A group in favor of recalling Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon launched a new bid to recall him on Monday outside the Hall of Justice on Monday, hoping to successfully bring the decision to voters by November of 2022.
Gascon, who became District Attorney of Los Angeles in December of 2020 following previous stints as the DA of San Francisco from 2011 to 2019, the Chief of the San Francisco Police Department from 2010 to 2011, the Chief of the Mesa, Arizona Police Department from 2006 to 2009, and the Assistant Chief of the LAPD from 2003 to 2005, now faces his second recall attempt since being elected to the DA’s office.
Gascon has been accused by opponents as overseeing a large spike in crime since entering the office, particularly a rise in violent crimes, as well as more criminals released back on the street. Directives such as one that treat all youth crimes as first time offenses, another that dropped most misdemeanors from being prosecuted all together, and a special directive that stopped bail for nearly all crimes have been noted by many, included some within the LAPD, as helping cause crime to rapidly rise in the city.
Opponents, led by the Recall George Gascon group, as well as others such as Recall Gascon Now, launched the bid in the hopes of a successful recall.
“The people are frustrated. Crime is rising,” said Recall Gascon Now spokeswoman Karen Roseberry on Monday. “There is no reason we can’t get him recalled.”
Other opponents agreed with the sentiment on Monday.
“Recall proponents stand for more punishment, not more safety. Dated, tough-on-crime approaches have not made our communities safer, but have produced insecurity and instability that has increased recidivism rates and exacerbated homelessness in our communities,” explained Prosecutors Alliance of California Executive Director Cristine DeBerry on Monday. “Fully 95 percent of the people we send to prison will come home, and research has consistently shown that longer sentences can actually make individuals more likely to commit future crimes. It’s time to stop the finger pointing and work with us on prevention and problem solving.”
In another interview, the Recall George Gascon group also noted, “Today this movement is growing rapidly and gathering the support and resources needed to flip the script on DA George Gascon, reverse his anti-crime victim/pro-criminal policies, and provide hope for the millions of law-abiding people living in Los Angeles County—citizens who, because of DA Gascon, today feel less safe, and believe he has tipped that the scales of justice against them.”
The second recall attempt against Gascon
While the previous recall attempt against Gascon fizzled out in October due to a lack of required signatures and trouble collecting signatures due to COVID-19 restrictions early in the collection period, the new effort is expected to begin signature gathering in January with a large bump of signatures expected due to the rise in crime, the large number of robbery suspects being released without bail, and recent high profile violent crimes, such as the shooting death of a music industry executive in a Beverly Hills home by a repeat offender last week. The large number of recalls collecting enough signatures and reaching elections, such as the recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this year and the upcoming recall elections of 3 members of the San Francisco School Board and San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, the latter of whom who is being recalled partially due to higher crime, have been strong indicators that the second Gascon recall signature gathering is more likely to succeed.
“There is a startling number of similarities between Gascon and Boudin,” said Bay area pollster Cheryl Taylor to the Globe on Monday. “They have both been accused of being soft of crime, have been the DA of their respective counties while crime has shot up, have been threatened with recalls before, and have been getting more and more people in their departments or police departments they work with going against them.
“Recalls are getting more and more signatures in recent years here, and with crime getting this bad, it’s no wonder that some are now facing the chopping block.”
Gascon has defended his policies throughout the year, saying earlier this year in a statement that “Over-incarceration, the practice of sending people to jails and prisons for too long, does not enhance safety. In fact, it actually hurts our collective well-being.”
With intent to recall papers officially served to Gascon today, Gascon now has a week to respond. After a week, the petition will be given to the Los Angeles County Registrar for approval, which can take up to 10 days. Once approved, the pro-recall groups will have 160 days to collect 579,062 signatures in LA County to trigger a recall election, with 800,000 signatures being listed as a goal as a safety buffer. If that number is reached, the Gascon recall will likely be on the ballot by the 2022 General election in November.