A man from Oahu, Hawaii, convicted of attempted murder and assault in a road rage incident, donned blackface at his court sentencing and went on a rant against his public defender and the judge.
Mark Char knew he would likely be sentenced to life in prison for the 2016 incident, so he used his opportunity to speak (and be seen) to let the judge know how he really felt, according to Hawaii News Now.
Police wheeled Char into the courtroom and it was then that the judge saw that the man had intentionally colored his face in what appeared to be black permanent marker. Blackface is offensive and goes back to the minstrel shows about a century ago.
And that’s not where it stopped. Char told Judge Todd Eddins, in his court statement: “Now this kangaroo court is trying to give me a life sentence for me trying to protect and defend myself against the attack from three guys ― in essence, treating me like a black man.”
“So today, I’m going to be a black man,” Char added, according to Hawaii News Now.
Eddins was not amused.
“This continues a pattern of disruptive behavior designed to undermine the administration of justice,” the judge said.
In March, Char was convicted of attempted murder and assault for stabbing three people on the H-1 Freeway in 2016 – including one victim whom he stabbed five times. That victim was taken to the hospital and suffered critical injuries.
Char, who is not Black, maintains that he acted in self-defense.
During his trial, Char said he was in his car headed home with his wife when the driver of a white sedan cut them off by slamming on his brakes. When the cars pulled over on the H-1 Freeway near Waikele, Char said he protected himself by using pepper spray on the driver. But he said the driver, who was much younger, chased him down and started fighting him. Char claims he pulled a knife out only to protect himself.
Jurors saw things differently.
Eddins sentenced Char to life in prison with the possibility of parole, which is contingent upon prosecutor recommendations.