Todd Spitzer, District Attorney for Orange County, pushed back against political attacks on his community safety efforts. Peter Hardin, who is running against Spitzer for Orange County District Attorney in 2022, has taken to attacking Spitzer’s enhancements to community safety. Hardin has accused Spitzer of “exploit(ing) victims” in his push to crack down on the fentanyl trade.
Recently, Spitzer announced his plans to begin charging fentanyl dealers with murder if they sell drugs to people who overdose and die on those drugs. This comes as rates of opioid deaths have skyrocketed nationwide in recent years, including in Orange County. In 2020 alone, nearly 400 Californians died of fentanyl – a tenfold increase from five years ago.
“These dealers are essentially handing a loaded gun to unsuspecting victims knowing that they will probably die, and they don’t care,” said Spitzer at a press conference last week.
A few days later, Hardin took to Twitter to lash out at Spitzer, saying that “Orange County wants leadership, not showmanship,” and that stiffer penalties do not decrease drug use. He demanded that Spitzer apologize to the victims of the opioid crisis.
Spitzer remains undeterred in his goals, pointing to examples of failed lenient policies that have led to increased crime and disorder in Los Angeles. He pushed back against Hardin’s attack using the hashtag #NoLAinOC, citing Hardin’s “response to my cracking down on Fentanyl drug dealers… is to defend the drug dealers!”
Several other DAs across California have joined with Spitzer in the push to hold fentanyl dealers accountable, but Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, who runs the largest district attorney’s office in the state, has notably declined.