A comment about "big lips" has forced a judge to remove herself from a civil trial in Black Hawk County. The plaintiff in an excessive force trial has filed a complaint with the NAACP, alleging that a story told by Judge Kellyann Lekar during jury selection contained a racially-charged comment.
On Tuesday, while attorneys were picking jurors for the trial, Lekar was explaining the varying strategies behind jury selection. She said one of her former law partners picked jurors based on lips – finding those with "big lips" are more generous. The plaintiff – Joyce Wilder, who’s black – says she was offended by the comment and raised the issue in court Wednesday after contacting the local NAACP. Lekar says she was referring to people with big lips in general, and never intended to make a racial statement.
The judge apologized to Wilder in open court, before recusing herself. The trial was then postponed. It will be rescheduled for a later date under another judge. Wilder is suing the county, alleging a deputy used excessive force while arresting her on a vandalism charge.