranoia, is that Johnathan Perkins is a racist; Johnathan Perkins hates White people. In the end, his hoax is based upon accusing White people of institutional racism. His story was a lie, and he passed it off as the truth; the reason he gave for what he did makes no sense, and besides that, he lied about being harassed, so we can’t believe what he says about why he lied. But the effect of his lie was that it cast White people as racists. In fact, Johnathan Perkins is not just a racist; he is also, by definition, a hate criminal.
False accusations of racism go back to the earliest days of the “Civil Rights era.” The FBI’s “Civil Rights” Division is still investigating allegedly racially motivated murders from that era. In February 2010, the Washington Post reported,
In nearly one-fifth of the 108 cases, they learned that the deaths had no connection to the racial unrest pulsing through the South at the height of the civil rights struggle.
In at least one case, the victim had been killed by a relative, but the family blamed the Ku Klux Klan. In other cases, a victim drowned or was fatally knifed in a bar fight. Two black women registering voters in the hot Mississippi summer died in a car accident. One man died under his mistress — a bedroom secret kept for more than four decades until the bureau came calling.
In all those deaths, White people were falsely accused of committing them, and the FBI says that at least 20% of the other cases had nothing to do with racism – even though White people had been accused. (It’s interesting to note that in the same article, an FBI agent said “There’s maybe five to seven cases where we don’t know who did it. Some we know; others we know but can’t prove.” If you can’t prove it, then how do you know it? A printed accusation without proof is libel.)
The encyclopedia of false accusations of racism is huge, and it grows every week with stories from every imaginable setting. But college campuses have recently become prominent venues for high-profile false accusations. At the University of California at San Diego, a noose was found hanging from a lamp fixture near the library, prompting cries of White supremacism and demands from the Black Student Union; a minority student confessed to placing the noose. At West Chester University in Pennsylvania, a flier for a White Student Union prompted an investigation and calls for the racists to be brought to justice; it was found out that the flier was produced and distributed by anti-White bigots on campus. Remember the Henry Louis Gates incident at Harvard, in which the black professor falsely accused a White police officer of racism? And who could ever forget Crystal Mangum and the Duke Rape Hoax?
False accusations of racism are occurring more frequently, for one reason – the perpetrators are never punished. The minority student at UC San Diego was suspended – big whoop-de-doo. The White-hating bigots at West Chester University were unscathed for their hate crime. Henry Louis Gates is a celebrity professor at Harvard. And Crystal Mangum is about to stand trial for murder. Perhaps if she had been charged and prosecuted for her hoax, the man she murdered would be alive today. And since they get away with their lies and hoaxes, others are encouraged to copy them.
Who knows what will become of liar and hoaxer Johnathan Perkins? Apparently, he has been hired by a Philadelphia firm. If that’s true, then I suggest the firm open a civil rights branch, headquartered at Salem, Mass.