Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva criticized District Attorney George Gascón this week for dismissing thousands of criminal cases rather than prosecuting them.
“Well, the danger is … our deputies are making the reports, they’re making the arrests, but in the one first year that George Gascón has been in office we’ve seen over 12,000 cases where he’s refused to prosecute when the crime has been committed,” said Villanueva in an interview Wednesday on “Fox News @ Night.” “We’ve proven it, we have all the evidence.”
“So that is disheartening for any cop to think all their work is being undone by a careless and irresponsible district attorney,” Villanueva continued in the televised interview. “But (the deputies are) not going to stop doing their job.”
Villanueva has been a longtime critic of Gascón, joining others in opposing the district attorney’s directives that were designed to shake up the county’s justice system. Among the changes made were changes to the bail schedule, lessening sentences for low-level crimes, and eliminating sentencing enhancements — a tool prosecutors use to add penalties should there be extenuating circumstances in the commission of a crime.
Officials from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office were unavailable to comment as of the publication of this story.
“No one argues about reforming any system of government,” said Villanueva in the Fox interview. “But when you’re flying in the face of common sense… the fact that we have, like in our county, L.A. County, I have a 92% increase in homicides in two years; I have a 60% increase in grand theft auto; I have a zero-bail schedule, which means every person I catch for the stolen car, gets a ticket, walks out … before (the deputies) are even done writing the report.”
The county’s top cop also responded to San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who called the reaction from law enforcement to crime spikes as “knee-jerk.” Villanueva said that the officials objecting to the new policies are worried about public safety.
“This person claimed this is a knee-jerk reaction, to go back to holding people accountable?” said Villanueva. “I think the old-fashioned (way of) having people suffer the consequences for engaging in crime means something.”
In June, The Signal reported that in the first four months of 2021, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges on 537 Santa Clarita Valley criminal cases, or 156% of the total number of declined cases for the entire previous year.