NY town justice bragged about holding 'large Black man' at gunpoint
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A town justice in upstate New York who bragged to colleagues about pulling a loaded gun on a "large Black man" in court should be removed from office, the state's judicial conduct commission determined.
The incident began to draw scrutiny in 2018 when Putorti described his actions at a meeting of the Washington County Magistrates Association, boasting he had pulled his licensed gun on a "large Black man" about 6 feet 9 inches tall and "built like a football player."
In fact, the commission said, the man was about 6 feet tall and weighed 165 pounds.
PHILADELPHIA COP WHO SHOT UNARMED BLACK MOTORIST BEGINS TRIALPutorti said he had brandished his gun because the defendant approached the bench "too quickly," the commission said.
"Judge Hobbs added that the fact that a defendant may present as ‘large’ or make (Putorti) feel uncomfortable or nervous is insufficient basis for respondent to display his gun," the commission said.
In a statement, Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian said: "The courthouse is where threats or acts of gun violence are meant to be resolved, not generated."
Tembeckjian added, "But for the fact that it happened in this case, it would otherwise be unfathomable for a judge to brandish a weapon in court, without provocation or justification.
To then brag about it repeatedly with irrelevant racial remarks is utterly indefensible and inimical to the role of a judge."
CHICAGO COP SHOT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT; THIRD LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN ONE WEEKThe commission found that Putorti also violated ethics rules for judges by promoting fundraisers for his Elks lodge on Facebook.
Nine of the panel's 10 members concurred with the decision to remove Putorti from the bench, which he can appeal.
A message seeking comment was left with Putorti's attorney, Michael D. Root.