'You Don't Look Like A Legislator': Ohio Lawmaker Stopped, Harassed Twice By Statehouse Security
Police had to be extra careful because black don't crack and racial bias.
June 03, 2018 at 7:20 pm
Ohio Rep. Emilia Sykes was stopped and harassed by Statehouse security not once but twice in the last year because she doesn't look like a lawmaker.
The Democrat has been a lawmaker for three years serving Akron, Ohio. In that time, it has apparently still been difficult for some to believe that she's a politician. On May 27, the 32-year-old tried to get into the Riffe Center for a meeting but ran into extra security measures that her colleagues did not.
I’ve had an interesting go with statehouse and Riffe security. I was able to get in but not after being told that my ID wasn’t visible enough and I needed to stop and prove myself, even though I did what I and others always do. Today wasn’t the worst day. 🙄— Emilia Sykes (@EmiliaSykesOH) May 31, 2018
She claimed that she showed her badge to security but she said they told her that they couldn't see the badge. So, she turned it around for them and they still had issues seeing the badge. For safety reasons, she was stopped so officers could examine her badge.
"It’s just hard to find out what is the security rule," Sykes said. "They seem to be a moving target for different people."
But this isn't the first incident. Last year, she was stopped while trying to enter the statehouse with a 65-year-old unnamed colleague. Security pulled her to the side, searched her bag and made a questionable comment.
"You don't look like a legislator," the trooper said. "You look too young."
The officer claimed she was stopped because of her youthful appearance. However, she admits she isn't the youngest lawmaker in the General Assembly.
"I was once told when stopped that I 'don’t look like a legislator' and thus need additional screening," she wrote in a tweet. "After that incident I [sic] they clarified that it was because I looked 'too young.' I’m not the youngest legislator in the Ohio General Assembly."
I was once told when stopped that I “don’t look like a legislator” and thus need additional screening. After that incident I they clarified that it was because I looked “too young.” I’m not the youngest legislator in the OH General Assembly.— Emilia Sykes (@EmiliaSykesOH) May 31, 2018
Sykes isn't the only person to be harassed. Rep. Alicia Reece, (D-Roselawn), forgot her badge once and had an aide go to her office and get it. When the aide returned, security still questioned if Reece was who she said she was -- despite the badge having her picture on it.
House spokesman Brad Miller said the interim speaker would follow up with Sykes and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, which oversees Riffe Center security, reports The Enquirer.