Is Marion Barry Playing The Race Card?

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VIA THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER:

Attorney General Peter Nickles is lashing out at Councilman Marion Barry, accusing D.C.’s ex-mayor of race baiting in comments about city hiring practices.

Barry, D-Ward 8, is raising questions about the city’s health care finance agency, which he says is excluding blacks from top jobs.

At a hearing earlier this week, Barry accused agency director Julie Hudman of running an “all white department,” which the former mayor said smacked of “apartheid.”

Nickles didn’t appreciate the comments.

“You owe Dr. Hudman an apology and you must cease immediately your constant harassment of the director and her staff,” Nickles said in a Wednesday letter to Barry. “I also understand that you intend tomorrow to visit the department … to do your own head count and ‘see for yourself’ the racial and ethnic breakdown of the department’s employees and to bring the press with you. This action is completely inappropriate.”

Nickles said Barry was “going to make a fool of himself” if he persisted in his crusade.

“This is over the line,” Nickles told the Washington Examiner. “That’s not the way we do things in the nation’s capital.”

Barry told the Examiner that he stood by his comments and his conduct.

“I’ve been fighting against injustice my whole life,” he said. “When I see it, I’m going to call. I don’t care who gets upset by it.”

Barry has spent much of his career on the fault lines of D.C.’s race relations. A former civil rights activist, he once told white residents who didn’t like him to “get over it.”

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