According to Rev. Al Sharpton, Ben Crump is an “African-American Attorney General.”
In less than a decade, Florida-based lawyers became the voice of the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breona Taylor, and George Floyd.
He won a multi-million dollar settlement in a police atrocities case. He urged the city to ban knock ban warrants. He told Parliamentary Commission that reform was needed. “It’s painfully clear that we have two systems of justice, one for white Americans and one for black Americans.”
And he stood in Flint, Michigan, with a family exposed to lead-contaminated water and a black farmer taking on an agribusiness giant.
“He really believes in what he is doing. He was attacked. He took an incident that no one else would.” Sharpton “People can go to him. The reason I trust him is because he never misunderstood me. For better or for worse, he tells me the truth about the client. . “
He seems to be everywhere these days. In April he celebrated with George Floyd’s family Former police officer Derek Chauvin convicted. Then he was one of the mourners at the funeral Dantelite, Shot during a traffic outage in the suburbs of Minneapolis in the week leading up to Chauvin’s verdict-he was incredibly juxtaposed.
“Whether the police had the time to do their best, to use the highest standards of care, or to lift the escalation, it was in the middle of this trial. I believe this was one of the most serious police (and) civil rights cases in our history, “Crump told The Associated Press.
After Wright’s funeral, he returned to Florida and demanded a federal investigation of his adjutant, who fatally shot two black teenagers.And he started requesting it last week North Carolina Police Be more transparent after a lawmaker deadly shoots a black man outside his house.
Critics see him as an opportunist who will surely appear in another tragedy. But those who know Crump say he’s been fighting for fairness long before his name became a headline.
“Where there is an injustice, he wants to be,” said Ronald Haley, a Louisiana lawyer. He is one of Crump’s extensive network of lawyers working on the proceedings. “He understands that he needs it everywhere, but he also understands that he can’t be anywhere.”
Crump, 51, is a tireless worker who mixes Southern charm, the talent to draw media attention to his case, and the firm belief that racism is afflicting the country. It is a place to undertake.
They say he has a mysterious way to make his clients feel like relatives.
“He never missed Thanksgiving to check in with me. He calls for Christmas,” said Allisa Findley, who first met Crump three days after his brother. Bosam JeanWas fatally shot in his apartment by a white Dallas police officer who mistaken a black man’s apartment for his own.
“Even small things, when the camera isn’t spinning, he spends time on it,” she said. “He feels like a family. I think he’s the Ben family.”
George Floyd’s 42-year-old brother, Terence Floyd, said last year’s attention and care to Crump’s family united them beyond the lawyer-client relationship.
“It feels more like a family base than a business,” he said. “After a while, I stopped calling him. I stick to calling him” Unc “as he was one of my uncles. “
Crump continues his dizzying schedule, and although he is everywhere, he confirms that he is at home for Sunday worship at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and eight-year-old daughter Brooklyn. He also helped raise two cousins and became their legal guardian.
“I’m looking at my daughter,” Crump said. “I look in her eyes, then my niece and nephew, and my little cousin, the eyes of all these little black and brown children. You have so much hope in their eyes. , See so much optimism. We must provide them with a better world. “
“What I’m trying to do is add value to a black life, sometimes alone, as much as possible,” he added.
Crump’s path to becoming a lawyer and advocate began when he grew up in Lumberton, North Carolina. There he was the oldest of the nine brothers and brother-in-law.
In his book “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People,” he was in elementary school, and a weekly allowance for a white classmate was given to a week when his mother did two jobs in a shoe factory and hotel laundry. He said it was the same as the one he made.
“I wanted to understand why the people on the white side of the truck made it so good and the black people on our side of the truck made it so bad,” he wrote.
He often tells his grandmother how he learned about the world by reading newspapers and how he taught him the story of the famous civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who became his hero.
“He’s always been drawn to leadership and the answer to fraud,” said Sean Pittman, a lawyer who has been his friend for 30 years since meeting at Florida State University. So Crump was the president of the Black Students’ Union and led the protest to pay attention to how the school hired and treated black students.
But his rise from a personal injury lawyer to a black-American voice began in 2013 when he represented his family. Trayvon MartinA teenager killed by a Florida guard volunteer.Then he filed a proceeding for his family Michael brown He was fatally shot by a white officer near St. Louis.
Crump organized the procession and brought media attention to both deaths — each Black Lives Matter Move.
He won a financial settlement in about 200 police atrocities. March, the city of Minneapolis Agreed to pay $ 27 million To settle a civil lawsuit from George Floyd’s family, Crump said it was the largest civil rights lawsuit settlement to date.
“I continue to believe that if they could get me to pay millions of dollars each time they shoot a black man behind me, I would expect less black people to be shot behind me,” Crump said. “That’s my theory, but it remains unanswered because they keep killing us.”
In recent years, he has produced and hosted the A & E documentary “Who Killed Tupac?”. I set up a production company to make a show about injustice and civil rights.
Crump also played a simple role in the 2017 movie “Marshall.” The film tells the story of the early life of a hero who became the first black US Supreme Court judge.
His higher name brought more scrutiny and turned him into a frequent target. Conservative writer Candace Owens accused Crump of trying to benefit from police shootings and encouraging violent protests in April.
“Surviving racial issues has become an American business,” she told Fox News channel Laura Ingraham. “Yesterday is Al Sharpton, tomorrow is Jesse Jackson, and today is Ben Crump.”
“I don’t care what equal enemies think of you,” he said. “It’s arrogant to think that everyone loves you. It’s not a popular contest.”
John Bowman, who has known him since the murder of Michael Brown and is now President of the NAACP in St. Louis County, said he deserves to be mentioned now among the civil rights giants.
“I couldn’t get into his head and couldn’t say he planned this course,” Bowman said, “I’ll be the next strongest voice of injustice.” “I know he wasn’t shy when he was called and didn’t leave the phone.”
But Crump says he wants to eventually retreat from it.
“I literally wish I could close the police atrocities department of my law firm,” he said. “I’m so tired of seeing blacks being killed by the police unfairly. I no longer have to fight in court or become a counselor for many sad mothers and fathers. I would like to tell the staff about it. “
Morrison reported from New York City. Seewer reported from Toledo, Ohio.