Robert J. Ellis was forty-eight years of age and was just hitting his stride as an attorney. He had represented Tupac Shakur. He was representing Jamal Barrow, a rapper known as “Shine,” and New York City Councilman Allan Jennings. Ellis called Speaker Gifford Miller’s decision to strip Jennings of committee assignments “institutionally racist.”
Ellis was no stranger to controversy. He was the subject of a disciplinary action for allegedly calling a judge a “racist,” if you believe the white media. The courtroom is a war zone and any defense lawyer worth his or her salt sometimes has to put the judicial system in check to protect human rights.
The life expectancy of a Black lawyer, who is peaking professionally, is similar to that of a Black male approaching an eligible age for social security. Using myriad weapons, the system invariably snuffs them out. This approach gives rise to the economics of racism.
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