FBI frame-up & racist conviction in Boston
Community defends City Councilor Chuck Turner
Published Nov 3, 2010 5:14 PM
On Oct. 29 a predominantly white and suburban federal jury falsely found
African-American Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner guilty of one count of
attempted extortion and three counts of lying to the FBI.
Chuck Turner at Oct. 30 rally
in Roxbury, Mass.
WW photo: Steve Kirschbaum
The case was based on an undercover sting operation and a cooperating witness
who had passed bribes for years, and who himself declared Turner to be innocent
in interviews in the Boston Globe. The witness condemned the FBI and U.S.
Attorney’s office, saying he thought they were conducting a corruption
investigation, but that he had been used to bring down two strong progressive
African-American politicians, Turner and State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, while no
one else was touched. He only testified against Turner under threat of being
jailed for contempt of court if he didn’t.
This guilty verdict is a reflection of an alarming, expanding racist conspiracy
to oust African-American elected officials by demonizing them in congressional
hearings or in the courts with various charges of ethics violations, especially
corruption. In reality, these officials are singled out for who they are, for
the disenfranchised communities they represent and in some instances, like
Turner’s, for their radical politics.
More than 200 community residents, activists and supporters expressed their
total solidarity with Turner at a rally in front of his district office in
Roxbury on Oct. 30, saying, “We stand with Chuck Turner! Say no to
FBI/U.S. racist frame-up! Chuck is innocent! U.S. government guilty! The
verdict is the crime!” Roxbury is a predominantly Black community in
The jury never got to hear from more than 80 witnesses who were prepared to
testify to Turner’s selfless service to the community, asking nothing for
For every day of the councilor’s two-week-long trial his supporters
packed the court room, forcing the U.S. District Court to provide a second
courtroom for the overflow. Beginning with Turner’s arrest two years ago
the community has understood this attack to be a political one on the entire
African-American community and its right of self-determination to choose its
Supporters poured out by the hundreds in rally after rally. Former U.S.
Attorney General Ramsey Clark, founder of the International Action Center, came
to Boston on Dec. 17 and stood next to Turner and condemned the nationwide
pattern by the U.S. Attorney’s offices and the FBI of going after elected
officials of color and progressive officials to remove them from office based
on a political agenda.
An online petition demanding all the politically motivated prosecutions of
progressive politicians and politicians of color be dropped and that the
prosecutors be prosecuted has generated over 35,000 e-mail messages to Obama
administration officials and congressional leaders. Support for Turner could
not have been clearer than in the 2009 City Council race, in which he won
re-election with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Strongly refusing to compromise his politics
At the Oct. 30 rally, Turner began the program by thanking his supporters and
saying it was their support that gave him strength and serenity from the
Turner specifically recognized the Boston Workers Alliance and the Boston
School Bus Union as being the core of his support throughout. He spoke from the
School Bus Union sound truck, which had led many motorcades through the
community in support of him.
Turner blamed U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and the FBI for his frame-up. He
expressed his excitement at the progress the African-American community has
made in electing more people of color to at-large positions on the City
Council. He spoke of having organized all of his life for the liberation of
African-American people. He spoke of the corruption of a system that was built
by unpaid slave labor in both the North and the South, and cited the fact that
the prison industrial complex is the fastest growing industry in today’s
Turner invoked Shay’s Rebellion against bankers’ control of the
U.S. government in the late 1700s, saying that the U.S. Constitution has been
illegal from the start and protects only the rich and the banks. He called for
a new people’s movement to build economic democracy for working people of
all races and backgrounds. The crowd was also addressed by Minister Rodney X of
the Nation of Islam and by longtime African-American City Councilor Charles
Yancey called Turner “our leader” and equated the FBI attack on him
to earlier FBI attacks on W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
Cultural expressions of solidarity were provided by The Foundation and Gabrilla
Love and support for Turner runs so deep in the Roxbury community that the
Boston Globe was forced to cover the rally with a picture and a full account
showing the depth of community support for him. The Globe also printed a
separate article interviewing person after person from the community saying
they knew the councilor to be a selfless dedicated servant of the people, who,
alone among city councilors, has maintained a district office in the heart of
Roxbury, paying the expenses out of his own pocket.
But the agenda of the real, racist rulers of the Boston establishment could be
seen in the Boston Globe Oct. 30 editorial on the verdict. It revealed what
they revile him for — that he dares to speak truth to power, pointing the
finger at the Boston Police chief for the crimes of the police in the
community, daring to say that U.S. soldiers had been guilty of the rape of
Iraqi women, and telling his constituents the truth that the corporate rulers
don’t want them to hear.
Turner’s supporters are determined to conduct a broad and tireless
campaign to see that he not spend a single day in jail. Turner is urging
supporters to write letters to Federal District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock
asking that he be put on probation rather than spend time in jail, so that he
can continue his work as a city councilor. These letters should be sent to City
Councilor Chuck Turner, Boston City Hall, One City Hall Square, Boston MA
He is also asking supporters to write to Boston City Council President Michael
Ross and the members of the Boston City Council at the same address, and ask
them to delay any vote on Turner’s continued tenure on the Boston City
Council until after he is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 25. Further
information can be found at supportchuckturner.com.
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