Colorado

Nov 30, 2010 8:15 PM by Zach Thaxton

Black publisher files civil rights complaint against D-2, demands apology from Gazette

Dr. James Tucker, publisher of "African American Voice," has filed a Civil Rights complaint against Harrison School District 2 in Colorado Springs and is demanding an apology from the Colorado Springs Gazette over a weekend editorial, all related to a recent letter put on the D-2 web site by Superintendent Mike Miles.

The November 2 letter entitled "Taking a Stand for a More Civil Society," adorned with the district logo and signed by Miles, blasts Tucker for "racist remarks" made by Tucker in the publication and calls "African American Voice" a "tabloid of misinformation and hate."  In his letter, Miles asks people to pull their advertisements from the paper.  "Mr. Tucker has personally attacked our superintendent, as well as the school district as a whole," said Harrison D-2 spokesperson Jennifer Sprague, "and we decided to take a stand and say that is unethical behavior and it's inappropriate."

Tucker says D-2's refusal to advertise in a minority publication and using the district web site to implore others to do the same is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states: "No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."  In a press conference Tuesday, Tucker said, "When you advertise with white media and you don't advertise with black media, that's called discrimination."  Tucker's complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, seeks damages, restitution, punitive damages, and an order directing Miles and the D-2 board to "cease its tortuous and discriminatory treatment" of Tucker and his newspaper.  "He's targeting a black newspaper and that's called racial discrimination,"  Tucker said.

Tucker also demanded an apology from the Colorado Springs Gazette over an editorial published Saturday.  The editorial, written by editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen, criticized Tucker for his aggressive tactics and namecalling, pointing out a phone conversation with the Gazette editorial staff in which Tucker called Miles "racist" and a "pimp" for accepting a $1 million award from the Daniels Foundation.  The editorial states that Tucker said the Daniels Foundation itself is racist.

"I'm demanding an apology from the Gazette," Tucker said Tuesday.  Tucker invited Laugesen to comment during his press conference, at which time Laugesen said, "I don't know what problem he had with the editorial.  All I know is that Dr. Tucker called me and called Superintendent Miles a racist and a pimp."  In a later interview with News First 5, Laugesen said, "I'm not going to apologize.  The Gazette stands behind the editorial.  I think it said exactly what we wanted it to say, and I think that it was appropriate."

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