Rep. Adam Schiff and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman have withdrawn their endorsements of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey in her bid for a third term.
“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,” Schiff, D-Burbank, tweeted Saturday morning.
Friedman, D-Glendale, issued a nearly identical tweet at the same time.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also seemed to walk back his endorsement of Lacey last week, saying during an interview that “it may be” time for a change in the District Attorney’s Office.
Lacey’s campaign staff said Schiff informed them he was pulling his endorsement. In a statement released later Saturday Lacey said: “As the first African American woman to hold the L.A. 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. I am singularly focused on doing the work of the people of L.A. County during this time of crisis.”
In November, Lacey will face former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who is part of a nationwide effort to elect prosecutors who are considered progressive.
About 90 minutes after Schiff’s tweet, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, tweeted her endorsement of Gascon, the eighth in a series of 19 candidates she announced her backing of Saturday.
“(Gascon) has been a national leader in criminal justice reform and a powerful advocate for rethinking our approach to public safety and ending mass incarceration,” Warren tweeted.
The announcements came the same day about 100 protesters descended on a park near Lacey’s Granada Hills home to demand she charge the Los Angeles Police Department officers who fatally shot Alex Flores Jr. on Nov. 19 and Daniel Hernandez Bravo on April 30. Family members of both men led the protests, calling for her to be voted out of office.
Lacey has declined to prosecute several law enforcement officers involved in fatal shootings during her two terms in office.
Since being elected in 2012, Lacey’s office has never charged a police officer with misconduct for an on-duty shooting, despite repeated appeals for her to do so.
Legal scholars say the law is heavily weighted in favor of officers who justify their actions by saying they reasonably perceived a threat to themselves or others when they opened fire — even if that belief was mistaken.
And some of Lacey’s supporters say she has been prudent in determining she would not win at trial, avoiding the humiliation of losing high-profile cases.
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