A 55-year-old Chicago man was arrested on Wednesday and charged with a hate crime for allegedly slapping, insulting and spitting on a 79-year-old Black judge and former National Bar Association president, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday.
Prosecutors in Cook County said David C. Nicosia approached Judge Arnette Hubbard out of anger over her smoking near him while they were both standing inside the Daley Center Plaza. During an ensuing argument, he allegedly told her, "Rosa Parks, move," before spitting in her face. When Nicosia tried to leave the scene, Hubbard followed while asking for help. But Nicosia then reportedly turned around and slapped her in the face.
Nicosia, who owns a local tech consulting business, was subsequently charged with four counts of aggravated battery on top of the hate crime allegation.
According to a profile on her in The Historymakers, Hubbard, a native of Arkansas who began her career specializing in civil rights cases, started her private practice in 1972 and became the first woman to lead the association nine years later. She was also the first woman to head the Cook County Bar Association and the first Black president of the Association of Election Commissioners of Illinois, and served as an official poll observer on behalf of the U.S. during the 1994 South African election that saw Nelson Mandela be elected the country's president.
"She's an icon in our community," one colleague, Delores Robinson, told the Tribune.
Another colleague, Geraldine Simmons, told WLS-TV that Hubbard was "pretty shaken up" following the incident.
"I can't even begin to imagine what she's going through psychologically," Simmons said. "How do you recover from something like that?"
Watch a report on the alleged attack, as aired on WGN on Wednesday, below.
[Image: "Extreme Close Up On Angry Mans Face," via Shutterstock]