George Gascón, the former San Francisco prosecutor now challenging Jackie Lacey to become Los Angeles D.A., released some strong words on Friday in response to a newspaper advertisement placed by the L.A. Police Protective League, the largest union representing local cops.
“The LAPPL’s full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times pledging support for various reforms is devious,” Gascón’s statement reads. “They support America’s xenophobe-in-chief, Donald Trump, they’re spending millions to keep bad cop apologist Jackie Lacey in office, and they want to roll back landmark reforms to make it easier to attach felony consequences, increase probation violations, and make it harder to earn parole.”
At particular issue for the candidate is the LAPPL purporting to support reforms while also financially backing a ballot initiative going before California voters in November known as the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act.
That act, designed to prevent early release of incarcerated individuals and expand police collection and storage of DNA samples, has been the target of criticism from social science researchers who assert that it would unnecessarily drive up prison populations and sharply increase prison budgets. An analysis completed this week by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice also found evidence that the system the initiative aims to expand is “profoundly biased against Black, Indigenous, and Latino Californians.”
Police unions have come under scrutiny locally and across the county for their role in shielding problem officers from discipline and supporting cultures within forces that may contribute to discrimination and misconduct.
While the LAPPL works closely with sitting D.A. Lacey—who has been the beneficiary of significant donations from the group—Gascón and the union have had a frostier relationship. While he served as an LAPD officer himself at the outset of his career, he has not received money from the LAPPL for his Los Angeles race. Recently, he pledged not to accept contributions from police unions were they to be offered to him.
“For too long, police unions have resorted to fear mongering and threats in order to make the public–and our elected leaders–afraid of necessary system change,” Gascón’s statement reads. “It’s time to recognize police unions as the obstacles to change that they are, for the public and our leaders to embrace change, and for all of us to fear the system of injustice that police lobbyists have worked to keep in place over the past 40 years.”
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