Lay it on Lacey

GUEST COMMENTARY-Jackie Lacey has doubled down on tough on crime at a time when there is a surge in demand that the District Attorney (DA) take the lead on rehabilitation, not incarceration. 

Her claim, "I am proud of my record of taking on systemic racism and reforming criminal justice -- from bail reform, to reducing juvenile cases by nearly 50%, to increasing our office's focus on mental health treatment instead of incarceration" rings more and more hollow in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations here in Los Angeles. 

If she thinks people won’t vote against her because she is a woman of color, she’d better think again. When asked why her office incarcerated Black Los Angeles residents at 13 times the rate of white residents between 2013 and 2015, Jackie Lacey totally ignored the racial disparity and replied that “people have made bad decisions. . .which requires the prosecutor to respond.” 

Yes, prosecutors must act but it is the DA who decides who to charge and who to divert into programs that might turn their lives around. And it is the DA who authorizes no-win plea bargains – ones where innocent people are railroaded into pleading guilty to avoid the threat of long jail terms or the death penalty. Pleas that ruin future job prospects, any semblance of a normal family life, and too often force innocents into a cycle of crime upon release simply to stay alive. 

And who can forget the image of her husband pulling a gun on a Black Lives Matter protester outside her toney Granada Hills home?  

One of many protesters who were calling Lacey on the carpet for failing to bring charges against hundreds of Los Angeles County police officers who were involved in fatal shootings. Four hundred cases of which have been documented since 2012. 

The Los Angeles Police Protective League reportedly poured over a million dollars into her primary in March. It only took her to 49% of the vote. 

Her opponent, perhaps ironically, was the nation's first police chief to become a District Attorney and the first Latino to hold the office in San Francisco.  

In the many positions George Gascón has held through his career – from Assistant Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, to Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona, Chief of Police in San Francisco, and, most recently, District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, his commitment to fairness, service, and public safety have remained steadfast. 

Now Adam Schiff, one of those Democrats who took the lead in standing up to Trump in D.C. has withdrawn his endorsement of her. 

The rest of California’s Democratic establishment should follow suit. 

Most of the dead may be men, but it’s the women who suffer. Left to mourn a husband, a son and to take care of the children. 

We need a man for the people, not a photo-op Black woman who has failed to protect the interests of her race, her sex, and the electorate.


(Liz Amsden is an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She also writes on behalf of the Budget Advocates’ mission regarding the City’s budget and services. In her real life she works on budgets, for film and television, where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today’s world.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.