A race and equity officer at the University of California, Los Angeles, who wished death upon Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was the subject of a racial-profiling hate hoax on a prominent law school campus more than a decade ago.
In response to last week's news that Thomas was hospitalized for an infection, UCLA's race and equity director Johnathan Perkins was part of the liberal mob hoping that the ill black conservative-leaning SCOTUS judge, age 73, died.
"No one wants to openly admit [we all] hope Clarence Thomas dies," Perkins tweeted Thursday in a Twitter thread. "Whatever you need to tell yourselves. This whole rule we're not to wish ill on people is silly," Perkins continued.
Perkins called him "Uncle Thomas," a derogatory insult used by progressives to smear counterculture blacks as race traitors, based on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, and "a sexist token who's committed himself to making us all share in he [sic] and his treasonous wife's misery."
"I'm over it. He is bad. He's LITERALLY endangered lives of countless of this country's vulnerable populations," Perkins wrote, adding: "He can go."
Perkins further indicated he did not believe Thomas, who was experiencing "flu-like symptoms," was truly sick. Then he doubled down on his death wish.
"I DO hope he dies. And so??? He's a horrible person," Perkin reiterated.
UCLA's vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion responded in an email statement. "This tweet does not reflect my or UCLA EDI's views," the university's chief diversity officer Anna Spain Bradley told The Post Millennial. "Accountability" is listed among the on-campus DEI office's core missions.
Following the online backlash, Perkins had set his Twitter account with over 18,000 followers to private mode, before going public again later in the week. Perkins's controversial tweets wishing harm upon Thomas remain on Twitter.
Perkins made headlines in the past when he was the center of a local media firestorm in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the end of his law school days.
While a student at the University of Virginia School of Law in 2011, he made national news when he claimed he was the victim of racial profiling by the school's police department. The case resulted in FBI involvement and what Perkins maintains was "a coerced recantation." Years later, Perkins went public with "the full story," alleging that a federal agent pressured him to recant his initial claim.
When he was a young law student, Perkins claimed the campus police racially profiled him until he recanted the allegation weeks later. Six to seven years passed by before Perkins decided to "set the record straight," according to a 2018 Associated Press exposé where he claimed he was under duress when he said he fabricated the tale about how two white cops harassed him because he is black.
"I want people to know what actually happened. I want people to know that people of color don't have to make these things up," Perkins told the AP in an interview.
The years' old report noted that a statute of limitations for a charge of making a false statement expired two years earlier in 2016. Perkins mentioned at the time he was no longer worried authorities could bring such charges against him.
UVA's student-run newspaper The Cavalier Daily reported that in the university's press release announcing the confession, campus police decided not to press charges or to treat it as a criminal case.
"I recognize that police misconduct does occur," UVA police chief Michael Gibson said, noting he didn't want to deter others. "Pressing charges in this case might inhibit another individual who experiences real police misconduct from coming forward with a complaint. I want to send the message just how seriously we take such charges and that we will always investigate them with care and diligence."
Perkins said he was stopped by the university's officers on the evening of March 31 2011, while walking home from a party. According to the sequences of events detailed by Perkins, the campus cops said he "fit the description" of a wanted individual, they searched him, and then pushed him against the police cruiser.
When the college student asked for the pair's names and police badge numbers, the cops replied, "You don't need to worry about that," Perkins recounted. He said the duo then followed him in the police car until he entered his apartment.
Perkins wrote about the alleged police stop in a letter to the editor of the school newspaper, telling Virginia Law Weekly that "it is important for my classmates to hear a real-life anecdote illustrating the myth of equal protection under the law."
The theatrical testimony reportedly included descriptions of how he was manhandled as well as lines of dialogue from the alleged encounter.
After its publication, Perkins was embraced by supporting students and local residents in the Charlottesville community, a hyper-liberal college town that touts its inclusivity and boasts that "diversity makes us stronger." Two university police lieutenants told Perkins an investigation has been launched into the incident.
Perkins said the next month he was contacted by FBI agent Robert Hilland, alongside campus police lieutenants, who interviewed him in a small conference room at the law school. Perkins said he sensed the investigation was focused on himself, not the officers in question. "He said something to the effect of, if the FBI got involved, he would release the hounds," Perkins said to AP reporters.
"He was holding the dogs back now, he was going to release them, there would be FBI agents all over campus talking to my friends," Perkins further claimed.
Perkins alleged that Hilland also referred to a job the student had accepted and that the FBI agent "couldn't promise that the FBI wouldn't visit my law firm."
(Hilland is now the Polygraph Program Quality Control and Training Branch chief at the Department of Defense, according to the DoD official's LinkedIn page.)
Perkins said that he gave in to the alleged coercion after some time and asked, "OK, what do you need me to sign to say it didn't happen?" after allegedly fearing the FBI would retaliate and question his family, friends, and employer.
After an interrogation that lasted over two hours, Perkins said he agreed to sign a statement on a blank piece of paper, which he told The Cavalier Daily was dictated by Hilland. Perkins said the document was included in his Honor case materials.
"This statement was not coerced," Perkins prefaced the recantation.
The subsequent morning, the university's Office of Public Affairs issued an official press release revealing to the UVA community that Perkins had recanted.
UVA's statement said university police reviewed dispatch records, personnel records, police radio tapes, and surveillance videos from university cameras plus those of privately owned businesses in the area surrounding the alleged incident, but were unable to corroborate the third-year law student's allegation.
Without mentioning the FBI, the statement said UVA police brought in additional support from "relevant outside agencies" to assist in the investigation.
According to legal news website Above The Law, the university statement said that on May 5, 2011, after a thorough investigation into allegations that campus officers had mistreated Perkins, he "acknowledged that his story had been a fabrication."
"I wrote the article to bring attention to the topic of police misconduct," Perkins said in a written statement, quoted by an archived version of the May 6, 2011, university press release. "The events in the article did not occur," he wrote.
In his original letter, Perkins described the "two different worlds" he says white people and black people inhabit, according to Above The Law. Perkins also invoked the name of police brutality victim Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was sodomized by a New York Police Department cop with a broken broomstick, which perforated the sexual assault victim's rectum and bladder inside the 70th Precinct bathroom.
The university's Honor Committee later charged Perkins with lying, meaning he could be kicked out of law school. However, in the end, Perkins was acquitted.
A document was provided to C-VILLE Weekly showing that UVA police lieutenant Michael Blakey, an Honor Committee witness who was present during the alleged FBI interrogation, said Perkins's description of one of the cops involved kept changing and was inconsistent with the officers who were on duty that night.
Perkins said the FBI's alleged role in the case was discussed during his closed Honor trial but never disclosed to the public. In a statement, Evan Pivonka, special assistant to the Honor Committee, told The Daily Cavalier that the committee's confidentiality policy "prohibits any discussion of alleged Honor proceedings."
According to the student outlet, the Honor Committee is also required to destroy its records of a proceeding if a student accused of an Honor offense is found to have not committed it. "All records of any potential cases and all of the original evidence would be destroyed in the case of an acquittal," Pivonka said. "The only non-Honor 'party' to the case would be the hypothetical student him or herself … if he / she were to retain copies of case files, we would have no way to verify whether or not they were authentic, as the originals would have been destroyed."
Perkins said he's now felt emboldened by support from colleagues and the passage of time to speak out and change his story again. "And in the climate we're seeing now — particularly with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement — I couldn't live with myself if I didn't speak the truth about what actually happened," he said.
"I take full responsibility for bending to the special agent's pressure," Perkins said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily. "It has been my life's greatest regret."
According to what Perkins told The Cavalier Daily, in mid-August 2011, the law school's vice dean Mary Elizabeth Magill received a call from the Office of the US Attorney allegedly instructing the Academic Affairs Committee to preserve any documents related to the Perkins case because the federal entity was considering presenting the matter to a grand jury and indicting Perkins.
The Cavalier Daily reported that his attorney also advised him to remain silent about the subject for at least five years due to the alleged call, given five years was the statute of limitations period for any offense federal prosecutors may have against Perkins.
"I am at a place in my career where … I feel more comfortable speaking truth to power and the kind of law enforcement infrastructure that is in play which nearly ruined my career the last time I did it," Perkins told The Cavalier Daily.
In addition to supposedly buckling under the stress due to extenuating circumstances, Perkins went on to claim in the follow-up report that he "strongly" suspects the UVA police involved the FBI under a false civil rights complaint to suppress the situation through "a public, police-friendly resolution." Perkins stated, "A public recantation of my allegations provided that perfect resolution."
The UVA graduate made additional rounds with the media circuit, including criminal justice-focused journalism organization The Marshall Project, Charlottesville-based The Daily Progress, as well as the local C-VILLE Weekly.
Perkins was also hosted at a 2018 event organized by the university's Black Law Students Association where he donned the formal UVA School of Law cap and gown he would have worn at graduation and was presented a diploma.
Reflecting on the case, Perkins said he made a motion prior to his Honor trial that the jury have some members who identified as racial minorities—a request which was granted. He also met with the committee's executive board in 2018 to encourage the group examine possible bias in the outcome of a student's trial.
In an October 2018 guest submission to The Cavalier Daily, Perkins called for institutions of power like the Honor Committee to address "racial biases" before rushing to judgement. "White people, particularly those in positions of power, must be willing to do the hard work of educating themselves and each other so that they might identify and address their own racial biases," Perkins wrote.
Perkins said he's experienced psychological effects of the incident and has seen a therapist because he's had recurring dreams of FBI agents kicking his door.
Later authoring an "Implicit Bias" piece arguing "Justice In America Has Never Been Colorblind" for the university's Honor Bicentennial Report in February 2019, Perkins alleged that on more than one occasion, students and other members of the Charlottesville community "openly and with impunity called my friend and me n*ggers and other racial slurs." Perkins claimed that he once attended a party featuring games played upon "Confederate Flag tabletops." Perkins also claimed one evening he heard UVA fraternity brothers shouting an N-word chant from their house. "I have even come to learn that, throughout UVA's history, individuals have used our revered Honor System to intimidate black students," Perkins wrote.
The Nation's legal correspondent Elie Mystal, then an author at Above The Law, said in May 2011 that while Perkins "might have fabricated some of the details of his late-night run-in with the law," his "goal of bringing attention to on-campus racism was laudable — and should be advanced by any means necessary."
Mystal is the same pundit who called acquitted teen Kyle Rittenhouse a "little murderous white supremacist," said "the Constitution is kind of trash," and claimed Republican Sen. Josh Hawley is "trying to get" the Biden administration's Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson "killed" after the GOP senator criticized the SCOTUS pick's lenient judiciary record on child sex offenders.
Perkins joined UCLA in the fall of 2019 as a special assistant to then-founding Vice Chancellor Jerry Kang, who stepped down from the position in 2020. Before his UCLA stint, Perkins served within the Office of the General Counsel at Harvard University. Perkins has been a fixture in progressive circles as a consultant, writer, and speaker pontificating on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
According to his personal website, Perkins says that his left-wing activism and academic work are "rooted in antiracist allyship." His stated mission outlined on the site is "teaching others" about "implicit bias" and "institutional equity."
In an open March 31, 2020, letter addressed to "white America," he has defended looting during the violent summer 2020 Black Lives Matter riots over George Floyd's death. Perkins downplayed the riotous destruction that left businesses destroyed in the wake of the tumultuous civil unrest that rocked the nation.
"But y'all's Starbucks is gone. Your Target was damaged. Your insured businesses had windows broken and property stolen. Property," he emphasized.
Perkins argued that "America is the original looter," "White people are the original looters in this country," and "The original colonizers stole us from our homes, brought us to this place, and continued to loot and terrorize us for the last 400 years." He insisted that "Violence has been the American way since its inception."
"Looting and pillaging is as American as apple pie," Perkins claimed, arguing: "No meaningful civil rights advancement has taken place in this country without riots."
Perkins regurgitated similar talking points in a June 2020 explainer video uploaded by AJ+, a social media publisher owned by Al Jazeera Media Network.
Perkins is also the podcast co-host of "black&" where he and his sister, a biracial sibling duo, take part in conversations about "racism" and "white people."
"The progeny of a long line of civil rights activists, authors, and lecturers," April and Johnathan Perkins speak "largely to white people who are looking to dismantle racist systems," the show's description says on Perkins's webpage.
In the latest March 3 episode of the podcast, the Perkins family discusses "the very real harm you calling police continues to inflict upon Black people."
The Post Millennial has reached out to Perkins for comment.