Over the beyond a year or so, police have been entreated to analyze African-Americans for a litany of mundane activities. Operating a lemonade stand. Waiting for a friend at Starbucks. Golfing too slowly. Add “lawyering while black” to the list. A black lawyer says he became detained at a Bel Air, Maryland courthouse in advance this month with the aid of a sheriff’s deputy who did not trust he was truly an attorney. On March 6, Rashad James, a lawyer with Maryland Legal Aid’s Community Lawyering Initiative, had just completed listening to on behalf of a purchaser who turned into absent.
He says a sheriff’s deputy approached him and incorrectly called him by the purchaser’s name. When James corrected the deputy, declaring he turned into the attorney for the customer, the deputy asked for his identification. James says the deputy then asked him to observe him into an interview room, where he asked for James’ business cards and his kingdom bar card. “It was a totally surreal second,” he said. James stated the deputy launched him without incident after about 10 mins.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating James, and his legal professional, Chelsea Crawford, filed a complaint letter Wednesday with the county sheriff’s workplace. “If he turned into white, this would not have come about,” Crawford stated. Speaking to newshounds the equal day, Crawford alleged James became “stopped, detained, and puzzled, and basically accused of impersonating a lawyer.” She brought, “We are asking that the Harford County Sheriff’s Office conduct complete research.”
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office says it is investigating the episode. Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler stated James’ complaint changed into assigned to his department’s Office of Professional Standards “for entire and thorough research. We take all proceedings severely.” Noting the general public outrage approximately James’ accusation, the sheriff’s office said, “We listen to your issues … As in all cases of ‘trials thru social media,’ records and the fact are frequently missing, exaggerated or non-existent … The complaint we obtained did not point out, accuse, or infer that a deputy ‘locked up’ or ‘arrested’ every person.”
Gahler said his workplace would now not have similar remarks until the research is finished. Maryland Legal Aid released a announcement pronouncing it is “incensed on the remedy of our colleague, Mr. Rashad James, an exceedingly proficient and dedicated civil prison aid attorney, who below MLA’s Community Lawyering Initiative, is tasked with navigating every stretch of this kingdom to offer civil prison suggest and representation for Maryland’s poorest and maximum inclined people and groups.”