Wash. Co. prosecutor's Facebook post stirs racial concerns

D.A.'s racial profiling post raises questions

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- A Washington County prosecutor’s personal Facebook post is arousing concerns, because of remarks that appear to endorse racial profiling.

Deputy District Attorney Zoe Smith's Facebook page is protected by privacy settings, but a screenshot of a post that appears to be written by her has been circulating among defense lawyers and media outlets.

This is what the post says, in its entirety: "I keep reading about the anti-politically correct movement to support Trump. For the record, I'm on board. 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. I'm more concerned about the environment in which we live and economic equality for those who work. Tell me how you plan to fix that, Mr. Trump.”

Smith has not yet commented to KGW about the Facebook post, nor the reaction to it.

In a report in the Portland Tribune, Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association President Edward Kroll said he sent a letter Sunday to Smith's boss, Washington County District Attorney Robert Hermann, outlining his concerns about the Facebook post.

“When a member of your office publicly voices that racial profiling is ‘just common sense,’ frankly, it is terrifying,” Kroll wrote. “Given Washington County's diversity and future growth potential, I trust this is not a message that your office would support.”

The Tribune reported that Hermann responded in an email which said:  "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 witnesses fairly and justly. Any messaging to the contrary erodes the public’s confidence in all the good work so many people do... 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 and discussing with her the potential effect they may have on members of our community."

The Tribune article also quoted this response from Smith, which they said came via email:  “I have always supported treating every person equally regardless of race, religion, gender, or class.”

People who are friends with Smith on Facebook noted that she made a later post, apologizing for hurting the feelings of some people she cares about and explaining that her comment was intended to "further an ongoing political discussion," but was "not meant to be taken literally."


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