New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Chief judge orders racial inequality probe of union leader

The national turmoil sparked by the apparently racist killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has resulted in a number of inquiries into alleged racism by municipal and police department officials across the country. One such inquiry has erupted inside the New York state court system. An e-mail to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore has caused the Judge to order an investigation into alleged “racial inequality and brutality” against black court officers.

According to a report in the New York Post, Judge DiFiore received an e-mail signed by three black police officers accusing James Quirk, the president of the New York State Court Officers Association, of providing political shelter for police officers who engage in “racist speech and actions” and that the officers have proof. The Post stated that the e-mail accused Quirk of using “racist dog whistles” against anyone who opposes him.

Judge Di Fiore forwarded the e-mail to Jeh Johnson, who served President Obama as Secretary of Homeland Security. The judge said that Secretary Johnson will be leading an “independent review of the New York State court system’s response to issues of institutional racism” in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. According to Judge DiFiore, the three officers who signed the original e-mail to Judge DiFiore described a pattern of “biased and retaliatory action” by union leaders against black officers.

Union President Quirk denied the charges and pointed to his own condemnation of the officers involved in the Floyd killing. Quirk also stated that the union protects its black members. He also accused Judge DiFiore of failing to protect minority court house workers against the corona virus. Quirk has led the officers’ union for 46 years. This dispute may take weeks or even months to be resolved.

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