Chief Magistrate James Gosnell, who presided over the bond hearing for accused Charleston, S.C., shooter Dylann Storm Roof on Friday, has a history of using racially charged language from the bench.
Gosnell set Roof’s bond at $1 million for a charge of possessing a weapon while committing a violent crime. He faced some criticism for comments offering sympathy to Roof’s family.
“We have victims, nine, but we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on this young man’s side of the family,” he said. “We must find it in our hearts at some point in time not only to help those that are victims but to help his family as well.”
According to the Daily Beast, Gosnell used explicit racial language during a Nov. 6, 2003, bond hearing for a black defendant.
“There are four kinds of people in this world — black people, white people, red necks, and n—rs,” Gosnell reportedly said.
The incident led to a jucial disciplinary proceeding. A 2005 finding by the South Carolina state Supreme Court noted Gosnell’s argument that his words were meant as life advice.
“[Gosnell] represents he knew the defendant, the defendant’s father, and the defendant’s grandfather,” the finding said.
“Gosnell alleges he repeated this statement to the defendant in an ill-considered effort to encourage him to recognize and change the path he had chosen in life.”
The state Supreme Court found a public reprimand to be sufficient punishment for the incident.
SOURCE: The Hill – Elliot Smilowitz