Opponent Fanny Willis, who pursued the case for years in the county district attorney’s office, surpassed her old boss in the June Democratic primary, but none of the contestants got 50 percent of the vote, prompting her runoff. Tuesday.
Willis braved the current Howard on Tuesday by a 3-1 margin, according to county election results. With nearly 91% of the reporting areas, Willis had more than 43,000 votes, about 73% of the number, in Howard’s 15,800.
At the beginning of June there were no Republican candidates.
Calling the race “the hottest in America” and reminding reporters that politics is a contact sport, Howard conceded defeat late Tuesday and promised to help ease Willis̵
“What is important to me is to protect the people of this community and I want to make sure that when her first day in office is a reality she is able to continue to protect the people living in Fulton County,” he said. it.
Howard has a lot to be proud of, he said. Not only is he the first African-American district attorney in Georgia, but he won re-election on five occasions.
He is stepping down under a charge, but he did not address them in his concession speech. Rather, he sustained his success in tackling violent crime and murder, reducing the population in Fulton County Jail, and making cities safer during his 23 years in office.
“I came with pride and I am leaving with pride,” he said, explaining that he is particularly proud of his efforts to prosecute police officers accused of killing Black men.
He will continue to fight police brutality in his life after the prosecutor, he said.
“It’s really tough when you’re a man and you have to tell the kids to take care of the police and be careful. I don’t think that’s how we should live in this country and that’s how I will be working to change that,” he said. it.
The assassination of Rayshard Brooks
Chief among Howard police prosecutors was his decision to indict former Atlanta police officers Devin Brosnan and Garrett Rolfe in Brooks’ June murder. Rolfe is charged with murder after he shot Brooks as he fled from officers in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.
Howard critics dismissed the decision as hasty, saying he was immersed in a state investigation and appeared for the purpose of scoring political points amid a heated re-election campaign. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association called the allegations a “great tactic that requires a vote.” Howard denied the allegations, citing as a record the indictment of dozens of police officers since taking office in 1997.
“My hope has always been that we would have a justice system, that it would be the same system for the police as it is with every defendant,” he said Tuesday night. “I’m hoping Ms. Willis will continue that tradition – that when a police officer is involved in some misconduct the DA is the person in charge.”
Willis delivered her short victory speech, embracing her camouflaged team and calling on attendees to get something to eat and go out and social distance.
“I would like to thank all the elected officials who really had the courage to stand up against a mayor and for what he owes,” she said. “I want to thank the voters of this county who believed in me. Tonight is a good night. We did ‘heretics’. I’m just humbled myself and thank you.”
The good and the bad
Howard will retire with a mixed record. While his handling of the trial of NFL player Ray Lewis and two others accused of murder after a Super Bowl party in 2000 was hailed as a failure (Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction; other people acquitted), his successes were numerous.
His controversial decision to prosecute teachers and administrators in the Atlanta Public School fraud scandal ended with 11 defendants convicted of racketeering and other charges. Howard has also proudly promoted his Project Level program, which aims to curb recidivism and his Obedience Integrity Unit. As part of this effort, his office took another look at the 1979-1981 Atlanta child homicides. He also released a prisoner serving a life sentence for a drug offense.
He remains under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which has in the past refused to discuss its investigation with CNN, but a CNN WSB contributor reported that it stemmed from allegations that he did not disclose his government-funded salary to a nonprofit .
Earlier this month, he paid $ 6,500 to settle an issue with the state ethics committee, which charged him with 14 offenses stemming from his alleged failure to disclose his roles in nonprofits, the WSB reported.
Howard had previously said he would be “completely exterminated” in both cases.
Three women have also accused him of sexual behavior, harassment and gender discrimination. Howard has questioned the timing of the trials, which he said came “within weeks of the general election”.
“I think people can see it through him,” he said. “Guy has been in office for 23 years and then a month or two before the election these harassment lawsuits were filed.”
CNN’s Dakin Andone contributed to this report.