Source: Joel B. Pollak
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón gathered “progressive” prosecutors from around the country to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his time in office, but the party was derailed by questions about rising violent crime.
Gascón, who ran against the first black woman to hold the job, and who received millions of dollars in donations from left-wing billionaire George Soros, has pursued an aggressive, radical agenda of “criminal justice reform” since taking office.
But crime has spiked, leaving the city in the throes of what the Los Angeles Times has called a spate of “brutal, brazen” crimes.
Last week, Jacqueline Avant, a prominent philanthropist in the black community who was married to legendary music producer Clarence Avant, was gunned down in her home, allegedly by a man recently freed from state prison.
In a statement touting his achievements after a year in office, Gascón was short on crime numbers but heavy on “reforms.” For example, he touted ending the death penalty — a controversial policy that he has applied to cases like child murder:
Death sentences are no longer sought in Los Angeles County. Nor will the office seek execution dates for people sentenced to death. In addition, post-conviction death penalty cases currently are being reviewed to determine if thereis [sic] ameritorious [sic] legal reason to vacate the death sentence or resentence the individuals in the interest of justice. To date, five people, including four with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, have been resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Gascón had hoped to celebrate, as he did after 100 days in office when he celebrated thousands of hours in reduced prison sentences. But as the Times reports, his party was crashed by reporters seeking answers to the public’s urgent questions:
One year and one day later, Gascón was flanked by progressive prosecutors from around the country as he stood before a room full of reporters during a 90-minute news conference meant to celebrate what he saw as his successes during his first 12 months on the job.
But on the heels of weeks of high-profile crimes, including the killing of a beloved Beverly Hills philanthropist, an explosion of gunfire that left one child dead in Wilmington and viral videos of smash-and-grab robberies at retail stores, Gascón instead spent much of his time sparring with reporters and trying to counter questions about criticism levied by those seeking to recall him.
Gascón stood firm, saying there was no link between his policies and what he called the inaccurate perception that crime is rising in L.A. County.
“My dad used to say that when you wrestle with a pig, you both get muddy and the pig likes it,” Gascón said, before clarifying that he didn’t mean to insult law enforcement.
Murders have skyrocketed in L.A., as are car thefts, but burglaries are down — possibly because more people are at home.
One of the prosecutors at Gascón’s party: Kim Foxx, the Soros-funded Cook County prosecutor from Chicago who declined to prosecute actor Jussie Smollett for faking a racist and homophobic attack. The Smollett case was later taken up by a special prosecutor and he is currently on trial — while Chicago struggles with shootings, gang violence, and “mass looting.”
Other prosecutors who took time out of their schedules to fly to L.A. to celebrate with Gascón included Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County; and Suffolk County, Mass., District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Gascón faces a second recall petition effort after the first failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.