They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but this one is speaking 50 years. This picture takes my mind back to the history books of the Civil Rights Movement and why a black girl from a small city could grow up to be an accomplished attorney with degrees from prestigious universities. Moreover, this photo reminds me that sometimes you have to stop being safe and say what you really feel. So today, if I lose some clients over this post, I will accept that as long as I don’t lose any integrity for staying silent another moment. I won’t begin by condemning the “rioters” in the midst of the Baltimore uprising. I won’t do it because I refuse to have my point be an afterthought. I don’t want the weakness of, “Rioting is wrong, but here are all the reasons…” I am going to say what I believe boldly, without equivocation. If you want to equivocate or explain, feel free. If you want to defend the police, the property owners, or the citizens, feel free. I’m going to just say this, I don’t want to live in an America that thinks citizens should die on the streets at the hands of government. Not so radical, right? But, apparently it is, every Facebook post or article that says the cops must protect themselves from unarmed citizens or editorial asking that we stand with Baltimore police ignores the fact that a citizen is dead without benefit of trial. Now, I know some of you don’t care about the life of “thugs.” But, based on your reaction to the CVS fire, you seem to believe in commerce. Let me put this in terms of commerce. I believe in trials. I get paid to do them. These murders are taking money out of my pocket. These deaths make it hard for me to send my kids to summer camp. These killings mean I may not be able to get a balcony suite on my next cruise. If you can’t get outraged about a person being dead for a “crime” that would have netted no jail time, or minimal incarceration, please get outraged about how hardworking attorneys can’t pay their bills if suspects keep dying in the street. Yes, I get that my sarcasm offends some of you. Killing unarmed people offends me. Having to argue that #blacklivesmatter in 2015 offends me. Explaining that our country is built on the principle of innocent until proven guilty offends me. I don’t particularly care what your political affiliation is. I believe that we should all agree that in an average encounter, our expectation is that the suspect remains alive. I believe that we should not shoot people in the back. Based on my experience, criminals aren’t that original and they do it again. Most cops tell me they know they will have a chance to catch petty thieves again. In other words, cops don’t need to deploy deadly force when most suspects are running. Let’s just all agree that shooting a guy in the back or wrestling him to his death for selling loose cigarettes or something minor is a bad idea. If you can’t agree with that, let’s agree that suspects need to make it to trial so that lawyers can get paid. After all, there are some good cops out there. Cops, who get the suspect to the jailhouse. Cops who testify at trials. Cops, who just want to be cops and not judge, jury and executioner. If you can’t get behind this radical concept that suspects need to stay alive long enough to make it to trial, I’m probably not the attorney for you anyway. My name is Jacquie and I represent the living.
Standing Beside You & Fighting For You