Road rage attacker wears blackface for racist courtroom rant

/ CBS News

Honolulu– An Oahu man recently convicted for his role in a violent 2016 road rage incident delivered a bizarre, racially-charged rant during a sentencing hearing Monday — while wearing blackface, reports CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB-TV.

Mark Char was found guilty in March of attempted murder and assault following a triple stabbing on the H-1 Freeway nearly three years ago.

Char was accused of stabbing the victims following a road rage confrontation, though he testified during the trial that he acted in self-defense. One of the victims was stabbed five times and taken to a hospital in critical condition following the attack.

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On Monday, during what was supposed to be a routine sentencing hearing, Char lashed out, taking aim at both his lawyer and the judge in the case during a nearly three-minute long speech.

Mark Char in blackface during July 1, 2019 sentencing hearing in Hawaii court and without blackface in undated photo KGMB-TV

In it, he called his court-appointed attorney "incompetent" and claimed he was not given a fair trial in Judge Todd Eddins' "kangaroo" court ― but it was Char's appearance, not his words, that first garnered the attention of those involved in the proceedings.

Char was wheeled into the courtroom wearing standard orange inmate fatigues, but his head appeared to have been intentionally darkened. A law enforcement source told KGMB Char is believed to have used a black-colored permanent marker to pull off the offensive look, which dates back to minstrel shows of the early 19th century.

"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," Char said in his statement.

"So today, I'm going to be a black man," he added.

Char ― who is not black ― drew Judge Eddins' ire for his appearance.

"This continues a pattern of disruptive behavior designed to undermine the administration of justice," the judge said.

Eddins subsequently sentenced Char to life in prison with the possibility of parole, based on prosecutors' recommendations.

First published on July 2, 2019 / 6:20 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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