A New York judge is off the bench and will not return after state officials charged him over a social media post they say “conveyed racial/or political bias.”
Kyle R. Canning, who served part-time in the city of Altona in upstate New York, was forced to resign after authoring an offensive Facebook post that echoed President Donald Trump‘s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan and featured a photo of a noose.
“IF WE WANT TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, WE WILL HAVE TO MAKE EVIL PEOPLE FEAR AGAIN,” Canning wrote July 2018, just weeks after he’d assumed his judicial position.
New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct condemned the incendiary post in a release announcing the judge’s resignation on Tuesday..
“The noose is an incendiary image with repugnant racial connotations,” New York Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian said in the statement. “It’s the very antithesis of law and justice. For a judge to use the image of the noose in making a political point undermines the integrity of the judiciary and public confidence in the courts.”
Officials said Canning, who took office in 2018, resigned from his position on June 27 and agreed to never seek or accept judicial office going forward. He was served with a formal complaint May 7, then quit his post a month later.
In his resignation letter, Canning apologized for the “inconvenience” his misconduct had caused but decried the disciplinary charges against him.
“It is with a sense of despair that I find myself writing this letter,” he wrote, according to the Times Union. “They [the commission] have presented me with several different options in what they claim to be a serious offense.”
“I feel as though, due to my current financial situation and obligations to my family, I am being coerced into resigning,” the judge added.
He told the New York Post in a recent interview that the image wasn’t meant to be racist. Rather, it was to show his support for the death penalty.
“The whole post was pro death penalty,” Canning told the outlet. “I am pro death penalty and it is not illegal to be pro death penalty. None of that was in my mind when I shared my post. The noose was used for death penalty long before racism was ever a thing.”
Hanging has been used as a method of execution across multiple regions of the world since at least medieval times and remains in use in regions ranging from the Caribbean to the Middle East to this day.
The ousted magistrate was set to serve through the end of 2021, officials said.