A Colorado District judge has resigned after admitting to using racial slurs in front of court employees.
On Friday, April 16, the Colorado Supreme Court issued an order in which it publicly censured and accepted Natalie T. Chase’s resignation after being accused of expressing her views on racial issues from the bench. She reportedly also asked employees to perform personal tasks for her during work hours.
The order stated that Chase confessed to using the N-word several times in early 2020 while driving to Pueblo, Colorado, with a former law clerk and a Family Court facilitator. According to the order, Chase allegedly asked the facilitator, who is Black, questions about why Black people were allowed to use the N-word but not white people. She also questioned if the same rules would be applied if the word was said with an “er” or an “a” at the end. “During the conversation, Judge Chase used the full N-word a number of times,” the order stated.
It added, “The Family Court Facilitator was uncomfortable because she could not leave the car or leave the conversation. She also felt angry and hurt by the conversation stating that Judge Chase’s use of the full N-word was “like a stab through my heart each time.” The facilitator “did not feel comfortable expressing her discomfort or emotion due to fear of retaliation” by the judge, the order continued.
Chase made remarks of this nature on several occasions in front of court employees, the order revealed. In early February 2020, Chase was wearing her robe and sitting on the bench during a break while two or three other people were in the courtroom when she heard someone bring up watching the Super Bowl. Chase later stated, from the bench, 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.”
On another occasion, days after the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, two Black court employees discussed the protest that ensued in the wake of Floyd’s death. Soon afterward, in her robe and sitting on the bench, Chase expressed her views on the incident and later questioned one of the employees on the Black Lives Matter movement.
When said employee tried to explain Black Lives Matter, the order says, “Chase stated that she believes all lives matter,” and went onto say that “the conduct of the police officers in the George Floyd matter should be investigated.”
The order stated that Chase maintained she “did not intend any racial animus,” and she acknowledged that her “use of the N-word does not promote public confidence in the judiciary and creates the appearance of impropriety.”
Chase was appointed to the District Court on July 1, 2014, by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Her resignation is effective 45 days after April 16, which is May 31.