ORANGE COUNTY – Today, the Orange County Human Relations Commission released their 2020 hate crime report, which reveals a lethal rise in hate crimes across the county. Former Marine Corps officer, Deputy District Attorney, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Pete Hardin, who is a candidate for Orange County District Attorney, released the following statement:
“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. Spitzer has failed to keep the most vulnerable members of our community safe, as is evidenced by the 1800% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, 114% rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes, and 23% rise in anti-Black hate crimes.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Current Orange County District Attorney Republican Todd Spitzer’s tenure has been defined by scandal. Four women in Spitzer’s office have filed claims asserting Spitzer promoted an employee and close friend despite having been made aware of the sexual harassment complaints against him. Spitzer later allowed the employee, who was the best man at his wedding, to retire with top flight benefits. 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.
Spitzer has been involved in an evidence booking scandal, a jailhouse informant scandal, and has defamed a victim of OC’s deadliest mass shooting as retaliation for peaceful protest. Spitzer has also 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 has called “unconstitutional.”
Pete Hardin is a former Judge Advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps, Deputy District Attorney, Special Assistant United States Attorney, and one of Southern California’s leading litigators running for Orange County District Attorney. Pete entered public service when, in 2005, he earned his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. A combat veteran, Pete served in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 as a member of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. Pete is a member of the Democratic Party.
Orange County’s rapidly changing electorate has led Democrats to now outnumber Republicans in Orange County holding a 4.1% voter registration advantage.