Racial slur forces Assistant DA’s resignation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 5, 2004

A voice mail message containing a racial slur led to one Dallas County assistant district attorney’s resignation on Tuesday.

Parke Keith, who resigned his position with District Attorney Ed Greene’s office Tuesday afternoon, left a message on attorney April England-Albright’s answering machine containing the slur on Friday. “A racial slur such as this cannot be tolerated in this office,” Greene said. “It exhibits an attitude of racism that has no place here.”

According to Albright, the message was in response to one she left Keith last Thursday. The two were corresponding about a case this week and as Keith ended the message, he spoke the slur.

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Greene visited Albright around 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss the matter. “I wanted him to hear the tape,” Albright said. “I wanted him to hear it himself.”

Albright said that Greene asked what she wanted and if she wanted an apology. Albright said that she didn’t take the slur personally and didn’t need an apology. “It wasn’t really about me,” Albright said. “Anyone who has these sentiments doesn’t need to be working there. It was necessary for this to happen. It was a quick resolution.”

According to Albright, Greene said he would return to his office and handle the matter. She was contacted later and told of Keith’s resignation.

Greene said that he has sought racial diversity in his office. “However private or non-published the intent was, the fact remains that a racial slur was involved,” Greene added.

Keith’s resignation leaves Greene’s office even more shorthanded. Assistant District Attorney Robert Henry died April 20. Assistant District Attorney Mickey Avery is currently serving in the armed forces and isn’t expected to return for months.

Keith served as a prosecutor for the City of Selma for several years before joining former District Attorney Roy Johnson’s office on a part-time basis. He became full time about four years ago.