Wednesday, June 15, 2022

A ‘Trojan Horse’ in the Los Angeles D.A.’s Office

To a person, these prosecutors said that the problem was that Gascon had portrayed himself on the campaign trail as a progressive, and they thought that was a lie. They thought that he was captive to a radical agenda; that he wanted to blow the whole place up; that Black Lives Matter was now in charge of the criminal-justice system in Los Angeles; and that all of this was hurting the people the activists claimed to care about the most. They meant people of color, mostly Latino, some black, mostly confined to the east side of the city. The people who lived next to the freeway overpasses, between strip malls and empty lots and homeless encampments, whose kids had spent most of the past two years at home, who were always fending off disaster, who lived among the gang members and drug dealers and the dealers of illegal guns and car thieves and armed robbers. The people who needed them.  

Gascon didn’t see it that way, of course. He imagined himself a man of the future—forward-looking, free of the old assumptions about cops and prosecutors and the meaning of criminal justice. “I have instituted a series of reforms based on data and science that will enhance safety while reducing racial disparities and the misuse of incarceration,” he said in March 2021, while reflecting on his first few months in office. “Our efforts to transform a dated approach that creates more crime, victims and inequities are just beginning.”


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