DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The former Dallas County assistant district attorney, who was fired Monday after lashing out at an Uber driver, spoke to the media for the first time on Tuesday morning. The heated encounter between Jody Warner and driver Shaun Platt was caught on camera, and Warner addressed the situation publicly.
“I embarrassed my family and I embarrassed myself,” said Warner. “That’s not who I am.”
The incident happened last Friday night when Warner, who admitted to drinking a bit too much, called for an Uber to take her back home from a pub. Platt was the driver who arrived. He said that the former assistant district attorney became belligerent, hit him, belittled him and threatened him during the trip.
Warner: I want to go home so badly, but you’re so stupid. I want the cops to come and **** you up!
Platt: Ma’am, please.
Warner: No! Everything’s being recorded. I’m an assistant district attorney, so shut the **** up!
The 26-year-old driver stated that Warner tried to use her job title as a tool of intimidation, and implied that her relationship with law enforcement officers would help her in the scuffle. Warner had accused Platt of refusing to take her home, beacuse he was allegedly not following the directions given by his navigational device.
Platt: I’m asking you politely to please step out of my vehicle.
Warner: No, because now I’m pissed the **** off! Either drop me off at my house or wait for the cops. I’m not leaving.
Platt: I’m waiting for the cops.
Warner: We’ll wait for the cops.
Warner explained Tuesday that she became concerned by the driver’s actions when he started taking a route that she did not know, and particularly when he turned down a wrong street. “I was in an uncomfortable situation,” she said. “I’m not trying to make myself a victim.”
The former prosecutor also apologized for the salty language that she used that night. “I’m very sorry for the language I used. I’m not proud of it,” Warner stated, adding that there is no excuse for talking to other people that way. “I’m not trying to make accusations against the driver.”
Warner did, however, say that Platt made “some accusations against me that are not true.”
Platt did not file criminal charges against Warner.
Despite what may or may not have happened Friday night, Warner was fired from her job by Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson on Monday afternoon. Her cases in the office have already been reassigned. Johnson issued a statement which said, “Her behavior is contrary to this office’s core principle of integrity, and it will not be tolerated.”
Johnson also contacted Platt, she said, and apologized to him for Warner’s actions.
But some others are not apologizing. Former judge Elizabeth Frizell and lawyer Pete Schulte also spoke to the media Tuesday, in Warner’s defense. “I don’t believe the DA’s office has all the facts,” Frizell said. “I am asking for the DA to take another look at all the facts.”
“He refused to take her home, she became concerned for her safety,” Frizell added.
“This was a hasty move by Ms. Johnson,” Schulte added, arguing that it should not have been a fireable offense. While he was on hand Tuesday to speak in favor of Warner, Schulte is not actually representing her at this time. It should also be noted that Frizell is campaigning to replace Johnson as the next Dallas County District Attorney.
Johnson issued another statement from her office late Tuesday afternoon:
“Today, I have received additional inquiries about Ms. Warner’s situation. As the leader of this office, I handle personnel decisions with great care and thoughtfulness.
Prior to Ms. Warner’s termination, we spent the weekend investigating the case and interviewing both parties involved, who submitted sworn affidavits. In an effort to provide the utmost transparency, our office is releasing those documents.
Regarding the prosecutor who was terminated earlier this year because of a DWI arrest, she was suspended without pay immediately following the incident pending the results of an investigation. After reviewing all of the evidence of the investigation, she was terminated.
I would like to address a situation involving another prosecutor in my office. A case prosecuted several years ago was recently overturned by the Court of Appeals and sent back for a new trial. The opinion from the Court of Appeals was public record. I did an internal review of that case as well, and determined the appropriate course of action was to discipline the prosecutor and to take action to prevent mistakes regarding disclosure from happening in the future, which includes mandatory ongoing training for all prosecutors.
As the District Attorney, I must take into consideration the specific circumstances of each case, and did so in those referenced above. I remain focused, as I should be, on the work for the people of Dallas County as we seek justice on their behalf.”