News (USA)

Judge removed from the bench after allegedly spewing hateful remarks

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A Brooklyn Surrogate Court judge was removed from the bench for spewing racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ remarks, according to court papers.

Judge Harriet Thompson was abruptly removed from her position in December and was barred from nonpublic parts of the Johnson St. courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn amid “serious allegations of bias and discrimination,” an Office of Court Administration spokesperson said at the time.

But the specifics of the allegations were not made public until recently, when an affidavit from state Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks revealed Thompson’s vile remarks allegedly made “in the courthouse in the presence of United Court System personnel.”

“I hate these gay white men,” Thompson, who is Black, is quoted as saying. She allegedly also said that “gay racist fa***ts” were “trying to ruin me and get me… Being gay is an abomination to mankind. The Holy Ghost [is] going to get them.”

She also allegedly expressed bias toward litigants with Hispanic-sounding names. “They have a deceitful trait that goes way back to Biblical times,” she is quoted as saying. “The men are always stealing, and the women are no better. They lie, steal, and use their vaginas for anything they want.”

The affidavit also alleges that Thompson targeted natives of the West Indies, overweight co-workers, fellow female judges, white women, and Black women.

The New York Daily News noted, when reporting on her removal in December, that Thompson made repeated unprompted remarks to a reporter about Judaism. “I don’t want to be rude because I know Shabbat will be coming soon tonight,” she told the paper.

Thompson, who has not been removed from office and remains on the judicial payroll, filed a petition in April arguing for her return to the bench.

“I’m entitled to my day in court, to my right of confrontation, and to my right of cross-examination,” she said. “I categorically deny the allegations… You know what? It’s about integrity and character. That’s all I have. People lie, and people believe the lies.”

In court paper, attorneys for the state said that, “Although Petitioner claims that the administrative reassignment of her cases and the appointment of an acting Surrogate violate the law and constitute an abuse of discretion, an examination of those claims show them to be entirely without merit.”

Thompson was previously accused of homophobia by Richard Buckheit, a former public administrator appointed by judges to handle the estates of Brooklyn residents who die without wills. Buckheit, who is gay, faced several EEOC complaints about racism in 2016 as well as allegations of creating a hostile work environment.

In 2020, Thompson accused Buckheit of only hiring “young white males,” a claim Buckheit said was homophobic.

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