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Racist Judge Who Allegedly Called a Black Juror ‘Aunt Jemima’ Was Booted Off the Bench Temporarily

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.A Pennsylvania judge who repeatedly called a black juror “Aunt Jemima” in court has now been suspended from hearing any further cases. Mark Tranquilli, an Allegheny County Common Pleas judge, was reassigned to administrative duties Tuesday after a peer review. Two days later,…

Racist Judge Who Allegedly Called a Black Juror ‘Aunt Jemima’ Was Booted Off the Bench Temporarily
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A Pennsylvania judge who repeatedly called a black juror “Aunt Jemima” in court has now been suspended from hearing any further cases.

Mark Tranquilli, an Allegheny County Common Pleas judge, was reassigned to administrative duties Tuesday after a peer review. Two days later, the Allegheny Bar Association demanded that he undergo an official investigation for his conduct in court, which has been criticized as offensive, racist, and unbecoming of a judge.

“In remaining steadfast to the Allegheny County Bar Association’s mission and values, we have a duty to our members, our clients, and the African-American and broader communities at large, to continue to take action to eliminate implicit and explicit racial bias in our legal system,” the association’s president, Lori McMaster, said in a statement.

According to defense attorney Joe Otte, Tranquilli went on a racist tirade following the acquittal of a drug suspect last month. After the jury was dismissed, the judge met with Otte and prosecutor Ted Dutkowski and singled out one female juror who wore a headwrap during the entirety of the trial and berated the prosecutor for not properly screening jurors.

“You weren’t out of strikes when you decided to put Aunt Jemima on the jury,” Tranquilli allegedly told Dutkowski, according to a complaint filed with the Judicial Conduct Board. “As soon as she sat down, she crossed her arms and looked like this,” pantomiming a scowl and crossing his arms.

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