Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and their ally organizations released the following statement backing LA District Attorney George Gascón in response to prosecutors looking to block the District Attorney’s justice reform policies:
We support transformative change in the LA District Attorney’s Office and the commitments made by George Gascón to enact reforms during his first 100 days.
For more than three years, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and allies worked to oust incumbent District Attorney Jackie Lacey for her refusal to prosecute corrupt and murderous police as well as her role in advancing systemic racism from the prosecutor’s office. When the new Los Angeles District Attorney was sworn into office on December 7th, he pledged sweeping reforms that came as a mandate from the overwhelming majority of Angelenos who elected him. The people of Los Angeles voted for George Gascon because they want transformative change, which means an end to mass incarceration, the prison-industrial complex, and a system that unjustly criminalizes, targets, and harshly penalizes Black people, Indigenous people and other people of color. Gascón ran and won on a platform of progressive change that reaffirms the presumption of innocence and restorative approaches to the criminal legal system, values that are at the core of social justice and civil rights. Chief among the reforms are an end to sentencing enhancements and punitive sentencing – like three-strikes – which has been used to harm Black defendants and communities disproportionately.
The California Supreme Court confers upon the District Attorney, the authority to run the Los Angeles County criminal legal system. The current attempts by law enforcement associations to override that authority are blatantly self-interested in seeking to uphold a racist system for the sake of job security and institutional preservation. Police and Deputy District Attorney Associations are working to undermine the will of the people and democracy in order to preserve a fundamentally unjust system that overcriminalizes Black people and other marginalized groups. This effort directly counters the will of the people, professional ethics, and the law.
Furthermore, as recently demonstrated by the letter penned by the National Lawyers Guild and signed on to by civil rights attorneys, public defenders, social justice organizers, religious leaders, movement partners, crime survivors, and directly impacted communities, there is strong support for the new policy directives to which DA Gascon has committed. We are encouraged by the DA’s commitment and community-connected leadership. Progressive justice reform doesn’t belong to George Gascon alone; it belongs to all of us.
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