Racism Complaint Filed Against Yanez Attorney

July 11, 2017 05:20 PM

In the 30 years Michelle Gross says she's been a community activist, this is the first time she's filed a complaint against an attorney. 

"I understand people need to zealously defend their clients," Gross said. "I understand the need for lawyers to do that, but this conduct was simply unacceptable in a courtroom in 2017."

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Gross said she was compelled by what she saw during the questioning of an 18-year-old Ethiopian woman by Jeronimo Yanez's attorney Earl Gray during jury selection. 

 

"At the time that I witnessed it I took careful notes of what happened, and I knew then I was going to file a complaint," she said. 

Gross filed her complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, alleging that Mr. Gray displayed racism in his treatment of the juror. It says Mr. Gray asked about where she lived in Ethiopia: "A camp? A village?"

The woman responded, "A house." The complaint also alleges that Gray shouted he wanted it on the record that he thought she was incompetent.

"All of the kinds of things he was throwing out at this young woman, he didn't do with any of the other jurors, particularly not any of the white jurors," Gross said. 

KSTP spoke with Gray briefly by phone. He said, "To me her complaint is a joke, it's ridiculous."

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility declined to answer questions about what will happen now that the complaint has been filed. 

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Todd Wilson

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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