The Texas State Bar Board of Directors has asked President Larry McDougal to provide a plan of action for addressing his online comments that many found racist and insensitive, including a 2015 Facebook post in which he called the Black Lives Matter movement a terrorist group.
The board of directors asked the Richmond attorney to provide his action plan by the September board meeting and a final plan by January 2021.
McDougal was sworn in as State Bar president on July 17. He came under fire days later after he posted a comment online criticizing a person who wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt to a polling place.
McDougal said he believed the T-shirt amounted to “electioneering.”
In his post, McDougal cited a case in which wearing a MAGA hat at a polling place was held to be electioneering. “I see no difference in that hat and this shirt,” he wrote below a photo of the person wearing the Black Lives Matter shirt.
Detractors then combed through McDougal’s past social media posts to find the one in which he discredited the Black Lives Matter movement.
The posts brought calls for his resignation and condemnation from other bar leaders. The State Bar board of directors met Monday to take up the issue.
During a hearing, 31 speakers at the hearing called for his resignation, 13 criticized his remarks but didn’t ask for his resignation and 18 supported him.
“I listened very closely to all the concerns that were expressed during the Texas State Bar meeting this week and I’m grateful I had a chance to publicly apologize to the people to whom I offended,” McDougal told The Herald. “I believe it was an excellent day of listening to the numerous viewpoints from every demographic and I’ve learned a lot.
“I look forward to continuing the conversation and learning more as an organization about racial injustice. With continued education and perseverance, I believe the Texas State Bar will continue to grow and serve our state in an even more useful way. I have not and will not resign because I take my role as president very seriously. I will continue to lead this organization in the best way possible. I want my actions to speak louder than my words.”
After the meeting, the board voted to create a State Bar task force on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as require members of the board to complete implicit bias training by Dec. 31, and consider making implicit bias training a requirement for Texas attorneys.