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Monday, October 18, 2021
FairfaxOpinionEditorial: Top prosecutor embarrasses himself

Editorial: Top prosecutor embarrasses himself

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We had coverage last week of a verbal altercation that took place when Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano and his chief deputy took offense at being forced to go through metal detectors to get into the Fairfax County Courthouse on Sept. 28.

“Don’t you know who I am?” Descano reportedly said in one of his less profane responses to being directed to use the X-ray machine, according to the incident report written up by the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, which called out the top prosecutor and his sidekick for displaying “disrespect and unprofessionalism” during the incident.

(If you are gathering there may not be the best of blood between the lefty prosecutor and the rank-and-file public-safety personnel, that’s the conclusion we came to, too.)

As good media outlets do, we did reach out to Descano’s office to get his side of the story, but did not get a timely response. Free PR advice to them: You should have acknowledged the incident and apologized for it, then moved on with life. Stonewalling simply makes a bad situation worse.

As the headline stripped across the front of our Fairfax paper last week put it, this appears to have been a “The rules are for thee but not for me” moment from yet another elected official.

Ordinarily, attorneys of all stripes who have undergone background checks can come into the courthouse without having to go through screening. But on occasion – and this was one – there is more stringent security put in place, and everyone (everyone) has to be screened with the exception of public-safety officers in uniform.

Either Descano didn’t know that heightened screening was in place (the report says he was told) or he thought he was too important to be bothered. Instead of complying and sorting it out later, he caused a fuss and made a scene. His deputy apparently made an even bigger scene. Sigh.

If the report from the Sheriff’s Office on the incident is substantially correct – and we have no reason to believe it is not – it paints a picture of an entitled, spoiled, arrogant elected official who cannot or will not follow rules put in place for a valid reason.

The only conclusion one can draw? Descano must be angling for a seat in Congress, where such poor behavior is par for the course.

For a Fairfax prosecutor, especially the top prosecutor, it should not be.

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