Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Motive For Complaint Of Racism Against Duval County Judge Called Into Question

Pressly Pratt
Pastor Ken Adkins

Georgia pastor Ken Adkins and other black clergymen are calling for a Duval County judge to step down over allegations he made racist comments.

But the motives of the clergymen are being called into question because Adkins is a paid political consultant for the judge’s re-election opponent, attorney Gerald Wilkerson.

Outside the Duval County Courthouse Tuesday, First Timothy Baptist Church Pastor Fred Newbill said he sent a letter demanding Duval Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey resign. Newbill said someone in Hulsey’s office divulged that he regularly uses racist phrases.

“I don't need a person who maybe deserved five years, to get 20 years because you believe, or you stated, or it’s been attributed that you believe a race of people should go back to Africa on a boat,” Newbill said.

But Newbill won’t reveal who passed on the information and he said no recordings of the incidents exist.

Still, the pastor said he can’t be trusted to preside over a case with black defendants until an investigation is conducted.  

In an emailed statement, Hulsey called the allegations “unfair” and “inaccurate.” A spokesman for the judge also said the pastors might have another motive for their letter — profit.

Campaign finance records show Adkins, who organized the press conference, received about $5,000 from Wilkerson.

Adkins admits he was paid to create Wilkerson’s website but insists that’s the extent of their relationship.

“We build websites; we do printing of campaign material. I’m most certainly not his campaign manager,” he said.

The clergymen said they’ve submitted a complaint about Hulsey’s alleged racism to the state Judicial Qualifying Commission. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.