Angelenos, we have now suffered through one full year of L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón. So truly ask yourself, are we any safer? Let’s look at the “data and science.”
In Los Angeles County, according to the Sheriff’s Department, as compared to the non-pandemic year of 2019, homicides are up 74%, aggravated assaults with a firearm are up 73%, and grand theft auto is up 57%. Arrests are actually down 33%. In the Los Angeles City, according to the L.A. Police Department, homicides are up 46.7%, shooting victims are up 51.4%, and grand theft auto is up nearly 53%. Arrests are down 27%.
Currently, violent crime is on the rise, smash-and-grab burglaries are happening daily, and there have been more than a hundred recent follow-home robberies, some resulting in deaths. Clearly, the answer is a resounding “No.”
Gascón, who describes himself as a “progressive,” and whose campaign was funded by billionaire George Soros, $3.6 million to be exact, enacted numerous so-called “reforms” for the people of L.A. County on Dec. 7, 2020. Not a single one of them was enacted to prosecute crime or enforce public safety. One was $0 or $1 bail for felonies like child abuse, domestic violence and sex trafficking of a minor without force. Basically, any felony that is defined as non-serious or non-violent and every misdemeanor is presumed to be $0 bail. According to Gascón, “the presumption shall be to release individuals pretrial.”
And yes, this policy was clearly against the will of the voters when we all voted against $0 bail in 2020, and this was also the reason why all the suspects arrested for the recent smash-and-grab burglaries were released immediately after they were arrested.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said shoplifters should be fully prosecuted under existing laws. Well, Newsom supported and endorsed Gascón. So, let’s see what Gascón enacted in Los Angeles. First, it needs to be noted that Gascón co-authored Proposition 47, which made grand theft, shoplifting, receiving stolen property and check fraud under $950 a misdemeanor. Gascón then, when elected D.A., implemented $0 bail for all of these charges, even if the crime was above $950 and filed as a felony. Gascón also directed all misdemeanors to be eligible for diversion. Gascón supported defunding the police. And, Gascón ordered that 16- and 17-year-olds would not be charged with any misdemeanors at all, and not be charged with felony robbery.
So, Gov. Newsom, how are we in Los Angeles supposed to be protected against smash-and-grab burglaries under Gascón?
Some of Gascón’s other so-called “reforms” were:
• Victims and surviving family members would be abandoned at parole hearings, even if the murdered victim was Robert F. Kennedy.
• Capital punishment is gone in L.A., even though it was approved in 2012 and again in 2016. And, even if we have 100% evidence and the defendant is a serial killer, a mass murderer, a child torturer, a police killer, or a school shooter.
• Seventeen-year-olds who murder or rape get out at 25.
• Special circumstances, such as a sexual assault murder, a burglary or home invasion murder, a child torture murder, or a multiple murder, even though these were voted on and approved by Angelenos in the past, are gone in L.A.
• Life without the possibility of parole as a punishment is also gone in L.A. According to Gascón, even if you murder your four children, you can evolve in prison, and you should be released at some point.
For some of you, this may just sound like someone trying to scare you. And I have written about this before. But, when it is your child, your loved one, your friend or your family member who is killed, there will be no one fighting for justice for you. Think about that. And, I am not advocating charging every single person with every single charge you can come up with. I am advocating to follow the law, follow the evidence, look at the facts and circumstances, consider all factors, and charge based upon doing the right thing. George Gascón has a blanket policy on all charges, he does not follow the law or consider the evidence, and he charges based upon his political beliefs. That is not what the elected D.A. should be doing.
Gascón has also demoralized the entire D.A.’s office. More than 160 employees have left the office under Gascón. Gascón has even hired and promoted to management public defenders who have stated that Angelenos should burn our city down, police officers are barbarians, victims of crime should not call “911,” and LASD and LADA are corrupt. How does any of this help our community or protect the public?
The “progressive reforms” of Gascón have directly caused violent criminals to spend less time in custody and more time victimizing others. Further, when the message is you can do basically whatever you want, and not get prosecuted for it, Gascón is sending a message to the criminals that you will not be held accountable for your actions. We have a DA who coddles violent criminals. He actually has created a victim’s advisory board that states the L.A. DA’s office “honors the rights of the accused.”
Los Angeles needs a D.A. who will stand up for the rights of victims, fight for justice and public safety, be a voice for the most vulnerable in our communities, and make sure our children, families and communities are safe. We need a real D.A. for the people who actually cares about victims, survivors and children and who will “honor” the law and justice not just murderers, sex traffickers and child abusers. What kind of a real D.A. “honors” criminals who hurt children?
The only way to remove Gascón is at the polls, by recall or an election in 2024. Until either of those things occurs, the only ones who will suffer are victims. And, we, as a society, lose our sense of public safety. No matter what side of the political aisle you stand on, we all want safe homes, safe schools, safe neighborhoods and safe communities.
So, let’s take our community back.
Jonathan Hatami, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, is a deputy district attorney for L.A. County.