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Lawsuit Filed Over L.A. County DA’s Husband Pulling Gun On Black Lives Matter Activists
Paul Villalobos, 28, from Oakland, joins other demonstrators as they protest on Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles,demanding justice in the killing of George Floyd and also protesting against L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Black Lives Matter’s strategic quest to oust Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey took another interesting turn on Monday when three activists filed a lawsuit against the region’s top law enforcement official and her husband, David.

The suit stems from an altercation on March 2, when dozens of demonstrators showed up at the couple’s home uninvited, pre-dawn, the day before the primary election. The group chanted, banged on a drum, then rang the Laceys’ doorbell at around 5:30 am. Mr. Lacey opened the door and pointed a handgun at the unwelcome visitors.

“I will shoot you,” he said, before ordering them to leave his property.

Partial video of the encounter went viral.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The 16-page suit, filed Monday by Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah and demonstrators Dahlia Ferlito and Justin Marks, accuses the Laceys of assault, negligence and infliction of emotional distress in connection with the clash earlier this year. …

The Laceys’ civil attorney, Jeffrey Zinder, questioned the timing of the lawsuit and alleged it was filed largely to harm the district attorney’s reelection bid. Jackie Lacey is seeking a third term in office and is facing a tough challenge from former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón.

“This lawsuit was filed two weeks before an election and not at any time in the last 7 months because it is being put forward for transparently political purposes,” Zinder wrote in an e-mail. “If there was merit in this lawsuit or if it was being offered sincerely, it would have been filed at some point prior to today.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Carl E. Douglas, who became nationally known in the 1990s as a member of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” of defense attorneys. He has previously done pro bono work for Abdullah, who leads Black Lives Matter’s L.A. chapter. Douglas serves as her lead counsel in a federal suit filed earlier this year against the L.A. City Attorney’s Office and LAPD.

“On the one hand, there is sincere, severe and serious personal injury,” Douglas said on Tuesday. “On the other hand, this is a public official and this horrific case speaks to her judgment, and I think speaks to her fitness to serve the people of Los Angeles another four years. So I, as the lawyer, made the decision to file this case now.”

Voters will decide whether to reelect Lacey on November 3 in what is widely considered one of the most consequential local races in the country. She is the establishment candidate and has the support of law enforcement unions. Her challenger, George Gascón, is backed by several millionaire and billionaire philanthropists who live outside of southern California.

Black Lives Matter and allied groups have been leading the effort to replace District Attorney Lacey, a Democrat, with a more progressive prosecutor. They stage weekly demonstrations outside of her office, vowed to “disrupt her wherever she goes” on the campaign trail, and have been protesting outside of her home for several years.

Lacey immediately apologized for her husband’s actions after the March confrontation. Still, the California attorney general’s office charged him with three counts of misdemeanor assault. He is scheduled to appear in court in December.

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