Add “lawyering while black” to the list of things Black men apparently can’t do without getting harassed.
That’s the case for one Maryland attorney who has now filed a complaint against the #HarfordCounty Sheriff’s Office for detaining him after accusing him of not really being a lawyer, according to @wbaltv11.
“While going through the incident, it was sort of a very surreal moment,” said #RashadJames, legal aid attorney. James said he was just doing his job on March 6th at Harford County District Court in Bel Air, when a sheriff’s deputy stopped him in the courtroom and began questioning if he was really a lawyer–or impersonating one. The fact is James had just successfully attained an expungement for a client who was not there.
“After the hearing, that’s when I encountered the officer who incorrectly called me by the name of the client. I stated that I was not the client, that I was, in fact, the client’s attorney,” James said.
The deputy then allegedly asked for identification and James says he showed the deputy his driver’s license but apparently that was not enough to end the altercation.
“That should have been the end of it. I assure you that, if it had been me, I would have just walked out,” said Andrew Freeman, James’ attorney.
The officer apparently wanted more verification because James didn’t have his state bar card or business cards, which he is not required to carry. He had the officer call his supervisor.
“If Mr. James were white, this would not have happened,” said Chelsea Crawford, James’ second attorney. “It should have been enough when Mr. James appeared in court and the judge accepted on the record that he was an attorney and his client was absent. That should have been enough, and at that moment, it wasn’t for that officer.”
Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler responded with the following statement: “The Harford County Sheriff’s Office is aware of these accusations, as we received a formal complaint this afternoon. As with all complaints, the complaint filed on behalf of Mr. James was promptly assigned to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office – Office of Professional Standards for a complete and thorough investigation. We take all complaints seriously.”
We’ll keep you posted on any updates in this case, Roommates.
TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh