Posts Tagged ‘Sherrilyn Ifill’

Amtrak Apologizes to NAACP Attorney Asked to Move

January 22, 2020

A high profile civil rights attorney received an apology from Amtrak after she was told by a conductor to move to another seat.

The incident involving Sherrilyn Ifill, of Baltimore, began as she was riding from Washington last Friday.

An assistant conductor told Ifill that she wanted to keep the seating area where Ifill was seated open for other passengers who would be boarding later.

In Tweeting about the incident, Ifill suggested that the incident was racially motivated and said the car in which she was sitting was sparsely filled.

“When I was laying her [assistant conductor] out to the [lead] conductor, at one point, I said, ‘I can sit where I want,’ and I thought, ‘This isn’t 1950,’ ” Ifill, who is African American, wrote on Twitter.

Ifill said she had approached the lead conductor to complain and he apologized but that the assistant conductor told her, “Follow me; I’ve found a seat for you.”

Amtrak spokesman John Abrams said in an email to the Baltimore Sun that Amtrak sought to contact Ifill numerous times on Friday to apologize for the incident, but did not make contact with her until Saturday morning.

“We should have responded publicly sooner, and we apologized for the incident and our slow response,” Abrams told the Sun. “Amtrak is looking into the matter more closely so that we can prevent situations like this going forward.”

Ifill is the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and cousin of the late PBS political analyst Gwen Ifill.

“I am colossally disappointed in @Amtrak for both this incident & the way it was handled,’” Ifill tweeted on Saturday.

“What really disturbs me is how someone with this authority can just entirely make up something so ridiculous and approach a customer in this way,” Ifill tweeted. “I did wonder when she was carrying on — how far will I take this? And the immediate answer in my mind was ‘all the way.’ ”