It’s understandable that people are upset with City Attorney James Allen.
Even James Allen is upset with James Allen.
There are some who say the city should fire Allen for the language he used in emails to a man who was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting.
That person, Charles Blackwell, is a government watchdog who has been filing Freedom of Information Act requests with various municipalities and has become an irritant for some city officials.
Blackwell is suing Allen and the City of Hamtramck. If we were betting folks, we’d say there is a good chance that the lawsuit will be tossed out.
But that’s a different matter.
What residents and city officials need to do is take a step back, and look at the repercussions of firing Allen and his law firm — which was, in fact, a proposal that didn’t get any support among a majority of the city council.
There is no way one can excuse the language Allen used in his emails to Blackwell. Vile and reprehensible are two words that come to mind.
Allen needs to take a break and look deep inside himself. He says he was goaded by Blackwell, who made some inappropriate comments to him.
The thing is, attorneys are held to a higher standard. Allen admits he reached a breaking point, and then used poor judgment. Allen is a good attorney, and he has been in the forefront of a lot of civil rights issues and progressive politics.
What Allen wrote is egregious but, in the long history of attorneys acting badly, we’ve seen worse – which is no excuse, certainly. We know there are some who say there can be no forgiveness in this matter.
They may indeed be right about this. We can’t entirely disagree.
But given time, the wounds Allen caused will heal.
Posted Oct. 22, 2021