Since the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests which demanded systemic change, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has lost the support of several local politicians. Despite the fact that the two-term Democrat is the first woman and first Black person elected to that position, Black Lives Matter leaders have been leading the charge to replace Lacey with a more reform-minded D.A., condemning her unwillingness to charge police officers who have fatally shot civilians.
— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) October 4, 2020
Competing with Lacey for the top law enforcement job in L.A. County, home to the nation’s largest jail system and prosecutors office, is another Democrat. Cuban-born émigré George Gascón served eight years as the D.A. of San Francisco, establishing himself as one of the most progressive prosecutors in the United States.
While Lacey has the support of several police unions, Gascón is backed by New-York-based mega-donor George Soros and liberal philanthropists from the Bay Area, including Patty Quillin, wife of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Police reform activists and anti-incarceration organizers have also been lured to the contentious race. Black Lives Matter members and their allies have bird-dogged Lacey throughout her campaign, crashing her events and repeatedly demonstrating outside her residence. BLM-led efforts gained momentum over the summer, as international pop icon Madonna and other woke celebrities amplified the activist group’s call to oust D.A. Lacey.
Every Weds for the last few years Black Lives Matter LA, has gathered in front of City Hall to demand the resignation of D.A. Jackie Lacey and to grieve with mothers mourning the loss of their children to police brutality. I urge you to join them next… https://t.co/uOD3FegEG4 pic.twitter.com/KXbBNh0sXb
— Madonna (@Madonna) June 11, 2020
All the while, the pressure has been on other elected officials to jump ship. Here are seven California Democrats who rescinded their endorsement for Lacey.
1. U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (CA 28th District, which includes Burbank, Hollywood, and Pasadena)
In June, Rep. Schiff became the first major political figure to rescinded his support for Lacey, referencing the racial justice protests, demonstrations, and ongoing civil unrest.
“This is a rare time in our nation’s history,” Schiff said in a Saturday morning tweet. “We have a responsibility to make profound changes to end systemic racism & reform criminal justice.”
This is a rare time in our nation's history. We have a responsibility to make profound changes to end systemic racism & reform criminal justice.@LauraFriedman43 and I no longer feel our endorsement of Jackie Lacey a year ago has the same meaning. We have decided to withdraw it.
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) June 20, 2020
The L.A. Times reported, “Schiff revoked his endorsement of Lacey just hours before Gascón picked up a nod of approval from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a progressive favorite,” and:
Later on Saturday, about 100 protesters gathered outside Lacey’s Grenada Hills home to demand that she charge the Los Angeles police officers who shot and killed Alex Flores and Daniel Hernandez in late 2019 and April 2020, respectively. … “Jackie Lacey doesn’t do anything,” shouted Hernandez’s sister, Marina Vegara. “She is funded by the police union.”
Lacey issued a statement to The Times after Schiff’s announcement.
“As the first African American woman to hold the LA County D.A.’s office, I am proud of my record of taking on systemic racism and reforming criminal justice – from bail reform, to reducing juvenile cases by nearly 50%, to increasing our office’s focus on mental health treatment instead of incarceration,” she said. “I am singularly focused on doing the work of the people of L.A. County during this time of crisis.”
2. CA Assemblywoman Laura Freidman (43rd District, Glendale)
Assemblywoman Freidman co-signed Schiff’s revocation, posting a nearly identical tweet to her official account. Their districts overlap in several areas.
“@AdamSchiff & I no longer feel our endorsement of Jackie Lacey made over a year ago has the same meaning,” Friedman’s post read. “We’ve decided to withdraw it.”
This is a rare time in our nation's history. We have a responsibility to make real changes to end systemic racism & reform criminal justice. @AdamSchiff & I no longer feel our endorsement of Jackie Lacey made over a year ago has the same meaning. We’ve decided to withdraw it.
— Laura Friedman (@laurafriedman43) June 20, 2020
3. U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA 47th District, which includes Long Beach).
According to Politico, Rep. Lowenthal switched his endorsement from Lacey to Gascón on July 1.
“This moment calls for transformative vision,” Lowenthal tweeted. “This moment requires serious, effective reform. This moment demands bold, innovative action. I am endorsing @GeorgeGascon for LA District Attorney because I believe he can answer this call & provide the progressive leadership we need.”
This moment calls for transformative vision. This moment requires serious, effective reform. This moment demands bold, innovative action. I am endorsing @GeorgeGascon for LA District Attorney because I believe he can answer this call & provide the progressive leadership we need.
— Alan Lowenthal (@alanlowenthal) July 1, 2020
4. U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (CA 33rd District, which includes Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and parts of L.A.)
Later that month, Congressman Lieu pulled his support for Lacey on July 10, despite being among her first official supporters. However, Lieu said he signed on before he knew Gascón would be a candidate. Gascón officially entered the contest last October after months of reported speculation.
“I endorsed Jackie Lacey prior to knowing George Gascon was entering the race,” Lieu tweeted. “I now withdraw my endorsement of Jackie Lacey. The voters will make a decision in November as to who they want as their district attorney.”
I endorsed Jackie Lacey prior to knowing George Gascon was entering the race. I now withdraw my endorsement of Jackie Lacey. The voters will make a decision in November as to who they want as their district attorney.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 11, 2020
5. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti
In June, the L.A. City Council voted to slash the LAPD’s budget by $150 million for the next fiscal year. The move followed growing calls to “defund the police.”
Mayor Garcetti first announced the idea after BLM led a massive demonstration outside of his home. Garcetti had previously supported a 7% funding increase to LAPD. He later hinted that he might abandon Lacey. On Sunday, he made it official.
As the L.A. Times recently reported:
During a June interview, Garcetti said “it may be” time for a change in leadership in the district attorney’s office, but he had since declined to elaborate. In a statement issued Sunday, the mayor said he was proud to back a candidate who could improve public safety “through partnerships with and beyond law enforcement.”
“George Gascón will help our country shift the burden from the criminal justice system and jails toward diversion, intervention and re-entry programs that save money and save lives,” the statement read. “He is a leader who I have known and trusted for nearly twenty years who can meet this moment.”
Lacey dismissed the endorsement from the mayor of the largest city in her jurisdiction as an attempt by Gascón to distract from his performance in a Saturday night debate, which she termed a “disaster.”
— Eric Garcetti (@ericgarcetti) October 5, 2020
6. L.A. City Councilman Herb J. Wesson
Councilman Wesson walked back his endorsement of Lacey last week.
He is currently running for a more influential position on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. There are five seats on that body, each representing approximately two million people. Four of the current Supervisors support D.A. Lacey.
A huge deal.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) October 2, 2020
“At this time, I’ve decided to focus on my own campaign and will not be supporting any candidate in the District Attorney’s race,” Councilman Wesson tweeted on October 1.
Interestingly, D.A. Lacey helped Wesson win re-election to the city council in 2015, before the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
— Herb J. Wesson, Jr. (@HerbJWesson) February 7, 2015
Since then, Mr. Wesson has closely allied with Dr. Melina Abdullah, lead organizer of BLM’s L.A. chapter. Abdullah was part of a controversial protest in March outside the front door of Lacey’s home. The situation culminated around 5:30 am, when Lacey’s husband pointed a handgun outside the couple’s front door, ordered the demonstrators to leave his property, and threatened to shoot Abdullah.
Words can’t express what this endorsement means to me. Dr. Melina Abdullah is one of the great civil rights leaders of our time, and I’m honored and humbled to have her support to become LA County’s next Supervisor. pic.twitter.com/5C53mWfXIv
— Herb J. Wesson, Jr. (@HerbJWesson) September 25, 2020
7. CA Assemblyman Mike Gipson (64th District, Carson)
According to an L.A.-based political strategist, Assemblyman Gipson recently yanked his endorsement of Lacey. Gipson is up for re-election himself, facing Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, who has the support of far-left organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America.
Not looking good for the current DA. #JackieLaceyMustGo seems to be the winning phrase as she lost 3 more major endorsements this week:@MayorOfLA @HerbJWesson
Not to mention 40 folks canvassing against her on her own street today…#JackieLaceyWillGo pic.twitter.com/OlDvQYp3Es
— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) October 5, 2020
Gipson is a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill authored by Gipson that bans the use of chokeholds by police officers statewide.
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