A judge in Kentucky handed down a light sentence for an armed home robber who frightened a little girl, 3, after expressing outrage and offense over a section of the victim-impact statement declaring the toddler was now scared of black men.
The robber was black; the judge was black; the victims – a mother, father and their 3-year-old daughter – were white.
The parents argued for a tough sentence for the man convicted of busting into their Louisville home at gunpoint while their daughter watched “Spongebob Square Pants,” according to the Courier-Journal.
Judge Olu Stevens first read from the victim-impact statement and expressed outrage over the descriptions of how the little girl, post-robbery, was afraid of black men she saw on the street and even of black men the family counted as friends.
Video captured his response, given while mulling the prosecutor’s request for a 20-year sentence.
“There’s a victim-impact statement here that bothers me, to be honest with you,” Stevens said, on the video posted by the Gateway Pundit. “It troubles me greatly that this [family’s] statement says this [crime] has had the greatest impact on my daughter, that she is in constant fear of black men … it has affected her relationships at school and relationship with our African-American friends. Really? … I just want to make that part of the record, I am offended by that.”
He then went on: “I am deeply offended by that, that they would be victimized by an individual and then express some kind of fear of all black men. I wonder if the perpetrator had been white, would they be in fear of white men? The answer would probably be no.”
He then said his views weren’t going to sway his judicial decision, but he wanted “to make it part of the record … I find this very offensive.”
The prosecutor then opposed probation, saying “this was a home invasion” that left a family with a little girl in turmoil.
And the judge’s response?
“Make no mistake about it, I voiced outrage about … a portion of that statement, but I’m also outraged that anyone would go into anyone’s else’s home and commit a violent offense like this. That’s outrageous also,” he said.
“This little girl was certainly victimized and she can’t help the way that she feels. My exception is more with her parents and their accepting of that kind of mentality and their fostering of that … stereotype.”
Stevens then granted probation to the robber in court for sentencing, telling him that despite his use of a handgun to enter the family’s home, he seemed worthy of redemption.
Stevens has since defended his actions, issuing a statement that he “will not be intimidated” by negative backlash.
“As for my ‘wrath,’ I had none. I leave wrath to the Commonwealth’s Attorney and others disgruntled by the ultimate decision. I did not criticize the child. I cautioned the parents against racial stereotyping,” Stevens wrote on Facebook. “If necessary, I will stand alone. I have no animus toward anyone. I have consistently been here for over five years. I look forward to continuing to see you on this medium and in court.”
Supporters of the parents are reportedly calling for Stevens to be removed from office.