As recall petition begins collecting signatures, Gascón spokesperson wonders who is behind the effort – CBS Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is now in the signature collection stage, after the Los Angeles County Registrar approved the petition on Thursday.
Gascón defeated former District Attorney Jackie Lacey on a platform for criminal justice reforms, but his opponents have been working since February to get the recall petition approved.
READ MORE: 6-year-old Costa Mesa boy dies in raging shootout on Highway 55 in Orange town
Supporters of the recall had to wait 90 days after he was sworn in before they could initiate the process, which included obtaining signatures for the intent to recall. Now that the recall has been approved, they must collect the signatures of 579,062 registered LA County voters by October 27, 2021 to get it on a ballot.
“I think I am a direct victim of what is going on in his policies and guidelines,” said Cynthia Carrera, whose brother was killed in 2019 in an alleged shootout. “My brother and his friend were murdered by two minors and an adult, so I suspect they may have been initiated into a gang. I do not know.”
Since December, Gascón has implemented changes that have upset some families of victims – including ordering his prosecutors not to seek the death penalty or improvements to the sentence in most cases. He also said he did not want the minors to be tried as adults.
More recently, the handling of the Anthony Avalos case has drawn criticism after his office dropped the death penalty as a possible sentence for the two people charged with his death. According to prosecutors, Anthony’s mother and her boyfriend whipped him with a belt, poured hot sauce on his face and mouth, and repeatedly dropped him on his head before he died. They both pleaded not guilty.
“In Anthony’s case the really hard thing about it is that George Gascón never met the family, he never sat down with me and never looked at the evidence,” Jonathan Hatami said. . “He never met the medical staff who tried to treat Anthony or the witnesses who saw what happened.”
Hatami is suing Gascón over a hostile work environment among other allegations and said AD policies are disrupting the justice system.
READ MORE: LASD investigates deadly Malibu shooting
“Many people know that there is no more life without the possibility of parole,” he said. “They know that with the elders parole they can get out early.”
Additionally, city councils in 14 LA County towns voted “no confidence” against the new DA, including Diamond Bar, Azusa and Santa Fe Springs this week.
But Maxwell Szabo, a spokesperson for Gascón’s political campaign, said the elections showed people wanted a change – a change, he said, that Gascón was accomplishing.
“Surveys repeatedly show that the majority of violent crime survivors in Los Angeles County support policies that promote rehabilitation rather than just incarceration,” he said. “And I just don’t believe, frankly, that this group is supposed to be run by victims. There are a number of casualties supporting the recall effort, but in reality it’s run by a small number of conservative politicians, you know, in Los Angeles County.
Senior defense lawyer Alexandra Kazarian backs Gascón, but said her office needs to better communicate her new guidelines.
“He’s really just keeping his campaign promises,” she said. “And I think he told everyone exactly what his plan was and that he did what he said he was going to do.
The effort is supported by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and former District Attorney Steve Cooley, among others.
NO MORE NEWS: Beverly Hills resident Scott Berkett accused of attempting to hire Hitman to kill ex-girlfriend
If successful, an election would be held next year.