HARFORD COUNTY (WJZ) — A Maryland legal aid and attorney claimed he was stopped in a Harford County courtroom and accused of impersonating a lawyer.
Rashad James, a legal aid and attorney, said he had never been forced to defend his own identity until early March when he was leaving a hearing in a Harford County District Court.
“It was sort of a surreal moment,” James said.
James said he believes he was accused of impersonating a lawyer because of the color of his skin.
“What other reason would there be for the officer to mistake me for either a client or someone posing as an attorney,” he said.
James said a deputy stopped him and addressed him by the name of his client who was not present at the time.
The deputy then accused James of pretending to be an attorney.
Lawyers on James’ behalf have since asked the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the incident.
“We hope that the Sheriff’s Office, and this particular officer, understand the gravity of the situation, and take all the steps necessary to prevent it from happening again,” Attorney Chelsea Crawford said.
In a statement to WJZ, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said that the Office of Professional Standards is investigating.
“It is disappointing that anyone associated with our legal process would intentionally work to malign the character of another person. If those claims are founded and violations of agency policy are revealed, we will take immediate and appropriate administrative action,” he said.
James said that he hopes this incident is a lesson for everyone to, “Do better.”