During an interview with The Appeal posted on Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti walked back his previous endorsement of District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who has been the target of activists who claim she hasn’t prosecuted enough police officers throughout her two terms.
“Do you still support your endorsement of District Attorney Lacey? Is it time for a change in that office,” Matt Ferner, editor-in-chief of The Appeal, asked Garcetti.
“It may be,” said Garcetti, who previously endorsed Lacey, the county’s first African American district attorney, for a third term.
The mayor then appeared to suggest district attorney candidate George Gascon, a former assistant LAPD chief and San Francisco district attorney, may be better suited for the position, after briefly talking about the difficulty of prosecuting police officers.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for George Gascon too. I’ve served alongside him, it was before he entered the race – my endorsement was with Ms. Lacey. But I want to continue that she does the job she should be doing, and I want to make sure that that office, no matter who’s in it, is going after folks who commit crimes,” said Garcetti.
Breaking: Today on “The Briefing,” @MayorofLA Eric Garcetti was asked about his past endorsement of Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey and whether, as host @matthewferner asked, it’s time for a change in the office. Garcetti replied, “It may be.” pic.twitter.com/JFgIDeLJlx
— The Appeal (@theappeal) June 12, 2020
According to Los Angeles Magazine, a spokesperson for the district attorney said Garcetti didn’t contact Lacey’s office prior to his comments on the race.
According to the Los Angeles Times, protesters gathered outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday in a demonstration against Lacey, and erupted in chants of “prosecute killer cops” and “Jackie Lacey must go.” According to Los Angeles Magazine, a separate protest outside City Hall on the same day also drew a large crowd, among them, the singer Madonna.
“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,” said Madonna on Instagram. “I urge you to join them next Wed. And every Wed. I did today and had the honor of meeting these two compelling and impassioned activists.”
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Lacey recently told Fox 11 News that she has filed 23 cases of excessive force against police officers, cases which she says are tough, hard to file, and “hard to analyze.” The district attorney’s office told the news agency that eight of those cases reached conviction through trial or plea deal, and eight are still pending. Six of the cases were acquitted, and one was dismissed.
“If you look at my record though, I believe that we’ve been on the right side – we’ve prosecuted those cases that we could, and those cases where we didn’t have the evidence, we did not,” said Lacey.
While protests across the country have been widespread in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Lacey was already facing criticism from Black Lives Matter protesters. On the eve of her primary election, around 5:40am, protesters descended on her home, prompting her husband to pull a gun on several who stepped onto their porch and allegedly wanted to speak with the district attorney.
A video of the confrontation was posted to Twitter by Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter organizer and professor of Pan African Studies at CSU Los Angeles.
I’m front of DA Jackie Lacey’s house for that community meeting she promised with the @BLMLA crew. Rang her bell to invite her.
— Melina Abdullah (@DocMellyMel) March 2, 2020
Lacey’s husband apologized for the incident soon after, and the district attorney described the threats she had been receiving and said that protestors should stay away from her home.
“All of this is because I chose to do my job,” said Lacey. “We expect that people will exercise their First Amendment right. But our home is our sanctuary, and we do not believe – I do not believe – it is fair or right for protesters to show up at the homes of people who dedicate their lives to public service.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Abdullah has also accused Lacey of not keeping a promise to host a community meeting with Black Lives Matter activists. During a press conference addressing the incident outside her home, Lacey affirmed that she has been willing to meet with BLM activists, but that the group only wants large events, not small gatherings or one-on-one meetings.
“It seems like what they like is to embarrass me and intimidate me,” said Lacey. “My hope is that one day that might change. That maybe, just maybe, if I keep reaching out, that someone will want to sit down and have a conversation that’s productive.”
Earlier this month, Lacey told Spectrum News 1 that she regularly tried meeting with protesters before the death of George Floyd, but suggested that the meetings have not been fruitful: “I was meeting with Black Lives Matter regularly before the protests started happening outside my office, and their request was to come out and meet with a large group.”
“We tried that, and it really disintegrated as there was a lot of yelling and screaming, and they wouldn’t even allow me to talk. That’s how bad it was. At least with the mayor, they allow the mayor to speak his mind and to answer. And that’s all I’m asking for is to be treated with the same respect that you treat other leaders in these positions,” she said.
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