A Michigan Republican judge was captured scolding an elderly man with lymphatic cancer and threatening him with jail time for not cleaning up his property facing an alleyway in a viral video.
72-year-old Burhan Chowdhury of Hamtramck, Michigan was diagnosed with cancer in his lymph nodes in February of 2019.
His 33-year old son, Shibbir Chowdhury helped his parents with household chores, including cleaning and maintaining their yard.
But when the younger Chowdhury took a three month trip to Bangladesh in 2020, those simple chores proved too much for the elder Chowdhury, whose mobility is severely impaired due to the cancer as well as high blood pressure. His wife was similarly impaired due to a back injury from an accident.
But 31st District Court Judge Alexis Krot—a Republican elected official—was unsympathetic to the elderly couple.
Their inability to do the yard work resulted in an abundance of weeds growing out of their front yard. Shibbir Chowdhury's parents were issued a ticket.
The younger Chowdhury told The Washington Post:
"It was a chain reaction."
"The neighbors probably complained and took the picture that was sent to the city."
While the Chowdhury family cleaned up their front yard, they were still required to make a court appearance via Zoom.
The fairly shocking events which took place in their digital court appearance quickly went viral after being shared on Twitter.
His shortness of breath due to difficulty breathing painfully evident, Burhan Chowdhury tried to explain to Judge Krot his physical condition made maintaining his front yard difficult to the point of impossible.
But Judge Krot showed a complete lack of compassion towards Chowdhury, telling him he "should be ashamed" of himself.
'If I could give you jail time on this, I would."
Following the stunned silence of everyone else on the Zoom court appearance, Judge Krot fined Burhan $100, before taking yet another opportunity to publicly scold him.
"You've got to get that cleaned up."
"That is totally inappropriate."
Shibbir Chowdhury then confirmed they would pay the $100 fine and once more pointed out his father is currently in very poor health.
But Judge Krot was firm on her stance.
"Do you see that photo?"
"That is shameful. Shameful. The neighbors should not have to look at that."
"You should be ashamed of yourself."
Shibbir Chowdhury shared his horror regarding Judge Krot's comments with The Washington Post.
“She was telling my father, a sick person, that he should go to jail. That’s ridiculous."
“You can’t give a 72-year-old person jail time for not cleaning an alley.”
Twitter user's were equally horrified by Judge Krot who was originally appointed to the bench by Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder in 2016.
The Republican judge was reelected in 2020 after running unopposed.
Several took the video as a call to action, sharing a petition to remove Judge Krot from her position, with others beginning a campaign to fill her seat with a new judge.
Shabbir Chowdhury told the Washington Post he plans to pay his father's fine and assured them the house's exterior has remained in tip top shape over the last few months.
He also expressed how moved he was by all the support and compassion his father received on social media.
"People understand that a situation like this can happen with someone who is old or sick."
“I’m really thankful to those in our city who have supported us and letting us know that they’re beside us."
Judge Krot has not commented on the video or backlash, citing her position as an elected judge prohibits her from doing so.
Her current term ends in 2027.