A Michigan judge of the United States has apologised to an expatriate Bangladeshi, a 72-year-old cancer patient, after she shamed him in court for not maintaining his yard.
District Judge Alexis G Krot has faced widespread condemnation for her harsh remarks, reports bdnews24.com.
"I made a mistake. I acted intemperately. I am very embarrassed that I did so. I apologise to the person who appeared before me and to the entire community for having failed to meet the high standard we expect of our judicial offers,” she said in a statement.
Judge Krot told Burhan Chowdhury during a Michigan state court appearance over Zoom earlier this month that he “should be ashamed” of himself for being unable to clean up the grass that had overtaken the property.
Chowdhury struggled to breathe as he explained to the judge that he was “very weak,” but Krot continued to criticize him for the neighbourhood blight in Hamtramck, Michigan, saying, “If I could give you jail time on this, I would.”
Krot’s comments toward Chowdhury have been met with a backlash since a video of the court exchange was shared on social media following a report by The Washington Post on Jan 12. A Change.org petition calling for her to be removed from the bench had generated 230,000 signatures in six days.
The judge self-reported her behaviour to the Judicial Tenure Commission, she said in her statement on Jan 18.
Chowdhury, a native of Sylhet in Bangladesh, emigrated to the US in 2010 and later settled in Michigan. He bought a house in Hamtramck, six miles away from Michigan in 2016, where he lives with his wife and son.
The family was devastated when Chowdhury was diagnosed with cancer in his lymph nodes in February 2019. He also suffers from high blood pressure.
On Aug 2, last year, when the neighbours complained to the city administration against Chowdhury for not cleaning his lawn, his son Shibbir Chowdhury, 33, was staying in Bangladesh for three months.