Why'd he lie? Law student's false racial accusation riles

Why did he do it?

That's a question only one person can answer, and that person– Johnathan Perkins– isn't talking. But it hasn't stopped people from wondering what motivated the close-to-graduating UVA third year law student to make up a story about police harassment and racial profiling.

"I was stunned," says M. Rick Turner, president of the local NAACP, "because why would this person put his career on the line?"

The account Perkins penned detailing the alleged event was published along with a sympathetic news story in the the student-run UVA Law Weekly April 22. At Perkins' request, UVA police launched a full-scale investigation, and high-ranking UVA professors decried the alleged incident in which Perkins claimed he'd been harassed by two officers, thrown up against their cruiser, and searched– simply because he was a black man walking home on city streets.

"Whenever I attempted to turn to answer their questions, they forcibly turned me back around to face the car," wrote Perkins of what he called "a real-life anecdote illustrating the myth of equal protection under the law."

It wasn't true, as Perkins eventually admitted on May 5 after the investigation turned up numerous inconsistencies in his story, according to a UVA release.

But while filing a false report can result in criminal charges against the accuser, that won't be the case this time. Instead, Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman and UVA Police Chief Michael Gibson agree no punishment is necessary. That refusal has some making accusations about political correctness run amok.

"Gibson's reasoning is upside down," writes M. Catherine Evans in an op-ed posted on the American Thinker blog. "Others might think twice about pulling the same con if the law student was held accountable for his actions."

Chief Gibson did not immediately return a reporter's phone call, but Chapman, defending the seemingly gentle approach, says two elements were at play as he and police considered their response. The first, he says, is that Perkins never accused a specific individual.

"We would routinely and invariably go ahead with charges," says Chapman, if the false accusation were made "for the purpose of hurting another person, especially when it's done for the purpose of having someone taken into custody and locked up."

A second element, Chapman says, is that prosecuting Perkins might have not only deterred others from reporting real racial profiling incidents, but also deterred other false accusers from owning up to their lies.

"You do want to encourage people who make a hard decision to say, 'I gotta straighten this out,'" says Chapman, who says the fact that Perkins confessed before the investigation went even further was important.

Indeed, there's a local precedent in which a white man, an Albemarle Sheriff's Deputy, accused an unknown African American man of shooting him in 2003. No charges were filed even after authorities determined that the Deputy, Stephen R. Shiflett, may have shot himself.

If Perkins' allegations against the UVA cops are false, the young man's frustration may be authentic.

In his original letter, Perkins– whose late father, Spencer Perkins, wrote More Than Equals about racial healing, and whose civil rights activist grandfather, John M. Perkins, authored two noted books, Let Justice Roll Down and With Justice for All – describes some of his white classmates as "blithely unaware of the lives that many black people lead" and calls his profiling experience "all too familiar to black Americans."

That's why the NAACP's Turner says that he too contacted Perkins in the days after the accusations, asking the law student to have lunch. Turner was particularly concerned that Perkins' letter suggested he felt he "had no recourse."

"When a person presents a story like that, and then says he has no recourse, I beg to differ," says Turner. "You do have recourse. You get in touch with University police, the University president, and you tell your story."

That's what one mixed-race student did when back in 2003 she was allegedly assaulted by a white man who knocked her down and made threatening racist remarks. While some blogs wondered if she might have concocted the story to win the student government presidency, the election-eve incident created such a firestorm that her election opponent dropped out of the race, then President John Casteen addressed the student body, and the FBI investigated.

In 2005, a month before her graduation, that student– Daisy Lundy (who now goes by her married name, Lovelace)– was given the Distinguished Student Award by the Office of African American Affairs, where she now works as assistant to the Dean. She did not return the Hook's call for comment.

Turner, who was the Dean of African American Affairs at the time of that incident, says Perkins didn't behave like someone who wanted to find justice. Citing "personal problems," Perkins declined Turner's lunch invitation, and within days, Turner says, he'd recanted his tale.

"It's not only damaging to him, to the police department, and the university," says Turner. "It's damaging to students who want to come to the university" and who might change their minds based on the negative publicity.

Before the hoax was revealed, Perkins granted interviews with at least three media outlets including the Cavalier Daily, the Newsplex, and the Daily Progress; but he rebuffed at least one reporter eager to portray his account.

"My main goal was to increase awareness of this type of thing, and I think I've done that," he wrote Hook reporter Lisa Provence in a motive-revealing April 28 email which cited the onslaught of final exams as an interview impediment.

Since the revelation of fakery, Perkins has resisted further inquiries, but he confirms the falsehood in the UVA release: "The events in the article did not occur."

In a post on the Above the Law legal blog, attorney David Lat suggests some of Perkins classmates are feeling betrayed and angry.

"It hurts because the story had seriously affected me, and now every time I hear a story of racially based police misconduct this is going to be the memory that will pop into my head," writes one student who Lat quotes.

One question bouncing around Lat's blog is whether Perkins should face a sanction from UVA's vaunted Honor Code, which proscribes lying along with stealing and cheating– and calls for expulsion for even a single violation.

"Should a UVa law student be immune from violating the honor code simply because he’s so close to graduation?" asks one of Lat's readers. "Of course not; this is a public and egregious violation of the honor code that brings shame on the entire UVA community and should be dealt with swiftly and justly, before Perkins is allowed to graduate, if he should be allowed to graduate at all."

According to well-established Honor Code protocol, any charges would remain confidential before, during, and after an Honor trial. That's the message from Paul G. Mahoney, dean of UVA's School of Law, who reveals what Perkins can expect on graduation day if he has been charged with a Honor offense.

"The subject is typically permitted to participate in the ceremony," Mahoney writes in a statement, "but does not actually receive a degree pending the outcome of the proceeding."

The NAACP's Turner says he thinks the University should try a non-punitive approach.

"I think you ask him to sit down with a psychiatrist to see what's going on in his head," says Turner. "Where was he going with this? People with normal thought patterns don't do this."


Law student lying? No irony here folks, lets move along.

Perkins should not receive his degree, pure and simple. What he did was repulsive and reprehensible.

What the hell is wrong with this school/community/ local press/ local justice system?
I don't intend to defend plagarism, domestic violence, inciting racial tensions, or class divisions; however, let's consider these bizarre situations at UVa all within the recent past:

1. Professor comes up with software program to scan essays for "plagarism". Several students are 'caught' using similar phrases, paras, etc without 'correct' acknowledgement of primary source - according to professor. Weren't some students were expelled? but others allowed to graduate because they were so close to leaving? No public statement/treatment from UVa heirarchy about the situation. After all, it was bad press and concerns the Honor Code.

2. . Perkins intentionally publishes lies about threats, violence & racial issues with no apparent consequences. His actions are obvious and objective Honor Code violations, and a character issue for the VA Bar application - but it looks like he will graduate with a LAW degree from UVa. If he filed a false police report - about anything - (without naming the violator by name, perhaps one he couldn't even identify) he'd still be guilty of a crime. Again, bad press and the Honor Code are involved.

3. UVa has students who mutually and openly participate in an abusive relationship for years, a loud vulgar girl who is so bawdy drunk that passing out (again) is not considered out of the ordinary, the toxins in her system are so incriminating the prosecution battles the release of the med report, -- but what is never said out loud - she is a carbon copy of so many UVa spoiled little rich girls, that she must be referred to as "special" by everyone. She is sainted by the school and then the national press for weeks, months, and now in the press again a year later.
The boy is just as bawdy and aggressive and rich but assumed guilty in public speech by the Pres of College to the student body immediately after the discovery of the body and before any arrests are made. Trial for "rich boy" is set for Feb. but he has repeatedly been publicly convicted by college agents and therefore, in local opinion. It wouldn't be good press to defend this student as vigorously as the "victim" or simply make no comment - ever.

4. Most college students drink. UVA students DRINK HEAVILY 3-4-5 nights a week. DRINK to get bloody bawdy barfing unconscious drunk - not just buzzed. Parties are available 24-7 in the dorms, apts, Frats, everywhere. Open containers, six packs, cases are openly carried into residences all the time and NO ONE checks, especially campus security. It's laughable. Yet - UVA wants to act oblivious when students actually die from drinking on campus. (Joe Arwood)

4. Other students who have died in the past 12 mos. while enrolled here - (like Matt King, Thomas W. Gilliam, John Jones) barely register a blip on UVa conscientiousness. No faculty, staff or student outpouring of public sympathy or sadness for these students. The local press on two occasions writes one small column as an interest story. Once there was a one sentence quote obtained from the faculty.

Is it me -- or does the UVA world rotate only in the Dodgson universe?
Where is common sense. Where is equal treatment. Where is balance.

He committed what appears to be, on it's face, a gross Honor violation. He should be dismissed.

Just as there are racist in white society, there are also racist in the African- American community. I have always wondered why this politically correct nomen, has African before American??? Would an American in Africa be a American-African??? Until everyone accepts American first, meaning all races, we will never be without racism!!!


Not sure where you are getting your information, but it is clearly not from this planet. Unless you knew YL personally and were there the night she died, deciding to call her a bawdy, vulgar girl (who, in fact, according to police reports had a VERY low BAC at the time of her death, and no, um, "toxins") - you might consider having a) a heart b) some ethics a) a clue and c) less misplaced venom.

Yikes. Get turned down from UVA recently?

PS - Stay on topic and out of the dorms where you apparently spend some time.

Plain and simple- he needs to be tried for an honor violation. Lying, cheating, and stealing are against the honor code. Every UVA student is aware of this.

Waiting for the new UVa president to chime in..............gut check!

Alice in UVaLand is Sean Cannan. Proceed to ignore.

It's quite possible Perkins is being brought up on Honor charges (which must be initiated by a current community member, student or faculty). An Honor trial is not a quick affair; the process is long. Anyone clamoring for a quick "boot 'im out" response is all clamor, no understanding. It's possible he'll graduate, receive his degree, then have his Honor trial. It happens that way sometimes; degrees can be revoked on the basis of an Honor conviction.

Silence from the new president of U.Va. is rather telling.

Just in case you don't know, your link regarding the Daisy Lundy story is to vdare.com, an unapologetic white supremacy website.

@ Alice in UVA Land

One could go on and on all day, every day, picking apart everything that is wrong about UVA and its culture and the people who go there, but really, who has that kind of time and energy? I just try to ignore the place. I once temped for UVA (but not through UVA's temp service, it was through an outside agency) and in my three assignments I was located both on and off the campus, and both made my skin crawl. The idea of UVA medical center makes my skin crawl too. I hope to god I never have to go there. So yeah, I just ignore the neverending drama and craziness associated with the place and focus on my own life. One can actually live in Charlottesville and completely ignore UVA. It *is*possible you know. If you don't go there, and you don't work there, and if you're like me and could give a ratt's butt about any sports, including UVA sports, then seriously, who cares about the place. Put it on "ignore" and move on.

btw, 5 comes after 4.

He will make a perfect lawyer... in fact the reason the UVA prez hasn't commented is she is probably trying to recruit him to help cover up all the crimes that go on....

gg22901, adjectives go befo da word, mane

Its not up to the admin to comment. Some fellow student will report it as an honor violation and he will proably be convicted by a jury of students (based on the story to date) and will not receive his degree.

The problem is he can raise questions on past complaints and motives that are long over that have nothing to do with him. Such as a couple a years ago, X (female, A.A. don't remember name) was running for President of UVA student body, then one week before the election, she said she was stopped in the night with racial "N" word etc thrown at her (with no witnesses) and Y (male, white, the other person don't know name) dropped out of the race for President so she was elected the following week with no opposition. At the time I thought how convenient for her it happened right before the election, with no witnesses.

This story pretty much proves that the cop shoppes and commonwealth attorneys can always justify placing charges.... or not placing charges. Well, at least in their own minds of course. The kid should have been charged with filing a false report with the UVA cop shoppe, it's that simple.

disclaimer: The Albemarle Sheriff's deputy mention above...... is not me!
We do however share similar names, and we both worked for Sheriff's Departments.

His doing this was wrong and should not be condoned. However, what is the big deal? Caucasion women and men have done this numerous times in the past reporting things like, "three black men" assaulted me and took my children or robbed me, or raped me...only after thorough investigation that they admit that they made it up. No one as far as I can recollect was made an example of for doing this and subjecting African-Americans to this types of slander and misrepresentation. So, be fair in your evaluation of this incident, no it wasn't a good thing to do, however, caucasions do it probably more often and it has been overlooked or swepted under the rug. There could be many reasons why he did this which doesn't make it right, however, it makes him a "human being" with problems that he probably needs help with like everyone else regardless of ethnicity.

CRev, the big deal, for me at least, is that Perkins made it more difficult for the next African American who IS racially profiled and/or discriminated against by the police. "Yeah, sure, just like that LAST guy who claimed the police roughed him up...they're always lying." Perkins just gave the ignorant and prejudice MORE ammunition. That's my biggest beef. For someone who claims to care about his community, I would say this effort totally backfired. And yeah, I'd guess he needs psychological help.

I cannot believe Uva is not pressing any charges at the very least. Are they really going to give this kid a degree? I have always wondered why our justice system is so screwed up? If they kick him out is he gonna claim it was a racial decision?

ok, honor system noobs, here's the deal. if someone suspects that this guy lied about something, the thing to do is to report him to the honor committee. if they investigate and deem that he lied, he should be expelled. HOWEVER, if he submits a conscientious retraction to the honor committee BEFORE an honor code violation is reported, then he may be able to avoid getting the boot.

since he's come clean (in the media, at least), it stands to reason that he could file a conscientious retraction if he hasn't already. the caveat to the c.r. is that the admission has to be made BEFORE the accused suspects that he's been found out for lying. if someone accuses him, then he owns up to it, no dice.

without knowing the chain of events, i can't say whether or not a case could still be filed against him, but if you are a uva student or faculty member and you think this should be investigated, contact the honor committee immediately.

Not surprised at all that somebody at UVA felt entitled to lie, cheat, defame, and ruin careers to promote a political agenda quite popular with UVA faculty. I have my own issues with UVA’s private, armed militia – but they are not racists. This guy should be expelled. But he won’t even be taken before the Honor Committee. Just like Margaret Lipman was not. It doesn’t matter how heinous the lies or misinformation are. As long as you are trying to promote the lunatic political agenda that UVA faculty is brainwashing these kids into embracing – then doing or saying anything is fair game.

losing a UVa law degree over this would be too harsh a punishment.

A false report of a crime which starts an investigation is just that, a false report despite not "naming" a suspect. Police misconduct occurs and is certainly investigated thoroughly in this area, especially in C'Ville where Chief Longo was the Baltimore PD Internal Affairs head and is considered an expert in the field. But this turns the justice system on it's head. If a local police officer lied like that they would be history, and rightly so. Perkins needs to be charged and Gibson needs to grow a set.

This dude should not even receive his useless TTT degree. Every dime of tax payer funded tuition that this goon rode in on should be paid back to the tax payers, either out of his own dime, or out of the pockets of the white-guilt peddling institution of so-called "higher learning".

These shiftless, layabout, entitled "minorities" are indocrinated by hardcore America hating Marxist Jews, their "professors", that whitey is racis' and must pay for their useless layabout lives. No. Time for you to pay whitey. Defund the schools, every dime of that money belongs in the hands of white men.

So all of those guys in blue blazers, khakis, and bow ties that teach at UVA are marxist jews. I always wondered why they dress like that. I guess it's a cultural thing with them. So much useful information here.

"losing a UVa law degree over this would be too harsh a punishment."

...and there's the problem with the single-sanction. This is an old debate. Regardless of what you think is subjectively the "right" punishment, the single sanction operates to push that judgment call out of the hands of the honor system and into the hands of the witnesses or victims who have to decide whether they feel the individual infraction they've witnessed merits the one available (and draconian) sanction.

I would like to suggest to people who like to engage in UVa-bashing (particularly of the Presidents) that the litany of ills you offer is neither new nor limited in any way to UVa - these things are pretty much endemic to society.

Like the first commenter observed, "a lying lawyer"...I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you! (for the oblivious, think Claude Raines in Casablanca). Kids aren't dumb and they grow up in this country seeing the obvious disconnect between the way things really work and the BS Horatio Alger story we sell them. The lessons are immediately obvious: winning by any means is how you win, it's most definitely not about honor in defeat or playing a good, sportsman like game.

America has become all about making a fast buck (maybe that's what it was always about) - finding the quick, easy way; taking a shortcut. Look at what dominates research at UVa nowdays: Big Pharma drug trials.

Interesting, this story has attracted 27 previous responses. The story on UVA' s sexual harassment policy has so far attracted zero.


You are not worthy of a response. Get a clue.

For whomever said this is not worthy of losing his law degree, I hope you were joking. This is outrageous slander on the police, the school, and the community.

The Honor Code is dead at UVA if this guy receives a degree. You can question the single sanction, but there has always been a "seriousness" test in the Honor proceedings that serves to prevent someone from being kicked out for a violation deemed not severe enough. A jury of student peers can decide if this wasn't a serious enough offense, but to me its about as bad as it gets. Why would anyone respect the Honor Code if its not imposed in this case?

Sunil - I agree with you...'The Honor Code is dead at UVA if this guy receives a degree'...

However, what I find more sad is that this promising young man decided to play the "race" card and for what? To discredit young black men even more than needed? Did he really need the attention that bad that he had to do something dishonest to be front page news?

Thanks for trying to better relations between whites and black Johnathan Perkins. Good job! Hope your mama is proud! Now when people google your name, they will find this sort of stupididty. Good luck with your law career... Both you and Daniel Paul Watkins

Alice, you should write for the Hook, your off topic rant would fit right in. None of what you said has anything to do with this story, and your lack of actual facts is just plain pathetic.

Moderator, why are some of these racist comments still up on this feed?

Regardless of whether or not Mr. Perkins receives his law degree, he will not be accepted to the Bar. He is an admitted liar and the Ethics Board will have a field day with him.

Anyone who is shocked that this guy is likely to glide through with a UVA degree is completely out of touch with the current state of UVA. You really cannot blame the students themselves entirely. Over the last 20 years, UVA has become a very far left partisan indoctrination center. The constitution, the law, and fairness and honesty are of no consequence if the some imagined evil can be taken on.

The Cavalier Daily regularly prints articles by students claiming that Catholics are "bursting at the seems with blood," that abortions do not effect future pregnancies, and that pretty much every republican in office is going to destroy the country (and the world) - unless of course the brave academic Ivy Tower academics intervene to save both from immenent destruction. This is the kind of person, and the kind of actions, that you end up with. Just have a look at how UVA is letting it all slide now. At least the Honor System is finalling exposed out in the open for what it has been for a long time now.

How is it exposed? You won't know if a fellow student brings him up on charges and you won't know what the verdict is. I would be surprised if he gets his degree but I won't know either.

I have seven colleagues in the UVA School of Law, one of whom I talk to about 5 days a week regarding our activism against their own university. Dozens more in other UVA programs. We have previous experience with how the Honor Committee is not interested in cases that are not "politically correct." And this case would not be "politically correct."

He will graduate. The UVA administration has already shown their hand here. Even if one student stands up and tries to take him on, it will just be made to go away. But I don't think anyone will even bother. People around here are well aware of how the system works. This is just another example of what a bad idea it is to continue to allow UVA to maintain it's own private, armed militia answerable to no one other than the UVA administration. I'm sure plenty of the actual UVA police officers would love to see this guy lose his degree. But they have no say in the matter themselves. Another silver lining here is that it will provide more fuel to the fire of passing the bill in Richmond in January stripping UVA of it's private, armed militia. Susan Russell is a hero.

Red - you make a good point, he could get a degree without anyone knowing right away. But if people care they'll eventually find out. And like Sunil said . . if he graduates, that will be the beginning of the end of the honor code. Nobody will take it seriously if this goes unpunished.

Just like in many of hte Physics students, he could get his degree taken back after the fact.

This is an open and shut honor case. If no one else files I will do so myself.

Mark the day and time. GSOE and I agree on an issue, "The kid should have been charged with filing a false report with the UVA cop shoppe, it's that simple."

All though his first comment, about who and what is charged is dated and irrevelant in modern LEO opeartions. See ya next time S.

He's willing and able to lie convincingly.
He should be admitted to the bar right away without need to take the bar exam; he's already qualified for the practice of law.
They can give him George Bates' unused license...

@CRev May 10th, 2011 | 11:33am

Your post was a pathetic pack of lies. Blacks have a virtual monopoly on this sort of hoax, and the only time they have ever, to my knowledge, been imprisoned was when their race hoax was accompanied by insurance fraud.

virtual monopoly?
ask Emmett Till about that. oh, wait a second, he's dead...
then there's Tulsa, just to name a couple of easy ones

not that I don't agree that honor charges should be brought, but mr. stix is seriously out of touch with reality

"Silence from the new president of U.Va. is rather telling."

Perhaps no one has told her yet.............

you have to love that leadership.

Alumni- any comments?

Perhaps Perkins is giving the commencement address.

and where is the ACLU on this?

HarryD, what exactly would the ACLU do in a case like this? Whose civil liberties were infringed upon?

This bozo is clearly in the wrong program . He should be in the fiction drama class . Working in the justice system lawyers are in a position of Trust all the time . This fellow would know or should that at his late stage of studies . He is clearly unworthy of anyone's trust and should be remouved pronto .Letting him gradute would demean and degrade Law degrees in general and this U's in particular plus all worthy members of his peer group .He is a pathetic disgrace to any race .Suspension is in order while due process via all venues is conducted . The police on duty at the time of the alleged incident have been smeared and, therefore,they should collectively file criminal and civil suit .I suspect this might be a Federal Civil Rights infringement also .

I'm hoping, really hoping, that the UVA police have been generous in not filing charges because they took the case straight to the Honor Committee.

We won't really know, though, until somebody out there finds this man's resume and sees whether or not he mentions a UVA degree on it. Oh, wait... that would require he tell the truth on his resume. Oh well, we'll never know.

He does not really harm anyone, as he did not name the persons in " false report". There are so many cases where people are hurt by false report and the reporter does not get prosecuted at all,and was protected by the people who are in position to prosecute for no reason but they want to show others they never make mistake in their work. Prosecute those false reporters who hurt people. No consequence in this case.
People who were mayors are arrested and still in office, why be so hard to a kid, as long as he learned the lesson and do not do the same in the future.

Sad comment on UVA and the new President who is MIA

The Bar Examiners will not admit him to the practice of law if he is found morally unfit. A single letter to the Bar association citing this article would snuff out his career. This really was rank stupidity on his part. And Joe Cecil is right. Where the heck is the University's so-called President? Her handling of the Genoways thing was bad enough, but forgivable as the inexperience and gullibility of a newbie. At this point it is beginning to look like there is nobody in the President's office. Just a place-holder sitting in the chair.

So, did he walk at graduation??

Hoolarious- my civil liberties were infringed upon- he lied and now he has a law degree- so maybe it is OK now.