Councilman Apologizes for Racial Remarks

Harry Minium, Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads), Apr. 5

NORFOLK—City Councilman Paul R. Riddick has apologized for using racial slurs last week during a private meeting between the City Council and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners.

Riddick called Commissioner Robert J. Soble a “cracker” and a “white redneck” during a debate on the racial composition of the housing authority staff, according to several city officials who were present and who asked not to be identified.

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After a police shooting last year at The Gallery at Military Circle, Riddick complained that the police made a drug bust near the mall because its clientele is “90 percent African-American.” During a radio interview, he said the police would never do the same thing at the Palace Shops “which are frequented a lot by Jews.” He later apologized to the Jewish community, saying he had not intended to single them out or to offend them.

Councilman W. Randy Wright, perhaps Riddick’s closest ally on the council, said Riddick has a big heart and tends to say things he regrets.

“Paul has a tendency to sometimes speak in a knee-jerk reaction without thinking about what he’s saying,” he said.

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