Judge in Colorado resigns after repeatedly using the N-word and declaring that 'our lives matter.'
In the wake of George Floyd's police-involved murder, a Colorado judge resigned after regularly using the N-word in conversation with a black court official and declaring that "all lives matter."
Colorado District Judge Natalie T. Chase decided to step down from the bench Friday after she was censured by the Colorado Supreme Court for her remarks.
The court stated in a six-page order that Chase, who is white, failed to "uphold the high standards of judicial behavior expected of a judge."
In a separate incident early last year while driving two court workers from a training session in Pueblo, Chase asked a family court facilitator, who is black, why people of color “can use the N-word but not white people” — and whether it was different if the “N-word is said with a ‘er’ or a ‘a’ at the end of the word,” according to the order.
Chase used the “full N-word multiple times” during the conversation, leaving the black court facilitator angry and dismayed while stuck in the car while, the order says.
According to the ruling, the woman said that Judge Chase's use of the full N-word was 'like a stab through my heart each time,'" adding that she felt forced to remain silent out of fear of retribution.
Chase later questioned two black court workers about their views on the Black Lives Matter movement in May 2020, when they addressed Floyd's death in Minneapolis, which sparked national demonstrations, including in Denver.
“Judge Chase then, while wearing her robe and seated on the bench, told the employees some of her views regarding racial justice,” according to Friday’s order. “When the employee attempted to justify the Black Lives Matter campaign, Judge Chase clarified that she agrees that all lives are valuable.”
Chase did admit, however, that she believed the actions of Minneapolis police officers should be investigated.
However, the judge expressed her personal views months ago, in February 2020, during a courtroom break during which a conversation about the Super Bowl switched to two black workers, according to the ruling.
“Judge Chase then announced from the bench that she would boycott the Super Bowl in protest of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police violence towards African-Americans,” the order says.
Chase maintained that her use of the racial slur was not motivated by "racial animus," but recognized that it had a "serious negative impact on the public's trust in the judiciary's reputation and appreciation," the order notes.
Chase's resignation, effective 45 days after Friday's order, is effective. Chase was appointed a judge in Colorado's 18th Judicial District in 2014. She has "expressed regret" for her behavior and apologised, thus waiving her right to a formal hearing.
According to the Denver Post, only four judges were publicly censured in Colorado between 2010 and 2020.
Chase's counsel did not respond to a newspaper request for comment Friday.