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Judge Denies Racism in Shoeshine Kit Gift

March 06, 1986|Associated Press

HEMPSTEAD, Tex. — A black man who said he could not make his monthly child support payments because he was unemployed was given a $12 shoeshine kit by a judge, but the judge denied there were any racial overtones in his decision.

Charles A. Martin believed the move by State District Judge Oliver Kitzman was "degrading and demeaning," Martin's attorney Bill Daniels said. "He felt the judge wouldn't have done the same thing to a white man." Daniels did not say whether any action was planned.

"I told him he was in business for himself," said Kitzman, who insisted that he only wanted to help Martin, 30, to make the $200-a-month support payment for his 6-year-old son.

"If you have a healthy, intelligent male of any color who says he can't give his child a dime, then he needs an opportunity," the judge said Tuesday.

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