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Attorneys from around Oregon join Black Lives Matter movement

Lawyers held an 8 minute and 46 second moment of silence in front of the Jackson County Justice Building on Monday.

Posted: Jun 8, 2020 7:41 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2020 7:50 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — As part of a nation-wide protest, lawyers from southern Oregon gathered near the steps of the Jackson County Justice Building.

After a few moments of chanting and a quick speech from longtime criminal defense attorney Emily Simon, the group fell silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The only time anyone spoke was in the final moments.

Simon would shout, "I can't breathe," much like George Floyd did when he died in police custody in Minneapolis two weeks ago to the date.

Around 50 lawyers gathered on the steps to protest what they called the systematic racism within the United States' justice system.

"Everybody who was here today, which includes prosecutors, know of this systemic racism and everybody who was here today knows that they need to address this and that as a country, we cannot heal until justice is delivered," Simon, an attorney since 1979, said.

Simon wore a dark blue blazer with a shirt underneath that read the final words of George Floyd: "I can't breathe." But, Simon said, her shirt was not a recent purchase. She said she bought it four years ago following the death of Eric Garner who died in police custody in New York City in a similar manner to Floyd.

"I had hoped I would never need to wear the shirt again, but here I am four years later needing to wear this shirt again and I will continue to need to wear this shirt at some other point at some other time until the police learn that that conduct is not tolerated by the justice system," Simon said.

Among the attorneys in attendance was Justin Rosas. The Memphis-native now practices law in Medford as a criminal defense attorney and a public defender in federal court. He said he is ready to fight against racial inequalities within the justice system, starting at the local level in Jackson County.

"I can't be quiet. I can't be silent," Rosas said. "I've seen it. I've seen it in Memphis. I've seen it here [in Medford]. I've seen it in this building. I've seen it in our jail and we've got to fix that. And I think the great news that you do see is you see a wide variety of community partners coming together and saying the same thing."

Rosas said there needs to be a public forum that would allow attorneys, city officials and justices, and citizens to work towards a solution to end racial prejudice in local justice systems.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31865

Reported Deaths: 539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7022136
Marion456992
Washington441759
Umatilla293941
Clackamas234661
Malheur158926
Jackson11094
Lane109616
Deschutes79312
Yamhill75013
Jefferson5218
Polk51515
Linn49513
Morrow4946
Lincoln47613
Union4392
Benton2946
Klamath2792
Wasco2793
Hood River2490
Douglas2244
Josephine1952
Columbia1551
Coos1490
Clatsop1310
Baker922
Crook621
Tillamook510
Curry310
Lake290
Wallowa281
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 799516

Reported Deaths: 15393
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2644146455
Riverside578831179
San Bernardino53359918
Orange526221182
San Diego45596773
Kern31712360
Fresno28019362
Sacramento21872399
Alameda20951397
Santa Clara20756304
San Joaquin20126437
Stanislaus16436345
Contra Costa16238204
Tulare15829259
Ventura12591146
Imperial11741317
San Francisco1094699
San Mateo9714144
Monterey970170
Santa Barbara8973113
Merced8828140
Kings756977
Sonoma7262120
Marin6641114
Solano627863
Madera445865
Placer353544
San Luis Obispo347929
Butte279043
Yolo278255
Santa Cruz22949
Sutter168911
Napa165313
San Benito132111
Yuba11367
El Dorado10884
Mendocino89418
Shasta75916
Lassen7360
Glenn5713
Tehama5334
Lake53011
Nevada5286
Colusa5246
Humboldt4967
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1630
Del Norte1381
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc250
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
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