Courtlon "Champ" Turner is a father, a volunteer, a friend, a neighbor, a role model, a barber, and a public servant. In 2016, he was attacked by his best friend, David, a white man who was experiencing a mental health crisis.
You can read more about Champ in his own words in this beautiful article about the importance of Black barbers here: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/aspie/2020/08/the-importance-of-black-barbers-as-staples-of-the-community/
David, who was over 400 pounds in size, was experiencing extreme paranoia. He believed that the government was going to arrest him for selling counterfeit purses, watches, and shoes. Champ spent the day helping his friend move his flea market items and trying to support his friend through this mental health crisis in the most empathetic way possible. When David went outside to speak to someone, Champ took a call from his girlfriend.
When David came back in, David saw that he was on the phone and grabbed a butcher knife, accusing Champ of being on the phone with the FBI and reporting him for selling counterfeit purses. When David attacked, Champ defended himself. As a former corrections officer, he was trained in defensive maneuvers. Champ was able to eventually wrestle the knife away from David. In the scuffle, David sustained several cuts.
Champ immediately went outside, called 911, reported the incident, and sat on the curb, waiting for emergency services and the police. David stood outside, yelling angrily at Champ.
When police arrived, David was transported to the hospital and Champ was arrested for malicious wounding. For two years, Champ continued to be a good father, worked seven days a week, and had no instances of parole violation. At sentencing, the judge told him that she had no idea what had happened, that Champ was clearly a wonderful person and upstanding citizen, and it seemed he just "went crazy" for a few minutes. He was sentenced to ten years.
This year, David has been arrested for selling counterfeit merchandise.
Virginia Beach has a storied history of unlawful arrests and harsh sentences against Black men, as was the case for Matthew Rushin, the Black autistic college student who was sentenced to 50 years for a car accident. https://freematthewrushin.com.
This case is one of the most blatant and gross miscarriages of justice fathomable, and Courtlon "Champ" Turner deserves to be free.
We are asking for your help to cover his legal fees as we obtain competent council to ask Governor Northam to issue a complete pardon for Champ.