L.A. County D.A. Gascón Calls Out ‘Conservative Media’ And ‘Tough-On-Crime Types’ Amid Recall Threat

“They didn’t want the movement that we’re pushing.”
San Francisco district attorney George Gascon in February 2019, announcing that his office was automatically clearing every marijuana-related conviction eligible for resentencing or expungement under Proposition 64.
Photo by Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was recently served with a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition against him, an effort he claims is motivated by exaggerated news reports and forces that benefit from preserving the status quo.

“Here in LA, we are seeing a backlash against reform fueled by conservative media, law enforcement unions & other ‘tough-on-crime’ types,” Gascón tweeted on Wednesday. “From fear mongering to scare tactics, we are watching history repeat itself. But this time, reform will prevail.”

Gascón’s tweet linked to an article recently published by The Guardian, in which he described the pushback against his vision as “propaganda.”

Multiple media personalities who have scrutinized Gascón’s policies appear to have speculated that they were the subjects of his subtweet, including RedState Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar, KABC radio host Larry O’Connor, and Bill Melugin, a local television reporter with FOX 11 News.

However, the article to which Gascón linked specifically cited “a Fox News-fueled backlash,” adding: “And Fox11 LA has repeatedly run stories about heinous crimes, quoting outraged police officers and raising concerns about potential parole considerations decades in the future.”

Victims of Violent Crime for the Recall of District Attorney Gascon is leading the drive to oust L.A. County’s most powerful law enforcement official. Its Twitter account became active soon after Gascón issued a set of special orders on December 7, his first day on the job. His new directives included ending cash bail, stopping the practice of trying juveniles as adults, and a ban on prosecutors seeking sentencing enhancements.

Some of Gascón’s policy changes were not part of his progressive campaign platform. For example, he did not run on eliminating all sentencing enhancements. But his plan to do so, along with other elements of his agenda, sparked revolt from victims of violent crime, law enforcement groups, and several deputy district attorneys within Gascón’s office.

County rules required recall organizers to wait until March 8 — 90 days after Gascón had been in office — before filing a recall petition. In the meantime, victims’ families and prosecutors connected with media outlets, and their stories helped grow support for the looming campaign.

Twitter: @recallgascon

After a public outcry resulted in Gascón swiftly scaling back his initial directives, he had alleged: “[The] profiteers of mass incarceration continue to exploit gullible members of the media into airing vile and sensational claims about these relatively rare tragedies.”

Related: Los Angeles County’s New Progressive D.A. Changes Policy After Public Outcry

Still, a judge went on to issue a preliminary injunction against Gascón in February, finding that his plan to end sentencing enhancements violates state law.

Tania Owen, a retired detective for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), is an honorary co-chair of the recall group. She is also the widow of slain LASD Sgt. Steve Owen, who was killed execution-style in the line of duty in 2016.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Owen said the prosecutor handling her husband’s murder case called her the day Gascón was sworn in and said the office would no longer be seeking the death penalty, life without parole or any sentencing enhancements.”

She appeared on KFI’s “Gary and Shannon Show” earlier this week and said Gascón “turned our system completely upside down.”

“In the last three months, he has completely destroyed the spirits of all of those who are victims in L.A. County, so at this point, we have to fight back,” Owen said. “He’s destroying our families with what he is doing by not protecting us as victims, and he’s stealing our right to justice, and that’s what we want.”

“We have to put a stop to this; we have to derail this man,” she continued. “We need all hands on deck right now.”

Owen estimated that the recall process would cost between $3.5 to $4 million.

The campaign draws attention to Gascón’s support from progressive criminal justice reform advocates, including New York-based Democratic mega-donor George Soros, who contributed at least $2,250,000 to a political action committee that backed his candidacy. Soros has prioritized electing reform-minded prosecutors across America.

A meme posted on the recall campaign’s Instagram account shows Gascón reading a book with “Criminology for Dummies” superimposed over the cover. Images of Soros and Melina Abdullah, lead organizer for Black Lives Matter’s L.A. chapter, are superimposed as pictures hanging on the wall in the background.

Gascón claimed the recall effort “seems to be driven by Republicans,” mentioning former L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, the chairman of the recall effort who is also a former LAPD officer, former L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, and former L.A. County D.A. Steve Cooley. RedState obtained video of a recent Zoom meeting with a Democratic club where Gascón alleged former GOP local elected officials had “taken a few victims of crime that are very traumatized” and are “using them in ways that I find unconscionable.”

“I think that there were some people who were unhappy with the results of the election, and they immediately decided to try to undo the election,” Gascón said in the video, later adding: “They didn’t want the movement that we’re pushing. … We are in a historical moment. I view myself as part of a movement. I just happen to be the occupant today. But we want to make sure the future occupants of this office are given the space to be able to continue to do good work, and they’re not intimidated.”

Related: Los Angeles County Sheriff Supports Recall Effort Against D.A. Gascón

Related: Judge Issues Injunction Blocking Several Directives From L.A. County’s New Controversial D.A.

Related: Black Lives Matter Leader Stands With L.A.’s New Progressive D.A., ‘Don’t Let The A**Holes Sway You’

Related: Los Angeles County D.A. Concedes To Soros-Backed Challenger Who Will Take Over Nation’s Largest Prosecutors Office

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