Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person speaks out against claims of racism - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person speaks out against claims of racism

Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person is speaking out after a group of Shelby County Commissioners called his court racist.

"This court does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race," says Person.

Henri Brooks, Sydney Chism and Deidre Malone sent a letter to the media, accusing the court of having a "separate juvenile system based on race."

The letter said in part that they are "appalled at the disparate treatment of African-American children and families."

Person adds, "The majority of the children who come to this court are African-American, but, again, they're brought to this court by law enforcement. We do not go out and select the children brought to this court."

Judge Person recently asked Germantown and Bartlett courts to stop processing first-time juvenile offenders by passing Juvenile Court in Downtown Memphis.

Commissioners accused the suburban courts of going soft on their young offenders, and claimed children in the mostly-white cities were getting better treatment than their urban counterparts.

"I am really angry at the allegations that somehow this is racially motivated, dad-gummet, shame on them," says Bartlett Mayor, Keith McDonald.

McDonald says first-time offenders in his city face harsher consequences than they would at Juvenile Court, regardless of race.

The Bartlett and Germantown programs are still available, but now those kids will have to go to downtown Memphis before they can be assigned to it.

To email Allison Martin click here.

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