A judge in Florida reportedly went off on a public defender who claimed his client ran from police so that he wouldn’t be the latest unarmed black victim of police brutality.
According to reports, public defender Dale Miller stood before Broward County Judge John “Jay” Hurley to defend 26-year-old Stephen Hall Clarke, who was found hiding underneath a dock with an empty gun holster after running from police.
“Your honor, in light of what's happening in this country with unarmed black men being killed by police, him running from shots being fired is a very reasonable response,” Miller told Judge Hurley.
Hurley seemed to be offended by the defender’s response and blasted him on the spot for his reasoning.
“Don't give me that,” Judge Hurley said. “That is so off base.”
Police say that an undercover police sergeant was shot at in the early hours on Monday morning while following a suspicious vehicle. When police discovered Clarke and three other suspects later on that same morning, Clarke ran from the police, reportedly out of fear for his life. Reports say that the four men claim to not have been involved in the earlier shooting.
“We've got a young man, I don't care what color he is, he's in a neighborhood he doesn't live in at 1:41 in the morning, hiding under somebody's dock in the water with a holster on after a police officer had a shot taken at him,” Hurley said. “Don't hand me this, 'running from police brutality [argument].’ That is not appropriate in this case. I'm not going to let you poison this case with bringing in something that has nothing to do with it.”
After taking a brief recess, Hurley came back and apologized for losing his temper.
“I just want to apologize," Hurley said. "I got a little worked up there but I just want to be clear that we stick to the facts of the case and we don't go off on tangents."
Local police officers say they support the judge in his reaction.
“If you shoot a cop or a cop gets shot at and you run, until we can sort things out, you shouldn't be running from the police," Broward Police Benevolent Association President Jeff Marano said.
Even though Clarke may not be linked to the initial shooting, he has been charged with armed burglary, conspiracy, and resisting arrest as a direct result of running from police as well as breaking into cars earlier that night.