-Brooke Crum, Houston Chronicle
The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas said he will "look into" derogatory comments about minorities and President Barack Obama posted on Facebook by a Beaumont-based assistant U.S. attorney.
an attorney in the criminal division, posted comments on a private
Facebook page in response to a status update backing stand your ground
laws. He made reference to Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year-old killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in a July trial of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
Craft wrote: "How are you fixed for Skittles and Arizona watermelon
fruitcocktail (and maybe a bottle of Robitussin, too) in your
neighborhood? I am fresh out of "purple drank." So, I may come by for a
visit. In a rainstorm. In the middle of the night. In a hoodie. Don't
get upset or anything if you see me looking in your window ... kay?"
Martin, who was wearing a hoodie when he was fatally shot on Feb. 26,
2012, was returning to father's Sanford, Fla. home after going to a
nearby store for a package of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea.
In another comment, Craft wrote that "low information voters carried
the day for the Dalibama in the last election" and posted an image of a
graphic that said: "Obama: Why Stupid People Shouldn't Vote."
The Chronicle received an email of a screen capture of the Facebook
interaction, with the name of the other participant redacted.
Asked about his comments Monday, Craft said they "were not related to the U.S. Attorney's office" and had no other comment.
John Malcolm Bales,
U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, said his office does
not have a social media policy but said he did not agree with Craft's
comments and found any discriminatory sentiments "reprehensible."
He regretted that they were in the public domain but said that the
almost 5,000 U.S. attorneys employed nationwide were entitled to their
opinions on public issues.
The U.S. Attorney's Office does not allow attorneys to speak on
behalf of the office, Bales said, and as far as he could see, Craft did
not announce his views as a U.S. attorney.
"It speaks ill of our office in connection," Bales said. "We don't think like that. We don't act like that."
He would not say whether Craft would face disciplinary action.
Craft is a veteran U.S. attorney who prosecuted bank robber John Steve Stark,
the so-called "Handsome Bandit," and a Liberty County sheriff's captain
who illegally bought and sold police guns and ammunition, as well as a
major cocaine distribution ring responsible for money laundering and
drug-trafficking in the region.
Bales said his office hires educated professionals to perform public
service and expected them to conduct themselves properly. He did not
want this incident to distract from his office's work.
"We are doing cases for the right reasons," he said.