The Los Angeles Times endorsed District Attorney George Gascón for re-election on Sunday despite controversy surrounding his progressive crime policies.
The paper’s editorial board claimed Gascón, who was elected to Los Angeles County in 2020, is doing what he promised and “doing it well” despite “dishonest” backlash from members of his own office and right-wing politicians and pundits.
“L.A. County voters would be wise to reject the nonsense and keep Gascón on the job and criminal justice reform in place,” the editorial board said.
The paper suggested that “falsehoods” about Gascón and the “apocalyptic landscape” of Los Angeles may have led voters to forget why they had voted for him in the first place.
Prior to his role as district attorney, Gascón served as the district attorney of San Francisco and the chief of the San Francisco Police Department. As a former police officer, he also served as the LAPD assistant chief and the chief of police in Mesa, California.
The paper claimed this experience has enabled Gascón to understand how police and prosecutors can work together to serve and “occasionally distort” the criminal justice system.
“Other prosecutors may know the courtroom; Gascón knows the system,” The LA Times said.
The editorial also surmised that Gascón has helped to stem “multigenerational racial inequalities” through his understanding of just punishment, which, if not properly “dosed,” can lead prisoners to be “broken” rather than “corrected.”
“Gascón’s policies seek the most fitting rather than the longest possible sentences. This smart approach was such a departure from older, failed strategies that the MAGA right promptly distorted it into the false narrative that Gascón refuses to prosecute misdemeanors at all, and generally avoids prosecuting felonies,” the paper added.
The LA Times then claimed Gascón’s willingness to avoid prosecution for various crimes is a “fairy tale.”
“The argument that Gascón is lax or lenient on crime simply does not hold up to the facts. The various crime surges in the last few years — wrongly attributed to Gascón — occurred nationwide and have largely abated. Prosecutorial policies have no short-term effect on crime,” the paper said.
Gascón has faced substantial criticism from not only challengers and right-wing politicians but also those who served close to him.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami told Fox News Digital in August 2022 that Gascón’s policies are creating a “ticking time bomb,” and eventually, a released murderer is going to victimize someone else.
Due to Proposition 57, approved by the voters of California in 2016, every minor convicted in adult court must receive an additional transfer hearing in juvenile court to determine if the individual should be tried as an adult.
In many cases, however, Gascón’s office chose not to participate in transfer hearings and the inmate would be released.
In a lengthy letter to Gascón and his top aides, veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor Mark Burnley aired a number of grievances on his last day with the office in December 2022. He claimed at the time that the DA’s progressive reforms and management style had alienated his colleagues and turned the nation’s largest district attorney’s office into a “managerial dumpster fire.”
Gascón has repeatedly defended his record on crime.
He told KTLA-TV in June 2022 that he knows “how to keep communities safe” and blamed rising violence in the county on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gascón explained that he believes his Community Violence Intervention Unit has been successfully locating repeat offenders and making “good arrests” and bringing in “a lot of guns” off the streets. Gascón also said that his office has increased the number of prosecutions of sexual assaults, which is an area he says his administration has done “really well” on.
He also said that his team has improved the “filing system” to make the process more efficient and that he has been successfully pushing for more “integrity” in the legal system.
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.