A judge in Colorado who repeatedly said the n-word when asking a black co-worker why white people can’t use the term is stepping down from the bench.
The Supreme Court of Colorado said on Friday that they’d accepted the resignation of the 18th Judicial District’s Natalie T Chase, which will be effective in 45 days after her notice.
Natalie T Chase further faced several other complaints about her behaviour in the courtroom and with co-workers, with many claims of racist and improper behaviour made against her.
Her Friday resignation comes after the state Supreme Court criticised her following a report that determined she weakened confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary by expressing her beliefs about criminal justice, police brutality, race and racial prejudice, specifically while wearing her robe in court, staff work areas and from the bench.
According to the court, Natalie T Chase admitted in early 2020, she was driving back from a programme with a Family Court Facilitator when she asked the co-worker, who is black, why black people can use the n-word, but not white people.
Natalie T Chase, who is white, also asked whether the word is different when it ends in an ‘er’ or an ‘a’, and used the full word several times.
The court’s opinion wrote that the Family Court Facilitator was uncomfortable because she couldn’t leave the vehicle or leave the conversation.
The Family Court Facilitator felt angry and troubled by the discussion, and she explained that Judge Chase’s use of the full n-word was like a stab through her heart each time.
The opinion read that the Family Court Facilitator didn’t feel free to express her discomfort or emotions due to fear of reprisal by Judge Chase, and it noted that Judge Chase acknowledged that she infringed Canon Rule 1.2, which requires judges to serve in a way that promotes public confidence on the bench.
In another incident, while Judge Chase was sitting on her bench, she asked two black court workers in May 2020 to explain the Black Lives Matter movement after she overheard them discussing the demonstrations in Denver over the death of George Floyd.
And how can an intelligent college-educated woman not realise how that word is not hurtful and demeaning.
It’s fair to ask the question, but she must have realised it was a terrible word when she said it, particularly in her position as a judge – but why are some people permitted to use the word and others are not? Perhaps it’s because words have consequences, and you would assume that a judge would be smart enough to recognise this.