Champ is a loving father and a Black barber who was a staple and integral member of his community. He is known by everyone as gentle, selfless, humble, wise, and intuitive.
Champ served as the best man at his friend’s wedding. They were extremely close, but one day his best friend was experiencing extreme paranoia. Champ tried to support his friend through this mental health crisis, but when he took a call from his girlfriend, his friend believed that Champ was on the phone with the FBI to “snitch” on him for selling knock-off purses and shoes. He attacked Champ with a butcher knife, they struggled for several minutes, Champ finally was able to break away, then he dialed 911.
When police arrived, they arrested Champ instead of the white man who attacked him. Champ was charged with aggravated malicious wounding, a class 2 felony equivalent to first degree murder. He’s serving ten years for being attacked by a white man.
Champ has congestive heart failure and is an undiagnosed autistic man with undiagnosed PTSD in a prison. His case has striking parallels to Matthew Rushin’s: they are Black autistic men from Virginia Beach who were criminalized by the Commonwealth Attorney and Virginia Beach Police for having a disability.
We are calling on Governor Ralph Northam for a pardon for Champ Turner. Self defense is not a crime. Being disabled is not a crime. Being autistic is not a crime.