Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D) accused gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D) of treating him “like George Floyd and Emmett Till” when the former governor asked Fairfax to resign after sexual assault allegations surfaced against him in 2019 .
Fairfax took office during a gubernatorial debate Tuesday night while standing alongside McAuliffe and several other Democratic candidates.
“Everyone on that stage called for my immediate resignation, including Terry McAuliffe three minutes after a press release came out,” Fairfax said at the debate, which was hosted by CBS 6. “He treated me like George Floyd. He treated me like Emmett. Until. Without due process. I immediately assumed my guilt. ”
McAuliffe and his campaign did not respond to comment.
Fairfax’s comment came in response to a question about surveillance and Floyd, who died in police custody last year after then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin is currently on trial on manslaughter and manslaughter charges.
Till was a 14-year-old black man who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman.
Critics were quick to point out on social media that Fairfax, unlike Floyd and Till, is alive.
Fairfax was charged with rape and battery in 2019. Meredith Watson, a former Duke University classmate, said Fairfax raped her in 2000. Vanessa Tyson, a professor at Scripps College, said Fairfax assaulted her in a hotel room in the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
The lieutenant governor has vehemently denied both allegations and compared them to bogus allegations of rape by white women that led to the lynching of black men, despite the fact that his two accusers were black.
Tuesday’s debate marked the first televised debate in the Democratic Commonwealth primary. All five candidates, including McAuliffe, Fairfax, former Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D), State Senator Jennifer McClellan (D) and Del. Lee Carter (D) attended the event at Virginia State University.
McAuliffe, who served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, including a term as president of the National Association of Governors, is considered the favorite in the race. He sent attacks in the second half of the debate Tuesday from Fairfax, as well as McClellan and Foy.
The gubernatorial primaries are scheduled for June 8. Early voting begins April 23.