LOS ANGELES – Today, a coalition of law enforcement executives spoke out to condemn the fear tactics being employed by District Attorney Jackie Lacey and her police union financiers. Additionally, Mr. Gascón released his extensive Alternatives to Incarceration proposal and #TeamGascón released a new ad. The announcements come in the final week of the campaign as District Attorney Jackie Lacey and her supporters have ironically suggested that George Gascón’s record and policies would result in crime and homelessness going up in LA County. This is in spite of data showing that during the time period in which they were both in office, violent crime increased in LA County while it dropped in San Francisco. LA’s homeless population also increased at significantly greater per capita rates.
Watch the full video here.
“She’s not only working with Donald Trump’s fundraisers, she’s using the same fear tactics and lying to Angelenos to scare her way to reelection,” said former District Attorney and LAPD Assistant Chief, George Gascón. “It’s incredibly inappropriate for the President to stoop so low, and it’s unconscionable for LA’s elected District Attorney to follow in his footsteps.”
The clearance rate for homicides doubled while Gascón was Chief of Police and modern tools like the Crime Strategies Unit were employed while he was District Attorney to take down everything from fencing to human trafficking networks. Gascón prosecuted sexual assault at more than double the national average and dramatically shifted resources from low-level drug offenses to the prosecution of violent crime. During his time in office violent crime plummeted to levels not seen since the 1960s. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “San Francisco saw 41 killings in 2019, the lowest number of homicides in 56 years, and part of an overall decline in the violent crime and shootings that plagued the city just over a decade ago.” Mr. Gascón was Chief of Police in San Francisco from 2009 till his appointment as San Francisco District Attorney in 2011. He served two terms as DA before resigning in October 2019. For an apples-to-apples comparison between Gascón and Lacey, during the years of 2012-2018 (the full years in which they were both in office), violent crime increased 29.46% in Los Angeles County while decreasing 1.89% in San Francisco.
“We must recognize that too often the criminal justice system seeks punishment rather than results,” said Diane Goldstein, Ret. Lieutenant of the Redondo Beach Police Department. “The alternatives to incarceration Mr. Gascón is proposing will reduce recidivism, system costs, and LA County’s outrageous levels of incarceration.”
DA Lacey has also made repeated, and ironic, references to San Francisco’s homeless population in spite of LA’s Skid Row, which has the largest population of homeless people in the country. Being homeless isn’t a crime, but the District Attorney’s actions can significantly exacerbate homelessness. Peter Lynn, the longtime head of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, recently said, “There is probably no more single significant factor than incarceration in terms of elevating somebody’s prospects of homelessness.” LA County notoriously applies felony consequences to low-level offenses, incarcerating people for short stints of time which can contribute to job and housing instability. Additionally, persons that exit the criminal justice system with a felony conviction have fewer employment and housing opportunities. Lack of access to employment and housing are primary recidivism drivers. Notably, from 2013-2019, despite less than half a percent total population growth, LA County saw an increase of almost 50% homelessness. In contrast, under Gascón, from 2013-2019, despite almost 6% population growth, homelessness in SF increased 15%.
“George and I supported Proposition 47 because our decades of experience taught us that attaching felony consequences to crimes largely associated with drug addiction was driving mass incarceration and exacerbating California’s epidemic levels of homelessness,” said Bill Lansdowne, Ret. Chief of the San Diego Police Department. “This is the state that led the way on tough-on-crime, and today we’re leading the way on homelessness. We’d be foolish to think that there’s no correlation between the huge numbers of people on our streets that we failed to treat and instead saddled with the scarlet letter of a criminal conviction–making them less employable and less able to find a place to live.”
Today Mr. Gascón also released his proposed alternatives to incarceration. The policy paper extensively details his plans to create an alternative sentencing planner program, implement neighborhood and behavioral health courts programs, support parole, Clean Slate efforts, a fines and fees task force, expand Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), institute restorative justice diversion and more.
“The culture in American policing is still largely supporting ‘us’ versus ‘them’ community interactions.” said Nicholas Sensley, Retired Chief of Police and CEO of the Institute for American Police Reform. “The communities we are sworn to serve are increasingly distrustful of police. Broken trust undermines the capacity to effectively fight crime as a collective problem. It also makes the job of policing dangerous. Police service must evolve as a profession. Police officers are essential and so is comprehensive police reform.”
“Police serve the public, and to meet this moment it’s incumbent upon us to be faithful to that charge,” said Wendell Shirley, Ret. Captain of the Santa Monica Police Department. “The approaches to public safety born in the 1980s and 1990s are relics that do not enhance our safety. Using fear tactics to double down on those failed approaches is backwards and shallow.”
To read Mr. Gascón’s proposed alternatives to incarceration, click here.
George Gascón is the Democratic Party’s nominee. He is endorsed by the LA Times and the LA Daily News, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors, labor leader and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and former Chief of the LAPD Charlie Beck. Click here for a full list of his supporters.
Mr. Gascón grew up in Los Angeles after his family immigrated from Cuba. An army veteran, Gascón served as a Los Angeles Police Department Officer for 30 years, rising to the rank of Assistant Chief of Operations. In 2006 he became Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona, where he stood up to the hateful and anti-immigrant policies of then Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In 2009, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Gascón Chief of Police. Newsom turned to Gascón again in 2011 when he tapped him to be District Attorney to fill the seat vacated by an outgoing Kamala Harris who had been elected Attorney General. During his tenure Gascón implemented reforms that are being duplicated across the country while overseeing violent crime and homicides drop to rates not seen in 50 years. After being elected to two terms, Gascón returned to Los Angeles to care for his elderly mother and to be closer to his two daughters and grandchildren in Long Beach. Gascón is married to Fabiola Kramsky, a three-time Emmy Award winning journalist and recipient of the “Premio Nacional de Periodismo,” the highest recognition given to journalists in Mexico.