‘Pro-Criminal Paradise’: Amid Surge in Violent Crime, Second Recall Effort Against LA District Attorney Launched

By Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin
January 28, 2022 Updated: January 30, 2022

A second recall effort against District Attorney George Gascón is officially underway after Los Angeles County approved a petition on Jan. 27.

Organizers have until July 6 to gather and submit about 570,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.

“We are sick and tired of living in the pro-criminal paradise Gascón created,” said Desiree Andrade and Tania Owen, co-chairs of the Recall DA George Gascón campaign, in a release issued after the county registrar’s approval.

The bipartisan recall effort is supported by more than 30 cities in LA County, which have passed votes of no confidence against the district attorney. Most recently, Beverly Hills officially endorsed the recall campaign on Jan. 4.

Grounds for the effort include Gascón’s crime-friendly policies, including his disregard for existing laws and his support for weakened sentencing for violent criminals, organizers said in the petition.

“George Gascón’s new policies treat career and repeat violent offenders as if they had never committed a crime, ignoring public safety laws approved by the people,” the recall group said in the petition.

Gascón has come under fire lately for several policies that critics say have emboldened gangs and criminals in Los Angeles.

Gascón issued a special directive (pdf) in 2020 directing his prosecutors to seek dismissals of all three strikes charges, gun, gang, and other sentencing enhancements, saying the majority of those incarcerated belonged to long-disadvantaged groups.

Outspoken critic LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the district attorney’s “zero bail” policy of allowing economically disadvantaged suspects out of jail without posting bond has added to drastic increases in homicides, auto theft, and robberies.

A crime wave of smash-and-grab retail theft and follow-home robberies have shocked many Los Angeles residents in the past year.

Notable victims have included a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, killed while off duty on Jan. 10 during a shootout with robbery suspects, two women killed by suspected homeless people, and philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, wife of music icon Clarence Avant, who was shot to death during a home invasion robbery in her Beverly Hills home.

Law enforcement bypassed Gascón’s office and elected to seek federal charges for four alleged gang members suspected of involvement in the death of LAPD officer Fernando Arroyos. Villanueva said the “depravity” behind Arroyos’ slaying should bring harsher punishments than Gascón would seek.

In response to the petition, Gascón called the recall effort a right-wing attempt and said California didn’t need another political recall attempt supported by “Donald Trump backers and frequent Fox News guests.”

“This is not about keeping Angelenos safe, it’s about a political power grab by well-funded conservative operatives who have fought reforms – on juvenile detention, mental health treatment, police accountability in fatal shootings, and the death penalty – for decades,” Gascón wrote in his response to the county registrar.

This is the second attempt to recall Gascón. Last year, another committee fell short in its recall attempt, but raised more than $1 million and collected over 200,000 signatures, according to organizers.