The Justice Department filed suit in federal court in Alexandria yesterday accusing the owner and manager of a Fauquier County skating rink, of violating the civil rights of that county's blacks by systematically barring them from using the rink.
Hugos Skateway, on Rte. 17 southeast of Warrenton, had been the center of a heated controversy in the rural county on the fringe of metropolitan Washington because of owner Hugo Stribling's admitted policy of excluding blacks from the facility.
Stribling, who could not be reached for comment, said in on earlier interview that he had the right to exclude whomever he pleased because the skating rink is a private club.
Attorney General Griffin Bell challenged that position, claiming that the rink is in fact a public accommodation and as such cannot exclude members of the public on the basis of race.
The suit, which follows nearly three months of FBI investigations, asks the court to enjoin the rink operators from excluding blacks in the future and to post a sign stating that the rink is open to all persons without regard to race.
The suit alleges that the rink operators "follow a policy and practice of denying to blacks and to whites accompanied by blacks the use and enjoyment of the facilities and services."
Names in the suit were Stribling, rink owner; David L. Heflin, rink manager; Lois Leasing Inc., and two directors, Russel Caugle and Andrew J. Nash.