By The Vanguard Staff
ORANGE COUNTY, CA – A progressive candidate for Orange County District Attorney received a big boost to his campaign this week when the Orange County Human Relations Commission released its 2020 hate crime report that documents a “lethal rise in hate crimes across the county,” according to a statement by candidate Pete Hardin.
“Today’s shocking hate crime report is a painful reminder that far right extremism has been emboldened by the Trump Presidency and District Attorney Todd Spitzer, an unapologetic Trump Republican,” charged Hardin, a former Deputy District Attorney, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and combat Marine Corps officer,
Hardin added, “Spitzer has failed to keep the most vulnerable members of our community safe, as is evidenced by the 1,800 percent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, 114 percent rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes, and 23 percent rise in anti-Black hate crimes.”
The Hardin campaign points to current DA Spitzer’s current tenure, and said in a press statement it’s been “defined by scandal,” including Spitzer’s promotion of an employee despite the filing of sexual harassment complaints by at least four women in Spitzer’s office against the employee.
“Spitzer also attempted to drop sexual assault charges against high-profile defendants, leading a judge to remove him from the case. Survivors of the sexual assault survivors were ‘dragged through the mud’ and ‘grossly mistreated’ by Spitzer for two and a half years, leading two of them to abandon their case,” according to the claims of the challenger’s campaign.
The Hardin campaign also maintains “Spitzer has been involved in an evidence booking scandal, a jailhouse informant scandal, defamed a victim of OC’s deadliest mass shooting as retaliation for peaceful protest (and) defended a DNA collection program known informally as’ “Spit and Acquit’ that coerces defendants to give up their DNA to law enforcement, a practice the ACLU called “unconstitutional.”
DA candidate Hardin said, “Over the course of his 25-year career as a right-wing politician, District Attorney Todd Spitzer has regularly promoted policies that harm our most vulnerable communities. Spitzer has neither the skill nor the conviction to adequately address the extreme rise in hate we are witnessing.
“I stand in solidarity with the AAPI community, Black community, Jewish community, Latino community, LGBTQ community, Muslim community, and Arab community, which have experienced a dramatic rise in hate driven incidents. This is unconscionable and must be stopped.
“Orange County deserves a top prosecutor who will work in partnership with vulnerable communities to stamp out hate in our communities, prevent hate crimes from happening, and ensure hate crime investigations and prosecutions are pursued vigorously. It’s time for a district attorney who will stand up for all victims and take a firm stand against hate in our community.”