A Black, California attorney was tased, tackled, and handcuffed inside a San Bernardino courtroom last year after bailiffs allegedly did not believe he was an attorney because he was wearing a dashiki.
Jaaye Person-Lynn was convicted of a misdemeanor after being accused of threatening a bailiff and ignoring two deputies’ orders when they attempted to stop him from approaching a courtroom clerk. A jury later found him guilty of delaying or obstructing a peace officer in the discharge of his duties, a charge that has a maximum sentence of one year.
However, according to Person-Lynn, the deputy pushed him then wrongfully arrested him simply because he was not wearing “traditional courtroom attire.”
“They just didn’t believe I was an attorney,” he told Atlanta Black Star. “I told them, they just didn’t believe me.”
Person-Lynn’s conviction drew attention from national civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who suggested that Person-Lynne was racially profiled by the courtroom officers based on how he was dressed.
“Usually POC (people of color) are profiled because they “fit a description,’” Crump wrote in his Oct. 1 tweet. “Jaaye Person-Lynn did NOT fit the description (aka stereotype) of a lawyer. Kicked out of court, tased, tackled AND arrested because officers did not believe Jaaye was a lawyer. There are 2 justice systems in America!!”
According to the State Bar of California, Person-Lynn attended Howard University Law School and has been licensed in California as an attorney since 2010.
Person-Lynn and his supporters have been voicing their concerns and his side of the story via social media since the incident occurred, demanding that the charges against him be dropped.
Colin Wiley, an LA based filmmaker, tweeted on August 14 that he’d sent the San Bernardino County District Attorney, Jason Anderson, an email that referred to Person-Lynn’s arrest as a “gross miscarriage of justice. He also requested a dismissal on all counts.
This story is still developing.