By Anika Khubchandani
LOS ANGELES – The LA Times Editorial Board believes the “next wave of reinvention may come from Los Angeles County.” And George Gascón is the DA to do it.
And Tuesday, the Times officially endorsed George Gascón for district attorney in Los Angeles County against incumbent Jackie Lacey, sharing that he is the “candidate most capable of bringing positive change.”
The Times cited the Prison Policy Initiative, which notes the U.S. “locks up more people per capita than any other nation, at the staggering rate of 698 per 100,000 residents.” About 2.3 million people in America live behind bars.
The Times noted that no doubt the American criminal justice system is fundamentally flawed. As a result, many organizations and institutions in and out of the criminal justice system have taken the time to reevaluate and renovate their policies over the last several decades.
Some improvements have been made, but the U.S. as a whole still has a long way to go.
The editorial continued, maintaining that ever since the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the U.S. has been forced to recognize the blatant racial injustice interwoven into American police practices. Police departments across the nation have taken steps to address and fix the racial disparities people of color face in America in response.
The Times said although Jackie Lacey has utilized her influential role as California’s “most powerful prosecutor to lobby for improvement…of criminal law” and “made history by becoming the first woman and the first African American district attorney elected” in LA county, the enactment of her reforms has been slow.
In addition, the editorial board said, she has publicly opposed many new initiatives that could have positively reformed the criminal justice system by instead relying on the “older, lower standard.” For example, she has failed to “prosecute police officers for killings,” most notably LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor who was responsible for murdering Brendon K. Glenn, a 29-year-old Black man.
Since Los Angeles County is the “largest local criminal justice jurisdiction in the United States,” it must take the lead in enhancing “public safety by reducing, not expanding, the footprint of the criminal justice system.” Gascón is the “best person to lead that effort,” the LA Times Editorial Board argued.
Gascón began his career as a LA Police Dept. patrol officer after serving in the military. He left the department for a time, but “returned in the 1980s in the thick of the tough-on-crime era.” While working in the police department and “reinventing the LAPD following the Rampart Scandal,” he also completed his law school education.
In 2006, Gascón moved to Arizona where he worked as a police chief, and returned to California in 2011 to serve as San Francisco’s district attorney.
The LA Times gushed that not only is George Gascón incredibly qualified to be elected as LA County’s district attorney because he has the “frontline experiences of a cop who saw the tough-on-crime ethic wreak havoc in the communities he policed,” but he happens to be “one of the few police leaders to question the old style approach.”
The Times urged voters to “choose Gascón” so that he can help pave the way for reform in Los Angeles—and by extension the U.S. criminal justice system.
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