Are Black Politicians Unfairly Scrutinized?

By | March 16, 2017

The recent indictment of former Maryland Del. Michael Vaughn has generated speculation among Black Prince Georgians that elected officials of their race are being targeted. On March 8, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein was joined by Prince George’s County police chief Hank Stawinski and agents and officers from the FBI and the IRS, to announce Vaughn’s indictment by a federal grand jury for a bribery conspiracy. The indictment was related to a scheme in which he allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for influencing the performance of his official duties, as well as stealing campaign funds. In January, Vaughn resigned from the Maryland House of Delegates as a Democrat representing the 24th Legislative District, citing health reasons.

For his alleged misdeeds, Vaughn could serve up to 65 years in prison. Vaughn was released, by the judge, on personal recognizance on March 8.

Vaughn has represented the 24th District since 2003. His unexpected departure fueled speculation of his involvement in the burgeoning county scandal involving liquor store owners and members of the Prince George’s County Liquor board. However, a few residents also think race is a covert factor in Vaughn’s legal troubles.

“Racism still exists,” former Prince George’s County Council member Floyd Wilson, the first Black to sit in that legislative body, told the AFRO. “I’ve seen White politicians get away with things a lot more serious. A White perhaps would have gotten off with a lot less and it seems that Blacks get different treatment.” Wilson served on the county council from 1973-1990 and knows Vaughn well. (The AFRO)

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