ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- Community groups called for the resignation of Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer on Tuesday after he was accused of making racist remarks while discussing a high-profile murder case last year.
According to a memo obtained by Eyewitness News last week, the comments were made during a meeting regarding the case of Jamon Buggs. Buggs was charged with murdering two people due to alleged jealousy over an ex-girlfriend, who is white.
The memo, which was written by former Senior Assistant District Attorney Brahim Baytieh in Dec. 2021, stated the purpose of the meeting was for senior prosecutors to recommend appropriate punishment for Buggs, who is Black.
The recommendations were either life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
According to the memo, Spitzer asked about the race of the defendant's prior female girlfriends and or victims. He allegedly said, "He knows many Black people who get themselves out of their bad circumstances and bad situations by only dating white women."
"The racist remarks surely disqualify him from office," said Lori Condinum with the National Action Network, a civil rights group founded by Reverend Al Sharpton.
"The fact that race entered the conversation when government-sanctioned murder was on the table brings into question the integrity of our entire criminal justice system," said Darlene Futrel with the National Action Network of Orange County.
The controversy comes in the middle of Spitzer's re-election campaign.
"When Todd Spitzer sat in that room with other prosecutors weighing whether or not to pursue the death penalty in the case against a Black man and the racist remarks ... that tells us that he has no integrity," said Penelope Lopez with CHISPA, a nonprofit that works to grow and support Latinx voters.
Spitzer's office would not comment on the demonstration on Tuesday.
He issued a statement to Eyewitness News that reads in part, "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."
The groups that gathered on Tuesday also called on the California Attorney General's Office to launch an investigation.
When asked, a spokesperson for the California Attorney General's Office said it is aware of Spitzer's alleged comments but so far, it's not providing any updates.