National civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump was sworn in as the 73rd president of the National Bar Association on Thursday.
The 45-year-old FSU law school graduate is known for representing relatives of individuals whose rights were allegedly violated by police.
The NBA, founded in 1925, calls itself the biggest and oldest voluntary professional membership organization for African-American attorneys and judges, with over 20,000 members.
“My vision for the NBA this year is simple,” said Crump, as was first reported by USA Today, “preserving our past and protecting our future. We will also advance our legislative agenda by lobby[ing] Congress on issues such as voting rights, criminal justice, judicial advocacy, education […] employment and economic empowerment.”
Crump’s past clients include the families of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Michael Brown.
Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man from Ferguson, Mo., was shot to death by a white police officer last August — an event that set off a wave of protests throughout the country.
Cleveland police officers killed Rice last November after the 12-year-old’s air gun was mistaken for the real thing.
And in 2102, Martin, an unarmed black teen, was killed in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman, a gun-toting neighborhood watch volunteer. Crump won Martin’s family more than $1 million in settlement money from Zimmerman’s homeowners association, despite Zimmerman having been acquitted of manslaughter and murder charges.
Crump previously served as the NBA’s vice president. He co-founded the Tallahassee law firm Parks & Crump in 1995 with Daryl Parks. The firm, according to its website, specializes in personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice cases. However, after Crump began publicly calling for the arrest of Zimmerman back in 2012, the firm’s civil rights cases have become more prominent.
Crump’s other notable clients include the family of Martin Lee Anderson, a black teenager who died nearly a decade ago after being beaten by youth detention center guards; the family of 23- year-old Genie McMeans, Jr., an unarmed black driver who died after being shot by a white female state trooper; and the family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, an illegal Mexican immigrant killed by three police officers in Pasco, Wash., while throwing rocks.