DA's office reviewing Washington Co. prosecutor's 'anti-politica - KPTV - FOX 12

DA's office reviewing Washington Co. prosecutor's 'anti-politically correct' Facebook post

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, OR (KPTV) -

A Washington County prosecutor accused of supporting racial profiling in a Facebook post said she was trying to spur "intellectual discussion."

When contacted by FOX 12 on Tuesday, deputy district attorney Zoe Smith said in an email, "I have always supported treating every person equally regardless of race, religion, gender or class. My body of work is evidence of that." 

Smith came under fire, according to a Portland Tribune report, for posting on Facebook that she supports, "the anti-politically correct movement to support Trump," adding, "If you’re looking for a terrorist, look at a young Muslim male. If you’re looking for a gang shooter, look for a young black guy. If you’re looking for a child molester or a mass shooter, look for a white guy. That’s just common sense."

According to the Portland Tribune report, Smith's personal Facebook page is set to private, but screen shots of her post were circulated among defense layers.

Edward Kroll, the president of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said he was forwarded the posts Sunday morning, after they’d made it around to several other lawyers, and wrote Washington County District Attorney Bob Hermann a letter asking him to condemn the statements. 

Kroll said he was “flabbergasted” because he’s always found Smith to be polite and professional, and says no one has ever had anything bad to say about her. 

“I’ve worked with DDA Zoe Smith in the past and I found her to be nothing but professional and polite, and almost all my colleagues would feel the same way," Kroll said. "I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word against her at all, which made this so surprising.”

The Washington County District Attorney's Office released a statement regarding Smith's Facebook post.

I can't be any clearer or say it any stronger than we have stated it before. The Washington County District Attorney's Office in no way supports any message or opinion that "racial profiling" is appropriate, makes "common sense" or has a place in our Criminal Justice system. Our obligation has been and always will be to insure that our Criminal Justice system treats all victims, defendants and other citizens fairly and justly. Any messaging to the contrary erodes the public's confidence in all the good work so many people do. The context, manner of debate or "political fervor" does not diminish the damage or distrust that this messaging creates. Period.

Although Ms. Smith's post was on her own personal account, posted after business hours, unrelated to office business and her specific duties we are nonetheless reviewing them with her and certainly discussing the effect and impact they have on members of our community.

However, as you can understand, employment law and personnel rules very clearly prevent us from commenting further at this time.

Smith made another post on Facebook to apologize for offending those she cares about, both personally and professionally.

She wrote that her initial post was intended to, "further an ongoing political discussion and to make a point. It was not meant to be taken literally or as a comment on what I do for a living."

For those who know me, you know that I am open-minded and a pragmatist. I usually want to cut to the chase and find a solution. My point was first and foremost that we are all in this together. Every group of people has their stars and those they'd rather disclaim. My point was only, let's acknowledge that and then move on. We don't have to believe every stereo-type but sometimes they can help frame the issue. One of my favorite quotes is by Chimamanga Ngozi Adich, an author. She explains, "The problem with stereo-types is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete." That's how I feel. To ignore race, or education, or background is un-productive. Acknowledge it and move on to a solution that works for us all. I hope this helps give some context to my point. I have always tried very hard to give everyone I interact with a fair shake. This was purely an intellectual discussion, not a play-book for law enforcement.

Kroll does not think this incident will affect his dealings with Smith, saying he doesn’t know the context of the post and that he thinks this was an error in judgment. But while he does not want to condemn Smith, but does want the DA Hermann to condemn the statement. 

“We want to know, and the people of Washington county deserve to know, that statements like this are not something the elected officials would ever get behind and that is not the goal of any law enforcement or prosecution service,” he said.

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