At Saturday’s 2018 Florida A&M University-sponsored Harambee Festival, a free community-wide cultural event in celebration of Black History Month, two African American attorneys held a seminar to inform citizens on different laws and rights when dealing with the police.
Throughout the seminar, Mutaqee Akbar and Matthew C. Williams addressed any and all questions and issues. The main issue they were attempting to address was how citizens are being policed on the south side of Tallahassee where the majority of minority citizens reside.
The first problem that they talked about was what are things that will help traffic stops go smoother. Making sure that you narrate what you are doing so the officer won’t have to guess is one of the tactics they recommended.
Among other topics discussed were gun possession laws, being stopped by the police on the street and how important it is to elect judges that understand the mistreatment of minorities in Tallahassee.
FAMU student, Dekorey Hobbs said, “I really appreciate that they come out to the festival to talk with us. I’m not from Florida so some of the laws back home aren’t exactly the same here and that could get me in a lot of trouble.”
Akbar and Williams are both practicing lawyers with the Tallahassee-based Akbar Law Firm. The firm is comprised of a group of talented professionals who genuinely desire to provide their clients with efficient, cost-effective and above all thorough representation. The firm’s practice areas include criminal defense, criminal appeals, personal injury, and family law.
The two attorneys have frequently hosted seminars similar to this event. They have spoken with the Florida A&M football team and FAMU’s chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.
“We’re just doing our part to better our community and help citizens understand their rights and stay safe in the city.” Akbar said.
Akbar and Williams have had difficulties gaining respect in their field as African American attorneys, but Williams especially because of his hair.
Williams said, “Me having dreadlocks has made some judges and other attorneys look at me like different. Sometimes I even have to show my bar card to the bailiffs when I enter the courtroom. Other attorneys don’t have to do that. Earlier on in my career, they didn’t take me seriously until I proved I knew what I was doing.”
Akbar said his firm will continue to work toward a safer Tallahassee for all citizens.