Inquiry into Ralph Northam racist blackface photo “inconclusive”

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on May 22nd, 2019

Richmond, Virginia: Ralph Northam admitted he was in it and apologized but incredibly Investigators can’t determine whether Northam was in the blackface yearbook photo. When a photo surfaced in February purportedly showing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam either in blackface or wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe, the Democrat said: “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. … That photo and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents does not reflect that person I am today. … I am deeply sorry.”

Now, a months-long probe into whether Northam was actually in the picture has ended with no conclusion.

“With respect to the photograph on Governor Northam’s personal page, we could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the Photograph,” according to a final report from the Richmond, Va., law firm of McQuireWoods, which was hired by Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) to probe the matter. The report also found “no information that the photograph was placed on [Northam’s] personal page in error” and also could not “conclusively determine the origin of the photograph.”

Northam attended EVMS and graduated in 1984 with an M.D. degree.

“McGuireWoods contacted over 80 people connected to EVMS and interviewed 30 people connected to EVMS as part of its investigation, including five members of the yearbook staff. Investigators also interviewed Northam and members of his staff,” The Daily Progress reported.

The report looked into Northam’s statements immediately following the publication of the photograph in news outlets, including the admission that he was in the photo and that he had never seen the yearbook page.

Investigators interviewed one witness, who they did not name, that rebutted Northam’s statement that he had not seen the photo.

“One unidentified witness has reported to us that he recalls reviewing the governor’s personal yearbook page with the governor in 1984,” the report says, adding that the witness “did not think the Governor was personally depicted in the Photograph.”

Northam denied that the meeting ever happened.

The Virginian-Pilot also reported that the report released Wednesday found “two EVMS presidents, including current president Richard Homan, were told about the racist photo while Northam was running for political offices and decided not to make it public.”

“We understand President Homan’s reasoning was EVMS should not become involved, or be seen to become involved, in an election as it is a public body and a public institution, and that EVMS did not not want there to be any suggestion that it had tried to influence Governor Northam in any respect by calling the photograph to his attention,” the document says, according to the Pilot.

Northam was interviewed twice by the law firm and said he was “positive” he’s not in the racist photo but didn’t know who is.

“He just wants to exonerate himself, but doesn’t want to throw anyone under the bus,” the report says.

Northam told the investigators he was “very slender” in college and medical school and that the legs on the person in blackface are “much thicker than his.” He said the person in the KKK robes was “much shorter” than him and that he would’ve remembered standing next to someone in those robes or dressing up in the robes himself.

For the record, Northam’s nickname listed in the yearbook at Virginia Military Institute yearbook, which he also attended, was “Coonman.”

But because he’s a Democrat, it’s all OK. Nothing to see here, people.

 

 

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