Local judge accused of making racially charged comments no longer presiding over cases

PITTSBURGH — An Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judge has been reassigned after allegedly making racially charged comments.

Judge Mark Tranquilli was recently reassigned to summary appeals, but the Black Political Empowerment Project is arguing that’s not enough.

On Thursday morning, it was announced by the Court of Common Pleas that Tranquilli is now temporarily assigned to perform administrative duties only and will not preside over any cases.

B-PEP sent out a letter, dated Feb. 5, addressing the allegations against Tranquilli, who members want to be suspended, if not removed altogether.

Tranquilli was elected to the bench in 2013.

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Prior to that, he served as a deputy district attorney, leading the homicide unit.

Tranquilli is accused of making the comments that were perceived as racist in chambers while referring to an African American female juror. He allegedly was not happy with her being on a jury that ultimately acquitted a drug suspect in a recent case.

“You weren’t out of strikes when you decided to put Aunt Jemima on the jury,” Tranquilli allegedly said, according to the letter from B-PEP. “You know darn well that when she goes home to her baby daddy, he’s probably slinging heroin too.”

B-PEP calls Tranquilli’s alleged comments disturbing and fear his alleged racial bias may have impacted cases and sentencings in the past.

Channel 11 News reached out to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and a spokesperson declined to comment.