The City Council of Boston's decision to oust Councilor Chuck Turner two days after he was convicted of taking a bribe has received support from the city's Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
But as he was kicked off City Council Turner's ethnically charged outburst created outrage. Turner said he blamed his ouster on the Irish he claimed he was a martyr cut from the same cloth as the city's legendary Mayor James Michael Curley.
The replies from his critics were instantaneous. "Chuck Turner is certainly no James Michael Curley," Democratic State Representative Marty Walsh told the press.
Walsh added: "Turner was convicted in a court of law for taking money. The Irish didn’t do that to him. I take serious offense that he blamed the Irish for his problems with the legal system."
Turner was convicted October 29 of taking a $1,000 bribe from a businessman seeking a city liquor license, and then misleading FBI agents when he was questioned about it. He is scheduled for sentencing January 25 and could get prison time.
In a desperate plea to keep his job, Turner suggested the struggle of blacks is similar to the oppression the Irish once endured.
"The law has been used to persecute the Irish in this very city," Turner said during the City Hall hearing that ended his run on the council. "That’s why they re-elected James Michael Curley when he was in jail. They knew the laws were controlled by the Yankees."
The council, which includes five members with Irish surnames, voted 11-to-1 to expel Turner, marking the first time the board has ever booted a member.
"Those Irish men and women forgot their history," Turner said of the council. "James Michael Curley is ashamed of his descendants."
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