A white Chicago man was arrested after allegedly slapping a widely respected 79-year-old black judge in the face and calling her “Rosa Parks,” authorities said.
The attack occurred outside the Daley Center courthouse, police said, as Judge Arnette Hubbard, 79, was taking a smoke break.
The jurist is the first female president of the National Bar Association and the Cook County Bar Association, two African-American attorney groups, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.
Hubbard walked past David Nicosia, 55, who became enraged over her cigarette smoke, Cook County prosecutors said.
They argued and Nicosia stepped up to her face and said, “Rosa Parks, move.” Then he spit in her face, authorities said. He turned and walked away, followed by Hubbard who called out for help, according to prosecutors.
Nicosia spun around and slapped the jurist across the face, authorities said. He was arrested by sheriff’s deputies and charged with a hate crime and four counts of aggravated battery.
He was being held Tuesday in lieu of $90,000 bail.
Hubbard has a long history of civil rights work and is “an icon in our community,” Delores Robinson, past president of the Cook County Bar Association, told the newspaper.
The jurist was also a former commissioner on the Cook County Board of Elections and was an international election observer in Haiti and South Africa.
“People of good common sense and decency, people of good hearts should be outraged by this,” Robinson said. “Not just because of who she is but that this happened to anybody.”