Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. is accused of using a racial slur in 2003 — while on the bench. Although he was reprimanded for the incident, Gosnell retained his position with the Charleston County, South Carolina, court and will oversee the state’s case against Dylann Storm Roof.
On June 17, Dylann Roof opened fire inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during bible study. As a result, nine people were killed and a tenth victim was wounded.
Although he immediately fled the scene, authorities eventually identified 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof as their primary suspect. The following morning, Roof was arrested without further incident during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.
As reported by ABC News, the accused shooter confessed to the crime during interrogation, and is cooperating with the investigation.
Roof is currently being held at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center on nine charges of murder and a related weapons charge. However, authorities are exploring the possibility of charging him with a hate crime, as he reportedly uttered racial slurs while shooting his victims.
Dylann Roof’s first hearing took place via video on Friday. Although he is being held without bond on the murder charges, Charleston County Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. set a $1 million bond on the weapons charge.
As reported by CNN, Gosnell received criticism as he mentioned Roof’s family during the hearing. Although he expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, he also mentioned there are “victims on the other side.”
Gosnell’s prior record is also being called into question, as Roof’s crime was reportedly motivated by race.
— ĠάĠά † łάđŷ_ᗰGᗯᐯ (@Niners_4Life_FB) June 20, 2015
In 2003, James B. Gosnell, Jr. was accused of using a racial slur while on the bench. According to court documents, which were provided by the South Carolina Judicial Department, Gosnell made the following statement to an African-American defendant:
“… there are four kinds of people in this world – black people, white people, red necks, and n___.”
Gosnell admitted the statement was “ill-considered.” However, he insisted he was simply trying to “encourage [the defendant] to recognize and change the path he had chosen in life.” James B. Gosnell, Jr. ultimately admitted making the racial slur, and signed an Agreement for Discipline by Consent. He was disciplined with a public reprimand and a “definite suspension not to exceed sixty (60).”
These are the words of Charleston County Magistrate James B. Gosnell, the judge in the Dylann Roof’s bond hearing: pic.twitter.com/1Krm73gchY
— history in flux (@historyinflicks) June 19, 2015
Although Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. was punished for making the racial slur, he will remain on the bench for Dylann Storm Roof’s trial. Questions are still being raised about his involvement, as the defendant may be charged with a racially motivated hate crime.
[Image via Shutterstock]