Black, Female Lawmaker Stopped By Security For Not Looking ‘Like A Legislator’

Screen grab from Emilia Sykes' 2016 campaign video.
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Ohio state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D) has been stopped by Ohio Statehouse security multiple times on her way into work and during one incident she was told she didn’t “look like a legislator,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. 

Sykes, a 32-year-old female African-American lawmaker, was stopped on one occasion and told that officers needed to search her purse, but the colleague she was walking with — a 65-year-old white man — was not searched, according to the Enquirer. Sykes told the Enquirer that she asked why she was being searched when all she needed to get inside the Statehouse was her badge. Her colleague told the officers that she was, in fact, a state lawmaker.

“You don’t look like a legislator,” the officer reportedly said, then clarified: “You look too young.”

Sykes, who has been an Ohio legislator for three years, was also reportedly stopped when trying to get into a different building, the Riffe Center. Officers repeatedly requested to 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.”

Read the Enquirer’s full report here. 

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: