Baltimore's city government employed a lawyer with ties to a neo-Nazi group, and he was (until an hour or two ago) defending the city and the Baltimore Police Department against an African-American man's claims of wrongful conviction.
The plaintiff in that case, Sabein Burgess, spent 19 years in prison for murder before he was released in 2014. He is one of several people trying to win financial compensation for their wrongful convictions. City Paper wrote about him last year.
The lawyer, Glen K. Allen, has had a long career as a Maryland civil litigator. He has represented various clients ranging from the giant cigarette company Philip Morris, to the Afro-American newspaper. He recently retired from the giant firm DLA Piper and was hired as a contract attorney by the city for its Litigation and Claims Practice Group, the largest division within the Law Department.
Allen's financial support of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization, and his work for The American Eagle Party, a fringe political party based in Tennessee, were brought to light yesterday by the non-profit Southern Poverty Law Center.
"Allen may well be a skillful attorney," the SPLC's expose says. "But at a time when Baltimore and its police department are facing devastating criticism over their policing practices, and a crisis over their treatment of minority residents, the hiring of a known neo-Nazi to litigate for them surely raises questions."
Neither Allen nor City Solicitor George Nilson immediately responded to emails and phone calls from City Paper. We'll update this post if or when we reach them.
Allen did speak to the New York Daily News, which picked up the story from the SPLC.
According to the Daily News, Allen admitted to membership in the Neo-Nazi National Alliance in the 1980s, after he got out of the military, but said he distanced himself from the group many years ago.
"I was in the U.S. Army from 1978 to 1982 and I had some pretty awful experiences with black people there, to be honest," the News story quotes Allen as saying. "He added that his 'crazy ideas' do not affect his legal work."
The SPLC posted documents it says show Allen purchasing National Alliance merchandise, including entrance to a Holocaust Revisionist Conference, in 2007.
According to The Daily News, Allen says he is now "not comfortable with the strident, aggressive and categorical approach that the National Alliance takes to ethnic and political issues."
Last fall, Allen appeared in the introduction to a video exploring the anti-vaccination controversy. The video was produced by or in association with the American Eagle Party, which promoted it on Stormfront, the white power movement's most prominent internet message board.
Unlike the National Alliance, The American Eagle Party does not fly under openly racist colors, but it appears to be a marketing effort to the alt-right/conspiracist subculture. Its main concerns seem to revolve around illegal immigrants, fiat money, and how Israel's intelligence agency Mossad is allegedly behind various Islamist terror attacks. Its website hawks books, an upcoming survival expo, and—because, of course—the moral superiority of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
State court records show Allen as a civil attorney in many cases, dating back to 1990. He's got a couple traffic tickets too. He was last in state court on August 5, defending the city against Pizza Joey and Madame BBQ, LLC.
The Daily News asked Allen if he is a white supremacist. "I do not think that supremacist is a proper characterization for people who take a degree of pride in their own separate histories," the News quoted him as saying. "Should I be fired from the city of Baltimore because I have crazy ideas about 9/11?" Allen asked.
The Mayor's Office says yes. It announced Allen was fired today.