Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón launched a campaign on Friday to stop what he described as a “right-wing recall attempt” funded by some of the same “mega-donors” who backed former President Donald J. Trump.
Allies of the progressive prosecutor gathered outside the Hall of Justice in downtown L.A. to show their support for his sweeping reforms, which recall proponents say have gone too far.
“We need to be very clear about what this recall attempt is,” Gascón said in an email announcing the launch. “It’s nothing short of a hyper-partisan effort – backed by Trump mega-donors – to overturn yet another free and fair election in this country.”
I want a fair, just & safe LA, and an end to a broken, racist criminal legal system. That’s why I support @GeorgeGascon & oppose the right wing recall. @HollyJMitchell @SantiagoAD53 @ib2_real @SEIU2015 @SouthwestCarps @UNITEHERE11 @LAdemocrats @BLMLA @DocMellyMel @FrGregBoyle pic.twitter.com/DLJH4EdLAq
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) June 18, 2021
LAist described Friday’s event as Gascón’s “first public rally against the recall.” He was joined by several other progressive elected officials, leaders of an SEIU local, and Dr. Melina Abdullah, a prominent organizer from Black Lives Matter’s L.A. chapter. They say Gascón’s reforms are correcting the flaws of a racist system designed to incarcerate people of color.
“Our criminal legal system is deeply embedded in the institution of slavery,” Gascón said. “We cannot walk away from that.”
Gascón told supporters to “follow the money.” His committee created a website called Stand With Gascón. It describes the recall attempt as a “desperate” move by “Trump mega-donors, beleaguered Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, right-wing Republicans, police unions and other stalwart opponents to criminal justice reform.” It showcases Geoff Palmer, a billionaire real estate developer from L.A. who donated $2 million to a pro-Trump political action committee.
Desiree Andrade, a lead organizer with the Recall Gascón campaign whose son was murdered in 2018, told KPCC that she is a registered Democrat and “This is far from a political issue.” She says she opposes Gascón because her son’s killers will be eligible for parole under his new policies.
Recall organizers must collect 579,062 valid signatures from registered voters in the county by October 27 to trigger a recall. If they are successful, voters would likely decide Gascón’s fate in a special election next year.
“This recall effort was announced the day of the DA’s inauguration,” said Max Szabo, who has served as a spokesman for Gascón, in a previous statement to The Daily Wire. “There’s a finish line in politics, and it’s called Election Day. If you lose, train in the off-season and be ready to go next time.”
Gascón was elected in November 2020 and issued a set of special directives that sparked a backlash from law enforcement groups, deputy DAs in his own office, and families impacted by violent crime. Their outrage became the subject of several local media reports that helped generate support for the drive to recall Gascón, based mainly on his unwillingness to charge violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. Public outcry led to Gascón scaling back his initial reforms.
According to the Whittier Daily News, elected officials representing 18 of the 88 cities in L.A. County have issued “no confidence” votes in Gascón.
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