A Hawaiian man found guilty of attempted murder during a road rage attack showed up to be sentenced in blackface to protest being treated ‘like a black man’.
Mark Char was involved in the triple stabbing attack on the H-1 Freeway in Hawaii in 2016. In March 2019 he was found guilty of attempted murder and two counts of assault, though Char claimed he acted in ‘self defence’.
The 61-year-old told the court he was driving home with his wife when a white sedan cut them off and slammed its brakes on. As the cars pulled over Char initially used pepper spray on the driver but he claimed a younger man from the sedan chased him and started beating him up; the accused man said it was at this point he pulled out the knife.
Hawaii News Now reports the driver of the sedan was critically injured and taken to hospital after sustaining five stab wounds, while his passenger and another person were also injured.
Char appeared in court in Honolulu on Monday (July 1) to be sentenced for his crimes. He wore standard orange prison fatigues but shockingly his head was completely blackened.
The convicted man – who is not black – launched into a three minute speech during which he lashed out at both his lawyer and Judge Todd Eddins, arguing he was not given a fair trial in the judges’ ‘kangaroo court’.
Mark Char, who was convicted of a violent road rage attack earlier this year, dressed in blackface during a sentencing hearing Monday. The opposite picture was taken earlier this year. https://t.co/I7mu2zRa7w pic.twitter.com/gtQsAv9Sly
— Hawaii News Now (@HawaiiNewsNow) July 2, 2019
Now this kangaroo court is trying to give me a life sentence for me trying to protect and defend myself against the attack from three guys ― in essence, treating me like a black man.
So today, I’m going to be a black man.
A law enforcement source told Hawaii News Now Char is believed to have used a black permanent marker to colour his head.
The racist look dates back to minstrel shows of the early 19th century, where white performers would paint their faces to mock black people.
Mark Char, convicted of stabbing 3 people in road rage incident on the H-1 freeway showed up to sentencing in blackface – he claims he’s not being treated fairly by “kangaroo court” and tells judge “you’re treating me like a black man so today I’m going to be a black man” @KITV4 pic.twitter.com/j7VA8MLN4z
— Tom George (@TheTomGeorge) July 2, 2019
A spokesperson for the state Department of Public Safety said staff members at Halawa Correctional Facility ‘attempted to convince [Char] to wash his face’ before he entered court but he refused.
The spokesperson added Char ‘will be charged with disobeying several direct orders’.
Disciplinary action coming for road rager who showed up for court in blackface. State says prison officials tried to convince Mark Char to wash his face before transport, will be charged w/disobeying direct orders on top of life sentence for att. murder https://t.co/mCZ2FpEL13 pic.twitter.com/UFoHnjuhHj
— Lynn Kawano (@LynnKawano) July 3, 2019
Judge Eddins commented on Char’s protest, saying:
This continues a pattern of disruptive behavior designed to undermine the administration of justice.
The 61-year-old was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for second-degree attempted murder, plus six years, to be served concurrently, on convictions of second- and third-degree assault.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.