‘Time for a tree and a rope’: Texas judge must undergo sensitivity training after Facebook comment
BURNET COUNTY, Texas – A judge who commented it’s “time for a tree and a rope” on a Facebook post in reference to a black man must undergo sensitivity training.
Burnet County judge, James Oakley, told the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that his comment was a 1980s Pace Pincante sauce commercial reference, but the commission didn’t buy it.
The man Oakley referred to, Otis Tyrone McKane, has been accused of killing San Antonio police Detective Benjamin Marconi. The San Antonio Police Department posted a photo of McKane on their Facebook page thanking everyone who assisted in finding him.
Oakley shared the post and commented “Time for a tree and a rope” under McKane’s photo.
Many believed the judge’s comment was a reference to lynching, and Oakley received immediate backlash.
The commission received 18 complaints about Oakley including his racial overtones and his potential of tainting a jury pool. There have also been complaints about some of his comments in person which were concerning to members of the commission.
“My comment was intended to reflect my personal feelings that this senseless murder of a police officer should qualify for the death penalty,” Oakley told the commission, “In my mind, the race/gender of the admitted cop killer was not relevant.”
The commission noted that Oakley has never attended a Texas Association of Counties judicial training.