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Judge Repeatedly Said N-Word When Asking Black Colleague Why White People Can’t Use It: Court


Natalie Chase

A judge in Colorado is stepping down from the bench after she admittedly used the n-word in a conversation with a Black colleague, and also referred to another judge as a “f****** b****.” The Supreme Court of Colorado said Friday that they accepted the resignation of the 18th Judicial District’s Natalie T. Chase, effective after 45 days.

According to the court, the judge admitted that in early 2020, she was driving back from a program with a Family Court Facilitator. On the way back, Chase, who is white, asked the colleague, who is Black, why Black people can use the N-word, but not white people. She also asked whether it is different ending with an “er” or an “a.”

Chase used the full word as “a number of times.”

This distressed the Family Court Facilitator. She worried that Chase might retaliate against her if she expressed this, however.

From the court’s order:

The Family Court Facilitator was uncomfortable because she could not leave the car or leave the conversation. The Family Court Facilitator felt angry and hurt by the conversation. She has explained that Judge Chase’s use of the full N-word was “like a stab through my heart each time.” The Family Court Facilitator did not feel free to express her discomfort or emotions due to fear of retaliation by Judge Chase.

The court noted that Chase agreed that she violated Canon Rule 1.2, which required judges to act in ways that promoted public confidence in the bench.

The Supreme Court of Colorado also took Chase to task for a 2020 meeting in which she returned from a meeting with another judge, and referred to this fellow jurist as a “f****** b****.”

“You acknowledge that you failed to act in a dignified and courteous manner when you disparaged one or more judicial colleagues and specifically referred to one judicial colleague in derogatory terms,” the court wrote.

The court also noted incidents in which Chase used court staff for personal errands such as writing letters. While wearing her robe, she shared her takes on matters of race and police brutality.

“Judge Chase asked one employee some questions about the Black Lives Matter movement,” the opinion stated. “The employee tried to explain the Black Lives Matter movement, and Judge Chase stated that she believes all lives matter. Judge Chase also stated that the conduct of the police officers in the George Floyd matter should be investigated.”

[Image via Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation]

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