Swastika Defaces Fulton Courtroom

Swastika Defaces Fulton Courtroom

This story was updated at 6 p.m. Jan. 27 with comments from Judge Jay M. Roth.

A swastika found etched into door of a Fulton County courtroom is being investigated by the Fulton Sheriff’s Office.

Judge Jay M. Roth (via Twitter)
Judge Jay M. Roth (via Twitter)

A swastika in a circle with “3rd Reich” etched beneath it was found Friday, Jan. 15, on the door of State Court Judge Jay M. Roth’s courtroom. The image was on the narrow side of the door where it meets the jam, so it was visible only when the door was opened.

One of Roth’s staff lawyers discovered the swastika when opening the courtroom for a group of lawyers attending a conference, the judge said. The swastika appeared to be etched into the door with an object such as a ballpoint pen instead of being carved with a knife.

The whole image — swastika and words — was about 2 inches wide, Roth said.

A picture of the vandalism was posted Tuesday, Jan. 19, on the Facebook page of WAGA/Fox 5 reporter Dale Russell.

The Sheriff’s Office is reviewing security tapes from inside the building, the judge said, and for now he is leaving the matter in the hands of the sheriff’s investigators.

“I don’t know if it’s an act against me personally, but it’s definitely an act against Fulton County,” Roth said.

Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Roth to the court in 2009, and he was re-elected in 2014.

“Many judges have contacted me in relation to what has occurred,” Roth said. “Every judge has commented that it’s outrageous. All of us here at the courthouse are taking it seriously.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s Southeast Region office in Buckhead had no comment.

A statement issued by Fulton County State Court Chief Judge Myra H. Dixon on behalf of the Superior and State courts said in part: “It is paramount that matters of the court are conducted in an environment that is free of prejudice, discrimination or acts of intolerance. For these reasons, the Courts of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit are deeply saddened and concerned to learn that a swastika was etched in the courtroom door of one of our colleagues. Acts of bias and public displays of prejudice are offensive, divisive and contrary to law and public policy.”

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