Hawaii man shows up in blackface to protest attempted murder conviction

The man, who said the court was treating him like a black man, "so today, I'm going to be a black man," will be charged with disobeying court orders.

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By Alex Johnson

Authorities said Tuesday that a Hawaii man is facing further punishment after showing up in blackface to be sentenced for attempted murder. The man said he did so because the court was treating him like a black man, "so today, I'm going to be a black man."

Mark Char, 61, of Oahu, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole on Monday for second-degree attempted murder, plus six years, to be served concurrently, on convictions of second- and third-degree assault. The charges stemmed from a 2016 road-rage attack.

Char appeared in First Circuit Court in Honolulu on Monday with his head completely covered with what appeared to be permanent black marker ink, NBC affiliate KHNL reported.

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In video of the hearing published by KHNL, Char reads from a written statement accusing prosecutors and the judge in what he calls "this kangaroo court" of having railroaded him without a fair trial "for me trying to protect and defend myself against the attack from three guys," a reference to the three victims.

The court was, "in essence, treating me like a black man," he said. "Today, the reason why I am like this is because I prepared myself to play my part in your kangaroo court, treating me like a black man, so today I'm going to be a black man."

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety told KHNL on Tuesday that staff members at Halawa Correctional Facility "attempted to convince him to wash his face" before he entered court but that he refused.

"He will be charged with disobeying several direct orders," the spokeswoman said.

According to court documents, Char's court-appointed attorney, Keith Shigetomi — whom Char accused of incompetence in his statement — told Judge Todd Eddins that he was unable to advise Char because his client was refusing to talk to him. Shigetomi moved in April to withdraw from the case, but Eddins rejected that motion, according to the court documents; when he tried to withdraw again on Monday, Eddins agreed.

Char was convicted in March of stabbing the driver of another car in August 2016 and of assaulting both the driver's passenger and a passerby who tried to break up the confrontation.

Investigators accused Char of having taunted the victims on the freeway and of having pointed his hand at them like a gun, according to court documents. According to the documents, Char then ran his vehicle into the other car, and when its occupants got out, he pepper-sprayed them.

As he did on Monday, Char contended that he was acting in self-defense against what he characterized as aggressive driving by the other driver, who was critically injured but survived.