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A Washington state prosecutor says he’s being forced out of office over “racially motivated attacks” from critics who claim he’s too soft on crime.
Okanogan County Prosecutor Arian Noma, a Republican who was elected to a four-year term in 2018, penned his resignation letter earlier this month and is expected to leave office on Jan. 15, the Spokesman-Review reported.
In the letter, Noma said the “unequivocally un-American” attacks were part of a “racist campaign” against him, including a Facebook page set up by vociferous critics for the “sole purpose” of harassing both he and his young children.
“I routinely received vile attacks about my race, ancestry, and even the color of my skin,” Noma wrote. “Throughout the campaign, this same group continuously used the well-known racial epithet ‘boy’ when referring to me.”
The Facebook page — “No More Noma for Prosecutor” — has accused him of giving “no more than a slap on the wrist” in murder, assault, rape and burglary convictions and claimed in August that his work attendance had been “spotty at best.”
Photos of his personal truck were also posted on the page, launched in late July, he said.
Noma’s ancestry includes Native American, immigrant and black heritage, according to the newspaper.
The prosecutor said the “undue” attacks were never lobbed against white predecessors while claiming that racism is “far more pervasive” in Okanogan County than he ever imagined.
“Before being elected, I had a successful private practice,” Noma’s letter continued. “I took a pay cut to serve as a public employee because I thought Okanogan County desired change, I believe that doing the best for our community required personal sacrifice. However, I have no duty to suffer holdover covert racism and dehumanizing ignorance in service to my community and country.”
Noma also cited a crushing backlog of cases and an understaffed office in his resignation letter.
“The dockets will not be relieved of the overburden until we can assign more staff to the job,” Noma wrote. “The backlog in cases was a mess I inherited, but it was because this office has always been underfunded. In short, we are tasked with fighting a war that costs $10 on a budget of $1, or to look at it another way, we are asked to fight tanks and guns with bows and rocks.”
Noma declined to elaborate last week on his letter until after he steps down, the Spokesman-Review reported.
The Facebook page that Noma referenced, meanwhile, claimed in a rebuttal that his accusations of “systematic racism” were unfounded and had nothing to do with race, but rather to keep an elected official “accountable for his actions.”
“We do not care about the color of their skin, we care about the danger imposed on our families by criminals Arian Noma failed to prosecute,” a Dec. 10 posting reads, citing news of Noma’s looming resignation.
“Let it be known, any comments regarding Arian Noma’s biography or history were made with the intention of showing inconsistent tendencies, false statements and an overall lack of competency to carry out the responsibilities of his office,” the posting continued. “Nothing we do is race driven; we strive for accountability and integrity in our elected officials.”
The Okanogan County Republican Party is now tasked with recommending Noma’s replacement to county commissioners. Under state law, any elected prosecutor must be registered to vote in the county and be allowed to practice law. Two candidates had applied as of last week, the Spokesman-Review reported.
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