Without citing evidence to back up her claims, the district attorney for Georgia’s Western Judicial Circuit last month compared her constituents in Oconee County to white supremacists.
That woman, Deborah Gonzalez, said those Oconee County residents wish to do her harm.
Gonzalez represents a district that includes not only Oconee but Athens-Clarke counties. Athens-Clarke County’s political climate is strongly liberal. Oconee County’s political climate, meanwhile, is very conservative, according to BestPlaces.net
Gonzalez did not return The Georgia Star News’ requests for comment on Monday.
Gonzalez, on her Twitter feed, represents herself as politically progressive and promotes left-of-center causes.
In a December 18 email, Gonzalez told supporters about a skirmish she witnessed that week in Oconee County. A man patronizing a restaurant allegedly assaulted a member of the Oconee County Democrats. This, as members of that group gathered together for a holiday dinner, as reported by The Athens Banner-Herald.
In her email, Gonzalez said Oconee County residents are dangerous.
“I was faced with the surreal reality that I can walk on the Block, Vine Street, a place so many feel is the most dangerous place in Athens, and find friends, good neighbors and know I am safe, that the community has my back; but that I can’t walk alone in Watkinsville, Oconee, because white supremacists are out to get me. Justice is on the agenda,” Gonzalez said.
“I am in fact the most hated woman in Oconee because of the work I am doing. That does not mean I do not have supporters who have my back there — but that there are those who now perpetuate hate and division via social media groups and conspire how to get rid of me as DA.”
Gonzalez said she would never go to Oconee County again unescorted.
“On one hand, I take it as a badge of honor, because if they were not upset then I would be doing what every one of my predecessors had done. Perpetuate a racist system designed to oppress black, brown, and poor people,” Gonzalez wrote.
“On the other hand, I understand the reality of the division in our circuit and the sad state of affairs – I am a Latina, WOC, female elected DA — the first of my kind in GA. I am being dehumanized and demonized for my values and work towards criminal justice reform.”
Gonzalez apologized for her remarks earlier this month in a statement she co-signed with Oconee County commissioners.
“District Attorney Gonzalez deeply regrets the unfortunate choice of language used in a recent email she sent regarding these matters. While DA Gonzalez only intended to single out the actions of a few, she understands why Oconee County was offended by these comments. It was not her intent to cause such offense, and DA Gonzalez apologizes,” according to the statement.
“We also discussed whether splitting the Western Judicial Circuit was in the best interests of the residents of Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties. While no consensus exists, we agree the decision to make a change in the circuit should not be based on the election of an individual district attorney.”
In the statement, members of the Oconee County Government said they would hold quarterly scheduled meetings with members of Gonzalez’s office to ensure public safety.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Deborah Gonzalez” by Deborah Gonzalez, DA Western Judicial Circuit – GA.