California District Attorney Todd Spitzer is in hot water after racist comments he made about a Black murder defendant were leaked to the public last week. Now Spitzer is losing some of his supporters, with a few calling for him to resign.
Spitzer’s racist remarks were made during an Oct 1 meeting with city prosecutors as they discussed whether they would pursue the death penalty against Jamon Buggs.
Buggs, who is a Black man, was charged in the April 2019 deaths of Darren Partch and Wendi Miller.
According to authorities, Buggs committed the murders because he was jealous of his white ex-girlfriend.
A leaked memo revealed during the Oct 1 meeting Spitzer made remarks about Buggs’ ex-girlfriends, although the topic of Buggs’ relationships seemed irrelevant to the conversation.
The memo, which was leaked by ex-prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh, also revealed Spitzer continued his inappropriate banter by stating that Black men dated white women to, “get themselves out of their bad circumstances and bad situations.”
Spitzer’s remarks have sparked quite a bit of controversy in Ocean County. On Tuesday protesters ascended on Spitzer’s office demanding he resigns immediately.
“The disgusting and atrociously racist beliefs of D.A. Spitzer disqualifies him from being an elected official at any level,” said Rick Callender, president of the California and Hawaii State Conference NAACP, in an interview with LA Times. “No member of modern civilized society would support or even condone these kinds of Jim Crow views and statements.”
Spitzer apologized for his remarks in a statement insisting he’s not racist and his words were taken out of context.
“I used an example that was insensitive,” he said in his statement. “I am not perfect, but an inartful comment during an hours-long debate in a double murder case is not reflective of my core beliefs or the years I have spent fighting to make our society more equitable and our communities safe for everyone.”
Surprisingly, Spitzer has found support from some Black leaders in Orange County.
Rev. Mark Whitlock, the founder of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in California, believes Spitzer is not a racist and deserves a second chance.
“My Christianity teaches forgiveness, and not to throw stones to cancel a person’s career and character,” said Former Orange County pastor Rev. Mark Whitlock in a statement to the Orange County Register. “Spitzer has been a friend for more than 25 years and is not a racist.”
Spitzer has also received support from the president of the Black Chamber of Orange County, Bobby McDonald. “It saddens me to see race be so casually and inappropriately used as the go-to political weapon to club your adversaries,” McDonald told the Orange County Register. “I am grateful we have a district attorney who is willing to have tough conversations and give serious consideration to how racism may have impacted a particular case.”
Although Spitzer has support from a few Black leaders in Orange County doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods by no stretch of the imagination. The June 7 primary for his district attorney’s seat is right around the corner and his racist comments will be revisited once election season rolls around.