It is 2019, and this article is being written.
So we’re gonna go against the Supreme Court and say racism ain’t over, friends.
Add to the list of mundane activities that black people are arrested for:
Being a lawyer.
Rashad James, a lawyer with Maryland Legal Aid’s Community Lawyering Initiative, was detained on March 6th upon finishing up a hearing on behalf of an absent client.
Rashad James, an attorney for @MDLegalAid, was detained by a #HarfordCounty officer on suspicion that Mr. James was his client impersonating an attorney. We filed a complaint today against sheriff’s office and request an investigation #LawyeringWhileBlack https://t.co/LrKfqkuix2
— Brown Goldstein & Levy, LLP (@BrownGoldLevy) March 26, 2019
Rashad James says he was detained by a deputy who did not believe he was a lawyer. “The entire time I made sure that I stayed calm, that I was respectful, that I complied,” he said. https://t.co/BByfBUlceL
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 29, 2019
James was approached by a deputy inside of the SAME COURTROOM WHERE THE DEPUTY SAW THE JUDGE ACCEPT–ON THE RECORD–THAT JAMES WAS AN ATTORNEY and called by his client’s name.
When he corrected the deputy, the deputy then asked for “proof” that James was a “real lawyer.”
Watch his account here.
— Kobie Flowers (@DCTrialLawyer) March 27, 2019
Maryland Legal Aid attorney Rashad James says he was detained by a courtroom cop who thought he was a suspect wanted on an outstanding warrant.https://t.co/Oi6aPkWLQT
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 28, 2019
Rashad James deserves better! https://t.co/gQgC7i51vH
— ESSENCE (@Essence) March 27, 2019
“It was a very surreal moment,” said James.
While James was released without incident, the Sheriff’s office of Bel Air, Maryland is investigating after a claim filed by James’ lawyer, Chelsea Crawford.
This is very disturbing. That policeman needs to be retrained.
— Joyce Steiner (@SteinerJoyce) March 29, 2019
I've been stopped by bailiffs on multiple occasions b/c they assumed I was a defendant. I also calmly let them know that I am an attorney. They then ask me for my bar card which I show them. Then we carry on w/ our business.
— Andy Beltran (@BeltranCounsel) March 29, 2019
That's exactly what you do until you get out… Then SUE THEIR PANTS OFF!!! Play it smooth…
— Unitary Grunt (@UnitaryGrunt) March 29, 2019
A mere deputy, who can't wrap his thick skull around the fact that someone other than a white man can do better than him, is better than him.
A racist idiot with power, nothing more.
— AccidentalAnarchist (@AccidentalAnar1) March 29, 2019
Bottom line…it wouldn’t regularly happen to a white man.
— Robert Enns (@Telemanr) March 29, 2019
“We are asking that the Harford County Sheriff’s Office conduct a full investigation.”
“We hear your concerns … As in all cases of ‘trials through social media,’ facts and the truth are often lacking, exaggerated or non-existent … the complaint we received did not mention, accuse, or infer that a deputy ‘locked up’ or ‘arrested’ anyone.”
“There is no plausible explanation other than racial bias,” said an attorney representing Rashad James. https://t.co/moCA84RziQ
— Willie J Powe (@WillieJPowe) March 29, 2019
We are proud of Rashad James's courage in speaking out and we continue to be moved by the other stories shared. This clear act of discrimination and racism is unacceptable and we will fight to make sure these actions have consequences. #LawyeringWhileBlack https://t.co/33pMI9uLLl
— Brown Goldstein & Levy, LLP (@BrownGoldLevy) March 29, 2019
Most Cops are not intelligent enough to become a lawyer, being black just made it worse.
— Alo (@KennethLancy) March 29, 2019
Was he a suspect of “Lawyer’ing while black”?
— Wei Wang (@WeiWang8964) March 29, 2019
— adam adam (@honey1child) March 29, 2019
Never ending. It sickens me that there are some many ignorant people in this country still today.
— Margie D (@frogmarge) March 29, 2019
Absolutely appalling – Rashad James, a Black legal aid attorney, was detained by a Maryland courthouse deputy because the deputy believed that Rashad was a suspect impersonating a lawyer. https://t.co/rt3bC1b5V1
— Linda Morris (@lindasachiko) March 28, 2019
The cop *saw* a judge accept James as the atty on record & *still* questioned his credentials. WTF. (#LawyeringWhileBlack: Cop Detains Attorney Rashad James in Courthouse, Accuses Him of Impersonating a Lawyer https://t.co/lGMtWAqTWC) #racialbias #racism #Maryland
— You ain't old 'til you're cold (@angelialevy) March 28, 2019
Black attorney says deputy thought he was a suspect and detained him at court 🤓
Rashad James said a Harford County deputy thought he was a client impersonating a lawyer.https://t.co/uKzXr20xI7
— Worldly Cultures (@CulturesWorldly) March 30, 2019
Maryland Legal Aid released an angry statement, saying they were:
“incensed at the treatment of our colleague, Mr. Rashad James, an extremely talented and dedicated civil legal aid attorney, who under MLA’s Community Lawyering Initiative, is tasked with navigating every stretch of this state to provide civil legal counsel and representation for Maryland’s poorest and most vulnerable individuals and communities.”
The results of the investigation notwithstanding, this likely would not have happened to a White lawyer.