Judge Abdus-Salaam was a pioneer in the legal world and a force on the bench. She had a stellar reputation and was a much-needed presence in the court system.

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My reaction on hearing that Judge Abdus-Salaam’s body had been found in a river was, pretty immediately, one of great suspicion. Although initial reports say that it appeared she had died by suicide, the fact that a Black, Muslim, woman judge in the prime of her career had been found dead begs further investigation. The NYPD seems to agree, calling her death ‘suspicious.’

There is certainly no good outcome here. Either she was murdered, or she was in a dark enough place that she felt compelled to end her life. Both ends are tragic. I am just glad this is getting the deeper look it deserves.