He's made Newsweek and USA today.

One of the headlines read, "Tennessee judge goes on tirade about crime among black men being 'more effective' than KKK."

Montgomery County Judge Wayne Shelton was on the bench talking to murder suspect Vincent Merriweather when he said, "I grew up in a time where people wore white robes and they shot at black people, and now we see young, black men wearing black hoodies shooting at black men and doing a much more effective job than the klan ever thought about doing."

"My initial reaction was, he was on point," said Jimmie Garland, the President of the Clarksville branch of the NAACP.

While many people are sounding off, outraged, on social media, calling Shelton "racist," Garland is standing by his side.

"He's telling the young people, 'Stop killing yourself. Stop doing the job that, back in the early 30's and 20's and 10's, they did wearing robes and wearing pointed caps. You don't have to do that,'" said Garland. 

So far Shelton hasn't returned our calls.

Meanwhile, Merriweather's attorney, Jacob Fendley, worries about how the controversy will affect the case.

"I worry, not because of the judge's statement, because of the issue that is underneath the judge's statement that some folks might want to see him get convicted just to make a point," said Fendley. 

This wasn't the first time Shelton compared crime among black men to KKK violence.

He made a similar reference when talking about a murder in 2015.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



Carley Gordon joined the News4 team as a reporter in 2009. Carley currently covers the crime beat around Middle Tennessee.

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