Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said his goal is to focus on justice but also the safety of the community. “You don’t have to choose between justice and security,” he told the crowd at the January 28 re-election.
Descano criticized his opponent in the Democratic Primary, Ed Nuttallfor “spending the last 20 years defending bad cops that bring our police into disrepute.”
Nuttall, a partner in the law firm of Carroll Nuttall, was an assistant state’s attorney for Fairfax County from 1999-2002. He has not officially launched his campaign. The first is June 20.
“Any time there’s a police shooting, any time there’s a beating, any time there’s an internal affairs investigation, they turn to my partner,” Descano said. .
In one instance, he said Nuttall defended the officer who arrested Elon Wilson, an African American firefighter who was pulled over in Fairfax County in 2018 on a trumped-up charge.
A dashcam image showed that Wilson did nothing wrong and did not cross a double yellow line as police claimed, Descano said. It was later revealed that the police officer, Jonathan Freitag, had made hundreds of traffic stops because of racism.
When Descano was elected state attorney in 2019, he reversed Wilson’s prosecution. Wilson later won a lawsuit against the county.
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Descano said his focus on the trial is different from the approach taken by the former attorney general’s office. “They are more concerned about transporting documents and transporting cases than they are concerned about doing justice.” An office that “not only turned a blind eye to racial and economic differences, but made them worse.”
“They sent many people down the path of crime. They were more willing to serve the needs of the office and the people in this way than serving our community,” he said.
One of Descano’s first actions as a prosecutor was to stop asking for bail. “We are done with the way people behave differently based on how much money they have.”
“Are we going to create a justice system that is based on our values, justice, equality, justice, and doing the right thing to help people?” he said. “Are we going to go back to the old boy-boy relationship just to move the issues?”
That attitude led to sharp criticism in conservative circles. “We know we have a big target on our back,” he said. Although a Republican candidate has not emerged, it seems that there is one who will focus on the level of crime in the district.
“There are people with deep pockets who want to stop the movement,” Descano said. “We cannot allow that to happen.”