Laurel S. TerryMay 2023 — Professor Emerita Laurel S. Terry recently had the opportunity to honor her “rule of law” roots in Washington, D.C. when her grandfather, who died in 1929, was belatedly honored. Professor Terry and her sisters were invited to attend a candlelight vigil on the National Mall where her grandfather’s name was read out, to attend a Memorial Service held on the Capitol Grounds, where Attorney General Merrick Garland delivered his own remarks and read remarks prepared by President Biden, and to see her grandfather’s name unveiled on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Professor Terry’s grandfather, John Black, was a motorcycle officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1929 when he was hit by a truck while on duty and died. In January 2023, Professor Terry was contacted by a historian for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who explained that they had found John Black’s name while looking through old files for officers who had not properly been recognized. Historian Mike Fratantoni explained that John Black’s name would be added to the Memorial Wall located in the 400 block of E Street NW, Washington, and that Professor Terry and her sisters would be invited to attend the unveiling and related events, which would be held during National Police Week 2023.

Professor Terry and her sister Jill Dawes were able to attend the D.C. events. (Professor Terry’s sister Robin Ridgeway, who is principal of Benton Middle School in La Mirada, California, was unable to attend.) After arriving in Washington on Thursday, May 11, 2023, Professor Terry and Ms. Dawes and their escort officer, James Nagao, went to the Memorial Wall where John Black’s name had been added and where the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had placed his portrait. On Friday May 12, Professor Terry and her sister went to the Memorial Wall to watch the arrival of approximately 2,500 bicyclists who had ridden 300+ miles from New Jersey to Washington as part of the Police Unity Tour. Professor Terry and her sister were greeted by Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna and received from bicycle rider and Assistant Sheriff Sergio Aloma a bracelet with John Black’s name that he had worn during the Unity Ride. During the photo session that occurred afterwards, Mark Claahsen explained that the attendance at the event by Professor Terry and her sister was a historic event because it was the first time that the family of a belatedly-recognized LASD officer was able to attend. (Mr. Claahsen is a Director of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), which sponsored Professor Terry’s attendance at the event, as well as a retired Deputy and longtime organizer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department of the National Police Week events).

On Saturday May 13, Professor Terry and her sister began the day with an escorted bus ride to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Along with the other survivor families and accompanying peace officers, they watched as the Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, accompanied by the El Monte Police Department and Los Angeles Police Department Chiefs of Police. Thereafter they attended a lunch that was held at Myer Patton Hall at Arlington Cemetery. In the late afternoon and evening, they attended a Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall, where they heard they grandfather’s name read out.

On Sunday May 14, Professor Terry met with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department historian Mike Fratantoni in order to share with him documents and pictures related to her grandfather, Deputy John Black. (The Sheriff’s Department may include some of these materials in its soon-to-be-opened museum.) In the evening, she attended a rooftop reception at “The Capitol View at 400” sponsored by ALADS.

On Monday, May 15, Professor Terry and her sister attended the Forty-Second Annual National Police Officers’ Memorial Service, which was held on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The keynote speaker was U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. General Garland delivered remarks from President Biden, who was unable to attend because he was attending his granddaughter’s law school graduation.

After the Memorial Service at the Capitol, Professor Terry met with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department historian Mike Fratantoni in order to deliver two scrapbooks that had been prepared by her great aunt Marjorie K. Fairchild Jones. Ms. Jones had been the first woman investigator in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. (The Sheriff’s Department will be digitizing Marjorie Jones’ scrapbooks and is expected to include some of her items in the District Attorney section of its forthcoming museum).

Professor Terry and her sister concluded their visit to Washington on Tuesday with a visit to the White House before returning to their respective homes in Pennsylvania and California. Upon their return, they shared with their sister, Robin, the link for the 2023 Candlelight Vigil (which mentioned John Black’s name at 1:09:55), the list of officers added to the Memorial in 2023, as well as several short LASD videos (here, here, here, and here) and photos (here, here, and here) from the events, as well as the thank you card Professor Terry prepared.

Although Professor Terry was sad to miss the May 12 graduation ceremony for Penn State Dickinson Law’s Class of 2023, which was the last 1L class Professor Terry taught, she did not want to forgo the once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to honor her maternal grandfather John Black. She sent the Class of 2023 her best wishes for graduation and for their future careers.

Professor Emerita Laurel S. Terry, who held the inaugural H. Laddie Montague, Jr. Chair in Law and was Dickinson Law’s inaugural Associate Dean for Research and New Faculty Development, is a three-time Fulbright recipient who writes and speaks about the impact of globalization on the legal profession, especially with respect to regulatory issues. Her scholarship has identified emerging issues for the legal profession and urged stakeholder engagement, new initiatives, and regulatory reform. In addition to speaking at academic and professional conferences, she has been invited to speak about her scholarship to organizations that include the Conference of Chief Justices, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the National Organization of Bar Counsel, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, the CCBE, which represents EU’s legal profession and legal regulators, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives, the International Bar Association, and the International Conference of Legal Regulators.