LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Peaceful protestors say they want action and Judge Tom Head tells NewsChannel 11 he's ready to take it. A rally was held on the courthouse lawn Friday afternoon to discuss the controversial signs posted on a courthouse bulletin board earlier this month.
It was a display that included arrest photos of nine people wearing Obama shirts, seven of them were black men. It was Judge Tom Head who put those pictures on the bulletin board and someone else later removed it. Judge Head issued an apology but the controversy continues.
The talk surrounding the controversy is split down the middle between two groups. One supporting Judge Head and another critical of his decision to post the sign rallied at the courthouse. Some protestors say they are still concerned and others say it's time to move on.
"There's a difference between being good and doing good," says Eddie Richardson who spoke out at Friday's protest. He and nearly 50 others gathered outside the courthouse wanting more than an apology.
"We praise free speech but when your free speech is hurtful and harmful it is offensive and it is wrong," says Richardson. County Judge Tom Head missed Friday's rally, but wasn't far away. He was inside the courthouse in a meeting. "I think it's great for people to come out and express their opinions," says Judge Head.
And that's exactly what both sides did, some protestors worry he won't give a fair trial to people of color because they feel his postings were racist. "His behavior isn't acceptable in 2009 in a courthouse. We need a fair and impartial individual to administer justice in our system," says protest participant Oscar D. Jones. Thirty yards across the lawn a second group of about 40 showed their support for Judge Head.
"I know Judge Head personally and I don't believe that anything he did was racially charged," says Robert Renteria. Judge Head says he's met with several groups and hopes the circumstances of the last few weeks bring people together.
"I've done all I can do. I've made my apology and I've asked for forgiveness. I think most have forgiven me. If something continues on, I think it is going to be a perpetuation of hostilities rather than working together. But I'm anticipating people are going to be working more closely together in the future," says Judge Head. Judge Head says during his recent meetings with some of the folks he offended, they brain-stormed several projects to work on, one includes a unity center.
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