Black attorney gets detained because sheriff thinks he's just pretending to be a lawyer

Maryland attorney Rashad James, who happens to be black, was packing up his things after a day at Harford County District Court when he says a sheriff's deputy detained him, thinking James was just pretending to be a lawyer. The deputy called the attorney by his client's name, and when James informed the deputy that he was in fact the attorney, the deputy didn't believe him. Even after Rashad showed him ID, the deputy did not believe him. The deputy then called his supervisor.

According to WBALTV:

After successfully getting an expungement for a client who was not there, a sheriff's deputy stopped him in the courtroom and began questioning if he was really a lawyer or impersonating one.

"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 asked for identification, James says he showed his driver's license.

The officer apparently wanted more verification since 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.

And via News Channel 5 :

An attorney representing James believes that if he was white, the officer would not have doubted that he was an attorney, would not have questioned his identity and would not have detained him after seeing his driver’s license.

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