*The judge who called for sympathy for shooter Dylann Roof’s family members has a history of racist language in the courtroom.
Charleston County Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. was reprimanded for using the N-word in court in 2003, according to a judicial disciplinary order posted on the South Carolina Supreme Court’s website.
In November 2003, Gosnell was talking to a black defendant, whom he knew, when he repeated to the defendant a phrase that he had heard spoken by a black sheriff’s deputy.
“There are four kinds of people in this world — black people, white people, red necks, and n——,” Gosnell said at the time. He told the office of disciplinary counsel at the state Supreme Court that he made the “ill-considered” statement in an attempt to get the young man to change his life.
Another charge stemmed from a case in which another judge was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The law required people to stay in jail overnight, but Gosnell drove down to the jail and abused his power to set a bond for the judge. Such bond arrangements had been banned by the state Supreme Court unless a judge sets bail for everyone who had been detained, of course Gosnell did not extend the same courtesy to other detainees.
The Supreme Court in October 2005 said the favoritism in the judge’s case, combined with the racial slur, merited a public reprimand.
Gosnell began Friday’s bond hearing for mass-murderer Dylann Roof by declaring that the killer’s family members were victims.
“The Roof family didn’t ask to become part of this tragedy, and they will need help too,” Gosnell said. His comments have many calling for him to be removed from the case.
Roof is accused of killing nine people in a massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a weekly Bible study meeting last Wednesday night.
Roof’s next scheduled court date is October 23. The Justice Department is investigating whether the fatal shooting was a “hate crime” – even though it has been determined (through is own statements) that the killer is a racist.