BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County District Attorney’s office on Wednesday called recent social media posts apparently made by a former prosecutor “disrespectful” and “inexcusable.”
The photos and captions appear to have been posted from the ex-employee’s social media account shortly after her final day on the job, according to a release from the office. They depict the former employee and three current employees at locations in Bakersfield that have experienced “more than their fair share of gang violence,” the release says.
The posts are captioned “Hood Run” and contain hashtags identifying different street gangs in the areas where the photos were taken.
District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer condemned the posts. She said in the news release she has spent her career improving and protecting county areas impacted by gang violence.
“Let me be clear: It is unacceptable and inexcusable that a former employee would post something so offensive and disrespectful to the communities we work so hard to protect,” Zimmer said. “The attitude, commentary, and behavior of the former employee does not reflect the values of the hundreds of employees at the District Attorney’s Office and does not reflect the behavior and values that I demand from all employees. I have directed a full investigation into the conduct of the former employee and others involved and will take every action necessary to ensure that such a betrayal to our community and to the values of this office are not allowed to recur.”
Defense attorney Jared Thompson, a board member for the criminal defense section of the Kern County Bar Association, credited Zimmer for her statement decrying the posts. He said he doesn’t believe she or other supervisors were aware of what was planned.
Nevertheless, he said the posts give a poor impression of what the pictured prosecutors think of those areas of the community.
Thompson said the role of a prosecutor is to be fair and objective in all cases, including those involving the people living in the areas where the photos were taken. He called the terminology in the posts, which reference only Black criminal street gangs, “extremely troubling.”
“That kind of terminology and using those words and going to those locations in that role can only be used to denigrate the people that live there,” he said. “It’s so clearly offensive on its face to anyone who lives in that community.”