Judge apparently didn't realize his belittling references to slain man were live on YouTube

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A judge in Washington has said he is “truly sorry if I offended anyone” after he made belittling livestreamed references to a man killed by officers on a drug task force.

The Oregonian has the story on the remarks by Judge Darvin Zimmerman, 70, of Clark County, Washington. Zimmerman was apparently unaware that his remarks were broadcast live on YouTube after the end of a court hearing.

Zimmerman’s son was on the drug task force that tried to arrest the man, but he wasn’t among the three deputies who fired their guns, Zimmerman said during the conversation with a district court commissioner.

Zimmerman said the slain man, 21-year-old Kevin Peterson Jr., was “so dumb” because he thought he would go to jail for a relatively small drug bust, which involved the attempted sale of Xanax, according to the Oregonian. Zimmerman described Peterson as “the Black guy they are trying to make an angel out of.” Zimmerman said Peterson had been armed.

Zimmerman also spoke negatively of Peterson’s father, saying he woke up the day after the slaying “with dollar signs in his eyes and George Floyd’s attorneys.”

Peterson was shot when he fled and ignored commands to drop his gun, according to the Oregonian.

Zimmerman told the Oregonian that his private conversation related to concerns about delays in toxicology testing. It is unclear whether Zimmerman has any role in the Peterson matter, the newspaper reports.

“My lifetime goal has been and will be to be fair to everyone,” Zimmerman told the Oregonian in a text message. He also said in a follow-up statement that he spent his “whole life helping and mentoring mainly marginalized youth.”

Zimerman said he truly wished that Peterson had surrendered and not been killed.

Mark Lindquist, who represents Peterson’s family, told the Oregonian that Zimmerman’s remarks were “deeply disturbing.” Zimmerman’s “lack of empathy for a grieving father, his lack of a sense of shared humanity, is part of the problem,” Lindquist said.

Corrected March 15 at 1:45 p.m. to report that Zimmerman is a judge in Clark County, Washington.

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