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Black community leaders want Marilyn Davenport out of office over picture of Obama as chimpanzee

4/18/2011, 7:28 a.m.

INGLEWOOD, Calif.--Black leaders in the Southland redoubled their efforts today to have a tea party activist thrown off the Orange County Central Committee for disseminating a picture of President Barack Obama's face on the body of a baby a chimpanzee.

Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Los Angeles Civil Rights Association President Eddie Jones and four other Black community leaders planned to hold a news conference in Inglewood early this afternoon to detail their plans.

Hutchinson said the news conference participants would demand a meeting with Orange County GOP Chair Scott Baugh so they can press him to expel Marilyn Davenport from the central committee.

Davenport, a Fullerton resident, recently e-mailed a picture of Obama's face superimposed over a baby chimp's face with the caption, "Now you know why--No birth certificate!"

O.C. Weekly political blogger R. Scott Moxley reported on the email, causing civil rights activists and some Republicans, including Baugh, to call for Davenport to resign from the Central Committee--something she has refused to do.

"I saw the e-mail and I thought it was despicable,'' Baugh told the O.C. Weekly.

He told the Los Angeles Times he received the Davenport e-mail Friday afternoon and sent a reply telling her it was "dripping with racism and is in very poor taste." He said he thought the Orange County Republican's ethics committee should take up the matter.

But Hutchinson suggested Baugh hasn't done nearly enough.

"Davenport sent out a racist, inflammatory and despicable photo ... Davenport's depiction and Baugh's inaction to date mock the GOP's repeated contention that the GOP vigorously condemns racism,'' he said on the eve of his news conference.

In a joint statement with Jones, he added: "Baugh's refusal to take action to expel Davenport from the GOP's top policy-making body is a blatant endorsement of racism by a GOP top official.''

Alice Huffman, the president of the NAACP in California, also condemned the picture, saying in a statement from Sacramento: ''There is no way that depicting the President of the United States as less than human can be considered anything but a racist act.''

But she did not echo Hutchinson's criticism of the GOP's Orange County leadership.

"The California NAACP does appreciate that many of Mrs. Davenport's Republican colleagues have condemned her actions and called for her resignation from the Orange County Republican Central Committee,'' Huffman said.

She said her organization "calls on Marilyn Davenport to resign from the Orange County Republican Central Committee and if she continues to refuse to, we call for the Orange County Ethics Committee to look into her actions.''

Davenport has denied that her intent was racist.

When Moxley reached her for comment, Davenport reportedly said, "You're not going to make a big deal about this, are you? Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black.''