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From Hero to Villain: The Tragic Fall of George Gascon, from LAPD Officer to Diabolical District Attorney
Recall Efforts Against Gascon and the Fight for Justice in Los Angeles County
You would be hard-pressed to find a single person who has done more damage to California than George Gascon. While there was a time when he was a respected member of the LAPD, those days are long behind him as he has left many in Los Angeles County questioning his judgment and priorities.
Gascon began his career in law enforcement as an officer with the LAPD in 1978, despite the turmoil and distrust surrounding the department following the notorious Rampart Scandal, which inspired Denzel Washington's character in Training Day and The Shield TV Show. Gascon earned the trust and admiration of his colleagues and Chief William J. Bratton. He was even trusted with leading the LAPD training unit, a position many viewed as a curse at the time.
However, Gascon embraced the challenge and worked to restore trust in the department. He created an ethics training manual for the LAPD and implemented problem-based learning. He even ensured the Bill of Rights was posted in every LAPD classroom.
Unfortunately, Gascon's reputation has taken a sharp turn since he was appointed San Francisco District Attorney by Gavin Newsom. It seems almost bizarre that Chief Branton once said, "He (Gascon) is a crime fighter. He thrives on it. In some respects, he's my Patton." Crime fighter? Branton made him sound like Batman; now, he is more like the Joker, an agent of chaos letting all the inmates out of Arkham Asylum. What the hell happened?
He is soft on crime, and his policies put citizens' safety at risk. For example, Gascon has eliminated gun and gang enhancements, which critics argue gives criminals the green light and emboldens gangs one even jokes about tattooing Gascon’s name on his face. In addition, his decision to eliminate cash bail and release many criminals without charges has increased crime rates across the County.
The reputation of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, with many now viewing him as a sinister figure rather than the crime fighter he once was. His policies have caused so much mutiny within the district attorney's office that he has been accused of retaliation against his prosecutors. He is facing a series of legal actions as a result. A Los Angeles County jury recently awarded $1.5 million to a prosecutor in a retaliation lawsuit against Gascon.
The controversy surrounding George Gascón's actions as district attorney has not subsided, as the public remains outraged by his policies and decisions. Despite a record-breaking recall effort that gathered over 700,000 signatures, nearly 200,000 of these signatures were invalidated by the county registrar, sparking accusations of foul play. However, the demand for change in the County's justice system remains strong, and the Los Angeles County district attorney race is already heating up. In addition to Jonathan Hatami and John McKinney, Nathan Hochman has joined the race. He is running on a platform that includes reversing Gascón's policies regarding incarceration, cash bail, and enhancements. As an independent candidate, Hochman has been endorsed by three-term district attorney Steve Cooley and is positioning himself as a solution to the pro-criminal policies that many believe have endangered the citizens of Los Angeles County. With the primary set for March 2024 and the general election in November 2024, the race for district attorney is already shaping up to be a heated and closely-watched contest.