Investigators unable to determine whether Northam was in racist yearbook photo

Investigators looking into the racist yearbook photo scandal involving Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said Wednesday that the results of the probe were inconclusive, according to a statement from Eastern Virginia Medical School.

The law firm looking into into the 1984 EVMS yearbook said that they were unable to identify either person in the image, which depicted one man dressed in blackface and another wearing Ku Klux Klan robes.


The photo appeared on Northam's page in the yearbook.

“An independent investigation of an offensive photo in the 1984 EVMS student yearbook was unable to determine the identity of the individuals in the photo," the statement said.

"The report found no one 'with first-hand knowledge of an actual mistake on any page, including any personal page, within the 1984 yearbook' and no evidence that the photo was placed in error," it continued.

While reviewing all EVMS yearbooks, law firm staffers were able to find 10 photos depicting people in blackface.

Investigators also said they could not determine how the photo ended up on Northam's yearbook page. Northam has made conflicting statements about the image, initially apologizing for the photo but later denying he was in it.

"No individual that we interviewed has told us from personal knowledge that the governor is in the photograph, and no individual with knowledge has come forward to us to report that the governor is in the photograph," investigators said in their report

EVMS president and provost Richard V. Homan said in the statement that the photos' publication was “failure of administrative oversight on the part of EVMS."

“Their publication was hurtful, particularly to the African-American community and to our campus community,” Homan said. “It should never have happened.”

After the photo was uncovered by a conservative political outlet, many people called for Northam to step down from the governor's mansion, but he did not. 

Following the revelation of the photo on Northam's yearbook page, the state's attorney general, Mark Herring (D), also admitted to wearing blackface as a teenager.

Around the same time, two women accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault, leading to calls for him to resign as well.

Updated at 11:17 a.m.