Supporters of woman sentenced today call it "judicial lynching”

Updated: 03/18/2014 8:00 PM
Created: 03/18/2014 4:59 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

A group of ministers is calling the district attorney and a long time Supreme Court justice racists. It is connected to a viral cell phone video.

The ministers spoke out after a woman named Brenda Hardaway was sentenced to jail. Hardaway is the woman captured on the cell phone video last year being punched and wrestled to the ground by Rochester Police. In the video, you can hear Hardaway tell the officer she was pregnant at the time. Police say Hardaway tried to punch the officer and resisted arrest.

But her supporters say Hardaway is the victim. 

Rev. Lewis Stewart, United Christian Leadership Ministry, said, “This judge is biased, he's prejudiced and lacks the sensitivity to engage women, African American defendants and people of color.”

That’s what Reverend Lewis Stewart said about Supreme Court Justice Francis Affronti. Affronti was the judge overseeing the case of Brenda Hardaway. Then he included the district attorney.

Rev. Lewis Stewart, United Christian Leadership Ministry, said, “Both Affronti and Sandra Doorley desire to make an example out of Ms. Hardaway. They got away with it. They did. It was a judicial lynching.”

The Monroe County District Attorney says Hardaway agreed to a plea deal.

Sandra Doorley, Monroe County District Attorney, said, “Lady Justice is blind. This office is blind to color and race. We judge this on the facts of the case, on her actions, not on the color of her skin.”

The case stems from a cell phone video. It shows a Rochester Police officer trying to arrest Hardaway at her home. Police say Hardaway tried to stop them from arresting her brother. The video shows the officer punching Hardaway in the head and then throw her to the ground. Hardaway was charged because the officer was injured. 

Reverend Stewart spoke again on the judge.

Rev. Lewis Stewart, United Christian Leadership Ministry, said, “Not one time did he point out the fact that officer assaulted Hardaway and used brutal means by punching her in the back of the head.”

News10NBC called Judge Affronti and the police for comment. Rochester Police say their internal investigation concluded on December 11, 2013 and that Officer Lucas Krull was exonerated, meaning that his actions were lawful, justified and proper. Officer Krull has undergone surgery for the injuries he received as a result of this incident, and remains out of work recuperating at this time.

Hardaway was facing seven years in prison. She got six months including time served.

Hardaway was pregnant when the video was taken. She has since had her baby boy and her mother will take care of him while she is in jail.

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