Convicted road rage attacker wears blackface, goes on bizarre rant at sentencing
What was supposed to be a routine sentencing hearing for convicted road rage attacker Mark Char went off the rails after he showed up to court in blackface.
In a bizarre, racially-charged rant, Char told the judge, "The reason why I'm like this is because I prepared myself to play my part in your kangaroo court, treating me like a black man, so today I'm gonna be a black man."
Char was convicted in the 2016 attack on the H-1 freeway, where he used pepper spray and stabbed 3 people, one of whom nearly died. Char claimed he was acting in self-defense. During his rant that went on for several minutes, Char lashed out at the judge, as well as his own defense attorney, who he threatened and berated in front of the judge. During the rant, he blamed the victims, and explained his choice to wear blackface.
"This kangaroo court is giving 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," he said.
The explanation didn't sit well with UH Law Professor Kenneth Lawson, who said, Char (who is not black), was insulting real victims of racial injustice. "The way it came across to me was 'this is how you're supposed to treat black folks like this not me.'" But Lawson says the most disappointing part to him was that Judge Todd Eddins allowed the hearing to continue as it was getting out of control, and that neither the judge or Char's lawyer put a stop to it. "To allow that proceeding to happen as if that man isn't sitting there with blackface on, to me it's reprehensible. I know we don't have a large black population n Hawaii but I wouldn't let a client come in and mock any race."
Judge Eddins did acknowledge the blackface, telling Char "this continues a pattern of disruptive behavior designed to undermine the administration of justice," but never stopped the hearing.
The hearing ended with Char sentencing with life in prison with the possibility of parole for the attempted murder conviction. Eddins also addressed Char, saying "What you need to do is look in the mirror. And if you look in the mirror, Mr. Char, you're not gonna see a black person. You're gonna see a menace. You're gonna see a menace to society."
We asked the Department of Public Safety how Char was able to enter court in blackface to begin with. They say he somehow got hold of a marker to color his face, and that Halawa prison officials tried to convince him to wash it off before he was transported to court, but he refused.