Critics of LA County DA George Gascón launch recall effort over his progressive policies

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A signature-gathering effort to force a recall vote on Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón officially launched this week – only a few months after he took office, according to reports. 

The leaders and supporters of “Recall George Gascón” held a news conference Wednesday, criticizing the progressive policies that buoyed Gascón into office over incumbent Jackie Lacey, FOX 11 in Los Angeles reported. 

Speakers at the news conference included those affected by crimes in the county.

“The sad truth … is that he has revictimized me and my family,” Desiree Andrade, whose 20-year-old son was beaten and stabbed and thrown off a cliff to his death, said. “He has total, utter disregard for us victims. You, George Gascón, have put criminals before victims.”

“You, George Gascón, have put criminals before victims.”

Desiree Andrade.

Prosecutors removed the special circumstances charges of a deadly weapon, kidnapping and robbery for her son’s alleged murder, meaning the suspects won’t face the possibility of life without parole. Gascón has sought to remove special circumstances that could lengthen murder sentences in all cases. 

Several prosecutors with the DA’s office have also spoken out against Gascón removing special circumstances in especially violent murder cases. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has publicly supported the recall and signed the petition at the news conference, according to FOX 11. 

Families of crime victims have called Gascón out since he took office in January for reforms that often ease potential sentences for murder suspects in an effort to make the justice system more equitable in light of calls for changes in policing across the country. 

His other reforms include ending the death penalty, not trying juveniles as adults and the dismissal of misdemeanor cases and gang enhancements, FOX 11 reported. Some 20,000 inmates could be eligible for resentencing under his reforms. 

Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Gascón had served as district attorney in San Francisco from 2011 to 2019 and was San Francisco’s police chief from 2010 to 2011.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is seen at his swearing-in ceremony, Dec. 7, 2020. (Associated Press)

The organizers would need around 590,000 signatures, about 10% of county voters, by the end of October to get a Gascón recall question on the ballot in 2022. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is also likely to face a recall this fall after critics of his coronavirus restrictions collected the required number of signatures. 

The state last had a successful recall in 2003 when action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, replaced beleaguered then-Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat.  

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