Judge who made racist comments on hot mic intends to retire

A Washington state judge who made racist comments about a young Black man killed by police says he plans to retire.

Clark County District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman made his remarks in March about Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old Camas man shot by deputies after he ran from a drug sting with a gun.

Judge Darvin Zimmerman (Photo courtesy Clark County Government website)

Zimmerman didn’t realize his conversation in an empty courtroom was being broadcast on Youtube, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. He called Peterson "dumb" and "the Black guy they are trying to make an angel out of."

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He also suggested that the next day Peterson’s father woke up "with dollar signs in his eyes and George Floyd’s attorneys," referring to the Black man whose murder by Minneapolis police last year prompted a national reckoning about racial justice and policing.

Kevin Peterson Jr. (Photo credit: Family)

Last Friday the judge wrote Clark County Chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien to say he is retiring, though he didn’t give a date or a specific reason, the newspaper reported.

In mid-March, after his comments were made public, Zimmerman apologized and said he would take time off from the $190,116-a-year post to reflect on his behavior. He also said he self-reported his comments to the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct.