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Advocates Decry Racist Comments Made by White NYC Family Court Clerk

The Legal Aid Society, several NYC public defender offices and juvenile justice advocacy organizations issued a joint statement condemning racist comments made by a white New York City Family Court clerk at a 15-year-old Black teenager during a virtual court proceeding, reports the New York Law Journal.

The groups also called on the New York State Office of Court Administration to address the broader systemic racism issues that Black and Brown people experience inside New York courtrooms every single day.

“Over the last year, multiple court staff [in the state system} have been disciplined for racist social media posts and for disparaging comments towards colleagues of color.

An independent statewide review of state courts issued in October confirmed what our clients and staff experience daily: racial prejudice and other biases are very much embedded in our court system. Our court system must have zero tolerance for this egregious behavior, and OCA must swiftly implement the recommendations laid out in last year’s review.

OCA must also be held accountable for addressing the systemic racism that permeates the court system but the only way to truly confront the harm is by fundamentally shrinking the criminal legal system and stemming the endless tide of Black and brown people that the NYPD funnels into that system,” reads a statement from The Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice, The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, New York County Defender Services, Lawyers for Children and Center for Family Representation.