Politics

Former D.C. Delegate Walter Fauntroy Released From Jail

$55,000 debt and four years as a fugutive still a mystery

Civil rights activist and former D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy was released from jail, but the full story of the mysterious debt that spurred his arrest after four years as an international fugitive have yet to come to light.  

The 83-year-old beamed as he shook an officer's hand and walked away from the Loudoun Detention Center in Virginia on Tuesday and into the arms of his wife Dorothy, to a smattering of applause, according to footage broadcast on WUSA9 News. Later in the day he posed for photographs with family and friends outside his Northwest D.C. home.  

[Former D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy Arrested After Years as a Fugitive] Messages left at his home were not returned.  

Fauntroy, who helped his friend Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. organize the 1963 March on Washington, was arrested at Dulles International Airport Monday shortly after his flight landed from the United Arab Emirates.  

He had fled the country in 2012 after a warrant was issued for his arrest  for charges associated with a bad check he wrote for $55,000 for a 2009 inaugural ball .  

A Prince George’s County judge recalled the arrest warrant and ordered him to be freed as long as he promised to return to court to face fraud charges.  

Fauntroy, whose civil rights resume also included an active role in the voting rights demonstrations of 1965 that spurred clashes from Selma to Montgomery, became the first delegate to represent the District of Columbia in Congress in 1971.  

With delegate voting privileges restricted in Congress, Fauntroy dedicated himself to coalition building. He was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.    

Fauntroy left office in 1990 to run for mayor, but lost to Sharon Pratt Kelly, the first African-American woman to preside over a major city in the U.S.    

He was succeeded by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the 13-term Democrat who has held the post ever since.    

Fauntroy told The Washington Post last week that he was ready to finally return home, and that he looked forward to clearing the air about his extended absence. WAUSA9 was told that the money has been paid, the station reported.  

He will be in court on July 20 to face charges related to that bounced check and his failure to appear on the original warrant.

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