A Los Angeles attorney faces discipline from the State Bar of California for violent and inflammatory comments she made online directed towards demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd.
Marla Anne Brown, who is described on her website as an attorney who focuses on whistleblower and civil rights cases, made more than a dozen posts on social media that the California Bar deemed were inciting violence.
The posts were made in late May 2020, during the height of civil unrest following George Floyd’s murder at the hand of Minneapolis police officers.
Posting from her Twitter account, @SoCalMAB, Brown sent and responded to multiple tweets in which she called for violence against protesters, including calling for them to be shot, executed and have their homes burned down, according to the California Bar.
She also directed similar sentiment to a news anchor and other members of the public, the Bar said.
Among the comments made on social media, Brown responded to then-President Donald Trump’s now infamous tweet in which he said of the protesters, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Brown replied to the President’s post with, “They need to be shot.”
She also said of local protests happening in Los Angeles, “Shoot the protesters.”
And in response to a tweet from MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough, Brown wrote, “Let’s go burn your house down with you in it.”
The California Bar said that, while Brown had every right to make the comments, she was not free from consequences for her words.
“While the First Amendment establishes a broad right to free speech, no one has the right to incite violence,” said George Cardona, State Bar of California’s chief trial counsel. “For California attorneys, reckless actions like these violate their oath and duties as licensees.”
The Bar also alleges that Brown intentionally misrepresented herself online, claiming to be a “LAPD union attorney” when she knew she was not.
The State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel investigates allegations of misconduct by Bar-certified attorneys.
The State Bar Court will determine whether or not that attorney has committed professional misconduct and will then recommend discipline, including suspension or disbarment. The California Supreme Court will then determine if those recommended punishments will be carried out.
According to her business website, Brown passed the California Bar in 1989 and has been a sole practitioner since 2010. The Twitter account that Brown is accused of using to make the comments at the center of the Bar investigation no longer exists.