A Colorado judge who was censured by the state’s Supreme Court after being accused of using racist language with a coworker has resigned.
The Colorado Supreme Court said Arapahoe County District Court Judge Natalie T. Chase used the N-word multiple times with a coworker and was racially insensitive on many occasions, according to court documents recommending discipline for Chase and public censure from the Court.
The documents detail a 2020 incident in which Chase, a former law clerk and a Family Court Facilitator were driving back to work after attending an event in Pueblo, Colorado.
“Judge Chase is white and the Family Court Facilitator is Black,” the documents read. “On the way back from Pueblo, Judge Chase asked the Family Court Facilitator questions about why Black people can use the N-word but not white people, and whether it was different if the N-word is said with an ‘er’ or an ‘a’ at the end of the word.”
“During the conversation, Judge Chase used the full N-word a number of times,” the documents state.
The facilitator was uncomfortable and “felt angry and hurt by the conversation,” according to the documents. “She has explained that Judge Chase’s use of the full N-word was ‘like a stab through my heart each time,'” but didn’t feel comfortable sharing her discomfort or emotions with Chase due to fear of retaliation.
Following this incident, Chase made other derogatory statements, including tell coworkers, some of whom were Black, that “she would be boycotting the Super Bowl because she objected to the NFL players who were kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality against Black people,” the documents read.
Following the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2020 afterkneeled on his neck, Chase also voiced her opinion on subsequent Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the U.S.
When two Black court employees were discussing the protests while in Judge Chase’s courtroom, she told them “some of her opinions regarding racial justice issues” and “asked one employee some questions about the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“The employee tried to explain the Black Lives Matter movement, and Judge Chase stated that she believes all lives matter,” according to the documents. “Judge Chase also stated that the conduct of the police officers in the George Floyd matter should be investigated.”
Several other incidents in which Chase spoke to or treated coworkers inappropriately are listed in the court documents, including one incident when she referred to another judge as a “f****** b****” while speaking to a clerk.
The court said the judge violated four separate judicial rules, and therefore undermined confidence in the judiciary. The Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline Case recommended the court publicly censure, or condemn, Chase and the court asked for her resignation.
Chase maintained that she did “not intend any racial animus,” but did acknowledge that her statements violated a rule “which requires a judge to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary.” She acknowledged that her use of the N-word “does not promote public confidence in the judiciary and creates the appearance of impropriety.”