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Texas judge reprimanded for saying a black alleged cop killer needs a ‘tree and a rope’

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In the days of the Old West, many a horse thief met a fate of “a tree and a rope,” but a Central Texas judge has been formally reprimanded for using that phrase in a social media post.

Burnet County Judge James Oakley said on Facebook back in November that “a tree and a rope” were needed for Otis Tyrone McKane, after he was arrested for killing San Antonio police detective Benjamin Marconi, according to The Austin American-Statesman.

McKane is a black man and many took the post as a call to have him lynched.


Oakley told the State Commission on Judicial Conduct he was drawing from a 1980s salsa commercial when he used the phrase.

In the ad, which can be seen below, a chef is faced with a call to “get a rope” after he tries to substitute a New York salsa for San Antonio-made Pace Picante salsa.

Oakley apologized for the remark and explained that it was a reference to Old West justice in the form of hangings, according to the newspaper.

“My comment was intended to reflect my personal feelings that this senseless murder of a police officer should qualify for the death penalty,” the judge told the commission. “In my mind, the race/gender of the admitted cop killer was not relevant.”

But there would be no reprieve for the judge in post-Obama America.

Oakley received a formal reprimand from the commission and must complete a 30-hour training program for new judges and participate in 4 hours of racial sensitivity training, the American-Statesman reported.

Tom Tillison


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