Marion Barry: Stranger than fiction

15 Oct


The man, the myth, the legend © dbking


Only in DC could a mayor be convicted on drug charges, go to jail for six months and then be elected as mayor again.

Now that you live in DC, you might occasionally here the phrase “Bitch set me up”—it’s what Barry said in 1990 after a sting operation caught him on camera smoking crack—he was referring to an ex-girlfriend turned FBI informant. There was a lot of drama during the trial in which some jurors refused to believe certain evidence even though it was never contested in court. The jury ended up being ‘hung’ on most of the charges, and Barry was only convicted of one possession charge.

Amazingly, Barry was re-elected in 1995 and served as mayor for four more years. In 2002, he was arrested because traces of marijuana and cocaine were found in his car, but no charges were filed and he said the drugs were planted. In 2004, he won a seat on the D.C. Council, which he still has (if you live in Ward 8, he represents you). In 2005, he was placed on probation for not filing income taxes for several years. In 2008, he again failed to file his tax return, which extended his probation to 2011.

I’d like to take a quote from Barry’s website, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading: “Marion Barry, Jr., has dedicated 40 years of his life to public service living by the motto of ‘always fighting for the people.’ He is one of America’s most accomplished public officials living today. He is directly responsible for the success of more African American Millionaires than any other person in the country. He served an unprecedented 16 years as Mayor of the District of Columbia taking the once sleepy southern migration hub to a major metropolitan city.” I feel I need not comment on this quote–it stands pretty awesomely on its own.

In July 2009, Washington City Paper published an article about drama between Barry his ex-girlfriend, which included a controversial front-page headline. Also in 2009, HBO produced a documentary titled The Nine Lives of Marion Barry.

He’s embarrassing, he’s corrupt, he’s a womanizer, but he’s ours.

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