By David M. Greenwald
Santa Ana, CA – The day did not start well for the Orange County DA, as a rally was held with people holding signs, #NoRacisminOC, as the National Action Network Orange County and LA Chapters called for the DA to resign in the wake of revelations about racist remarks.
The National Action Network was founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, who remains their national president.
NAN-OC also released a public letter calling upon Spitzer’s endorsers to condemn his racist remarks and to publicly withdraw their support.
“The fact that Todd Spitzer made racist comments while considering whether to seek the death penalty for a Black man is not only inexcusable, it destroys the credibility of law enforcement in the eyes of people of color,” said President of NAN-OC, Darlene Futrel. “We know that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of and Todd Spitzer has spoken loud and clear.”
“The implications of Todd Spitzer’s racist remarks extend far beyond a single case as they call into question any case involving a person of color that has crossed Spitzer’s desk,” said President of NAN-LA, Lori Condinus. “How can we stand by silently when OC’s top prosecutor holds racist beliefs that cast a shadow over every prosecution involving a person of color? Enough is enough – Todd Spitzer must resign and get out of the way as we build a justice system for all.”
“I am not surprised that Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer is an open racist,” said Civil Rights Activist Najee Ali. “As we speak, Todd Spitzer faces a lawsuit for refusing to protect a Muslim prosecutor in his own office from racist Islamaphobic harassment. To make matters worse, the harasser was Spitzer’s best friend of over 25 years who Spitzer promoted despite the harassment allegations. Spitzer’s racism has always been suspected and now it’s confirmed.”
“As District Attorney, Todd Spitzer has routinely embraced policies that disproportionately impact communities of color and failed to meet with the leaders of these communities,” said Penelope Lopez, Chispa Organizing Director. “Though we have long feared Spitzer policies were rooted in racist beliefs, to see clearly how Spitzer’s racism shapes his approach to prosecutions is horrifying and disqualifying.”
The day would get worse.
A claimed was filed by former Deputy DA Tracy Miller, who for 25 years worked in the DA’s office serving as Senior Assistant District Attorney.
She alleges, “Spitzer, the elected District Attorney, forced her from that position by purposeful and intentional retaliation and by creating a hostile work environment.”
The environment, she writes in her claim, “was created in retaliation for Miller’s refusal to adopt race-based practices, her refusal to accept race-based attorney assignments and her refusal to remain silent when race was offered as justification for Spitzer’s decision-making process.”
With respect to the Buggs case, Miller said that she “was aware that Spitzer may have infected another capital case with non-race neutral comments.” Further, she alleges, “Spitzer was seeking to sanitize his comments and prevent, or at least delay the mandatory discovery of these statements to the defense in the Buggs case. Miller was further aware that Assembly Bill # 2542 the ‘Racial Justice Act’ made ‘all evidence relevant to a potential violation’ discoverable.”
The complaint continues that she reasonably believed “that Spitzer’s prior non-race neutral statements made in or around June of 2020, e.g., suggesting a prosecutor be assigned a case, because she was African-American; and comments at a November 2, 2020, Executive meeting regarding the selection of an OCDA investigator to accompany him, where Spitzer stated, ‘I need a brown or a black face there at the NAACP meeting,’ would also be discoverable.”
The complaint continues, Miller “was concerned that Spitzer’s November 30, 2021, statement would be discovered to defense attorneys, who would thereby be misled. Not only would they be misled, but Spitzer’s November 30, 2021, could be viewed as an obstruction of justice.”
In another case, Spitzer impermissibly had a conversation with a defendant who was represented by counsel.
“Spitzer was advised by the Committee that the conversation with a represented defendant was improper…Spitzer would have to be interviewed by an OCDA Investigator” and that interview would then have to be discovered to attorneys of the defendants in that case.
Miller writes, “Spitzer’s materially false and misleading 11/30/21 statement compounded his previous misconduct, put in jeopardy the prosecution of both criminal cases and jeopardized the careers of all the prosecutors who had any responsibilities in either case.”
But the day would get worse for Todd Spitzer.
Video surfaced late Tuesday showing Todd Spitzer using the N-Word three times despite censoring himself when saying the F-Word. The video also shows Spitzer using a slur directed toward the Arab community during a meeting with the Iranian American Bar Association.
“Despite censoring other swear words, Todd Spitzer is eerily comfortable blurting out racial slurs directed at the Black and Muslim community,” said his opponent, Pete Hardin.
“Spitzer’s ignorance of the offensive nature of his racist language in the context of numerous documented racist tendencies disqualifies Spitzer from serving as our chief law enforcement officer. Todd Spitzer is the embodiment of institutional racism and he must resign.”
Four conservative prosecutors have pulled their endorsements for Spitzer including San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan, Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin, and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.
One who has not is Jeff Reisig, the Yolo County DA and also the president of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA).
The OC Watch reported that they spoke to Wendy Wilcox, Reisig’s assistant, who said he was “out of the office last week, and out of the state this week.”
Cynthia Rodriguez told the OC Watch Reisig’s silence is “yet another example of how Yolo’s current district attorney’s ideology is out of step with Yolo County residents, and how his policies are ill suited to tackle our public safety challenges.”
Rodriguez added: “If his commitment to serving all of our residents means anything he will withdraw his support and call on Spitzer to resign.”