Lancaster County public defenders joined protesters across the country Monday by marching downtown in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
About a dozen attorneys with the Lancaster County Public Defender's Office, including Chief Public Defender Chris Tallarico, protested in solidarity with the movement and in conjunction with dozens of other offices around the country also holding marches.
"We're doing what we do every day, representing the underrepresented," Tallarico said. Previously an assistant public defender, Tallarico was appointed in February to head the office after his predecessor, Todd Brown, was named first assistant district attorney by Heather Adams.
The attorneys held signs that read "Black Lives Matter to public defenders" and chanted "no justice, no peace as they made their way from the county building at 150 N. Queen, to the Lancaster County Courthouse and county prison, before joining protesters at Art Park.
Elizabeth Low, a public defender with the office, said that as a public defender, she and her colleagues see inequality in the justice system "all the time."
"We felt like this is something we have to do, to show our support," she said. "I think that this movement has gained a lot of traction recently and I just really hope we continue to see changes."
Last week, federal public defenders throughout the country, including in all three federal districts of Pennsylvania, signed a joint statement in support of protesters.
“As federal public and community defenders, we represent the overwhelming majority of those charged with crimes in federal court, most of whom are minorities, of all colors and orientations," the statement said. "We have witnessed 'wars' on drugs and crime become dog whistles for hate and racism."
The closing paragraph said the federal defenders "stand with many like George Floyd who have been held down and denied their humanity. It is our job, our calling. It is our privilege."