Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is leading in the race against incumbent Jackie Lacey. Credit: George Gascón/Facebook.

George Gascón Poised to Replace DA Jackie Lacey

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After two terms and numerous calls for her resignation, it appears Jackie Lacey is out as Los Angeles District Attorney. Challenger George Gascón is leading in the polls this morning with 53.81% of the vote compared to Lacey’s 46.19%. NBC4 has already declared him the projected winner.  

When Lacey was first elected in 2012, she became the first Black woman to serve as the county’s DA. But her detractors, including Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, argue that during her tenure, she’s failed to prosecute any officers or deputies who have killed civilians. She’s also been criticized for her approach to the Ed Buck case. Buck, a Democratic fundraiser, was arrested in 2019 after two Black men were discovered dead of drug overdoses in his home on separate instances in 2017 and 2019. Activists slammed Lacey for not prosecuting Buck after the first death.

Back in the March primaries, Lacey took the lion’s share of votes, pulling in 48.6% compared to Gascon’s 28.2%. However, it wasn’t a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff. Since then, opponents have been out in full force chanting, “Jackie Lacey must go,” at weekly protests and in demonstrations against police brutality and racism.

Gascón entered the race as a more progressive alternative to Lacey’s typically tough-on-crime stance. He’s a former L.A. police officer and the former police chief of Mesa, Arizona, and San Francisco. In 2009, Gov. Gavin Newsom, then the mayor of San Francisco, appointed him the city’s chief of police. Two years later, when then San Francisco DA Kamala Harris was elected California attorney general, Newsom appointed Gascón as her replacement. Newsom was elected lieutenant governor in that same election.

As civil unrest brewed over the police shooting of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Lacey began to lose her progressive endorsements to Gascón, including those of Rep. Adam Schiff and Mayor Eric Garcetti, who threw his support behind Gascón in early October.

In August, Lacey’s husband, David Lacey, was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault stemming from a March 2 incident when protesters showed up at the Lacey home before 6 a.m. to request a meeting. David Lacey answered the door and was caught on camera brandishing a handgun.

Whether Gascón will commit to holding officers accountable — assuming there are no surprises as the remaining ballots are counted — remains to be seen. During earlier debates, both candidates accused the other of being more lenient on that front.

Gascón’s win also comes on the heels of a Nov. 2 report from journalist Yashar Ali in which a former LAPD lieutenant claims Gascón sexually harassed her for years. She also emailed Garcetti regarding the alleged abuse but never received a response. Gascón’s campaign denied the accusations, calling them an “11th hour ploy.” While Ali points out the allegations are old and that it’s his story that’s new, many residents had already voted prior to Nov. 2.

Meanwhile, other related projected winners include Measure J, which will allocate 10% of locally generated, unrestricted county funds to social services while prohibiting the county from using the money on law enforcement. Measure J is currently winning with 57.08% of the vote.

Proposition 17, which would allow parolees to vote, is crushing it with 65.45% of votes showing support. Proposition 25, which would eliminate cash bail and replace it with an algorithm that considers public safety and flight risk, is failing with the majority of voters opposing the proposition. However, many advocates of police reform who are against cash bail weren’t fans of Proposition 25, saying the tools used are racially and socioeconomically biased and that it would also expand police funding.

Los Angeleno