A Texas Judge, James Oakley has been massively back lashed for writing ‘Time for a tree and rope’ beneath the mug shot of a Black suspect.
A Texas judge is under fire over a comment he posted to Facebook suggesting that a black man suspected of killing a local police officer should be lynched, according to the Huffington Post.
“Time for a tree and a rope,” he posted on Monday to the San Antonio Police Department’s Facebook page, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Burnet County Judge James Oakley took responsibility for the rash words on Wednesday. He apologized and called his language “unfortunate,” but denied that it contained any racial undertones.
‘Time for a tree and a rope’: Texas judge calls for a lynching after seeing black suspect’s mugshot https://t.co/jJUdGEmntn pic.twitter.com/VQNRULSAj0
— Raw Story (@RawStory) November 23, 2016
“I never made that connection but I do see how somebody could make that connection and be offended towards that. That was not my intent,” he told The Huffington Post on the phone. “Maybe I watched too many Westerns when I was little.”
The article he posted contained news of an arrest made in Sunday’s shooting death of San Antonio Police Detective Benjamin Marconi. Otis Tyrone McKane, who is black, was arrested on suspicion of murdering Marconi one day after the detective, who was white, was fatally shot inside his patrol car.
The Texas Judge James Oakley issued a public apology about the comment Wednesday, the Statesman reports.
The post is no longer on Oakley’s Facebook page, but a screenshot shows that the comment was posted from his personal account. Oakley appears to have made the comment Monday, after Otis Tyrone McKane was arrested. McKane is charged with killing Marconi. The detective was shot as he sat in his vehicle Sunday after making a traffic stop.
In addition to presiding over a five-member commissioner’s court in Burnet County, Oakley is also on the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive committee, the board for the Pedernales Electric Cooperative and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement’s board.
Texas judge James Oakley wrote, “time for a tree and a rope,” on Facebook in response to the arrest of a suspect in a policeman murder case. pic.twitter.com/5TaRej6vYk
— Right Wing Talk (@RWTQuotes) November 24, 2016
Texas judge, Oakley said his comment was “off the cuff” and “indeed curt and harsh.”
“It is for that reason that I deleted it soon after posting and apologize for not being more thoughtful and comprehensive in my expression,” Oakley said in an email. “What I should have posted, if anything, is a comment that more clearly reflects my opinion on the cowardly crime of the senseless murder of a law enforcement officer.“
His view of McKane “is the same regardless of ethnicity,” Oakley said.
“To be clear, I advocate due process,” Oakley said. “I also support the death penalty in cases where the ultimate crime has been committed and there is clear and complete evidence and where all steps of the judicial process have been respected. I would also point out that I am an administrative judge and do not preside over criminal court.”
Reporter James Walker, who previously worked for the Burnet Bulletin newspaper and now works for the Weatherford Democrat newspaper outside Fort Worth, said he saw Oakley’s comment and took the screenshot Tuesday morning.
The Pedernales Electric Cooperative issued a statement Wednesday about Oakley’s comment.
“PEC is aware of the comments recently made by Director Oakley on his personal Facebook account,” the statement says. “PEC does not condone any type of offensive language. Comments such as these are not a reflection of our cooperative values. We proudly welcome and serve all members.”
The blog PEC Truthwatch, run by Larry Landaker, who previously served on the Pedernales Electric Cooperative’s board, blogged about Oakley’s “tree and a rope” comment. Based on the time stamps in the image, the blog seems to use the same screenshot that Walker took.
Outrage at Texas judge who said it’s ‘time for a tree and a rope’ for black suspect who ‘killed cop in ambush’
— News, Views, People. (@NVPeople) November 24, 2016
“What Mr. Oakley suggested was racist,” the blog post read. “A sitting County Judge in Texas has suggested that a black man accused of a crime … should be lynched. … There is no place on the PEC board of directors for an open racist. This is not political correctness. It is racism in its rawest form.”
Landaker is not a supporter of Oakley’s. In June, he argued that Oakley should not be re-elected to the PEC board.
There is no amount of words to justify this raw illustration of racism. This is unacceptable by all standards; especially coming from a man of such caliber. No wonder our judicial system seems to be racially skewed. With such people handling top positions in our justice system, white people will always have their way out with hate crimes whereas Blacks are harshly punished for non-violent offenses. This is a political fallacy!