Former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry is in the hot seat again after telling supporters he wants to rid parts of the nation’s capital of “dirty” Asian shops.
He was caught on tape at a Tuesday night victory party after winning a Democratic primary for a seat on the District of Columbia’s City Council.
“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said, according to Washington’s NBC affiliate, WRC-TV
“They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now,” Barry added. “But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”
Barry, 76, has long been a polarizing figure in the Washington area. He was first elected to the D.C. City Council in 1975 and four years later became the first prominent figure from the civil rights era to be elected mayor of a major city.
But in 1990, he was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine and was sentenced to six months in jail.
Within six months of his release, Barry was re-elected to the City Council under the slogan “He May Not Be Perfect, But He’s Perfect for D.C.” and in 1994 was again elected mayor, a post he held until stepping down in 1999.
He announced he would run for a City Council seat in 2002 but dropped out when traces of marijuana and cocaine were found in his car. But two years later he won back his council seat and has held on to it ever since.
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