Travis County prosecutor fired for racial remarks

Gavel - KXAN File

AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) — A Travis County prosecutor has been fired for comments he made in dismissing a prospective juror who was a member of the NAACP, comparing the juror’s membership to white supremacy.

Travis County prosecutor Steve Brand made the comments last month during jury selection for a robbery trial. Transcripts show he rejected the juror because she was an “activist” and had posted on her Facebook page a link to “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” a guide to safe travel for African-Americans in the Jim Crow era.

Brand said he would take the same approach with a white juror because “we wouldn’t want a white activist or a white supremacist.”

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said in a statement that Brand’s comments were racially insensitive:

“Steve Brand’s employment was terminated because he made racially insensitive remarks during jury selection in a felony case. The Court made a finding that a potential juror was struck based on racial reasons, which required her to dismiss the entire jury panel.  Travis County citizens need to know that membership in the NAACP does not disqualify you from jury service in our community.”

Brand’s lawyer, Tom Nesbitt, described Lehmberg’s punishment as “bizarre.”

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