A pair of Black activists called on several Los Angeles officials Monday to withdraw their endorsements of District Attorney Jackie Lacey in her bid for a third term.
The two — Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope and Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable — directed their call to Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer and city council members Herb Wesson, David Ryu and Paul Krekorian.
“Lacey and her failure to protect us has demonstrated she is more concerned with protecting abusive and killer cops,” Ali and Hutchinson said in a statement. “Black lives don’t matter to her, but what does matter to her is continuing to be the black face and tool of a justice system founded and steeped in white supremacy. Her tenure as district attorney has been a complete disaster. Lacey has declined to prosecute several law enforcement officers involved in fatal shootings during her two terms in office.”
Over the weekend, Rep. Adam Schiff and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman withdrew their endorsements of Lacey.
“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.
Garcetti 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.
In a response, Lacey said in a statement Saturday that “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.”
Lacey has also fought back against allegations that she is unwilling to prosecute police officers.
She said in an interview earlier this month that the District Attorney’s Office “under my leadership has actually prosecuted more than 20 officers for use of force.”
“I’m the only prosecutor in the state who currently has an officer-involved shooting case filed and pending,” she said. “And so while it may seem like things are not happening, they actually are.
“… Each case is different. They can’t lump all the cases into the same category as the one we are experiencing now,” Lacey said.
Lacey’s office this month filed an assault charge against a Los Angeles Police Department officer who was caught on video pummeling a trespassing suspect in Boyle Heights. That officer, Frank Hernandez, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Activists claim Lacey has declined to prosecute several law enforcement officers involved in fatal shootings during her two terms in office, saying that since being elected in 2012, Lacey’s office has never charged a police officer with misconduct for an on-duty shooting.
In November, Lacey will face former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.
About 90 minutes after Schiff’s tweet, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted her endorsement of Gascon.
“(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.
About 100 protesters descended on a park near Lacey’s Granada Hills home Saturday 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.
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.
Lacey supporters say she has been prudent in determining whether she would win at trial, avoiding the humiliation of losing high-profile cases.
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