Johnson County dep. prosecutor resigns over email
Jennie Runevitch/Eyewitness News
Johnson County - For the second time in a month, an Indiana prosecutor has lost his job because of volatile comments about unions.
Johnson County Deputy prosecutor Carlos Lam resigned Thursday, after admitting to writing an email to the Wisconsin governor, encouraging violence.
It suggested hiring someone to stage a fake attack with weapons on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, in order to stem the uproar over collective bargaining and undercut union support.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism obtained the email, which was sent February 19th from Lam's personal account.
In it, he suggested Walker "employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you or even use a firearm against you, to discredit the public unions".
Eyewitness News tried to speak with Lam, but no one answered the door at his Indianapolis home.
When first confronted with the email, he told Wisconsin journalists he was "flabbergasted", he didn't write it, and he would never encourage fake violence.
But early Thursday, Lam called his boss, the prosecutor in Johnson County, and admitted to everything.
In a statement to Eyewitness News, prosecutor Bradley Cooper said:
"Over the weekend, on his own time and on his own personal computer, one of my deputy prosecutors sent an email to Governor Walker of Wisconsin that contained a foolish suggestion. He originally denied sending the email, claiming that his hotmail account had been hacked into. Early this (Thursday) morning, the deputy contacted me from his home, admitted to me that he did send the email to Governor Walker and tendered his resignation, which I have accepted."
Indiana University Law Professor Frances Watson says despite the suggestion of violence, criminal charges are not likely.
Words are protected under the Constitution.
"It's not a crime in and of itself just to suggest violence. Otherwise every time somebody says 'I'm going to kill him', you might face criminal consequences. You have to be careful what you say on your accounts. It will come back to haunt you. It may not be criminal but it has repercussions for your life, especially if you're in a profession that's supposed to be held to the highest standards in adherence to the law," said Watson.
Lam sent the email when there were daily protests by union members in Wisconsin.
Around the same time, words came back to haunt Indiana Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Cox. He was fired in February for a tweet that said police should use live ammunition against labor protesters.