The New York Times reports that the extensive list of examples of racial bias are of varying degrees, with overt and more subtle examples. One such example includes a white court officer in Brooklyn who shared on social media an illustrated picture of Barack Obama with a noose around his neck, while a second white officer called a Black court officer "one of the good monkeys" on record. Another disturbing example is from yet another white court officer, who said they would have performed better on their firearm test if they were given a "Sean Bell target," a reference to a Black 23-year-old who was killed by police officers the day before his wedding in 2006.
The report in question was commissioned by DiForce shortly after the death of George Floyd inspired protests across the country. The review was conducted by Jeh C. Johnson, who formerly worked as a Homeland Security secretary for President Obama. Released earlier this month, Johnson's report shows that little has changed in regards to racial bias in the court, with a similiar report from three decades ago reporting familiar instances of racism.
Johnson indicated that due to how busy and understaffed the state's court system is, there has been a "dehumanizing effect" on people of color in the courts. "The sad picture that emerges is, in effect, a second-class system of justice for people of color in New York State," he wrote. "This is a moment that demands a strong and pronounced rededication to equal justice under law by the New York State Court system."
Chief administrative judge Lawrence K. Marks called the findings "troubling, but not surprising." Johnson's report calls for more extensive bias training for judges and other personnel working in the courts. "There's zero tolerance in the court system for racial bias," added Marks, who said the administration has started work on a mandatory bias training program.