WASHINGTON — A federal prosecutor arrested for drunk driving used anti-gay slurs and other abusive language, misused his authority, and threatened the jobs of law enforcement officers, according to an inspector general report obtained by BuzzFeed News.
According to the report, the prosecutor, who is not named, was initially cooperative when he was arrested and given a field sobriety test. But witnesses told the inspector general’s office that the man’s behavior grew increasingly abusive — one of the arresting officers said the prosecutor called him names including “faggot,” “dumb rookie,” and “retarded,” and continued to “belittle” the officer once they arrived at the jail. Other witnesses reported hearing the man refer to officers as “retard or retarded,” “pussy,” and “bitch or bitches.”
The inspector general’s office noted that all nine law enforcement witnesses interviewed as part of the investigation specifically reported hearing the man repeatedly use the anti-gay slur. The witnesses, whose names were redacted, included the arresting officers, jail officials, and a US Department of Homeland Security employee who was present at the jail.
One witness at the jail reported that the man threatened to “sue his ass,” and other witnesses reported hearing the former prosecutor use threatening language, including, “I will prosecute every single one of you,” “Wait until I get out,” and “Do you know who the fuck I am?” One witness told investigators that the man said, “You don’t know who you are messing with. I’m going to have all of your jobs.”
The report doesn’t disclose the identity of the prosecutor, where he worked, or how long he served as an assistant US attorney — the inspector general’s office redacted identifying information in a version provided to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, citing exemptions for privacy.
The prosecutor is no longer with the Justice Department; he resigned during the investigation. The report indicated that the inspector general’s Dallas field office carried out the investigation, but the unredacted sections did not confirm that was where the prosecutor worked. The Dallas field office’s investigations are not limited to the US attorney’s office in Dallas.
The report also did not address whether the incident affected any cases the prosecutor had worked on, including whether he worked on cases involving LGBTQ people or discrimination. A Justice Department spokesperson did not return a request for comment. The inspector general’s office redacted the date of the man’s arrest; the report is dated March 3.
The prosecutor refused to cooperate with the inspector general’s investigation, according to the report. The inspector general’s office can subpoena and compel current Justice Department employees to testify, but the office lacks that power once an employee has left the department. In addition to witness interviews, investigators had access to body camera footage of the arrest, which included audio, and video recordings from the jail that did not include audio.
One witness said officers gave the prosecutor several chances to comply with commands at the jail because of his position, but he refused. Earlier during his arrest, the man expressed concern that he’d face violence at the jail because he was a prosecutor, but officials told the inspector general’s office that he was kept separate from the general population; they said he received the same treatment that an official in a similar position would have received.
The inspector general report indicates that video footage from the jail, which didn’t include audio, showed the man appearing to argue with jail employees “and physically resist their control techniques.”
The prosecutor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. The inspector general’s office redacted his sentence in the report, but an unredacted section indicates the sentence was deferred while he was under court supervision and required that he have a breath test machine attached to his car.
The inspector general office concluded that the now-former prosecutor “displayed conduct unbecoming a federal employee when he was intermittently verbally abusive, non-compliant, and threatening towards the arresting officers and jail officials,” the report states. The office also found that the man “misused his position” by suggesting officers should release him because he was a federal prosecutor and threatening law enforcement officers with legal action or getting them fired.