Cortez Rice, the Black Lives Matter protester who stands accused of attempting to intimidate a judge, has been extradited to Minnesota where his first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Rice has been hit with a laundry list of charges, including felony harassment with aggravated violations, tampering with a juror, and retaliating against a judicial officer for his alleged participation in a November 6 protest reportedly at the home of Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu. He is being held on a $50,000 bond in Hennepin County Jail.
BLM activists gathered outside of Judge Chu’s alleged apartment complex after she banned cameras in the courtroom during the trial of former police officer Kim Potter. Rice and his cohorts viewed this as a lack of transparency and attempted to petition the judge at her home to change her mind.
While the majority of activists stayed outside of the complex, Rice recorded himself entering the building and standing outside of a unit that he purported belonged to the judge.
“We’s tight on her a**. We on her heels. What she think… we want camera. The people deserve to know.” Rice then went on to get “confirmation” that the apartment he was outside was the judge’s home, adding that he was “waiting for the gang” to join him.
“I don’t know if this is her crib. I think this is her crib right here. We got confirmation that this is her house right here.”
He then went back to the main group and confirmed that Chu’s apartment was in the building.
“That’s her sh** right there. She can hear us. That b**** looking at us,” he claimed. “That’s her window on the 12th floor.”
Making no mistake about who he was targetting, Rice then called out Chu’s name and demanded “transparency.”
“We demand transparency. We’d hate you to get kicked out of your apartment.” A fellow protester followed up, claiming that the visit is simply a “trial run” and that they would be back.
When asked about the incident, Judge Chu made it clear that she viewed this as an attempt to intimidate a judge and “interfere with the judicial process.”
Despite all of Rice’s assurances, it has not been confirmed that the unit he was referring to actually belongs(ed) to the judge.
Chu eventually reversed her order banning cameras in the courtroom, but says that easing coronavirus restrictions – not alleged intimidation efforts by Rice and his group – were responsible for her decision.
“The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we must have an independent judiciary and judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing, protests or attempts at intimidation,” she wrote on November 9, when she officially reversed the decision.
Former officer Kim Potter was arrested for the killing of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. She has been charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter.
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