Hate has no place in Orange County

Pastor Mark Whitlock of the Christ Our Redeemer Church wears a No Place for Hate pin Friday morning at the Civic Center Plaza in Irvine. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By TODD SPITZER Orange County Register PUBLISHED:September 29, 2019

Hate does not belong in Orange County. It does not belong anywhere.

But hate is here. And it is becoming more and more frequent.

Muslims. African Americans. Members of the Jewish community. LGBT people. Different backgrounds, but united in their status as targets —and victims —of hate.

Fists hurt. And so do words.

Hate crimes and hate incidents have increased in Orange County every year since 2015.

Orange County has seen a 12% increase in hate crimes, and a 37% increase in hate incidents from 2017, according to the 2018 Hate Crimes Report released this week by the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

A pregnant African American woman waiting at a bus stop targeted because of the color of her skin.

Nazi propaganda posters scattered across an Orange County high school and college.

A 19-year-old Jewish and gay college student stabbed to death, his body left in a park.

As the newly elected District Attorney of Orange County, I will not tolerate hate infiltrating our schools, our workplaces, and our society.

I don’t care who you love, but I do care about who you hate.

I am prosecuting and will continue to prosecute hate crimes and hate incidents to the fullest extent of the law.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is working to change the mindset of the Orange County bench when it comes to sentencing hate crimes. Haters must be held accountable.

That is why I showed up at the North Justice Center in April to hold a third-strike white supremacist accountable.

Tyson Mayfield attacked a young pregnant African American woman sitting at a bus stop, threatening to “drop her baby” and hurling racial slurs. Eight-months pregnant, this young woman ran for her life —and the life of her unborn baby.

In 2005, Mayfield stabbed a man in the face in Orange, punched a man at a gas station, and in 2017, repeatedly punched a manin the face after he didn’t have a lighter. The attacks were all unprovoked; his victims were all people of color.

Mayfield faced life in prison. Judge Roger B. Robbins disregarded his history of violence and hate and had offered him two years. After I objected, he increased the court’s offer to five years.

A slap on the wrist for the lifetime of trauma he inflicted.His latest victim shook in court as she described the attack and the thoughts that raced through her head as she ran. “I don’t like pregnant n like you,” he told her.

She was alone at that bus stop; but she wasn’t alone in that courtroom.The seats were filled with members of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and Christ Our Redeemer Church. Shoulder to shoulder we stood tall against hate.

And we will keep showing up and stand tall against hate and those who hate.

Together, our voices will drown out hateful rhetoric and send a clear message: There is no place for hate in Orange County.

Todd Spitzer is the District Attorney of Orange County.