LA County District Attorney George Gascón has only been in office for a few months but his policies have already riled prosecutors, crime victims, and elected officials.
On March 9, the Santa Clarita City Council issued a vote of no confidence in Gascón, with some members calling his actions a risk to public safety. The vote was unanimous. On Wednesday, the Beverly Hills City Council followed suit. That vote was 3-2.
Both cities have taken issue with three of Gascón’s directives. One eliminates cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. One directs prosecutors not to prosecute a host of crimes including trespassing, drug possession, and resisting arrest. Another eliminates sentencing enhancements for most crimes.
“Safety and security is job one,” Beverly Hills Mayor Lester Friedman said in a statement. “By disregarding the actions of criminals, we are undermining the work of our women and men in law enforcement. The laws which DA Gascón is ignoring were democratically passed and need to be enforced."
The no confidence votes took place as critics of the new DA prepare to gather signatures for a recall effort against him. LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who's no stranger to controversy himself, has endorsed the recall.
Gascón has been unapologetic, even when confronted by families who’ve lost loved ones. He claims the recall effort is “fueled by conservative media, law enforcement unions & other ‘tough-on-crime’ types.” The fiercest pushback he’s received, however, is from his own deputies. They’ve even taken him to court — and won.