An Ohio judge has stepped down after an incident caught on camera has sparked outrage in the Hamilton community. The judge, Michael Bachman, was caught on camera chasing a black woman through courthouse hallways and leading her by hand back to his courtroom where he later had her arrested.
Bachman told reporters that he left the bench because he heard the woman yelling in the hallways which hindered his ability to hear an attorney question a witness in his courtroom.
The woman, Kassandra Jackson, was at the courthouse trying to file a protection order. Courthouse staff refused to take her filing saying that she missed a deadline. Jackson, upset about being turned away and in dire need of protection, began yelling in frustration. The video shows Jackson trying to file for a protection order but is turned away. Jackson gets angry and argues with the staffers. Nine seconds later she walks away in frustration.
At the same time the Ohio judge bursts through his courtroom doors in search of the source of the commotion. Bachman jogs down the hallway while pointing at Jackson demanding her to stop. She turns to him and exchanges a few words before attempting to leave. Bachman catches her at the elevators and walks her back to his courtroom.
As Jackson starts to go down a side hallway, the judge put his hand on the back of her shoulder and guides her back the right way, then keeps his hand there for 23 seconds until he pushes her into a seat in the jury box. Bachman and Jackson continues talking while in the courtroom. In the courtroom tempers flare when the Ohio judge tells Jackson she is being arrested for contempt of court. Two deputies approach and Jackson attempts to make her getaway. The deputies quickly seize her after a brief struggle. She is handcuffed and dragged out of the courtroom. She reportedly continues to struggle with deputies all the way to the elevators.
They restrained her to chairs and later removed her in a restraint chair.
Bachman sentenced her to ten days in jail. Jackson only served two after being released by presiding Judge Kim Wilson Burke. Burke ordered the contempt charge and rest of Jackson’s 10-day sentence dropped “for good cause.”
The punishment handed down by Bachman was excessive but that didn’t stop the Ohio judge. He cited Jackson saying:
“Kassandra Jackson’s conduct interrupted the hearing and the court ordered her to return to the courtroom. Kassandra Jackson refused to return and had to be forcefully brought back to the courtroom. Upon learning she was being held in contempt of court and imposing a three-day sentence, Kassandra Jackson resisted arrest and attempted to flee the custody of deputies. The court then added seven days to the sentence.”
The Ohio judge concluded that Jackson was sentenced for “disrespectful and disruptive behavior.”
Court Administrator Patrick Dressing confronted Bachman and gave him an ultimatum. He told the judge Monday to “resign or be terminated.” Bachman chose the former. The judge believes he did nothing wrong and that the video lends support to that.
“I didn’t choke her or manhandle her. I merely put my hand up to guide her to the courtroom,” said Bachman.