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Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon on Wednesday said rising violent crime in the city is the result of “bad policies” that “over-criminalize communities.”
His comments came after San Francisco voters ousted District Attorney Chesa Boudin — a move that some political commentators interpreted as a preview into Gascon‘s fate, as his critics effort signatures to hold a similar recall vote in LA.
Gascon noted during his town hall discussion Tuesday evening that homicides have been increasing in cities across the country, in both “conservative and progressive jurisdictions.”
“I think that people feel their safety compromised,” he said.
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Gascon continued: “To create a safer community, absolutely we have to hold people accountable, but we also have to understand that we cannot do business as we always have and think that we’re going to get any safer because the reality is that the problems we have today [are] the result of many of the bad policies that over-criminalize communities without really looking for a path forward to create the reduction of crime, the prevention of crime.”
Some Twitter users criticized the district attorney’s remarks.
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“The problems are a lack of high bail for arrestees, short or no incarceration for convicts, no treatment for the mentally ill, understaffed police departments, concentrated attacks on traditional values, politicians who blame inanimate guns instead of criminals & progressive DAs,” the National Police Association tweeted.
Another user replied to Gascon: “Protect the victims. It is YOUR JOB.”
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Another responded saying that while the DA is “not wrong,” his efforts to address “the root causes of crime” is not the job he was “elected to do,” nor something in his power.
“Your job is to seek justice for crimes that have already occurred, and to limit the impact of repeat offenders to society,” the Twitter user wrote.
More than 9 of 10 Los Angeles prosecutors are supporting the effort to recall Gascon, according to the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (LAADDA), which released the results of a vote among county prosecutors in February. The LAADDA has filed two lawsuits against Gascon arguing that several of the DA’s directives violated state law, including one that blocked DDAs from filing strike prior enhancements in new cases and allegedly ordered prosecutors to “dismiss existing charges that [Gascon] personally disagreed with,” as LAADDA Vice President Eric Siddall previously told Fox News Digital.
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In 2021, a judge blocked Gascon’s policy aiming to block prosecutors from seeking longer sentences for repeat offenders under the state’s Three Strikes Law, which states that defendants convicted of any new felony after being convicted of previous felonies be sentenced “for twice the term otherwise provided for the crime,” or a minimum of 25 years if they have two or more prior “strikes ,” according to the county. The directive also blocked prosecutors from seeking longer sentences in several other types of cases.
More than 30 cities within LA County have issued votes of no confidence in Gascon.
The group trying to recall Gascon told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that they have collected more than 500,000 signatures and are closing in on the 566,857 signatures needed by July 6 to put the recall question on a ballot later this year.
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“I think that people need to realize that the way the situation is going, the best thing for everybody here in Los Angeles is to recall George Gascon and get him out of office,” LA Deputy DA Jon Hatami told Fox News this week. “Even if you want some of the reforms that he wants to implement, I still believe that it’s better to get him out.”
Fox News’ Emma Colton, Bill Melugin, Paul Best and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.