DALLAS (CN) - The Dallas County Commissioners Court fired a white election judge last week after receiving complaints that he posted racial slurs against black people on social media.
Commissioners fired Randy Smith, 43, at their Nov. 1 meeting, by 5-0 vote. They received a complaint on Oct. 10 regarding posts Smith allegedly made on Facebook on July 12, 2015. The posts have been taken down.
"why do people post so much crap on niggers when 3 yrs ago i was stabbed and almost lost my life because of one, i know there some good blacks no offence to them" Smith posted, according to a letter of complaint attached to a letter from the Dallas County Elections Department to Smith, telling him his "immediate removal as Election Judge has been requested."
The letter of complaint, to Assistant Elections Supervisor Tandi Smith, includes two more quotes attributed to Randy Smith's Facebook, all on July 12.
"i know some good blacks so I don't count them if i did it would be done on one hand," the second post states.
The third says: "if anyone questions why i say it spend 27 days in icu with your life on the line and see how you feel".
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins gave Smith the opportunity to respond to the allegations before the vote was taken. A county judge in Texas is the head of the county commission. Texas' 254 county commissions function similarly to a weak-mayor city government, with the county judge, as head, voting as a regular member of the commission.
Smith admitted he posted things on Facebook, but said they were his "personal opinions" and not official positions.
However, the letter of complaint to Tandi Smith says that Randy Smith identifies himself on his Facebook page as "Election Judge, Precinct Chair Dallas County."
Randy Smith told the commissioners "I was not representing the county or the spot of an election judge," according to a recording of the meeting. "I was just stating an opinion which I do realize was wrong. Since then, I have deleted the Facebook account and I am asking that it at least be considered that I have 20 years of experience. They always need election judges and workers. I request some kind of suspension instead of just removal from office. At that time, I did not know what I was saying."
When pressed by Commissioner John Wiley Price as to what the posts actually said, Smith said he did not remember. The audience then burst into laughter.
"You are joking, right?" Price asked incredulously.
"I am serious," Smith replied. "I don't remember everything, honestly."
A member of the audience handed Smith a tablet displaying his Facebook posts. Price pressed Jenkins to have Smith read the posts aloud for the record.
"I want to hear what he said," Price said.
"No, let's not even," Jenkins replied.
"I will admit that was said," Smith said. "Sometimes people say things at the spur of the moment and later come to regret it. That's what basically happened on this. I was wrong but I have deleted the account."
Commissioner Mike Cantrell told Smith before the vote that if he was terminated, his name would have to be resubmitted by the Democratic Party if he wants to be considered for election judge again.
Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole said that election judges must treat other people with respect as part of their job.
"We let them know there are causes that you can be removed for, so we give that to every judge at the beginning of their terms," she said. "They are aware of what the commissioners court expects of them."
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