Hamilton Co. judge discusses strong statements toward gang membe - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton Co. judge discusses strong statements toward gang member

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It is one of the most viewed videos ever on the Channel 3 Facebook page. A Hamilton County judge scolded a known gang member in her courtroom on Thursday.

"Sir, East Lake Courts is not your hood. It's the citizens of the United States who own that because they work and pay taxes. You don't own that," said Judge Lila Statom, Thursday.

The video has been played nearly 300,000 times with nearly universal support.

"People like you have made it a violent unsafe place to live," said Statom, Thursday.

Friday, Judge Statom watched back the video so many of you have seen.

After a gang member told her he shot a rival gang member at East Lake Courts for being "in his hood," he received some verbal justice from a judge who had had enough.  

"I don't think you want to say a word to me Mr. Smith," she said in the courtroom, Thursday.

"I didn't want to allow him to take control over a courtroom when I felt he had maybe taken control over an area of town. He needed to at least see that he was not in control everywhere," said Statom, when she sat down with Channel 3 Friday for an interview.

Statom grew up in Red Bank.. She says both sets of her grandparents lived at East Lake Courts.

"We'd walk across the street to get an ice cream, walk to the grocery store. We'd walk to church."

She says she felt compelled to 'school' the gang member.

"It makes me upset because there are people that live in East Lake Courts who get up and go to work every day. They take their children to daycare," she said.

Statom does not want the actions of a few to define an entire community.

"It's unfair that anyone has to live among this violence. Especially when most of the violent people don't live in that community."

Statom hopes her position on the bench can be used to encourage others to stand up against violence in their communities.    

"I hope that I can give people that are coming to testify, hope, that it does make a difference if you stand up."

Statom says she is surprised by the overwhelming positive reactions to her comments.

The man who appeared in court was O'Shae Smith. He is being held without bond on an attempted first degree murder charge. His case has gone to the grand jury.

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