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Los Angeles sheriff Alex Villanueva said he has spoken to District Attorney Eric Gascon once since he assumed office in December, and said it was a “big problem” that rioters might believe they will face no “prosecutorial consequence.”
“If you make an arrest [during riots] are you worried there won’t be a prosecutorial fist behind it?” Fox 11 LA asked the sheriff.
“That is definitely a legitimate concern because if there is a lack of a prosecutorial fist that might actually embolden some of our Antifa and anarchist crowd, some of the radical elements that try to hijack peaceful protest for their own personal gain,” Villanueva said.
“If they feel they aren’t going to receive any prosecutorial consequence, that is a big problem that is something that the DA himself is going to have to answer to,” he continued.
Gascón served as assistant chief of police in Los Angeles in the early 2000s. He served as chief of police in Mesa, Arizona after that before serving as San Francisco district attorney.
LA COUNTY DA GASCON’S PROSECUTORS ASK JUDGE TO BLOCK REFORMS THAT WOULD FORCE THEM TO ‘VIOLATE THE LAW’
“He issues 10 commandments, special directives, expects the entire world to just go with it, promises somehow it’s going to work, well it’s not working,” Villanueva said.
Gascón took office in December and announced a slew of criminal justice reforms including stopping the use of sentencing enhancements, restricting when prosecutors can hold defendants without bail, ending the use of the death penalty in L.A. County and banning the practice of trying juveniles as adults.
Villanueva said that Gascón had “basically legalized” prostitution in Los Angeles by failing to prosecute suspected solicitation of prostitution cases handed over to him by LA police. Prostitution is considered disorderly conduct in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is bracing for another possible round or protests and riots in the wake of the police-involved death of Daunte Wright in Minneapolis, Adam Toledo in Chicago, and the final verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, the officer who knelt on the neck of George Floyd.
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Last month, recall organizers held a “victim’s vigil” to gather the 20 signatures needed from L.A. County residents to formally launch the recall process for the DA.
The effort needs to garner just under 600,000 signatures from registered Los Angeles voters, or 10 percent of the voter roll, to force Gascón to run again.
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