Judges have been accused of doing some wild things in court, but this is by far the craziest.
In 2015, upstate New York judge Robert J. Putorti was overseeing a court hearing involving a Black defendant. Nothing out of the ordinary for a judge to do right? Except, when a Black man approached the stand “too quickly,” Judge Putorti pulled a loaded gun on him in court.
What. The. Hell.
Recently, this led to a review from the New York State Court of Appeals, where they discovered that Putorti would often brag about the incident and would recall the race and stature of the defendant when he would tell the story of the incident to others, according to the Associated Press.
Specifically, Putorti described the defendant to another judge as being a “big black man” who is the same height as LeBron James (6’9”). He also described him as being built “like a football player.” But in reality, the defendant was built more like Allen Iverson, coming in at six feet tall and only weighing 165 pounds.
The Black man was in court over an unpaid fine.
More from the Associated Press:
The high court affirmed the state Commission on Judicial Conduct’s removal of Putorti, and noted the former judge’s description of the defendant “exploited a classic and common racist trope that Black men are inherently threatening or dangerous, exhibiting bias or, at least, implicit bias.”
Putorti’s termination was also made easier by the fact that he participated in fundraising events that were illegal for New York State judges to attend. This occurred while he was being investigated for the loaded gun incident.
According to the New York State Court of Appeals investigation, the fundraising occurring during the investigation showed, “an unwillingness or inability to abide by the Rules of Judicial Conduct.”