DA defends ending deals with lawyer who called office racist

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The district attorney in Pittsburgh is defending his decision to stop offering plea deals to clients of a Black criminal defense lawyer who accused the prosecutor’s office of racial bias in court last month. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. released a memo Thursday that had halted plea deal talks with clients of Milton Raiford. Zappala has described Raiford’s comments as a “convoluted critical diatribe.” Raiford said in a phone interview Thursday that Zappala was “enforcing something in America that’s wicked and evil and discriminatory — racism.” Raiford says people are tired of being afraid of the police. He said he’s unsure how Zappala can prosecute any of his cases.

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