Newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon is beginning his tenure with a radical pro-criminal “reform” agenda. In an open letter to Los Angeles police officers, Gascon accused them of engaging in “unconstitutional policing.” Gascon said that he intends to reopen several police shooting cases that his predecessor, Jackie Lacey – the first woman and first African American to serve as LA district attorney – had declined to prosecute. Gascon outlined how he would upend the rule of law and downplay the protection of law-abiding Los Angeles residents in order to fulfill his mission of “justice” for criminals. He supports diverting funds from the police and instituting community-based health and social services as an alternative to jail and prosecution.
Gascon left no doubt regarding his radical vision of a “reformed” criminal justice system years ago. “I would say we have to hack our justice system,” he said. “And the first hack is that we have to turn our court system upside down.” Not surprisingly, Gascon has become a darling of the progressive left.
George Soros donated more than $2.5 million to Gascon’s LA district attorney campaign. Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley endorsed him. So did presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and California’s Governor Gavin Newsom.
Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter who has called herself a trained Marxist, also endorsed Gascon. The anti-capitalist Working Families Party climbed aboard the Gascon train as well.
Not to be undone, the LA public defenders’ union supported Gascon too. Why not? With his anti-police, anti-incarceration bias, Gascon might as well be sitting at their defense table in court.
Progressives were overjoyed with Gascon’s victory. “This is an important win to show that people can and will hold even the most powerful DA in the country accountable,” Black Lives Matter member and BLD PWR founder Kendrick Sampson said in a statement. Black Lives Matter mobilized their supporters to oust Lacey, who they thought was too supportive of the police.
Gascon is chomping at the bit to oblige his leftist cheerleaders and take on the mantle of the ultraprogressive district attorney.
“You can expect that I will work to reduce incarceration and punishment except in those circumstances in which punishment is proportional, is in the community’s best interest, and serves a rehabilitative or restorative purpose,” Gascon said. In that spirit, Gascon wants to eliminate most cash bail, allowing the release of so-called “non-violent” suspects. “We will be the largest office in the nation in eliminating cash bail,” Gascon boasted. NPR has reported that Gascon has already issued a directive instructing prosecutors “to ask the court for the criminal defendant’s release.”
Not only will Gascon’s office stop pursuing prison enhancements for future gang-related crimes and for the use of a gun. Gascon intends to reopen prior cases and seek reduced sentences for potentially thousands of criminals convicted of such crimes. Gascon will also sidestep California’s three-strike law even potentially for those offenders who had previous convictions for rape, murder or child molestation. “Enhancements, a legacy of the ‘tough-on-crime’ era, are a principal driver of excessive sentences & mass incarceration,” Gascon tweeted. “CA enacted over 100 enhancements which are outdated, incoherent, & applied unfairly.” Gascon forgets that he was elected as a district attorney to prosecute alleged crimes, not as a legislator to repeal or amend state laws he does not like.
As to the death penalty, which Gascon called “racist” and “morally untenable,” LA’s new district attorney said that “it’s off the table in LA County.”
Gascon’s career included decades of service in the Los Angeles Police Department, which he is now assailing. He headed San Francisco’s District Attorney office from 2011 to 2019, during which time he wreaked havoc on the office, according to a San Francisco Deputy District Attorney, Nancy Tung, who reported to Gascon.
Citing a study by the Public Policy Institute of California that had been released in the fall of 2019, Tung wrote that “San Francisco had the third highest rate of violent crime in the state. With respect to property crime, San Francisco has the highest property crime rate. Despite this high level of crime, San Francisco ranks 46th in arrest rates.”
Tung offered her first-hand critique of Gascon’s dismal performance as San Francisco’s district attorney:
“Reputationally, San Francisco is now widely regarded as the place where you can commit a crime and get away with it. And when you have a weak DA like George Gascon, it’s no wonder San Francisco has gone by the wayside, crooks commute into San Francisco to commit crime, and why many were celebrating his departure… George Gascon wreaked havoc on the San Francisco DA’s Office and the City as a whole. I just hope he doesn’t get an opportunity to ruin Los Angeles as well.”
Unfortunately, Los Angeles voters did not heed the warning. They have chosen as their new district attorney an enemy of law enforcement who will release hardened criminals from prison and let others remain on the street.