- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Georgia judge has been suspended after he criticized protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and across the country for trying to erase history by removing Confederate-era monuments from public grounds.

Gwinnett County Judge Jim Hinkle, a former longtime mayor of Grayson, on Saturday called Charlottesville protesters seeking the removal of a 1924 statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee “snowflakes” who have “no concept of history,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“It is what it is. Get over it and move on,” Judge Hinkle wrote on Facebook, in part. “Leave history alone - those who ignore history are deemed [sic] to repeat the mistake of the past.”

His comments reportedly came less than a hour before clashes between white nationalist groups and counter-protesters in Charlottesville turned deadly. A 32-year-old woman was killed and more than a dozen injured after a reported Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into a crowd of demonstrators. Two Virginia State Police troopers were also killed in a helicopter crash near the protests.

On Monday, a crowd of protesters toppled a Confederate statue outside the old Durham County courthouse in North Carolina — an act Judge Hinkle compared to the Islamic State’s destruction of historic artifacts in the Middle East, The Journal-Constitution.

Gwinnett County Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum said she suspended Judge Hinkle after The Journal-Constitution brought the comments to her attention.

“After reviewing the Facebook posts you brought to my attention this morning, I have suspended Judge Hinkle effective immediately while I consider the appropriate final action,” she said in an email.

“As the Chief Magistrate Judge, I have made it clear to all of our Judges that the Judicial Canons, as well as our internal policies, require Judges to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity, impartiality, and fairness of the judiciary,” she wrote. “I consider any violation of those principles and policies to be a matter of utmost concern, and will certainly take any action necessary to enforce compliance and to maintain the integrity of this Court.”

Judge Hinkle declined to apologize or retract his comments, telling The Journal-Constitution that he didn’t “see anything controversial” about what he said.

“But you know, with the way things are going in the world today, I guess everything’s controversial,” he admitted.

Gwinnett County’s Democratic Party is calling for Judge Hinkle to resign.

“When history of oppression and bigotry is celebrated, future generations may accept such as societal norms,” Chairman Gabe Okoye told The Journal-Constitution. “Given his biased views on this Charlottesville matter, how can ethnic minorities and religions trust him to render fair and equitable justice from the bench?”


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