A North Carolina community is speaking out after the cousin of a homicide victim was arrested and charged with contempt of court after calling out the judge’s failed re-election bid.
“That’s why you got voted out in Durham,” Josselyn Farrior reportedly shouted from a hallway outside of the courtroom.
As a result of the outburst, she was sentenced Monday to 10 days in jail, according to fess reports, and spent a night in custody before bonding out on Tuesday.
Community members rallied on social media to decry the judge’s actions.
“This is systemic abuse,” one Twitter user said.
A man who identified himself as Farrior’s cousin urged Twitter users to retweet his post in support of Farrior.
“The injustice needs to stop,” he said.
Farrior Was released on a $500 secured bond her mother posted, according to WFMY-TV.
The entire situation stems from the Alamance County court hearing for Hyquan John Parker. Parker, 26, had earlier been granted a $3 million bond after being accused of killing Farrior’s cousin and two other men Sunday in Burlington North Carolina.
Controversy over that decision started before Hill even entered the room, according to the Burlington newspaper the Times-News. The news outlet reported that a woman identified as the widow of one of the victims could be heard quietly telling Parker, “You’re going to feel my pain.”
That attracted a bailiff’s attention and the bailiff told the woman and other women sitting near her that they should leave the courtroom if they couldn’t control themselves.
They stayed and watched Hill ultimately side with the prosecutor in determining Parker should not have been permitted bond, according to WFMY-TV.
“They told us that Parker got no bond, and we were OK with that,” Farrior told the news station. “Somebody clapped in the back, but it wasn’t us.”
Hill responded to the clapping. “There will be no outbursts,” he said. “This is not a sporting event. This is a serious matter.”
The incident led Hill to kick a group of women, including Farrior, out of court. That’s when Farrior referenced Hill’s failed re-election bid in November from the hall outside the courtroom. She also called him a racist, according to WTVD-TV.
A bailiff shouted at Farrior to be quiet, and she responded, “I don’t care,” the Times-News reported. That’s when a bailiff left the courtroom and then told her that the judge wanted to see her. When Farrior refused, bailiffs physically detained her.
“I didn’t become a disruption until the officers were trying to arrest me, and they couldn’t tell me why they were trying to arrest me,” Farrior told WTVD-TV.
She also told the news outlet that she is considering filing a lawsuit over the encounter. A woman identified as Farrior’s mother believes there was a racial element to Hill’s reaction. She shouted outside the courtroom during the commotion, “That’s what happens when a black person voices their opinion in a courtroom with a white judge named Hill.”
This isn’t the first time Hill has faced public criticism.
The N.C. Supreme Court ordered a public reprimand against him Nov. 6, 2015 for making inappropriate comments, improperly exercising his contempt powers, and failing to “remain patient, dignified and courteous to the parties appearing before him,” according to The News & Observer.
Hill’s history and Farrior’s arrest led to a community initiative fighting for Farrior’s charge to be dropped with the hashtag #FreeJosselyn.
“Josselyn’s family and community are depending on us to keep her safe and bring her home,” Brandi Alexandir said on Twitter Monday.